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John Gets Sand in His Shoe

John Negated #2
© Matt Quarterstein 10/2/2002


Dramatis Personae:
John Negated
Neo-Serf
Militia
Peasant
Phillip Nougat
Gary Truman
Nick Bantam
Leon Chubbadanfish
Waiter
General Breadbasket

(Pans across a vast desert, sand as far as the eye can see, not a cloud in the sky. The wind whistles softly. A pop is then heard and John Negated falls into the scene, face first in the sand)
John: Ow! (Splutters and gets up on his knees, hands on the ground, supporting him) How about that? I made it to the other side of the time-space plane all the way from that art gallery from which I found it. Hmm, I seem to remember the famous composer Brahms following me, though I have no idea how, since I wasn't looking backwards, let alone clear enough to recognize him. I wonder where he is...
(A mechanized, drawn out scream is heard, then an explosion. The left arm of Brahms flies on and lands next to John, steaming at where it appears to have been severed)
John: (looking at the arm) Oh, he must have been ripped apart. Hmmm.... (Picks up the arm and puts it in his jacket) Ah well, at least I have my own Brahms arm now! (Gets up and stands) I must find out where I am... (Looks around, then begins walking)
(John continues to walk through the desert until he comes across Neo-Serf, sitting cross-legged in the sand. Neo-Serf is dressed in a green leather jerkin, has long hippie hair and a wreath of desert flowers around his neck)
Neo-Serf: Halt!
(John stops)
Neo-Serf: (fumbling with his hands in John's direction, squinting) Who is there? Come closer.
John: (comes closer and touches Neo-Serfs hand) My name is John Negated, how do you do?
(John attempts to shake Neo-Serf's hand, but Neo-Serf is still squinting and fumbling in the air with his hands)
John: Oh, excuse me. Are you blind?
Neo-Serf: No, no, no. Nothing like that! The sun is in my eyes. (Stands up, and looking John in the eye, shakes his hand) They call me the Neo-Serf, feudal slave of the future. At your service, and service related services!
John: Oh, then I suppose you could tell me where I am.
Neo-Serf: Yep. You are on the plane of sand (stretches arms, accidentally hitting John in the face) Oops, sorry. The sun in my eyes again.
John: (takes out a pair of sunglasses from jacket pocket and hands them to Neo-Serf) Here, take these.
Neo-Serf: Thanks (puts them on). As I was saying, you have crossed through a hole in the time-space plane and reached the nether world, where pure elements such as fire, earth, water, wind, sand and ice, exist as realms that hang in flux on the edge of your ever expanding universe.
John: I'm sorry, I don't quite know what you are talking about.
Neo-Serf: Oh, so you've never read any science-fantasy novels?
John: Can't say I have
Neo-Serf: Not even any of those role playing, choose your own path kinda ones?
John: No...
Neo-Serf: Graphic Novel?
(John puts up his hand in a "stop, no thanks" gesture)
Neo-Serf: (surprised) Oh... (struggling for words) Well... this is the plane of sand... and basically everything here is made of sand. The ground, any buildings we come across. There's even a giant sander...
(Camera zooms out to show a giant power sander gliding along in the background. I giant earthworm rears it's head and eats the sander, then burrows again. John turns his head to see this, looks confused and turns back to Neo-Serf)
John: I think I understand now...
Neo-Serf: Mmm, but you've come at a bad time. Not good for tourists like you. There's a war...
John: A war in the desert, (rolls eyes) typical... who is fighting?
Neo-Serf: Let me show you...(ushers John along)
(Cut to a desert village. Rag wearing residents are wandering around in something of a panic. John and Neo-Serf enter from the left)
Neo-Serf: Here is the village of the sand natives, who have been here for millennia. They are preparing for war with the enemy over the dunes.
(Militia, a tall ragged desert dweller carrying a rifle and Peasant, a dirty villager, begin to walk by)
Militia: (breaking into a jog) We must make haste...
Peasant: (whining) Haste? Why make haste, its bread we need! (begins jogging also, breathing heavily)
John: Let's follow them! (jogs after Peasant)
(Neo-Serf reluctantly follows)
(Cut to a palisade wall, which Militia and Peasant are hiding behind, beyond that is a dune, where rumblings can be heard. Neo-Serf and John walk on)
John: (to Militia) Hello
