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Island Roads – CBC Mainstreet 1991

With Trevor Arsenault & Archie MacDonald

Welcome to Island Roads, where we explore the Main Streets, and the Side Roads, and the Back Alleys of PEI’s History, and it’s Culture, and it’s Folklore to boot!

In the summer of 1991, David Moses and I created, for CBC Radio Charlottetown, a short radio series called Island Roads. Here are some remembrances I have on that whole endeavour.

I was the sidekick. In those early years of creating plays and establishing an impossibly low-budget black box theatre company (see A History of Off Stage Theatre), I was the eager sidekick to the Idea and Implementation Guy, David Moses. It was, no doubt, David who came up with the germs of the idea for Island Roads, and who was responsible for making it a reality. As with so many things at that time, I was glad to just come along for the ride.

Around this time, David was, I think, doing some occasional work at CBC Charlottetown, or at the very least, was in the orbit of Chris Straw, the producer of their afternoon radio program Mainstreet. Chris was relatively new to Charlottetown and was looking for ways to move Mainstreet away from the news-centric program it was and into a more entertaining, loosey-goosey, and conversational show.

From our first meetings together, to the end of his time here in Charlottetown, Chris was a champion of the kinds of things David and I were doing, and he went above and beyond to find ways to get us on the radio. He was chagrined that he couldn’t afford to pay us as actual, you know, creators of original fictionalized content. The costs would have been prohibitive. So in an effort to at least get something fun and interesting done, he, and we, came up with the idea that we would be creating content, but under the guise of journalists. And it was through this sort-of loophole that Island Roads was born.

[Chris Straw’s enjoyment of our stuff – a small group of us also performed live improv on Mainstreet semi-regularly for a brief while – went a long way to making me feel like I was legitimately funny and had value as a performer. To this day, I appreciate the faith and respect he showed towards me during those early days of my creative life. He was so obviously and grandly talented in what he did, and I had such respect for him and was glad to call him a friend for that brief time. We lost contact with each other when Chris moved to the CBC in BC. I knew he had became producer of Basic Black for awhile, but hadn’t really followed his career after that. I was shocked and saddened to hear, in March 2021, that he had suddenly passed away due to a freak construction accident at a neighbour’s house.]

And so it was decided that Island Roads would come into being and exist for as long as we could get away with it. David and I would assume the characters of Trevor Arsenault (David) and Archie MacDonald (me) – true to our real-life relationship, Archie was very much a sidekick to the more knowledgeable and worldly Trevor – and we would create episodes of entertainment under the banner of journalists. To his credit, Chris more or less left the content of the episodes up to us, and we left it to him to edit our oodles of improvisations and meanderings into tight little pieces. Considering what we often provided to him, it’s clear he was really good at his job.

Here, then, are the six (plus one) episodes (and my recollections) of Island Roads we created for CBC Charlottetown’s Mainstreet radio program during the summer of 1991.

01. Pownal Magnetic Hill

Island Roads – Episode One – Pownal Magnetic Hill

For our first episode, we decided to highlight the Pownal Magnetic Hill. (If you’ve never experienced it, it’s a pretty great optical illusion. You really do feel like your vehicle is being pulled up the hill. Directions to it, in the episode) With the hindsight of 30 years, I might assume that we thought by dedicating an episode – our first – to a fairly innocuous and relatively unknown “attraction” like this it would be indicative of the type of nonsense we’d be getting up to for this series. The reality, probably, was less of a contrivance and more of a “here’s the only stupid idea we have, let’s see if this works”.

Our method for the episodes would be to roughly pre-plan some story beats we’d like to record, and then improvise around those beats. Nothing was ever written down or very much pre-planned. So, for instance in this episode, I think we decided “Trevor will ask Archie to get the map out and Archie doesn’t have the map” and then hit record to see what happens. We would have come up with this idea while en route to the destination. The laughter at the end of that beat is us genuinely laughing, and I’m so glad Chris kept moments like that in the edit, as I think it really adds to the charm of these characters. Other times, like “Alexandra holds many a fond memory for Archie MacDonald….”, the beat would be completely made up on the spot, as we attempted to catch the other of us unawares, just to see what would happen. When Dave mentions Alexandra as Trevor, I had no idea – and I suppose that he didn’t either – of where that would lead us.

The story about Archie’s father being a bus driver, and driving his pregnant sister to the hospital, is based on a story from my Dad’s life, but obviously exaggerated for effect and full of misinformation. I love that impossible and incorrect ideas like “drove from Georgetown to Charlottetown ten to fifteen times a day” just goes unchecked and taken as a statement of fact. We’re definitely not in CBC journalist territory here.

I was thrilled when I heard the final product, after Chris put it all together. I thought the bluegrass music really added to the energy and feel of what we were doing, and the sfx of the car having trouble starting at the beginning was the perfect lead-in joke to what the audience was about to experience.

We were all pleased, I’m sure, with what we created. And looked forward to what would come next.

02. Owen Connolly Building

Island Roads – Episode Two – Owen Connolly Building

It didn’t take us long to go from the silliness of Episode One to the absurd. For episode two, we decided to visit the bust of Owen Connolly on the top of his eponymous building in Old Charlottetown. And, oh yeah, Trevor would channel the ghost of Mr. Connolly. You know, typical CBC stuff.

An early moment I love in this episode and in this series is when Trevor is commenting on Owen Connolly and the building we’ll be visiting. All I can manage in this improvisation is to repeat a couple of the words Trevor has already said. “Owen Connolly…” and “Owen Connolly building…” You can just barely hear a laugh from me after that. And that laugh is me realizing just how lame my participation in this beat is, having left all the work to David’s Trevor. I really was just along for the ride for a lot of this, just hoping to add my oddball sensibilities to the product, and hoping I wouldn’t get found out. In that laugh, I can also hear me simultaneously realizing that my lack of participation kind of works in terms of the dynamic between Trevor and Archie. So where you may not even take notice of that laugh, to me, it represents me learning a little bit more about who Archie is, and how he is very much a sidekick in this whole operation. A valuable insight for me, at the time, hearing it back. And kudos to Chris, again, for keeping in little nothing moments, like the barely audible “my door’s locked” as we sign off from inside the car. Little moments like that just add so much to the world and character of the show.

Another thing I love about these episodes in hindsight is that they contain little moments of quite specific 1991 history. For instance, “that guy looks just like Kenny Rogers” came about, no doubt, because as we were driving down Queen Street, we actually saw that guy who looks like Kenny Rogers. Does anyone remember that guy? Did anyone else other than us at the time even think that guy looked like Kenny Rogers? I don’ know. But I love that we included the mention of him.

Early on, we tried to record as much as we could “on location”, so most of the stuff you hear in the car was actually recorded as we drove towards our destination. Obviously, for this episode, we didn’t actually go to the roof of the Owen Connolly building (sorry for ruining that illusion for you!). For that portion, we parked down by the ball diamonds at Victoria Park and ran around the parking lot a bit so we’d sound a bit out of wind. I’m sure Chris, throughout the run of the series, had challenges in the edit trying to make some of our scenes sound cohesive and blended.

“I’ll just visually explain what I’m seeing”. Is that Archie showing his inarticulate inability to communicate, or is it me? I’ll never tell. But I will say this: I have often created characters whose lack of something-or-other is a direct result of me allowing my own lack of something-or-other to come forward. So, what I’m saying, perhaps, is that I often encourage and allow myself to channel the stupidity that’s within me. Speaking of channeling, “Can you fast forward through the meditation or something” and the “yoyoyoyoyo” is just funny stuff! As I listen to these episodes again, I take delight in seeing the development of these characters. In particular, in this episode, I take note of how naive and gullible and sincere Archie is. There was, perhaps, a lot more of me in Archie, in those ways, than I’d like to let on.

With the bust falling through the car at the end, and with the car crashing into the ditch at the end of the first episode, we stumbled onto the idea of tagging the ending of each episode with something similar. I’m pretty sure that was Chris’ input and idea.

03. Indian River Church

Island Roads – Episode Three – Indian River Church

We were so pleased with ourselves for starting this episode going through an actual drive-thru. We were eager to keep exploring what can happen in this world of Trevor and Archie and what was even permissible from a production standpoint. Trevor’s statement of Route 2 being Archie’s favourite route was another example of improvising where that was sprung on me and I had to go along with it. We worked well together.

Another relatively big eye-opening (or perhaps ear-opening) moment for naive me, was the concept that music from “real” artists could be used in these silly little things we were doing. It may seem like such a little thing, but Chris’s inclusion of Elvis’ Love Me Tender snippet as a transition piece blew my mind open a bit. Like I say, I was something of a sidekick in this whole enterprise and everything was a bit eye-opening for me.

For this episode, we actually did travel to the Indian River Church, and may have recorded some stuff there, I can’t remember and couldn’t say if any of it made it into this episode. Definitely the Route 2 and “do your Elvis” and the sideburns stuff was recorded en route. And I think my visiting the cemetery was on site. But the majority of the “in the church” stuff from this episode was recorded after the fact, in the acoustically imperfect Off Stage Theatre, if I recall correctly.

“What are you, a heathen?” “No, I’m Presbyterian” will always make me laugh, I hope.

04. Victoria-By-The-Sea

Island Roads – Episode Four – Victoria-By-The-Sea

There’s lots I love in this episode. I love us having a bit of fun at the expense of CBC Radio Drama, at the beginning of the episode. It was improvised in the moment. I love having actual guest participation from the Landmark Cafe owner Eugene Sauve and Victoria Playhouse Artistic Director Erskine Smith. And I love our failed audition.

If I recall correctly, we recorded this episode on the same day we visited Indian River Church. We didn’t tell Eugene nor Erskine that we were coming, but were so happy they were willing to play along with our nonsense. I’m not sure what we would have done if they were otherwise engaged.

One of my favourite moments of this series, and of my entire existence, is the three of us, Rob, David and Erskine, sitting at a table at The Landmark Cafe, trying to figure out the mathematics of how many performances the Victoria Playhouse has had. It is such an unnecessary and confusing diversion. I don’t know about David, but I can safely say that this was not Archie trying and failing at math. This was Rob trying and failing at math. I so very much love that it was included in the episode.

