Sunday, September 26, 2010

'W.O.R.N. Radio Garber County'

This morning, I woke up with another idea to work here in Boulder for entertainment, a radio show. It's a perfect way to get funny people doing and saying funny things without having to put them in front of a confronting audience.

Years ago, in the very beginning of the Playwright's Workshop Theatre days, we did a play that focussed on three radio stations. A country station, (and one in rural America) a hip station, and a talk radio station. It was really three one act plays, all on radio. It was great fun, and in retrospect, all these years later I think it was much better than it was given credit for. My idea for Boulder is of course, the rural American station, either K.O.R.N., or as I have in the title, W.O.R.N. Without going into to much detail, I'll post todays work, a welcome comic relief to a very long and stressful (but really fun) week of performing and music. I usually don't post my work here, but it will give you some idea of what a day's work might look like for a playwright, and further, you can tell me if its funny material or not. One note, and I always give this to playwrights before any workshop, don't rewrite the play with your own idea, just tell me what you think. Is it clear? Do the characters seem funny? Can you hear these voices? Oh, my Moss Hart character is not to be confused with the playwright, Moss Hart, I just like that name. The same goes with Reuben James, (a Kenny Rogers song) and Moe Green, the vegas muscle from The Godfather.

Rather than a live theatre performance piece, this piece is written for radio only, and yes, anything like this is going to be derivative of 'A Prairie Home Companion' however, if you know radio, 'A Prairie Home Companion' is derivative of several other shows. Why am I so defensive? Must be lack of sleep. Forgive me and enjoy...

W.O.R.N., Radio Garber County

a radio performance piece, to be performed and recorded live

by Raymond King Shurtz



Good Evenin', Garber County and outlying areas such as Warren County if the signal is working tonight, this is Red Roundy with the news round-up for Thursday, September 26th on WORN, Radio Garber County. First up, the weather. It is raining outside, so there's that and it is accurate. It should rain for awhile tonight, then, its gonna get nippy, with a possible frost. Cover the tomatoes if you don't want dead ones tomorrow. And, wear a jacket. At the top of the local news. Stanley Munson is the proud owner of a brand new John Deere tractor, but that's not the real story, it seems somebody took his new tractor for a little drive last night at about 3 o'clock in the morning. Several trees and a 'tough shed' belonging to Reuben James were the victims. Reuben says, "Tough shed hell, that shed folded like a cheap pair of shorts." Of course, Stanley was left with a dented tractor and one with flat tire on the right side. If you have any information on this little joy ride, call Sheriff Bill Kane, but call before supper, which for him is 6 o'clock. It has also been reported that Garber's own, Moss Hart, has escaped from the county jail two counties over, in Salina County, and is thought to be heading home in a stolen green1982 Ford Ranger with a cracked windshield. The truck, stolen from Stu Marshall, says his truck also has a bumper sticker on it that says, 'Repent', and the truck also has issues with the alternator, or at least he thinks that's the problem. "Sometimes when I get up in the morning, especially if its cool, the battery is dead. Is that the alternator, or something else?" Oh, by the way, this bulletin says the time correlation suggests that the tractor incident and Moss Hart's escape are not related, although the Sheriff says its something Moss would definitely want to 'get in on' if he had been here. Moss, who was being held in a greenhouse burglary in Litchfield, is said to be, by his own admission, and I quote Moss, I want to get this right. He says, " Listen, all of you yahoos, especially police personalities, politicians, and posses. You want mean? You got it. I'm meaner than Dell Harris's Angus rodeo bull, that same bull that hurt that kid real bad last year in Antimony. The same bull that killed Marve Dutton's prized cow dog, Princess. I won't be truffled with, Moss said, "I might be small, skinny, and malnourished as a child, but so is a stick of dynamite…" Moss has also said that "No law enforcement company or corporations of people who catch criminal persons would ever take me alive, outside or inside, or any other known place that's outside or inside, or in between." These statements, however, where said before he got active in the church again. His mother, Norma Hart, says, "He's a good boy who was led astray by reality television. He always wanted to be on that reality cop show since he was little. We did encourage him, but it wasn't intentional. We were so happy when he turned back to the church, even if it was just the one Sunday. Our hearts go out to you, Norma.

In other news, Peggy Newby is a new Grandma, her daughter, Barren, is said to be doing fine, and is the proud owner of a new baby girl, which she named, Ben. "All my kids will have 'B' names," she says… And now its time to pay the bills, Cindy, what do you have for us today?


Really, Red? She named her baby girl, Ben?


From what I understand, it is the father's name, but apparently, there was some confusion at first about whether the baby was a boy or a girl. I'm sure they'll get it straightened out.