Militia: (in panic) Get down you fool! (confused) Wait a minute, who are you? (hesitant) No, no, no... it's more important to get down first, same goes to him (points to Neo-Serf, then gets up and drags Neo-Serf and John in a kneeling position. He then stops to think) Now, is it more important to know who you are, or get you to fight in this war for us? Unless of course you are spies... then I'd need to interrogate you... (looks John up and down) you certainly look like a spy, so I'll interrogate you. (grabs John by the collar) WHO ARE YOU?
John: John Negated... and he's Neo-Serf. (points to Neo-Serf)
Militia: Right, well you don't need to know my name, cause I don't have one. As you can see, this war has caused the whole of our village to be here (motions to Peasant)
Peasant: (mutters to himself) Damn conscription...
Militia: Nevermind them, (motions to Peasant) the village has a habit of whining. We are greatly outnumbered by the enemy, and I wasn't sure we'd make it without the troop you, John, have brought with you.
(John looks around confused)
Militia: Yes, now I am sure we outnumber our enemy...
John: Now I'm not sure about that. And who are you enemy?
Militia: Shhh! They're coming across that sand hill!
(More rumbling is heard, Peasant hides his head in his hand and Militia lights a cigarette. A shadow engulfs the entire scene, and thunder roars. The shadow disappears all of a sudden and three lone figures emerge from over the dune - Phillip, Gary and Nick. Everything they wear is coloured gray, including hair dyed gray. Phillip wears Buddy Holly glasses, t-shirt and jeans. Gary has his hair shaved except for a single dreadlock coming out of his forehead, and wears a ripped up suit and pierced eyebrow [stud]. Nick wears a flowing cape and a long sleeved t-shirt with pictures of playing cards on it, he has no pants, only a pair of Hawaiian designed boxer shorts)
Militia: (in shock and fear) I can't believe it, they brought their entire army!
John: Who are they?
Neo-Serf: (whispering in Johns ear) They are fringe artists, so disregarded by the Earth they left to really be on the fringe - of the universe, here on the plane of sand. They can't stand company that doesn't understand them, so they want to eradicate these villagers. The one on the left is Gary Truman, he likes to take pictures of the sky when it has no clouds in it, taken looking straight up in the air. The one on the right is Nick Bantam, he writes a magazine where there is only one word on each page, and they all start with "N". The one in the middle is Phillip Nougat, their leader. He likes collecting individual grains of sand a putting them in glass cubes that take up one cubic metre each. It was his choice to come here, and he was the one who opened the gateway between the art gallery you came from, and here. He is also the most deadly in combat so you'll have to watch out for...
John: Wait a second, if you say they're artists, why is all the work they do just pointless stuff that means nothing that even an idiot could be able to do?
Neo-Serf: (thinks for a second, suddenly exclaiming) I have no idea...
Militia: Shhhh! They approach.
(Phillip, Gary and Nick walk up to the palisade wall and climb over it. Phillip spits in Militia's face)
Phillip: Well, if it isn't our non-egalitarianistic, non-intrinsic, antidisestablishmentarianistic contribution to the fair plane of sand.
Militia: (puffing himself up) WELL, if it isn't the... um... intruders... yes... intruders of... um... our land. Yeah!
Peasant: Yeah! (suddenly cowering)
Phillip: Today is another dawning for war, so you know what I have come to initiate?
Militia: A battle?
Phillip: Yes, you understand the terms and conditions by now, you noniconoclast?
Militia: (tired) Yes... (puts rifle to Phillip's head and pulls the trigger)
(A scroll pops out of the end of the rifle, Phillip takes it out and unravels it)
Phillip: (reading) What famous battle occurred in 1066? (puts down scroll) Too easy, the Battle of Hastings!
Neo-Serf: (whispering in John's ear) This is the battle, a trivia competition, it has been a stalemate for years, since the village leader and Phillip know just as much as one another.
John: Hmm... (starts thinking and staring into space)
(Phillip gets out a pistol, points it at Militia's head and pulls the trigger, another scroll pops out, which Militia pick up)
Militia: (reads) Hmm... how many cards in a deck of cards? Ha! Ha! Easy! 52!
Phillip: I let you have that one. All right, your question.
(Militia begins to raise his rifle)
John: (grabs rifle) WAIT!
Militia: What?