The excerpt of the play we performed for the audition was improvised, obviously, and I love how Erskine was politely dismissive of us. Believe it or not, us singing “Hooray For Hollywood” at the end is, I’m pretty sure, us trying our best to harmonize and sing well. No Triple Threats, us! And even though these characters exist in their own world and reality, I always found it hard to believe that either of them would know the lyrics or the melody to that tune.

05. Basin Head

Island Roads – Episode Five – Basin Head

So the summer of 1991 was our first at Off Stage Theatre on King Street. For that summer, David had invited a couple of his National Theatre School friends to Charlottetown to be part of our inaugural summer season. And that’s how the inestimable Rick Roberts ended up in a cameo as Stuart, Archie’s cousin from away. I think we just wanted to get Rick some of that lucrative coin we were making for each episode. Probably something like $30 per episode or close to that. For writing and performing original content for the CBC. We were ridiculously underpaid for what we were creating. Or maybe we were ridiculously overpaid. Have a listen and you decide. I’ll agree with whatever judgement you come away with.

Pretty much all of this episode was created and improvised as we drove to Basin Head from Charlottetown. I really enjoyed the new dimension a third character added to the dynamic. And Rick played an obnoxious Stuart to a T! I had a hard time keeping from laughing a number of times. You can particularly hear that when I exacerbate “Stooo-urrrrt!” at one point.

You know, with my hazy memory, I am now wondering if we did in fact travel to Basin Head? I’m pretty sure we did, but it might now be a false memory I have. I can’t imagine we would pass up an opportunity to day-trip to Basin Head on a lovely August day on Prince Edward Island. I’m pretty sure we attempted to record the actual Singing Sands but it didn’t translate to tape. So – and I do know this is factual – we recorded the sounds you hear of the Singing Sands in the CBC studio, pressing on a box of corn starch to simulate our footstomps squeaking in the sand. Again, sorry to burst that illusion for you!

Ah, the magic of radio!

06. Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Strait

Island Roads – Episode Six – Phantom Ship of the Northumberland Strait

We knew, going into this one, that this would be the final episode. Chris couldn’t find any more money to keep it going, and we were all bummed that it was the end. I still get a bit emotional when I hear Trevor and Archie in this episode talking about how much they loved doing this show. Because really, that was David and myself saying how much we loved doing this show.

This episode, I’m pretty sure, was pretty much fabricated and built in the studio. We didn’t actually travel Up West and we didn’t actually witness The Phantom Ship. For this one, we figured out a bit more of a story line before we recorded, like the contrivance of running out of film. I quite like the casual, reflective pacing at the end of this episode, and thank Chris for the extra production elements he threw into this one, from the crackling fire to the awesome segue into the Lenny Gallant song. And every time I listen to this episode (which, granted, isn’t a lot – I mean I am my biggest fan, but I don’t go crazy about it. Like, I’m not a self-stalker or anything – but) I get a lump in my throat whenever I hear Willie Nelson’s Stardust at the end of the episode. And then the improvised final tag, with the genuinely in-the-moment revelation of Newton Nash. I cherish the genuine laughs we have after that moment.

This episode was a lovely end to a lovely summer experience of creating six episodes of fun and foolishness.

07. Haunted Car Wash – Halloween Special

We just couldn’t leave well-enough alone, I guess. In late October of 1991, we attempted to recapture the magic of the summer with this half-hearted and too-contrived special Halloween edition of Island Roads. It’s a fairly weak effort, in my opinion, but it does have a few moments.

The nicest moment for me is hearing Chris Straw’s voice at the end of this one. I hadn’t listened to this episode for a long time, and I forgot Chris played a character in it. So, listening to this one just a day or two after I learned about his sudden and untimely death (which compelled me to make this post), I was so pleased to hear his voice. What a lovely experience that was, hearing him, and it brought back so many great memories.

If you’ve read, and listened, all the way to the bottom of this post, I hope you got even a fraction of the enjoyment out of these episodes that I did in creating them.

Moe Gorman – Malcolm’s Goose is Cooked

Malcolm McKearney owes me a goose.

I’ll get to that.

If you don’t know Malcolm, he’s the one what’s always going on about being smarter than everyone he knows. And most that he don’t know.  Trouble is with Malcolm, it’s easy to prove him wrong, right. At least, it’s easy to prove him wrong to others. But Malcolm’s belief in his knowledge is stubborn. You can’t convince Malcolm of anything if he’s got his mind looking in any other direction.

Anyways, I see him there sitting in the corner there of the Seal Club and Sandbar Lounge. This is, what, about 9 months ago or so. Just before the latest incident with the shit socks at the Seal Club. The one that shut them down for them couple of months.  I see him there. Usually he’s with his boys, Arnold McCutcheon, DeBlois DeBlois, and Earle Stanley, but that night he’s sitting there all by himself.

He looks bored so I figure I’d take a trip over and gab a bit about this and that. You know, spill some time before heading back home. So I goes over and he looks up and nods.

“She’s some wet, what?” I go.

“Seventy-two millimetres since Sunday” he goes. Malcolm is all about the weather. He’s got all the amometers and measuring stuff that they got at the weather center in Charlottetown or wherever it is. He’s right into it, and it’s always a good way to start off a conversation with him by bringing it up. A sure-fire “in” if you know what I mean.

So I sit down and he brightens up and goes off on a long trail about the climate and his thoughts on all that. Me, I listen and nod every so often and take occasional swigs from the beer I brought to the table. He’s spouting off statistics and numbers and prognostications and whatnot, all about the weather. Honestly it was boring as shit, but I go along with the listening to it, just to pass time more than anything.

So that wraps up without much incident and then he goes off on another drive about stuff. Things he’s reading, ideas he has about things that should be invented if he had the time. You know, bullshit stuff.

Anyways, he goes “This May’s been the wettest May in the Northern Hemisphere since May 1912 when the Titanic sunk.”

And I’m thinking “Wrong!” Now I can let his wrong-headed opinions go because you can’t argue opinion, but I will always argue facts. And I know for a fact the Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912. Because April 14th 1925 is my Aunt Sadie’s birthday and they always talk about how it was her claim to fame that she was born on the same day as the Titanic sunk. Not the exact same date but the same day. So I know for a fact he’s wrong.

“Titanic sunk in April” I go. “Not May.”

“No, it sunk in May” he says. “Fact.”

“Not a fact” I go.  He can’t go calling something that’s wrong a fact. “Titanic sunk in April. April 14th 1912. I’m sure of it”

Anyways, we go back and forth, both claiming to be right about which month the Titanic sunk.

Finally, I have enough.  “Betcha double or nothing on one of your Christmas geese that you’re wrong and that the Titanic sunk April 14th.”

Malcolm is well-revered for raising top-quality geese. Geese ain’t as popular these days as they was back in the day, but enough people still like them for Easter or Christmas or Thanksgiving or any big celebration dinner over turkey.  Enough for Malcolm to keep at it, raising and selling geese to those that want them.

“You’re on” he goes and slams his hand down onto the table and laughs. “Easy money! Pay up!”

“Hold on” I go. “You can’t prove the Titanic sunk in May ‘cause it didn’t. It sunk in April, and I can prove it.”

“You can’t prove it because it sunk in May” he goes. Stubborn to the core.

So I pull out my phone and ask Google. “Okay Google, what month did the Titanic sink?”

Quicker than a flash the phone goes “The RMS Titanic sank in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean.”

“Yow owe me a goose” I go.

“That don’t prove nothing” he goes. 

“Whattyamean” I go. “Proves everything. Proves you owe me a goose!”

“You can’t prove that machine is right” he goes.

I go “It’s Google. Of course it’s right.”

“Still” he says, “that’s not proof”.

“You owe me a goose” I go.

“I owe you nothing” he goes. “Titanic sunk in May.”

“You owe me a fucking goose” I go. I’m starting to get right agitated. He senses my irritations and goes even harder into his belief that the Titanic sunk in May.

“Sunk April 14th 1912. Same day as my Aunt Sadie was born, only thirteen years earlier.

“Wrong” he goes. “You owe me double a goose. And you don’t get the goose.”

I ask Google again and it says the same thing. “The RMS Titanic sank in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean.”

“Aha” he goes. “You ARE wrong! Even if your Google thing is right, you said the Titanic sunk on April 14th.  Google said it sunk April 15th. YOU ARE WRONG” he yells.

I ask Google again. Sure enough “The RMS Titanic sank in the early morning hours of 15 April 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean.”  My Aunt Sadie’s claim to fame was based on a lie.

I think for a minute and go “Well, it started sinking on the 14th probably. Probably took the better part of an evening to sink, and the actual sinking ended in the early morning of April 15th”.

“Either way, you said it sunk April 14th. Your Google says April 15th so you’re wrong. You’re both wrong, because it sunk in May anyway.”

And that was that.  I tried a bunch more to get him to admit he was wrong but in his mind he wasn’t wrong.  I went home furious and vowing to prove him wrong.

Month later I come into his shop – he’s an auto mechanic in the day, the goose stuff at night or whatever – with a picture of an old newspaper front page headline my nephew Donald got from provincial archives that states the Titanic sunk on April 15th.

“Could be photoshopped” he goes.  

Fucking asshole. I knew then and there that  I’d never get my goose outta him.

So I wrote this song about him.

Malcolm McKesrney’s Goose Is Sunk

It took an iceberg to sink the Titanic on April 15th 1912

Though probably started sinking the evening before.

But it would take something harder than that berg

To get Malcom McKearney to say he’s wrong.

He says it sunk in May. Don’t matter what Google says

Or the Provincial Archives, his ignorance stays alive.

How do you prove that two plus two is four?

Or that the sun rises high in the sky?

If Malcolm thinks otherwise you can’t.

No matter what he thinks 

Malcom McKearney owes me a goose for Christmas.

Don’t make a bet with Malcolm McKearney even if it’s based on fact.

Malcolm ignores facts in favour of his own stubborn brain.