Uh, Yea, they better, because that is just awful, awful.


(this is done off the air as an aside)

I do know that the Barren and Barney are currently separated, and he's in Alaska on a fishing boat out at sea.

Sounds confusing, folks, I know.


My Dad wanted me to be a boy, so I completely understand, and to Barren, Ben's mother, don't let them confuse you with the 'name game'.


The name game?


My first name was supposed to be Rick. My parents eventually divorced over it. Of course, my Dad was seeing another woman, which didn't help.


Whoa, Cindy! What else do you have for us today?


In an ironic twist, the name of the other woman my Dad was seeing was Mark.


You know, it is interesting how a name can stick with you for the rest of your life.


We should do a show on names that can either be a boy or a girl, like Gerry.


Or Frankie.


Or Danny.


Or Johnny.


Or Rick and Mark.


So, Cindy Rick, what have you got for us? What lucky gal or fella is going to get an advertising boost from WORN today for free.


Well, Redland, today we have a special advertisement for a product that was invented by one of Garber County's own citizen's, Moe Green. He calls it, a 'Gizzard', and what it is in a few words is a clip that goes on the end of the bill of a ball cap, for clipping on your grocery list, so you don't have to keep reaching into your pocket, and unfold the paper, for the next item on the list. Although in the test market, (which was conducted at the Grocery Exchange) some people said that it obstructs general vision, others thought it was a brilliant idea, especially older men, who are always getting in trouble for forgetting things at the store, and don't really care if it they look funny walking around the store like that. Moe is also marketing a line of 'Gizzard Ball Caps' which will already have the Gizzard installed. So, Moe Green, you are the winner of our free commercial this week.

(later in the show, there could be an irate call in customer who caused a wreck because he drove his car with the 'gizzard' still on his cap. This goes on throughout the hour-long show. Contests, drop-ins, and an eventual visit by Moss Hart to wrap things up. )


Thank you Cindy, I know, I forgot the can of mushroom soup the other day, and Madge was more than a little upset with me… Okay, moving past the news, we have a special treat for you later in the show, Otto and Neta Jasper from Lund County, who claim that they have seen not one, but two giant ants on their farm. Now, CNN, NBC, and the other major networks are discontinuing the following of the story for unspecific reasons, but here at WORN, this is definitely newsworthy, and we will have Otto and Neta here a little bit later for a 'live' interview. I have a quote here from Neta Jasper, "I saw it on the woodpile, picking up a cedar pole like it was a toothpick with one of its antennae things. I yelled at Otto to bring me a bag of sugar and the shot gun, and be quick about it, and then I passed out…" And we are gonna have them right here in the studio. We also have Filo Kaffheart, the country crooner, whose newest country song, 'Lay Down in the Clover, and Let Rover Take Over', is creeping up the county's music chart. Filo will be right here, live.

CINDY gasps.


Cindy, are you okay?


Yes, Red, I'm fine. Filo Kaffheart is coming here, in the studio?


Yes, later in the show.


I have to go, Red.


What's wrong, Cindy? Was it something I said?


Uh, no. I just have to go, I'm sick now.

CINDY exits.


Sorry folks, and don't worry, Cindy will be back, I promise. Anyway, it says here that Filo Kaffheart will also be at the county fair this Saturday singing several of his lesser known works, including, 'Cindy, In the Pale Yellow Light of Morning' and 'Juggernaut'. He will also be performing a magic show for the kids.

DANNY, the intern, brings in a news



Folks, Danny, our intern, just brought in a special APB bulletin that is now running in several counties, on the continued saga of Garber's own County jail escapee, Moss Hart. I'm not going to wait for the break, folks, I'm going to read this now, for your safety. The Highway Patrol has reported that Moss Hart, escaped, on the run, and desperate, detained an elderly Asian couple in a campground, several miles east of Carter County. Holding up some bailing wire in a threatening manner, Hart demanded food, weapons, beer, and fresh socks. The couple, who are here on vacation from China, were able to eventually subdue Mr. Hart, where they subsequently tied him to a park bench. Hart later escaped.

According to the couple, after they had captured him and tied him up, they ate a nice dinner, and then engaged in a game of Yahtzee with another couple who were also staying at the campsite. When the woman went to make tea, she remembered the incident, and that she and her husband had fastened Hart to the park bench. She then called police. The affable and calm couple said that Mr. Hart took them captive at 8:00pm, just before dark.

The couple, who don't speak fluent English, were confused at first when Hart held up the bailing wire and started "making crazy," as the man explained. Thinking Hart needed help with the wire, or thinking he wanted to play some strange American game, the man said he began laughing and trying to joke with Hart, and at one point of the exchange even had the bailing wire wrapped around Hart's own neck, speculating that this is how the game was played.