John: I think I have a way to end this war. (gets out magazine from his jacket pocket and loads it into the rifle) Phillip, if you can answer this crossword puzzle, then you get to keep this entire plane of sand, and banish the villagers...
Militia: HEY!
John: (whispering in Militias ear) Trust me, when I was in the city, there was not one person I met who answered any of the questions.
Militia: (unsure) I'm hopin' so...
Phillip: And if I suffer a defeat at an inability to answer the questions?
John: Then you shall be banished. It's a fair deal...
Militia: (angry) Yeah! Back to your bloody art gallery to hide you greyshade freak!
Peasant: Yeah!
(Militia points the rifle at Phillip's head and pulls the trigger, the crossword comes out, as well as a pen. Phillip picks up the magazine, turns to a page, picks up the pen and starts scribbling madly. Within a few seconds he stops and boastfully passes the magazine back to John)
Phillip: All done!
John: I don't believe it, I never would of guessed that (points to a page in the magazine) or that (points to a different point on the same page)
Militia: (starts to cry) We're doomed. (suddenly angry at John) Look what you've caused.
Phillip: Yes, look what he's caused, the whole plane of sand is mine! (to John) Have you got any other propositions that I might be able to benefit from the key outcomes of?
John: (ashamed) Can't say that I do...
Leon: (voice-only) No, but I do.
(Phillip, Nick, Gary, Neo-Serf, Militia, Peasant and John all turn their heads around)
(On walks Leon, Waiter and General. Leon has spiked up brown hair and is dressed in tan khaki, with matching rag headband. He has tattoos of barcodes on his forehead and hands, and what appears to be a broken cybernetic implant. He is carrying a rifle. Waiter has frizzy, short brown hair, and is dressed in a blue tuxedo, complete with a leaf decorating his pocket. He is carrying an ice cream. General is dressed in tattered green army gear, complete with a rusty helmet, he is also carrying an ice cream)
Phillip: (looking repulsed) Who are you?
General: I'm the General! (licks ice cream)
Waiter: I'm the Waiter!
Phillip: Pleased to meet you.
Leon: And I'm Leon. Now, we have reached this place, just to give you this question (points rifle to Phillips head then pulls the trigger)
(The gun fires and blows Phillip's head clean off, blood and giblets fly everywhere)
Leon: Finally, this means I can have conquest of this part of the universe.
Neo-Serf: Sorry, man. You're not in the universe.
Leon: I'm not?
Neo-Serf: No, you're just on the outside of it.
Leon: Aww, good one Waiter! (slaps Waiter on the back of the head)
(Suddenly Leon, Waiter and the General disappear. Nick and Gary start jumping up and down, and cheering)
Peasant: What was that all about?
Militia: I don't know, all I do understand is that something just killed one third of the enemies army. But that still doesn't stop us from being banished. (looks at Nick and Gary with disgust) and why are you two celebrating.
Nick: Because that stupid Phillip is dead.
Gary: Yeah, all he did was push us around and tell us what was cool, and forced us to listen to Yoko Ono records!
Neo-Serf: Not a pretty image, or sound for that matter...
Nick: Nah, it wasn't really... it was all his idea to take over this fringe area. I hate it personally.
Gary: Yeah, give me the coffee district of the City any day of the week.
(Nick and Gary chuckle in mutual understanding)
John: But aren't you even saddened at your... (struggles for words) contemporary's death?
Nick: No, he's better than a friend now, he can be used for art. I'm going to use his headless body to advertise my magazine in a controversial exhibit.
Gary: And I'll use the guts and stuff that are splattered everywhere to glaze my photographs of the sky.
John: (encouraging) That's the spirit! (to Militia) What about you?
Militia: I think me and the community (motions to peasant) will have to move out of the village, to a place that can handle our obvious ever growing population.
John: (trying to understand the sentence) Right... What about you, Neo-Serf?
Neo-Serf: If you like, I can show you a place that not many visitors get to see in this realm.
John: Oh, please show me. Please?
(Cut to John and Neo-Serf trudging through the desert)
John: What is this place like?
Neo-Serf: It is where the plane of sand meets the plane of water...
(A shimmering blue sea appears on the horizon)
Neo-Serf: We call it the beach...

THE END (for now)


Read John Negated #3 - John De Posited
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