Don’t make a bet with Malcom McKearny and expect to get his goose.

No matter what he thinks

Malcolm McKearny owes me a goose for Christmas.

Annekenstein V – Opening Sketch?

I have such a bad memory about things I’ve performed or haven’t performed. I came across this script I wrote for Annekenstein V, and I cannot for the life of me remember if it was staged or not. I think it was, but the document is entitled “Opening (unused)”, so that’s making me doubt myself.

I’m thinking that perhaps it was performed at least a few times but may have been replaced by another sketch?

Anyway, I like a lot of the script. It very much represents the kind of comedy I like to write and perform.

I post it here, for posterity.

Opening (unused)

Rob enters onto a stage, upon which are three chairs, set up in a row.  He takes center Stage

Rob: Good evening everyone, and welcome to Annekenstein!  Before we begin, I’d just like to point out some changes to those of you who may have seen our shows before. 

After last year, a governmental agency called the Prince Edward Island Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory Commission contacted us at Annekenstein.  This Merchandise Regulatory Commission is responsible for giving out licenses to any group or individual who wishes to make money off the intellectual property of the Lucy Maud Montgomery creation Anne of Green Gables and all the characters there involved.  This commission was developed beacause there was a worry that some of the crafts and dolls, and such, which had an Anne of Green Gables theme, were of a lesser quality, esthetically speaking, than was worthy of such an important fictional character as Anne Shirley. 

So, it was felt that a commission such as this could deny licenses to any persons or groups whom the commission deemed as unacceptable to the positive portrayal of Anne of Green Gables.

Well, to make a long story short, Annekenstein falls under this commission’s jurisdiction, and unfortunately for us, and for you the audience, the Prince Edwrd Island Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory Commission found Annekenstein portrayed (gets out paper and reads) “a negative perception to the wholesomeness and good feelings which are so inherent in Anne of Green Gables” and declined to give us a license. 

Dave Moses and I, being the primary writers, talked to them, and to make a long story short, we finally did manage to get a license for this year’s Annekenstein.  However, there were a few catches. 

We were told we could still make fun of Anne, et al., but the humour had to be gentler.  In sketches where Anne isn’t present, we could be the same old satirical wits we used to be, but when Anne was involved, we had to tone down quite a bit. 

Still, we feel we are still presenting one hell of– one heck of a… a funny show.  It’s still funny.  We still make fun of Anne, and you’ll still laugh, I hope.  But, like I said, for those of you who are familiar with the  comedy of Annekenstein’s past, you’ll likely notice some subtle changes.  Some for the better, some, not so for the better. 

So, on with– Oh, and the Merchandise Regulatory Commission had final approval of any sketches involving Anne Shirley.

So, on with our show.  Here’s our first sketch of the evening, and, co-incidentally, it does involve references to Anne.  I think it’s very funny and it’s entitled  “The Importance of Being Anne”.  Enjoy!

Rob leaves and stage goes black.  Lights come up on the three chairs, with Laurie and Jan occupying two, the middle chair empty

Laurie: Hello, Jan Rudd, and welcome to Annekenstein 5. 

They get up and hug

Laurie: It must be quite exciting, being one of the two new additions to the Annekenstein cast.

Jan: Yes, Laurie, it certainly is.  Myself, and Matthew Rainnie, who is the other of two additions to the cast, we are both happy to be here, and look forward to the raucous joviality that this show is all about.

Laurie: Yes, and although we tend to poke gentle barbs at Anne of Green Gables, ourselves profiting from such tom-foolery, or should I say “Anne-foolery”, we musn’t forget just how important Tourism is to this province, and  that Anne of Green Gables represents a very large part of the Island’s Tourism dollar.

Jan: Yes.  Anne is so important to our provincial economy that we really shouldn’t make fun of her at all.  (Laurie laughs)  What, Laurie, did I say something funny?

Laurie: Yes.  You said ‘we shouldn’t make fun of her’, as if she were alive!

Jan: So I did!  The funny thing being that she’s not alive, nor ever was. She’s just a book!  (Jan laughs)

Laurie: Exactly!  (Laurie laughs as well, stopping suddenly when:) Look, here comes Matthew Rainnie now.

Matthew enters and hugs Laurie, then Jan

Laurie: Hello, Matthew, and welcome to Annekenstein, but you are not part of this sketch are you?

Matthew: No, Laurie, and Jan, I’m not.  But the Prince Edward Island Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory Commission, along with the writers of Annekenstein, feel that one of the best loved aspects of the old Annekenstein shows was the unpredictbility.  You know, when something unexpected happens.

Jan: You mean like right now.  Neither Laurie, nor I, knew you were coming out here, now.

Matthew: Yes.  The writers feel impromtu bits of comedy like this are excellent ways to get the audience to laugh, and the best thing is, we can do it without making negative references to Anne of Green Gables, keeping her image meticulously wholesome and positive.

Laurie and Jan laugh, then Matt joins in.  Ed enters wearing Anne hat and braids.  The others stop laughing and stare at him, shocked

Ed: Hey, guys!  Are you improv-ing already?

Laurie: What in the blazes do you think you’re doing?

Ed: I’m getting ready for the next sketch.

Jan: Not with that thing on your head your not!!

Ed: What do you mean?

Matt: You know the new rules for the show.  Boys aren’t allowed to wear Anne of Green Gables hats and braids anymore.  Only the girls are, and only if  portraying her in a positive fashion.

Laurie: Now, come on! Take them off!! 

He does

Ed: Aw, man, this Regulatory Commission is draining the life out of this show.

Jan: It’s not.  It’s for the betterment of the community that they’ve been given the power they have.

Ed: All’s I know is, men in funny girl-hats makes people laugh.  This really sucks!

Nancy: (Off stage) Who swore!!!  (Entering)  I heard a swear!  Who swore!!  Ed?!!

Ed: I didn’t swear!  I just said this sucks.

Nancy: Blasphemer!!  The Prince Edward Island Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory Commission, in association with the writers of Annekenstein, consider the word S-U-C-K-S as an unsuitable word, when associated with Anne of Green Gables.  It’s a forbidden word.

Ed: Why?

Jan: Because S-U-C-K-S could conjure up images of fellatio.  And no one wants to think of Anne Shirley giving head. 

Ed and Matt become instantly aroused by these words

Nancy: Jan!!

Jan: Oh my God! What did I say?!?

Laurie: You said “Anne Shirley giving head”! 

Ed and Matt groan, involved in their own sexual fantasies

Nancy: Oh, no, the boys are fantasizing!  About Anne.  That’s most forbidden!!! (To Jan and Laurie) You see what happens!!!

Laurie: This is all your fault, Jan!

Jan: ‘Tis not.

Nancy: We’re in big trouble.  We could lose our merchandise license over this!

Rob enters

Rob: People! People! Calm down!  What’s all the stir? Why have we stopped the show?

Matt: I don’t know, Rob.  I came out with that bit of improv you wrote me…

Rob: I didn’t write you any improv, Matt.

Matt: But that guy from the Regulatory Commission gave it to me and said you wanted me to say it.  Seemed to go over alright, anyways.  Then Ed shows up in a hat and braids!

Rob: Red braids?

Matt: Yes, they were.

Nancy: And then Ed swore.  He said sucks!

Rob: Is this true, Ed?

Ed: Yeah, so?  What’s the big deal?!  We used to stuff like that last year.

Rob: Yeah, Ed, and a hundred a fifty years ago Dodge was a rough and tumble city,  but it had to get cleanded up!!

Nancy: And Jan said “Anne Shirley giving head”, and then Laurie said it, too!

Rob: Nancy, that’s enough tattling!

Nancy: Well, they did!

Rob: Nancy!

Laurie: I only said “Anne Shirley giving head” to tell what Jan said.

Jan: Well, I only said “Anne Shirley giving head” to tell Ed what image “sucks” could conjure up.

Rob: Enough! Enough with Anne Shirley giving head!  I mean, here it is, our first sketch in association with the Prince Edward Island Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory Commission, and we’ve already resorted to the same stuff that we were doing last year.  It’s stuff like this that was the reason they wouldn’t give us a license in the first place.

Ed: Stuff like that makes people laugh.

Rob: I don’t care about people laughing, Ed!  I only care about the license.

Ed: Rob!  Listen to yourself!  “I don’t care about people laughing”?  That’s not the Rob MacDonald I know and love!

Rob: Drop it Ed!

Ed: No I won’t!  What have you become? “People laughing” used to be all you cared about.  You’ve devoted your whole life to it!

Rob: My hands are tied!  We need this license if we want to perform.

Holds up license

Ed: Screw the  license, man!  You did before!  Remember when the cops got you for drunk driving and you lost your license!  But you still drove!  You drove without a driver’s license and By God, you can act without an Anne of Green Gables Merchandise Regulatory License!

Rob: You’re absolutely right, Ed.  I’ve become some mewling sycophant, rubbing bellies with those snakes in governmental beauracuracy!

Nancy: That’s not your style!

Rob: No, it’s not…. This is my style! (rips up license)

Jan: But what about all the scripts you and David Moses wrote in association with the Regulatory Commission?

Rob: To Hell with them, Jan!  From now on we’re doing things with both barrels blaring!

Laurie: What obvious phallic symbolism!

Matt: Yeah, that’s all fine and dandy, Rob, but now we don’t have enough new material to put on a whole show.  What are we gonna do?  This audience is hungry for comedy.

Rob: Not to worry, Matt.  When you’ve been in this Annekenstein business as long as me, you begin to get tired and lazy.  And with that laziness comes a desire to rest on your laurels…  Ed!

Ed: Yes, sir?

Rob: Ed, do we have any of those old sketches lying around? You know, the ones from the last four years?

Ed: I think they’re all in a trunk, backstage.

Nancy: If Ed can’t find them, I have everything saved from every year but the first, ’cause I wasn’t asked to be in that one.

Rob: Well, go get ’em, kids!

Ed and Nancy exit

Rob: Everyone, run off and learn your lines!

