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Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Sound of Blunder (apologies to Ray Bradbury)

A Sound of Blunder



The setting is a Pentagon briefing room.  The lights are dim as a scientist in a lab coat is finishing a presentation.  Assorted Generals and men and women in suits sit around a long table watching.


(Caption:  The Near Future

                   The Pentagon)


Scientist:  And so, in conclusion, with the immaculate vision that is hindsight, we can use this new time travel technology to prevent many of the worlds worst disasters from ever occurring.


Lights rise, and various discussions break out simultaneously.  A man in a suit sitting at the end of the table bangs a gavel on the table.


President:  Order!  Order! Silence!


The room gradually silences and the Congressman begins


President:  Ladies and gentlemen, if what Dr. Richenbacher has told us is true then we are at a truly historic moment.  The moment when we can truly rewrite our own history, through the technology of time travel.  It is with the gravity of such a moment upon us that I propose the boldest possible use of this technology.  I propose that we use it to prevent the greatest crime in the history of humanity from ever happening!


General: (eyes narrowing, fists clenched) The 2012 Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour “Backstreets Back.”


Congressman: (rocking out, falsetto) Alright!


President: (as if this had been a reasonable statement) No, (eyes narrowing, fists clenching) I propose that kill Adolf Hitler before becoming Chnacellor of Germany.


General 2: Brilliant!


(The room again erupts into the commotion of several conversations.  President bangs his gavel)


President:  Order!  Order!


Senator:  But we namby-pamby libtart Democrats in the Congress could never approve of preemtive killing.  What about habeus corpus?

(The room again erupts into the commotion of several conversations.  President bangs his gavel)


President:  (Sullenly) If the Democrats won’t let me defend America and our American freedoms, then I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.  Dr. Richenbacher, mothball the time machine.  Maybe someday….


Congressman 2:  There must be some way we can tax and spend Hitler away.


Senator:  Eureka, by Jove that’s it!  If there’s one thing the Democrats love more than obstructionism, it’s spending the people’s hard-earned tax dollars on artwork from highly offensive artists!


Whole room: Huh!?!


Scientist:  Aaaaaaah, I believe I see what the Senator is on to.  You see, before entering politics, Hitler was a struggling artist in Vienna.  If only he had found success in artwork, he may never have founded the Nazi Party.


Senator: (excited) We could send an agent back in time, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to purchase Hitler’s paintings and prevent World War II!


Senator 2:  (with strong Southern accent)  Why public funding for the arts!  No, no, there must be some other way… I just can’t….  (looking downward, sullenly, muttering)


(The President, walks over to Senator 2, and puts a hand comfortingly on his shoulder)


President:  There is no other way.  This is an important mission, one that can only be entrusted to America’s very best.  There is only one man for the job, and I believe that we all know who that man is..


Whole room in Unison:  Will Smith!


(The doors to the back of the room burst open and fog begins to fill the room.  From the fog emerges Will Smith in flight uniform.  He struts to the front of the room and salutes the President, and puts a cigar in his own mouth)


Will Smith:  Will Smith ready to rock and roll, America!


President:  Good, then, Mr. Smith do you understand your mission?


Will Smith:  Let’s kick some Austrian ass.


(President looks at him puzzledly)

General:  (into president’s ear) I think he mean’s yes, sir.


Scientist:  Then right this way, Mr. Smith


 (Scientist shows him to the time machine.  Smith enters it.  Scientist hands him two bundles of old money.  Scientist fiddles with some controls, fog comes from machine.  Lights in room blink.  Scene cuts to Smith dropping onto a Vienna street in the 1920’s.  Smith walks into a second floor studio full of paintings, with the prices having visibly been repeatedly lowered.


Will Smith:  Yo, Adolf!


(Scene cuts back to a CNN type television screen in the future.)


TV Announcer:  And with the results from the West Coast coming in, CNN is projecting that the Republicans have retaken control of both houses of Congress.


(Scene changes to original “war room.”)


Senator 2:  (shooting pistols in the air) Well, yeehaw!  Furst thing we gonna do is cut that there fundin’ for that National Endowment for the Arts!  (fires pistols again, and a bit of plaster falls from the ceiling)


Congressman:  All except for the money we appropriated for Will Smith to buy Hitler’s art with, right?


Senator 2:  (leaning in close to Congressman and sneering)  Now listen here, boy, and listen good.  We aint spendin’ one single goddam dime on public art.  Not so long as I chair this here committee.  What we need to do is send someone back in time to prevent Will Smith from spendin’ that money, and preemptively killin’ Hitler while he is at it.


Senator:  But what about habeus corpus, inchoate offences, specific intent?


Senator 2:  Boy, you ain’t listenin’ we got a new Sheriff in town.  Now what we need is someone with the brains and the balls to pull this off.  We need America’s best.


Congressman:  But we already sent Will Smith back in time.


Senator 2:  Then we need America’s second best.


All in Unison:  Jeff Goldblum!


(The back door to the room bursts open, and Jeff Goldblum comes in in a leather jacket, and heavy sunglasses.)


Senator 2:  You know your mission, boy, now go get ‘em.

(Scene cuts to Vienna 1920’s.  Jeff Goldblum walks to into the same second floor shop that Will Smith is already in.  Voices can be heard in the back.  Jeff Goldblum slowly approaches them listening intently.)


Will Smith:  Damn that is a nice watercolor you got there.  I like the elements of chiaroscuro shading in the background.


Hitler:  I can let you have it for twenty-five Deutchmarks. 


Will Smith:  Awwwww, hell no!


Hitler: Ok, ok, twenty.  (Smith stares stone-facedly)  Ok, twenty and I throw in the sketch of my German-shepard Lebenstraum for nothing.


(Smith pulls out some money, and Hitler takes the painting in question from the wall to give to Smith.  Goldblum steps out from the shadows behind the two men.)


Jeff Goldblum:  I, uh, I can’t let you.  You see, I can’t let you do that Will.


Will Smith: (turning to see Goldblum)  Awwwww, hell no!


Jeff Golblum:  Here’s how it is.  The government has sent me back in time to prevent you from buying these, uh, these paintings, and while I’m here, I’ve got to kill Hitler.  So you can, you can just step aside and let me do my job.  (Goldblum pulls out a gun)


Will Smith:  Now, I can’t let you do that.


(Will Smith lunges at Jeff Goldblum, and wrestles the gun away.  The two men fight visciously and in the process, they accidentally knock Hitler out of a window.  They stop fighting and look down onto the street to see his body)


Jeff Glodblum: Well, it looks like we killed him anyway. 


Will Smith:  Looks like it.


Jeff Goldblum:  Well, it’s back to the future then?


Will Smith:  Yeah


(The two men walk toward the time machine during which time one of them steps on a butterfly, killing it.  They go into the time machine and set to  return whence they came.  They step out of the machine to see that humanity has instead evolved into human-lizard hybrids.)


Jeff Goldblum:  Well, it looks like… life… has found a way…


Will Smith:  Awwwww, Hell no!






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