Once Hart regained control, however, "He went cuckoo bird, begin calling us names," the man said. "Stupid idiots, communists, Dum-dums, mamba-jambas, and mall rats were just a few of the names Pei said Hart called the couple. When Hart finished berating the couple, he held up the bailing wire like some crazed spangle, and then made disparaging remarks about Japan. When the couple informed him they were from China, Moss replied, "Then why don't you go back to Chiner, Mr. Chang!" Hart said, to Mr. Pei, the Chinese man. "Like confused spoiled child," Pei says, Moss continued to prod, "Don't ever mock me again Mr. Chow Mein, or bring up Chiner, in any conversation with me for any reason, or anything else to do with that, or Japan, or England, or Tennessee, or any country in the universe FOR THAT MATTER! If you say anything to do that has do to with any Chinese matters, I will poke your damned eyes out with this wire!"

At this point, Hart was in a frenzy, "Like Hulk movie, only he very small man, not strong." Pei said. When Pei said to Hart, "What dat?" he was only trying to understand Hart's confusing statement. Hart then seemed further confused and irritated, and began chewing on the collar of his prison shirt. "He does that, his mother says, right before he faints, passes out, or puts his head through the sheetrock of a vertical wall." Doctors think it is related to a childhood incident when he was bitten by a German Shepherd and a Poodle in the same day." She says, "It traumatized him, especially since the poodle was always thought to be friendly."

The man then said to Hart, "Who dat?" This seemed to take the confusion to another level, as Hart began looking behind him, and according to the woman, Hart repeated back to the man, "Who dat?" And then Hart begin speaking in gibberish that the woman said sounded like someone speaking French under water." Sensing Hart's confusion, the couple took advantage of the situation. Using a hand gesture the man claimed to have seen in a Three Stooges movie on American television, Hart seemed instantaneously hypnotized when Pei employed the Stooge hand move. As the bailing wire went slack in front of Hart, and he seemed momentarily stunned, the woman hit him on the side of the head with a tea kettle she swung with both of her hands. The man said, "It sounded like gong in movies. Head had nothing on inside except paper product." Hart hit the sidewalk, head first, like sack of fish, the couple said, only momentarily regaining some consciousness when the man sprinkled him with apple juice.

They tied Hart to the bench with the bailing wire and walked back to their camp to finish their cookout. When Mrs. Pei went to make tea, she remembered Hart when she saw the large dent in her teapot. When the highway patrol arrived, however, Hart was gone, leaving a used band-aid, his old socks, and an empty apple juice can. And still, folks, after this arduous ordeal, after a kidnapping, a confrontation, and a blow to the head, Garber County's own Moss Hart is on the loose again, and more than likely this time with a severe head injury to ad to the insult, and, police think, another stolen vehicle. The police have a pretty good idea that he's heading home to Garber County, where he knows the terrain, the people, and the animals. "He has a special gift with animals, his mother says," especially with older goats and mice. I think its because he talks to animals like they're people, his mother continued, except he hates dogs. He was always a lonely boy."

Moss Hart, escaped from the Salina County jail, armed with only some bailing wire and a dream to come home, is considered dangerous. "Make no mistake, Moss Hart is an escaped criminal and is a danger to himself, to the general public, and quite possibly, some dogs," Chubby Miles, sheriff of Carter County and a criminal behavior expert says. Miles believes Hart would not hesitate to use the bailing wire. "I've seen desperate men do terrible things with much less than bailing wire. For example, a desperate man can do more with a tooth brush than brush his teeth," Miles says. "In the hands of a killer, a toothbrush can become an atom bomb."

"Bailing wire can be used in many ways to cause harm," says our own Garber County sheriff, Billy Kane. "Have you ever seen what bailing wire can do to a cow's leg? I've seen lots of cows get tangled up and cut pretty bad from it."

We will continue to bring the news on Moss, as it comes in. Moss, if you are out there listening, "Son, is all of this worth it? Come on down to the radio station and give yourself up. I believe there are some sandwiches, some aspirin, and a cold beer or two in the fridge, come in son, your momma is worried, and well so is all of Garber County."



Anonymous said...

It worked for me, I was laughing all the way through. There was so much going on toward the end, I thought it might get into slapstick, but then I was watching plays on Sunday night football. When I read it again, I laughed all the way.....vooman of Vooman's Voice.

Gerry said...

Well, it held my interest as it got more zany all the time. Made me want to be up there in Garber County writing some of this stuff and laughing like crazy. You always were a hoot, son. I think this will work, but if it fails it passed some time in a cheerful way and took me back to my country past as it does have that country flavor, it passes muster. said...

My word, what can happen next? That's all I got to say!