Jan and Laurie run off, Matt begins but stays to listen

Rob: We’re gonna put on an Annekenstein!  And not some watered-down, government regulated Annekenstein, but a good, old fashioned barn-raising Annekenstein.  Like they used to do in Them Times.  We’ll take the best of all the old shows, put them together with some new stuff, and put on a show to end all shows!

Matt: What’ll we call it?

Rob: How ’bout “The Best of Annekenstein”!

Matt: Couldn’t we call it “Spirit of The Nation”?

Rob: Are you out of your fucking mind?… Let’s go!


Bobby and the Banana – A Time Travel Sketch

A couple weeks ago, a couple of friends and I were talking, for some reason, about the repurcussions of time travel. I had mentioned that years ago I wrote a sketch about that very thing, for Sketch22. (Season Five, to be specific. Dennis Trainor played Andy, Andrew Sprague played Bobby, and Lennie MacPherson played Charlie.)

I thought I’d post it here, as I quite like it, and maybe someone would want to read it.

This isn’t the version of the sketch that made it to the stage that season. This was an earlier draft. For some reason I can no longer remember, we changed the banana peel to a Crocodile Mile slip-n-slide. We called the sketch “Crocodile Mile” as well. I guess the change was to add to the absurdity of the situation, and maybe as a bigger visual gag? I don’t know, but I think I like the subtlety (and classic gag aspect) of a banana peel.

Time Travel Sketch

An apartment. Andy and Bobby enter. Bobby is peeling a banana.

Andy: I can’t wait to see it! I tell you what. I’ll even buy your ticket!

Bobby: Cool!

Andy: ‘Kay, call me later. So I’ll see you tonight at the movies, then.

Bobby: Yeah, see ya.

Bobby exits.

Andy walks to a chair. Just as he sits, Future Bobby bursts into the room. He looks exactly like Bobby, just more mature.

Future Bobby: Andy!!

Andy: Oh, hey man. Forget something?

Future Bobby (panicked): Where am I? Did I leave?

Andy: What?

Future Bobby races to the couch, searches in the cushions.

Future Bobby: Did I get the phone already? (pulls cellphone out of cushions, looks at it, puts it back in cushions) Good! I’m not too late!

Andy: Huh?

Fruit store! Maybe I can still catch myself!!

Future Bobby runs out. Andy, puzzled, sits down and picks up a book. Future Charlie runs in, scaring Andy.

Future Charlie: Dad!

Andy: Jesus!

Future Charlie runs to Andy and gives him a big hug. In his shock, Andy allows it.

Future Charlie: Dad, oh my god! It’s so good to get to meet you!

Andy: Who the hell are you? What are you doing?

Future Charlie: I can’t really explain, Dad! But I just had to see you as you before it happened.

Andy: Before what happened? Why do you keep calling me Dad?

Future Charlie: I shouldn’t tell you, Dad, but… I’m your son. Charlie!

Andy: What? I don’t have a son.

Future Charlie: Yeah, well… not yet. You’re so… alive!!

Andy: Get out of my apartment.

Future Charlie: Yeah, good idea. (getting emotional) I just wanted to see you just once as the man you were and not just a lump slowly dying on a bed. And now that I have, I’ll go. Goodbye, Dad.

Future Bobby (from off stage): Well, I”m not at the fruit store!

Future Charlie, hearing Future Bobby, tries in vain to hide.

Future Bobby (entering): I was just there and I think I was just there, but now I’m gone somewhere else.

Future Bobby sees Future Charlie.

Future Bobby: Holy shit! Charlie!?! How’d you get here?

Future Charlie: Bobby, what are you doing here?

Future Bobby takes Future Charlie aside.

Future Bobby: I’m here to make sure that accident doesn’t happen, that’s what I’m doing here!

Future Charlie: What!? No way! The accident HAS to happen!

Andy: What accident? What the hell is going on? Bobby, you know this guy?

Future Charlie (to Future Bobby): Don’t tell him anything!

Future Bobby: Andy. I’m me. Bobby. From the future.

Future Charlie: Shut up about it!

Future Bobby: Today I cause you to have a terrible accident.

Future Charlie: Bobby, shut up!!

Future Bobby: But I’m trying to find myself and make sure it doesn’t happen. Maybe I’m at the bus stop!

Future Bobby exits.

Future Charlie: Bobby, the accident has to happen! Dad, that stupid idiot friend of yours is gonna ruin everything!!

Future Charlie runs out. Andy just stand there, in a bit of a shock. After a beat, Farther Future Bobby enters. He looks older than Future Bobby.

Farther Future Bobby: Andy! Hey! Listen, this’ll sound weird, maybe, but was be from the future just here?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: Was me from the future just here?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: Dammit Andy!! Was I just here?

Andy: Yeah?

Farther Future Bobby: Did I say it was me from the future?

Andy: I think you did.

Farther Future Bobby: Dammit! We arrived too late to stop me from telling you about the accident!

Farther Future Charlie enters. He is somewhat disfigured, hobbled, and speaks with a mild speech impediment.

Farther Future Charlie: And you just mentioned the accident again, Bobby! You’re such an idiot!

Farther Future Bobby: I know! Listen, Andy, forget anything I told you about today. Any of me. Turns out, you knowing even a little bit about the accident changes the future. We’re not sure how, but since you found out about the accident, Charlie’s turned into a freak!

Farther Future Charlie: Shut up, Bobby! Stop mentioning the accident!

Andy: Why do you all keep talking about an accident?

Farther Future Charlie: Can’t tell you, Dad!!

Farther Future Bobby: Look, he already knows there’s an accident. We might as well tell him.

Farther Future Charlie: Oh, go ahead then! But be careful what you say.

Farther Future Bobby: Andy, there’s an accident that’s going to happen to you today. It’s my fault. It screws up both our lives.

Farther Future Charlie: Bobby from your future but our past is trying to stop it from happening.

Farther Future Bobby: Right. But the problem is, if the accident doesn’t happen, Charlie here doesn’t get born.

Farther Future Charlie: If you don’t have the accident, Dad, then I cease to exist.

Andy: And you are….?

Farther Future Charlie (a bit hurt): Your currently un-born son. Charlie!

There is a pause.

Andy: Okay. So what happens now?

Farther Future Charlie: We have to find Bobby from the future.

Andy (to Farther Future Bobby): But I thought you were Bobby from the future.

Farther Future Bobby: I am. But I’m from a later future.

Farther Future Charlie: We want to stop the Bobby from the future who’s trying to stop the accident from happening.

Farther Future Bobby: Right. I want the accident to happen. But I don’t. So, where did I go?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: C’mon Andy, keep up! Where’d I go? And where did I go?

Farther Future Charlie: And what about me? Where did I get up to?

Andy: I think one of you mentioned the bus stop.

Farther Future Charlie: Bus stop! Right! Let’s go!

Farther Future Charlie exits.

Farther Future Bobby (to Andy): We’re going to the bus stop to search for me. Both of me. Hopefully I’ll be there. If not me, then maybe at least I’ll be there. Listen, if I come back here, just keep me here.

Farther Future Bobby starts to exit. Stops.

Farther Future Bobby: Make sure it’s me, though. Not me, but me. I’m me me. Keep me here, but wait for me me.

Andy: Okay.

Farther Future Bobby starts to exit again. Stops.

Farther Future Bobby: If I don’t return, then for god’s sake, make sure you slip on that banana.

Farther Future Bobby exits.

Andy (yelling after him): Banana? Bobby, what happens to me?

Future Bobby enters.

Future Bobby: I can’t find me anywhere!!

Andy: Bobby, why should I slip on the banana?

Future Bobby: You know about the banana?

Andy: You just told me.

Future Bobby: No I didn’t.

Andy: You told me to slip on the banana.

Future Bobby: Um, no. I DON’T want you to slip on the banana. If you slip on the banana, you crack your skull and go into a 20 year coma and then die. I get sued by your family for every penny I have and live a miserable life of destitution.

Farthest Future Charlie enters. He is even more disfigured and hobbled and speech-impeded than before.

Farthest Future Charlie: You had to tell him about the coma, didn’t you Bobby! Jesus, now I’m more deformed than ever!

Future Bobby: Charlie?

Farthest Future Charlie: Might as well spill the beans! Can’t get much worse than this. Dad, while you were in your coma, your sister Beverly sold some of your semen to a sperm bank. I was born from that batch of sperm.

Andy: What the hell is going on here!

Future Bobby: Jeez, Andy. It’s not that complicated. Later today, I’m going to cause you to have an accident. Any second, I’m going to arrive and tell you I can’t go to the movies tonight. I’ll be eating a banana and drop the peel on the floor. You slip on the peel, hit your head on the floor, and go into a coma. And I get sued.

Farthest Future Charlie: And I get born!

Andy: So, why don’t I just NOT slip on the banana?

Farthest Future Charlie: But you DO slip on the banana!! You have to! Or else I don’t get born!

Andy: Well, is that such a bad thing? I hardly know you.

Farthest Future Charlie: Well, from my perspective, Dad, me not being born is a pretty big deal.

Andy: I see your point. Gee, I don’t know what to do.

Future Bobby: Don’t slip on the banana and you totally change our futures for the better, buddy!

Farthest Future Charlie: Not mine! Do the right thing, Dad! Slip on that banana!

Future Bobby (looking out the window): Here I come! Charlie, we gotta hide!!

Future Bobby and Farthest Future Charlie exit.

Andy: Interesting dilemna.

Bobby enters, finishing eating a banana.

Bobby: Hey Andy, I forgot. I can’t go to the movies tonight. I have that thing I have to go to.

Andy (staring at the banana): Oh, right. Okay.

Bobby: I woulda called, but I think I left my cellphone here.

Bobby casually drops the banana peel on the floor, then digs in the cushions of the couch, pulls out cellphone. Andy can only stare at the banana.

Bobby: Yep, here it is. Anyway, I gotta go.

Andy: Yeah. There it is. Alright. See you, Bobby. Probably.

Bobby exits.

Andy stares at the banana peel, unsure of what to do. Carefully approaches the banana peel. Tentatively touches it with the toes of his foot.

Studies the situation.

Lights fade to black.

