THE VARIABLE WILLOUGHBY
"A MUCK IN THE WORLDS" #17

EPISODE 5: "YOU'RE A GOD, APOLLO JACQUES" OR "BOYS DON'T HAVE FEATS"
©1994, 1995 ROBERT CIRASA AND JOSEPH BEVILACQUA

 

OPEN ON DAYTIME SOUNDS OF THE OPEN SEA (SEAGULLS, THE SURGING SURF-BREAK OF A BOAT UNDER SAIL) AS WILLOUGHBY AND THE PROFESSOR ARGUE WITH THE URGENCY OF METAPHYSICIANS IN A SNIT.

PROFESSOR: MOST IMPRESSIVE, WILLOUGHBY. THE NIMBLENESS OF YOUR FATHER’S FINGERS TESTIFIES CONVINCINGLY TO YOUR TRUE PARENTAGE—IF INDEED HE IS YOUR REAL FATHER.

WILLOUGHBY: WELL SURE HE IS. I’VE BEEN WATCHIN’ HIM WORK ON MAKIN’ THAT NET EVER SINCE I WAS BORN.

PROFESSOR: IT IS A PRODIGIOUS NET INDEED, RIVALING YOUR OWN BEST HANDIWORK WITH WOOD.

WILLOUGHBY: HE DOES WOOD TOO. HE MADE THIS BOAT!

PROFESSOR: DID HE? ONCE AGAIN, I DO NOT MEAN TO QUESTION THE SUBSTANTIALITY OF YOUR PROGENITOR, WILLOUGHBY, BUT I DO FIND HIS AND YOUR MOTHER’S SUDDEN ARRIVAL OFF THE SHORES OF MOTHER TERRISTA’S FORMIDABLY IMPREGNABLE ISLAND AND OUR NEARLY SUPERNATURAL TRANSPORTATION TO THE DECK OF THIS BOAT TO BE SUSPICIOUSLY AKIN TO OUR FORMER CAPTOR’S ORCHESTRATED DELIRIUMS.

WILLOUGHBY: AWE, PROFESSOR, YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. THIS TRIP’S BEEN PLANNED SINCE THE DAY I WAS BORN. DAD’S A FISHERMAN.

PROFESSOR: I DID DEDUCE HIS OCCUPATION, WILLOUGHBY. IT IS HIS REALITY THAT I QUESTION.

WILLOUGHBY: WELL, THE SEA’S NOT FOR EVERYONE.

PROFESSOR: BUT IS THIS SEA A SEA AT ALL? THIS SALT SPRAY, TRUE BRINE? THESE HEAVING ROLLS, THOSE OF THE TOSSING OCEAN? OR IS IT ALL SOME KINESTHETIC ILLUSION MEANT TO UNDO US? WHY, I HAVE EVEN OBSERVED THE LIKENESS OF A MYTHICAL MERMAID OFF THE STARBOARD, WILLOUGHBY.

WILLOUGHBY: (STRAIGHT) THAT MERMAID’S MY MOM, PROFESSOR. SHE’S A "NEREIAD".

SUDDEN SOUND OF A SEA CREATURE BREACHING THE SEA SURFACE NEARBY. SOUND OF SOMETHING LIKE A LARGE TUNA LANDING ITS FLAPPING BODY ON BOARD THE WOODEN DECK OF THE BOAT. SLIGHT FLAPPING OF FINS IN A PUDDLE ON THE DECK, FOLLOWED BY A BEAT OF SILENCE. (THE FLAPPING SOUND PERIODICALLY UNDERSCORES MOMENTS THROUGHOUT THE FOLLOWING SCENE.) NEREIA, WILLOUGHBY’S MERMAID MOM, HAS THE SUBLIME VOICE OF A SIREN—FULL OF THE SEA’S SIBILANT HUSH AND WHISPER MIXED WITH A VAGUE SPANISH ACCENT AND A GRACEFULLY CADENCED DIGNITY.