Issuances and Reportages To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

Timeage: 1-4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing primary reportage of Earth humanity-data collection mission.

A close inspection of mental and physical components indicate my wellness to be of positive orientation. You are of the same make, I desire, One-Who-Has-Borne-Me? Liquid precipitate falls here frequently this time period, but not membrane-burning like home world. I question your weather?

To issue and report:

I am arrived on planet Earth, one of their lunar-orbital-traverses ago. Our researchers were correct in making me human-formed, as biped land-based dominance of physical and mental is undeniable. I am of early spawning age, called female. I have begun to grow upper-torso-convex-flesh-mound-containers of liquid calcium to nourish and allure, yet, seem not mate-hungry. I am not troubled by this, as other spawners of my age are likewise disinterested in ‘boys’ (Earth name for pre and early spermers; I and like-aged spawners: ‘girls’).

I send, with this report, rendering of my physical shape.

(I do remind One-Who-Has-Borne-Me of the Malmarian on 6-49?) Due to poor copy applicator, black and white is not me. For instance, think of Red Darwelli Sunset of Carotaneas IV as colour of the dead thatch of membrane strings on my cranial compartment. I do not like it, the colour, but I have been to believe that nothing can be performed to alter appearance of such.

I was landed in urbanity. Halifax, city on land, portal to water. Immediate upon arrival, I troubled. Apprehended on Halifax street in state of aloneness, I am locked away in orphanprison with likewise aloned early- and pre-spawners, as well as early- and pre-spermers, they in separate holding block. Detentioners deny me freedom, thus deny me mission of data collection. I am to be retained until I am of acceptable spawning age, or until no more an orphan. Orphan is one without parent. Parent is like you, One-Who-Has-Borne-Me, and, strangely, included as parent is one’s spermer. I am true orphan on Earth.

I am name of Anne. This is real name here, both as Ann and Anne. I chose Ann with an ‘e’ for your humorous enjoyment, and mine. When you dispose of your anne you will remind of me? Ha ha.

Living human-shaped and human-brained is easy. My contrived personal-background-Earth-history is believed by detainers and Mission uncoverance is of no worry to me at present.

Interpersonality troubled: I find I have difficult relations with age-liked orphan spawners and spermers. I am confident in deception of them in my humanity, yet none seem to be favouring me, rathering to taunting actions and words. Taunts often centered upon the Red Darwelli Sunset dead membrane strings. They seem to provoke. I would to further explore the possibilities of pigment alteration, yet documentation on such is nonexistent in orphanprison.

Orphanprison is despotic and such, mission of knowledging wide spectrum of humanity is difficult here. I desire freedom. For sake of mission, and personal goodthought, I may take action to relieve myself of imprisonment if freedom is not otherwise gained.


Until then you will hear not of me.


Timeage: 2- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data collection mission.

I ponder on the wellness of you. A rapid inspection of mental and physical components indicate my being in shape to be of a positive orientation. Fond remembrances of you fall forward in my mind, and keep me close to home planet.

How is Nicki?

To issue and report:

Joy-feelings! Orphanprison period will be terminated. I am to be homed, to-whit: Agricultural sibling team desiring strong worker, they chosen me over the muscle-spermer orphans. I am odd-choice to me. Regardless, I am pleasure-joyed to extricate myself of this detention, and chosen to remain silent of my oddity.

I am vowed to remain free.

The sibling team, I have sourced, are aged. Spawners of such time-length are disabled to spawn; spermers of such still may dispatch. I must query, in introduction to sibling team, about lack of personal offspring for strong-work, and why spermer does not yet choose to dispatch himself to a spawner, choosing instead orphanprison labour.

Detailing of sibling team is unclear, they habitate from away of orphanprison on water-surrounded land mass named of Prince Edward Island. Inquiry of naming leads my findings toward this: Edward Island is monarchial prince, due to being offsprung from spermer king and spawner queen; land mass named in celebration. Agricultural Sibling team dwell in Avonlea, naming derivation unclear. The agricultural sibling team of name Matthew spermer and Marilla postfertile spawner; endname Cuthbert.

Having seen urbanity and imprisonment, I am expecting to gain many further mission insights by encountering rurality. I transit in three more sleeps, via rail, to meeting.


Until then you will hear not of me.


Timeage: 3- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

A close inspection of mental and physical components indicate my wellness to be of a positive orientation. I am pleasure oriented. Desire you to be of sameness? In answer to your query: yes, mosquitoes do live here, but they don’t own any property.

To issue and report:

I am arrived to personal freedom. Exchanged urban mass-compartmentalised-human-dweller-orphanprison for mass-transit-mass-mini-compartmentalised-temporary-human-dweller-multi-wheeled-on-double-track-vehicle called train, to transport me to now, to rural compartmentalised-familial-human-dweller-construction called house (also home) called Green Gables. Naming of due to emerald coloured wallings and ornamentations of house. Purpose and origin of naming unclear.

Rail-transit departed me and I was human-isolated and stationary. The Matthew spermer and four-legged-transit-work-beast Pearl there attained me. We buggied via Pearl-hauling on transit-path towards to-be-home Green Gables.

In time on Earth, I have humanised myself well, never fearing my alienality uncovering. I first-time-feared uncoverance on buggy transit. Observing rurality and beauteous abundance of surroundings, I began inundation of questions to Matthew spermer, most peculiarly the similarity of the pigment of path-transit lanes and my red dead-membrane strings. The extended silence after question-burst, before the spermer’s query-response, alarmed me to his possible ponder-suspicion of my alienation, until his disclosure of elemental iron-oxidation as cause of path-transit lane pigmentation. I am suspect of iron-oxidation as valid reason, and am believing in potential of answer as cover-up for his alien uncoverance, yet I have no proof, only intuit. I vow to remain close to this spermer to further examine his kinetic or potent to uncover my otherworldliness. If uncovery occurs, I must obliterate his lifesigns. I also vow to examine possibility of iron-oxidation as cause of my red Darwelli Sunset. Perhaps another elemental oxidation will rid me of the colour I despise on my cranial compartment.

Greeting to post-spawner Marilla was negative in outcome. I second-time-feared uncoverance when she, upon initial gaze of my being disapproved, proclaimed to send me returned to orphanprison. I feared her knowledge of my trueness. Result is no suspicion; her need to return me is not my unearthliness, but due to her not being desirous of early-spawner, her request being for heavy-work early-spermer, as I odded in previous report. Matthew spermer has weary internal blood pumping organ and is in fear of heavy-lift or surprise.

Her initial emphasis to return me was surprisingly deleted upon visitation to end-name Blewett dweller. Large quantity of pre and early spawners and spermers there reminding of orphanprison, difference: they being parented. The Marilla gave no reason in non-return turn around, end resulting in my continuance at Green Gables, and my continued please.

I am to beginning of formal education soon, expecting to gain much insight into humanity there.


Until then you will hear not of me.


Incident occurrence to relate. Compatriot of Marilla, post spawner Rachel end-name Lynde, arrived for inspect of my fineness. Rachel-post spawner disapproval of me resulted in surprise and uncontrollable build of anger feelings in me. I to her gave likewise voiced insultual remark. Result: Discovery of hierarchy in command: post spawners hold dictatorial command over early spawner such as I, much as orphanprison warden. Disloyalty to hierarchy resulting in punishment and apology. I refuted hierarchy: Sentence of solitary imprisonment in second storey restive quarters.

After brief period Spermer Matthew secretly ascended, via multi-pronged ascension device, to rectangled glass encased view-hole, where spiritual bonding of us occurred through conversation as spermer incited me to apology. (I begin to postulate opinion that perhaps spermer not suspiced of me, yet am wary of trap.) At such time I gravitated the boards of ascension/descension, made forth with abundant words of regret and sorrow of action and speech, appeasing all involved.


To school and again until then you will hear not of me.


Timeage: 4- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

A close inspection of physical components indicate wellness. Mentality in state of post anger. All-wellness to you.

I miss your baking, One-Who-Has-Borne-Me, also, the gang at Prepnoth Accountables Tavern.

To issue and report:

Post anger result of initial term of new school. Early spermer name of Gilbert, endname Blythe, raised my ire, yanking my dead membrane thatch which he (supposedly) mistooken for batch of agriculturally manufactured orange tapered nutritional sticks. I again surprised by another uncontrolled non-thinking response from me, this time not of words alone (as with Rachel-postspawner), but also of violence as I grasp portable hard framed-flatrock-writing board, connecting it to early spermer’s brain pan region, potentially damaging. Immediate result: punishment by spermer-educator, name of Phillips, by means of embarrassment, having my name misspelled on large, vertical, hard framed-flatrock-writing board. Extended surprise result: feelings of mate-hunger for early spermer Gilbert have begun. I find him to cause irrationality in my thought processes; very disconcerting, and potentially true-identity-revealing. I am decisioning to ignore feelings of mate-hunger, in favour of mission data collection, and to treat Gilbert as nonsuch.

Further result of anger attack: misinformation as to severity of my Gilbert-attack, passed through Avonlea by way of unreliable mouth-to-ear communication, has arrived to the Marilla post-spawner. News is Gilbert spermer has ceased due to my doings. Again post-spawner controls me with hierarchical power by detaining me from visitation to forthcoming outdoor social name picnic. This is upsetting for me, due to potential for acquiring mega-information on humanity interaction at such a social event.


Until next you will not hear of me.


Gilbert spermer is being, not ceased. His apology-making for school violence as his blame, and purchase of gift of new portable hard framed-flatrock-writing board to me resulting in my allowance to socialise at event called picnic. Reportage on such to follow next.


Until such you will not of me hear.


I must to mention of kindredship with like-aged early spawner, name of Diana (derivation: Earth Heathen goddess) Barry (derivation: unclear). Immediate and deep bonding of us took place, and I am confidant that we will be compatriots for duration of my tenure as human on Earth.




Timeage: 5- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

A close inspection of physical and mental components indicate wellness to be positively orientated. Did you enjoy the tubers I sent you? They are popular here. You eat them.

To issue and report:

The social event named Picnic has been performed by all the community and wellness springs from all. I am to relating to you the plateau of event: a pleasure-taste sensation from digestible food product name of Ice Cream. Computations from my brain indicate that there is nothing more delectable than it. But to relate, as well, the surroundings of the tasting.

Participation in non-competitive competition is requisite at Picnic. I, to involve myself, join one of my lower appendaged limbs to another human’s, Diana Barry of course, by way of rope, and we, together forming a new three legged beast, compete against other newformed tri-pegged beasts in attempt to be primary attainers of end-line and victory. AnneDiana Beast won, although victory was achieved through deviousness of Gilbert, as part of GilbertJosie Beast. The spermer, attached to early spawner name of Josie Pye, (name derivation I believe to be an edible confectionary) and they in the front of racepack, purposely tripped themself up, allowing AnneDiana Beast victory. AnneDiana Beast, consequently tripping over fallen GilbertJosie Beast, fell across the end line, and I, face into a hand held edible wafer conical container for ice cream. Embarrassment overcame me as ice cream consumed my features, but embarrassment left in place of fascination at taste sensation of ice cream.

Curious is this feeling of matehunger. I choose to ignore it, but it is powerful. I observe that Gilbert spermer has matehunger in his eyes, both for me, and for spawner JosiePye. While I refute any and all ritualistic attempts by Gilbert spermer to be my mate, I find myself full of negative feelings of jealousy whenever JosiePye attempts to mate-catch him. Still, for the success of mission, I decide to ignore his strong mate hunger scent.

I am to summer vacate from education, afterwhich I will resume correspondence.


Until then you will not hear of me.


I have described in past writings my unhappiness of pigment of dead membrane strings. After much research and experimentation, I took action. A purchase of liquid from peddler (name derivation to mean foreigner, to mean ‘from away’, to mean ‘alien’, like myself) who promised me carrion coloured dead membrane, same as Diana Barry. Use of it resulted not in black but in green, much like the Gables. I was of the belief that nothing could be worse than the Red Darwelli Sunset dead membrane strings, but to be Green Gables headed is such. After showing troubled mess of strings to Marilla post spawner, she cut and styled the strings into presentableness. So presentable were my head strings that Diana Barry showed emotions of envy, which made me happy feeling.


Summer Vacate, until afterwhich you will not hear of me.


Timeage: 6- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

Mental: positive. Physical: positive.

You will never guess who contacted me from home planet: One-To-Whom-I-Owe-My-Life-For-Him-Having-Saved-It-From-The-Invading-Krintoxans-Raid-Where-They-Almost-Skinned-Me-Alive. Did you give him this address? Please don’t give it out, One-Who-Has-Borne-Me, I’m on a secret mission.

To issue and report:

We seem to have misplaced the sunshine. After a warm-season respite, the young spermers and spawners, myself included, have begun again our daily ritual of education. Difference to education ritual this time is occupation of education leader by new educator. A mid-prime spawner name of Miss Stacey. ‘Miss’ is to indicate availability of her to potential mate hungry spermers.

Subtle queries inform me that the last educator, Phillips, was released from educational duties due to dalliances with former student, the spawner name of Prissy Andrews. The unsubstantiated mouth-to-ear news around the community is that Prissy is spawning with Phillips’ sperm and that they are to douse their mutual mate hunger by entering into matrimony. During the last education session, when Phillips was still educator, he would spend inordinate amounts of education on spawner Prissy, so I readily believe the unsubstantiated reports.

I am happy-feelings about loss of Phillips in favour of Miss Stacey. My interminglings with him have always been negative in outcome, and my education was stilted. Miss Stacey is most positive in her approach and wellness to all, but especially to me. At first I questioned why she would kind herself so to me, but decided it was because I am unusually bright and interesting. Whatever, I am finding my human brain expanding with human data knowledge, to such an extent that Miss Stacey is desirous of me to attain an Avery Scholarship (monetary allowance to further education at institute of higher learning). I am interested in such an attainment as such would allow me to further my study of humanity in a completely different earthly environment to Avonlea. Trouble: spermer Gilbert, also intelligenced, is aiming for same Avery, so we are locked in competition. I have no fear, however, that I’ll show him that I can attain mental superiority victory over him.


I will abreast you of success of competition when I win.


Oddity with Matthew spermer. He monetarily purchased a new body covering for me, called dress. Marilla post-spawner felt plainness good enough, but Matthew spermer went against and given me dress that was much pretty. I wondering if giving is attempt to put him in favourable thoughts for me. I wary of his still suspiced of my alienality and perchance uncoverance. I accept gift of dress but still ware him. Maybe I am incorrect on his knowledge of my reality and him simply kind old spermer.


News of Avery will greet you with my victory over it, I assure.


Timeage: 7- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

I am fine. How are you?

To Issue and Report:

I am victorious in Avery, as I never doubted. The news of win came at school recital (defined: memorising of historical fact to be spoken in entertaining evening of sketches). Trouble at recital was some lesser education-learners did not remember their historical facts and I came to rescue, spewing out all the information pertinent to an enjoyable evening. All the Avonlea was there, minus Matthew spermer, who suffers angina. Josie Pye was so stomach-stuffed with Phillips’ child that she could not ably sit in a desk of learning. I to Gilbert spermer offered my sympathy for his not being as smart as me, but he ran off in a torrent of liquid-eyes emotion.

Immediately I started envisioning my future data collection possibilities in an institute of higher learning. I am to make plans to leave at once.


Until then you will not hear of me.


I have regretfully ceased the life of Matthew spermer. I uncovered the truth in his knowledging me. He managed uncoverance of my letters of issuance and reportage to you, One-Who-Has-Borne-Me. Matthew spermer discovered my mission, discovered his worries of my objectives as trueness, discovered my intent of departure. I was heart-heavy in my decision to terminate his ability to live, but I could not allow the mission to be jeopardised and ruined. The events of such are such:

Upon my return alone from recital, happy feeling about my ability to show photographic memorising of all parts of recital, and my Avery victory over Gilbert and my subsequent impending departure from Green Gables to new areas of humanity, I discovered Matthew spermer reading my previously hidden reports to you. His shock of discovery and validation of alien-thoughts was such that it caused his blood-pumping organ, name of heart, to fluctuate wildly. You may recall with ironic past remembrance that it was this very proneness to organ fluctuations that caused Matthew spermer and Marilla post spawner to request farm-chore assistance from the orphanprison, resulting in my arrival.

Matthew spermer, incapacitated by pain, viewed me in my eyes, and saw me as me, alien, recoginised my reality. In the moment I realise he always suspiced me yet never cared about it. He loved me without regard to alienality. Still that night, he looked at me with his love emotion pouring out of him, and through his look, I could feel him loving me still, alien or no. I was immediately overcome by the desire that I wished I had told him the truth about me at first suspicion in that Pearl hauled buggy, and have him as ally, but of course could not return now to the past.

He requested of me to help him continue living, by getting him his salvalattily, a heart fluctuation-reduction medicine, him promising not to tell of the truth of me. At that moment, upon reviewing the vow I took to uphold the mission in favour of all else, I surmised that I could not allow him continuance of life, with knowledging me, and so I left the room, under guise of searching for salvalattily, purposely not returning until he ceased. I was sad-feeling about his ceasing, he was a kind and good spermer.

I must stay on at Green Gables a little longer to help the Avonlea grieve over cessation of Matthew spermer, but am still to going on to learning institute.


Until then you will not hear of me.


Timeage: 8- 4432- 897- 22- 1


To One-Who-Has-Borne-Me

To identify:

I am fourth spawned of you, issuing reportage of Earth humanity-data mission.

An inspection of mental and physical finds me well enough, although slightly on the down side of normal-happy. You could say I’m a little blue. I attribute it to the circumstances surrounding Matthew spermers cessation. How are you? If I am not incorrect, it is mate hunting season on home planet. Have you caught one yet. I hope it’s better than the last one. I thought it smelled to high heaven, I can tell you now, from such a distance.

To Issue and Report:

The cessation of Matthew spermer has confounded my plans to seek new avenues of data collection. I am not leaving Green Gables now, as earlier believed. Marilla post-spawner has become morose and wet with emotive feeling, whereas pre-Matthew spermer cessation, she was hard and dry. My departure from here would mean the end to Green Gables, as Marilla post-spawner is incompetent in running an agricultural dwelling alone. I am enjoying of this homestead and would not to see it go. I have deciding to stay.

I gave my Avery to Gilbert spermer, who is almost as smart as me, for his continuance in higher education. When he received the generosity from me he vowed that we could be friends, good friends, and I concurred demurely. The power of our mate hunting season is strong, so much that it causes me thoughts inside my brain. Giving him the scholarship, I wanted to copulate with him, as my sex organs churned. Remembering my vow to ignore his mate-scent, I did not act on my churns. I may never see Gilbert spermer again, and my heart is heavy with sad feeling.

I have decided that to ensure no more uncoverance of my reality through perusal of letters of report, this report will be my last by such means. Further on I will begin to telephone to you my reports.


Until then you will not hear of me.


Flying Away Dead & Boobs

Dave Stewart and I come up with all sorts of strange, funny-to-us, oddball things. One such thing was the idea of an old vaudeville comedy act called Flying Away Dead and Boobs. FAD was one character, Boobs the other. I cannot remember how we came up with the names, but it is a terrible name for a comedy duo. That is why we liked it so much.

Anyway, away in the drawers of my brain they sat. One day, in 2003, while trying to come up with a sketch idea for Sketch-22, I thought of a gag along the lines of Abbott & Costello’s Who’s On First classic, only using the names of local politicians of the time. And who better to present such a vaudevillian treat but Flying Away Dead and Boobs.

I started to write it, got only so far, and gave up. It went unused, mercifully. Here, though, for your edification and bemusement, is the script as it lay.

Boobs:  Well, Flying Away Dead, here you are, over 90 years old.  Did you think you’d ever see 2003?

FAD: Two thousand and three what?


Boobs: So, Flying Away Dead, I hear you got a job in the government and you’re responsible for the daily waste watch disposal at the provincial legislature.

FAD: That’s right, Boobs.