NEREIA: (CALLING IN HER LOVELY WHISPER) APOLLO JACQUES.

WILLOUGHBY: (WITH A STRANGELY FATALIST TONE, AS THOUGH THE MEETING WERE LONG EXPECTED) HELLO, MA.

PROFESSOR: AN EXTRAORDINARY ILLUSION, WILLOUGHBY. BUT YOUR MOTHER IS NO FISH. HER CAUDAL FIN RESEMBLES MORE THAT OF A PORPOISE. NO WONDER ANCIENT SAILORS BELIEVED IN SUCH CREATURES. INDEED, WERE IT NOT FOR THE DISTINCTIVE BREASTS OF HER UPPER TORSO, I WOULD BELIEVE IT MYSELF.

NEREIA: APOLLO JACQUES.

WILLOUGHBY: YES, MA. I’M GETTIN’ IT. PROFESSOR, WOULD YOU HELP ME SCOOP UP SOME OF THE SEA? MY MOTHER’S BUCKET IS A LITTLE BIGGER THAN I CAN HANDLE ON MY OWN.

PROFESSOR: IN A MOMENT, WILLOUGHBY. I SEEM TO HAVE FETTERED MYSELF IN YOUR FATHER’S NET. (EXERTION SOUNDS OF P JANGLING HEAVY ROPE OFF OF HIS LIMBS)

WILLOUGHBY: (A LITTLE IMPATIENTLY) HEY DAD, WILL YOU GIVE THE PROFESSOR A HAND THERE? MOM’S GONNA "SALT OUT" HERE IN A FEW MINUTES.

SOUND OF THE ROPES FINALLY FALLING AWAY FROM THE PROFESSOR IN A HEAP AS HE HIMSELF FALLS DOWN WITH A THUMP.

PROFESSOR: THANK YOU, FATHER WILLOUGHBY—AN EXTRAORDINARY DISENTANGLEMENT. FOR A MOMENT, I FEARED BODILY STRANGULATION. WOULD YOU CONSIDER GIVING ME AN INSTRUCTIONAL DEMONSTRATION OF YOUR UNTANGLING TECHNIQUES? I WAS ONCE A STUDENT OF KNOTS. CAN YOU UNDO A BLACKWALL HITCH? A MANROPE? A SHEEPSHANK?

NEREIA: (WEAKLY, HOARSE WITH DEHYDRATION) APOLLO JAAAAAACQUES.

WILLOUGHBY: AW, NOW HE’S GOT THE PROFESSOR AND HIS KNOTS (PRONOUNCED SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE "NUTS") IN THAT STUPID NET. I’M GONNA HAVE TO HAUL THE TUB ABOARD MYSELF AGAIN. THINGS SURE AIN’T CHANGED IN THIS FAMILY!

SOUND OF WILLOUGHBY GRUNTING WITH EXERTION MIXED IN WITH THE SQUEALS OF A HAND-CRANKED NAUTICAL WINCH. (IN BACKGROUND ARE HEARD THE SOUNDS OF THE PROFESSOR ENGROSSED IN FATHER WILLOUGHBY’S UNKNOTINGS.)

PROFESSOR: HMMM... VERY EXPERT. NOW CAN YOU UNDO THIS ONE?

FINALLY, THE WOODEN BUCKET BEING HAULED UP BY WILLOUGHBY, SLOSHING WITH SEA WATER, THUMPS UPON THE DECK, WITH A SPLASH OR TWO WASHING OUT. THEN WILLOUGHBY BEGINS GRUNTING WITH EXERTION AGAIN AS HE PUSHES THE BUCKET OVER TO HIS MOM.

WILLOUGHBY: UMPH... UMPH.... UMPH. (TAKES BREATH BEFORE GRUDGINGLY PRESENTING THE BUCKET TO HIS MOM) HERE YA GO, MA. HOP IN.