Boobs: And somehow you managed to get some big wigs to help you sort out all the garbage at province house.

FAD: Oh, yes. Lotsa big wigs.  Lawyers and politicians.  Even the Premier of the province is gonna help.

Boobs: Really.  Well, I’d like to know more about who’s gonna sort your garbage.  For instance, who’s gonna be responsible for putting the waste in the black containers?

FAD: Binns.

Boobs: Oh, is that what you call them black containers?  Bins?

FAD: That’s right.

Boobs: So, who’s gonna be responsible for the waste bins?

FAD: Yes, totally responsible.

Boobs: Who’s gonna be totally responsible?

FAD: For the waste? Binns.

Boobs: Yeah, for them.

FAD: He sure will.

Boobs: Who will?

FAD: Binns.

Boobs: Yeah, that’s what I want to know.  What’s the name of the guy who’s taking the waste out to the black containers?

FAD: Binns.

Boobs:  Sorry…to the bins.  What’s his name?

FAD:  The name of the guy taking the garbage to the waste?  Binns.

Boobs:  And what would his name be?

FAD:  I just told you.

Boobs: No you didn’t.

FAD:  I did.  But I’ll tell you one more time…and I’ll speak slowly…This is the name… of the guy…taking the garbage… to the waste…Binns.

(pause as Boobs waits…finally:)

Boobs: What is the name of the guy taking the garbage to the waste?

FAD:  Binns.

Boobs:  Yes, the name of the guy taking the garbage to the waste bins.

FAD:  Now you got it!

Boobs:  I do?


Boobs:  Let’s say it’s Friday and everybody’s eatin’ fish.  Now, after the garbage is collected, somebody takes the unused fish out to the black waste container.

FAD:  Oh no, fish’d be compost.  That’s Scales.

Boobs: Scales is compost?

FAD:  He sure is.  Does a good job of it too.

Boobs:  Who does a good job of what now?

FAD:  Scales.

Boobs: Who does a good job of fish scales?

FAD:  Best I’ve ever seen!

Boobs: Let me get this straight.  Scales goes to the compost?

FAD:  Everyday.

Boobs:  Everyday?  What if there’s no fish that day?

FAD:  Scales will still go.

Boobs: To the compost bins?

FAD:  No, Binns for waste.

Boobs:  So scales to the waste bins?

FAD: That’s right.

Boobs:  Scales goes to waste?

FAD:  Scales to compost.

Boobs:  Even if there’s no fish that day?

FAD: Regardless.

Behind The Sketches: Smelt Shack / Seal Video

Yeseterday’s post – Stand Up, Canada, Atticus Finch Is Passing By – was about a Sketch-22 sketch that opened the 2nd act of our Season 7 production.

Today’s sketch topic – Smelt Shack – closed the first act of that same production, and features characters who are perhaps on the opposite end of the Canadian cultural spectrum to the Atticus Finch panelists.  And features a video that I am still amazed ever happened.

I’m a bit fuzzy as to the timeline of events that caused this sketch and video to come into being.  I do know that I had a few character nicknames floating around in my brain for quite some time – Upchucky, Stalag the German, a couple more – but had never really found the right vehicle to use them. I had decided, I think, that for this summer’s show, come hell or high water I’d write a sketch around these characters – mostly so that we all could have fun playing cliche “good ole Island boys” types.  I placed them in a smelt shack setting, and got to writing

Somewhere along the way, during one of our writing-rehearsal / brainstorming sessions / gigglefests, we came upon the idea of melding the smelt shack script with a bit about the seal hunt industry.  I don’t know who came up with the idea to have a penis represent the evil seals, but I do know who was totally on-board with being cast in that role.
So, yeah. we thought that a great way – an outlandish way – an “oh my god did I just see what I think I just saw, did they just do that” way to end the smelt shack sketch was to have these characters get excited about making a viral video that would show how (to these guys) the seal hunt is necessary because seals are killers of fish stock.
We’d do up an ultra cheap, poorly filmed video (as if these untalented guys were making it) using little figurines on a white bristol board or something that represented snow.  There’d be a hole in the board,and a seal would pop up and attack the figurine people.
AND the huge, surprise reveal was that the seal would actually be an actual dick, dressed up to look like a seal.
Oh my god. We all laughed so hard until we cried the first time that concept was imagined.  It would be SO funny, SO shocking…  I LOVE that first of all, one of us came up with the idea… I LOVE that we felt like we HAD to follow through on that crazy idea.  And I LOVE that we actually did follow through.  And I absolutely LOVED watching the audience react to that reveal every night of the run.
(the way the stage sketch ended, the lights went down on us and the video immediately started.  Because it was the last sketch of the act, we didn’t need to rush off stage to change, so we’d almost always just stay sitting in the smelt shack set, watching the audience watching the video, and wait until the seal-dick reveal. So rewarding to watch the faces of audience members as the moment registered in their brains.)

I don’t do it very often, but sometimes it really helps to write character dialogue out phonetically, and with purposefully misspelled (mispronounced) words and phrases.  I wanted these characters to be very low status in terms of grammar and education, and getting into their specific individual patterns of speech really opened it up to come up with some really fun lines – lines that would never have come into being if I had just written it in a more neutral way and asked the actors to “Island it up” during rehearsals.

One of my favourite lines of all time is “Watch of how scared she looks!”

I always had so much fun playing in this sketch. Such great energy  It always seemed to be on the verge of chaos, always daring to spin out of control.  But surprisingly, we kept really close to the script the whole summer.

Here’s a censored promotional video that shows a segment of the sketch – Smelt Shack Excerpt

Smelt Shack

Upchucky:  Fuck’s sake, boys.  The smelt’s ain’t bitin’!  What the fuck are we doin’ stuck in this shack for on a Sayerdee noight?  Taint, we should be out talin’!!

Taint:  Any pardees goin’ on, er wha?  Stalag, you know of any pardees?

Stalag: Nuh uh.  Court order don’t let me go to pardees ’til September.

Eggroll:  Me too! Asshole Judge Lantz!!

Boner: I heard sumfin about Donna Laybolt puttin’ sumfin on.

Upchucky: Fuckin’ Donna Laybolt!!  Fuck her and the stuck-up miniature horse she rode in on!

Stalag:  Are you still squealin’ ’bout Donna Laybolt owin’ you a blowjob?  I told ya. For the a-millionth time…  Upchucky, she’s not gonna blow ya!

Upchucky: Shut up Stalag, ya fuckin’ German! She said she’d blow me if I mowed the lawn at her parents motel and I fuck
in’ mowed the lawn! 

Eggroll:  She wuz jokin’.

Upchucky:  Yer a joke, Eggroll!

Taint: And that wuz loik two summer ago.

Upchucky: So? She said it, so she’ll blow me.  If she knows what’s good for her.

Boner: Upchucky, Donna Laybolt, she not blowed anyone.

Upchucky:  Shit sakes, Boner, wouldja quit rainin’ on my parade!

Taint: Donna Laybolt’s lips’r hunnert percent virgin lips.  Tracy Goat tole me.

Stalag:  Both sets a her lips are virgin lips!!

Boner:  Birgin lips all ober her body!

Everyone but Eggroll laughs. He pulls out a couple of small action-figures and absently plays with them.

Eggroll:  I don’t get it? What’s the joke?  What’d I miss?

Taint: Half your grade nine year, Eggroll.  That’s what ya missed ya stunned prick!

Eggroll:  Fuck you Taint!  You got held back a coupla grades too, ya know!

Upchucky:  Eggroll, what the fuck you doin’ with them fingerines, anyways?  What are ya, 12?

Eggroll: They’re awesome!  Lookit them, they’re all scared and shit!

Eggroll passes them around.

Stalag: What the hell are they scared of?  Fuckin’ pussies!

Eggroll:  Stoled them off my little brother.  Figured we could melt them later.  Give ’em something to be scared of.

Taint: Holy shit, lookit this one!  Who’s it look like?

Boner: Donna Laybolt!

Upchucky:  What?  Lemme see!  (takes it from Taint)  Holy shit, it does look like Donna.

Taint:  Donna’s tits’re bigger.

Boner:  Watch of how scared she looks!

Upchucky:  She’s scared of how fuckin’ big my cock is, when she blows me!

Stalag: She’s not blowin’ ya.  You’d have a better chance of gettin’ a blowjob from one of these smelts we ain’t catchin’.

Boner:  Hey, Taint.  Am it true dat your pop ain’t goin’ sealin’ dis wintner?

Taint: Hard truth, Boner. Hard truth.  Gonna be a poor winter for sure.  Dad’ll have ta sell the big screen prolly!!  I don’t wanna go back ta regular def.  I’ll tell yas boys, all the popperozzies and Hot Lip Hoolihans have totally fuckin’ roont the hunt!

Upchucky:  They’re gettin’ exactly what they want! Fuckin’ popperozzies and skankin’ celebrities!!  (mimicking) Oh baby seals are so cute!  It’s a sin to kill such a cute fuckin’ baby fuckin’ seal!  Gimme a fuckin’ break!!

Eggroll:  All’s they do is they keep showin’ how cute the seals are on all the commercials and whatnot that they do.  On the internet and everywhere.

Boner:  It’s brame-warshin’ am what it is!

Taint:  Baby seals ain’t cute.  They’re fuckin’ monsters, rip the finger right off ya if they could.

Stalag:  I know a guy who got three friggin’ fingers bit off.  By a horse.

Upchucky:  Horses are scary fucking man-eatin’ sons a bitches!!

Eggroll: It’s all propergander!  They cornered the market on makin’ people think seals are cute’n’cuddly.

Upchucky:  Someone should corner the market on propergandering that seals are little fuckin’ fish-eatin’ cocksuckers!

Boner:  We should made are own bideo showin’ how ebil baby seals are.  Pud id on youtube.  Dat’d show’m.

Taint: We should! My cousint got a video camera I can borrow.

Upchucky: We can use Eggroll’s fingerines. Do it up so that it shows seals attackin’ people on fuckin’ ice flows an’ shit!

Stalag:  Fuckin’ awesome!

Taint: What do we use for seals?

Eggroll: Silly putty.  I’ll make ’em outta silly putty.

Boner: Dey need to be lookin’ scary but.

Taint:  Should be at least one mother-fucking scary as shit huge monster seal!

Upchucky:  Leave that one to me.  I’ll take care of the huge monster seal.

Boner:  Holy fuck, boy.  We’ll gonna make a moobie.

Taint:  We’re gonna turn the seal hunt on its ass!!

Boner:  Let made dat bideo!!!

Behind The Sketches: Stand Up Canada, Atticus Finch Is Passing By

Harper Lee and her fictional character, Atticus Finch, have been in the literary headlines over the past few months.  It made me think back on a Sketch-22 sketch I wrote for our 7th (and final) season – Stand Up, Canada. Atticus Finch Is Passing By.  I had a couple of minutes today, so I went back and re-read it and had a bunch of chuckles and many great memories of performing in it.  It’s one of my favourite sketches of mine, partly because it’s just such a weird concept.
I figured “why not post it here for anyone who might be interested”.

You’d be surprised at how many sketches I’ve written over the years that have come from (or have incorporated) something said during the many lunch-times spent with Dave Stewart.  We often riff on all kinds of silliness, and this sketch eventually came from something said during one of those lunches.
I forget exactly how it came about, but I distinctly remember where we were when “Stand up Canada, Atticus Finch is passing by” was first uttered.  We were on the corner of Kent and University (by the public phone).  Maybe we were talking about titles for utterly lame Canadian game shows, and this concept popped up.  We laughed at it and that was it.
But the name stuck with me, and so when I was scouring my brain for sketch ideas to write for Sketch-22 Season 7, I decided to try and make that weird concept into an actual sketch.

The goal was to parody those rather stuffy, stiff and often boring (especially to a child) Canadian game show slash current events shows, like Front Page Challenge, that showed up on Canadian television in the 1960s and 70s.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. I like how there really aren’t any jokes in it, and how it just kind of presents the weird idea without explaining it.  I like how this fake-example of Canadiana oddly and prominently features an iconic American literary character, again without explanation. I like the formality of it all, the expectation of propriety, and the utter dullness of the topic of discussion.
I expect many audience members were puzzled by what they were watching.  And that always thrills me too.
I love the characters we ended up with, and remember often having a hard time trying to keep from laughing during performances.


Stand Up Canada.  Atticus Finch Is Passing By.

Perry James – Andrew Sprague
Gregson Oxbridge – Lennie MacPherson
Mary Abercrombie-Pettingcock – Graham Putnam
Pierre Cardigan – Rob MacDonald
Robert Clothier (as Atticus Finch) – Dennis Trainor

Music up – a not-very-exciting instrumental piece.

Lights up to reveal:
Perry James, behind a podium
Gregson, Mary & Pierre sitting in a row of chairs
2 small tables, one on either side of the stage, each strewn with various papers.

Music down

Perry James:  Good evening, Canada, and welcome to “Stand Up Canada, Atticus Finch Is Passing By”.  I’m your moderator, Perry James, and it truly is a treat to see so many fresh, young faces in the audience tonight.  Hey, let’s get right to the discussion by introducing this week’s panelists.
He’s Philosophy Professor Emeritus at Kings College, and writes a weekly column in The Progressive Magazine, please welcome back Gregson Oxbridge.

Gregson (half-rises, bows and nods):  Indeed.

Perry James:  She’s a four-time consecutive winner of the Lady Jane Pleasantries Prize, and political writer for the Guelph Intelligencer , let’s appreciate Mary Abercrombie-Pettingcock.

Mary: Pleasures abound, Perry.

Perry James:  And he’s a distinguished non-fictionalist and Canadian historian, who’s latest book “Appraising The Canadian Arctic” is receiving numerous academic accolades, it’s our Resident Panelist, Pierre Cardigan.  Pierre, I think you know more about our country than any man alive.

Pierre:   The more I see of the country, the less I feel I know about it. There is a saying that after five years in the north every man is an expert; after ten years, every man a novice. 

Gregson:  Quite!

Perry James:  We all know how the evening unfolds.  I’ll bring up a topic of discussion and our panelists will debate its merits, pausing at the appropriate times when Atticus Finch passes by.  And it’s my great honour to announce that this week, Atticus Finch will be portrayed by Robert Clothier, who plays Relic on the CBC television series, The Beachcombers, now in its 9th season.  Robert.

The panelists applaud politely.  Robert Clothier comes out, dressed in a white flannel suit, like Atticus Finch in the movie To Kill A Mockingbird.  Except he still has the toque that Relic always wears.

Robert:  It is indeed a pleasure to be playing the esteemed Atticus Finch.  I welcome the change of pace.  Today, I’ll be in search of laws, instead of in search of logs.

They all laugh politely.  Except Gregson, who does not understand the reference, it being pop culture.

Perry James:  Alright, let’s get right into this week’s discussion.  Robert, if you would, please become Atticus Finch.

Robert Clothier changes his demeanor and *becomes* Atticus Finch.  He begins to sort papers on one of the desks.  The panelists are impressed at his acting.

Perry James:  Panelists, as you know, in May of this year, Canadians went to the polls, resulting in a Joe Clark led Progressive Conservative minority.  Since then, the government has had immense difficulty accomplishing anything of import.  Panelists, the question to you is this:  Is this government doomed to fail?  This will be a 15 minute discussion, and we’ll begin, as always, with our Lady of the Panel, Mary Abercrombie-Pettingcock.
Let’s play Stand Up Canada, Atticus Finch Is Passing By.  Mary.

Mary:  Quite bluntly, Perry, fellow panelists, audience… yes, this government is doomed to fail.  Mr. Clark, while a promising young politician, does not have a majority, and we know all too well how difficult it is for even a seasoned politician to govern without the great political machine willing to back him up.

Gregson:  I am effusively in agreement with Miss Abercrombie-Pettingcock. The only question  remaining in my mind, is… when.

Atticus Finch finishes sorting papers, and crosses, solemnly to the table on the other side of the stage.  All panelists stop their discussion, stand up and, Perry James included, silently pay their respects to Atticus Finch.
By the time Atticus Finch reaches his other table and resumes sorting papers, the panelists and moderator have noticed that the audience – our audience – hasn’t stood up.  They don’t know how to respond. 
They recover somewhat, sit down and continue the debate.

Perry James: That’s okay, panelists. That’s fine. Please continue.  Pierre?

Pierre:  In this country, as you all no doubt know, three times has the government been felled by a vote of non-confidence.  Arthur Meighen in 1926, Diefenbaker in ’63, and most recently, Trudeau just 5 years ago in 1974.  I prophesy that the lovely Mr. Joe Clark is about to join that not-so-illustrious grouping.

Atticus Finch again crosses the stage.  Again, the discussion is suspended as everyone rises to pay respects.  The panelists give the non-rising audience members looks of indignation. Only after Finch has passed to the other table do they voice their displeasure. 

Mary: The manners of a chickadee!!  Do you not see Atticus Finch is passing by!! 

Gregson: This is indeed a counfoundability!

Pierre: Vacuus Ordo!!

Mary: Perry, mayn’t you intercede on decency’s behalf?

Perry James (clears his throat):  I might just add at this juncture, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, please be mindful and courteous to Atticus Finch.  Thank you.  Panelists, you may continue the discourse.

Mary:  Thank you, Perry.

The panelists sit back down.

Gregson:  Let me be clear.  Joe Clark has pulled off an astounding feat. He’s the only person to ever defeat Pierre Trudeau in an federal election.  No small feat, that!

Pierre:  Come, Gregson, you make it sound like a magic trick!  Truth of the matter is, someone was to eventually defeat Mr. Trudeau.  Joe Clark was simply the fortunate person to be in the right place, right time.

Atticus Finch again crosses.  Again the panelists and Perry pay their respects.  Their outrage at the audience is palpable, though, and can barely contain their fury until Atticus Finch has completed his pass. When he reaches the table, the panelists let loose:

Pierre:  What has become of this society?  Has a mob of buffoons infiltrated the studio tonight?

Gregson: A gaggle of poppinstocks would be more accurate. 

Pierre: It’s the way this generation has been raised!  A complete lack of moral compass.

Mary: Well I wo
n’t stand for it! Stand up, damn you!!  Stand the hell up and pay your God Damned respects to Atticus Finch!!!  Come on!!  Stand!!  I’m not joking around here!!  

Pierre:  The wild native Esquimaux have more sense about them!

Gregson: These young ones!  It’s the beginning of the downfall of Canada!

Perry James: Okay, panelists, let us remain dignified and courteous and respectful to the proceedings.  Let us continue with the debate.

The panelists sit.

Pierre: Despicable wretches!

Mary: They better all stand up next time Atticus Finch passes, that’s all I’ll say.

Gregson:  Would that I had my shotgun!!

Atticus:  Hush!  Hush now!

Panelists are shocked that Atticus has spoken. Atticus walks to centre stage.  The panelists and Perry all begin to rise.  Atticus motions them to sit.

Atticus:  No!  Do not rise for me.  For I am but a man. A man wont for nothing but decency.  And it saddens me deeply to see decency evaporated through the emotional outbursts of the men and lady of the panel.  The self-same people who demand decency from others.  But not just any decency.  It must be “their” decency.

I am reminded of an episode of Beachcombers from last season.  Nick Adonidas became upset when Jesse introduced some new methods for retrieving logs.  See, Nick was set in his ways. He didn’t like the way things were changing.  He couldn’t see through his stubborn ways to see the benefits of Jesse’s methods.  And in the end, it wasn’t Nick and Jesse and the Persephone who got the big log.  It was your’s truly.

What are the benefits of not standing when Atticus Finch passes by?  I don’t know.  But I suspect they far outweigh the negative ramifications of not standing up for decency.

In conclusion, I say reserve your respect for men who have earned it.  Not fictional characters.  But Real Men.  And, yes, Real Ladies too.

So, I say to you all… Stand up, Canada.  Not because Atticus Finch is passing by.  Rather, stand up for decency. Decency.  Decency.
Good night.

Atticus exits.