SOUND OF A SINGLE FISH FLAP, LIKE THAT OF A FRESHLY NETTED FISH SLAPPING ITS BODY ABOUT AFTER BEING PULLED FROM THE SEA. A SLIGHT SPLASH AS SHE LANDS IN THE BUCKET. HER OCCASIONAL SPLASHES SOUND THROUGHOUT THE FOLLOWING LINES OF DIALOGUE WITH HER SON.

NEREIA: THANK YOU, MY LOVELY CHILD—MY DEAR, DEAR APOLLO JACQUES. YOU NEVER WERE LIKE THAT MALINGERING FATHER OF YOURS! LOOK AT HIM, WITH THAT HEMPEN HEAP ALL ABOUT HIM, FIDGETING WITH HIS FOOL’S KNOTS. HONESTLY, I SOMETIMES THINK HE’S THE LAZIEST MAN IN THE WORLD TO EVER MAKE A NET SO BIG AS TO CATCH EVERY FISH IN THE SEA! OH, HE CAN SAY WHATEVER HE LIKES ABOUT THE ANCIENT RITUALS, BUT I KNOW THE ONLY REASON HE’S WORKED SO HARD AT IT ALL THESE YEARS—EVER SINCE YOU WERE BORN—IS TO SAVE HIMSELF THE TROUBLE OF GOING FISHING ANY MORE THAN ONCE IN HIS LIFE!

WILLOUGHBY: AW, MA, NOT THAT STORY AGAIN, HUH?

NEREIA: (SULKING SLIGHTLY) NO, OF COURSE NOT, APOLLO JACQUES. YOU DON’T LIKE "STORIES" ANYMORE, DO YOU?

WILLOUGHBY: SURE I DO. THE PROFESSOR TELLS ME STORIES ALL THE TIME. ONLY HE CALLS ‘EM "FICTIONS." AND I DON’T BELIEVE ‘EM.

NEREIA: "PROFESSOR"? "FICTIONS?" DO YOU MEAN THAT LITTLE MAN FIDDLING WITH YOUR FATHER’S ROPE THAT I SPOKE TO THIS MORNING ON THE PHONE?

WILLOUGHBY: OH, YEAH, I FORGOT—YOU’VE NEVER ACTUALLY MET HIM, HAVE YA? HEY PROFESSOR—COULD YOU COME ON OVER HERE FOR A SECOND?

PROFESSOR: WHAT? OH... YES... CERTAINLY, WILLOUGHBY. I DO APOLOGIZE. YOUR FATHER’S KNOTS HAVE QUITE SEIZED MY ATTENTION. ER, FATHER WILLOUGHBY—WOULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO REPLACE MY FOREFINGER WHILE I ASSIST YOUR SON? I’M HALF-WAY TO A STUDDING-SAIL TACK BEND. STEADY NOW... THERE. THANK YOU—DON’T LET HER SLIP AWAY. I’LL BE BACK IN A MOMENT. NOW, WILLOUGHBY, WHERE IS THE...? OH—I SEE YOUR, UH, (HESITATING WITH WHAT HE SHOULD CALL HER SINCE HE DOES NOT BELIEVE SHE IS REAL) "MOTHER" HAS ALREADY BEEN TUBBED.

WILLOUGHBY: I TOLD YOU SHE WAS REAL.

NEREIA: (WITH DISDAIN) "FICTIONS"?

PROFESSOR: "FICTIONS"?

WILLOUGHBY: YEAH, YOU KNOW—THOSE STORIES YOU ALWAYS SAY AREN’T REALLY TRUE.

PROFESSOR: WELL, NOT PRECISELY, WILLOUGHBY. STORIES ARE MORE A WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF—AS OPPOSED TO THE FORCEFULLY INDUCED HALLUCINATION IN WHICH WE NOW FIND OURSELVES.

NEREIA: (EITHER IMPATIENT WITH THE PALTRINESS OF HIS REMARKS OR CONFUSED BY THEM) WHAT KIND OF STORY IS THAT?

PROFESSOR: TAKE YOU FOR INSTANCE. THOUGH WE APPEAR TO BE CONVERSING WITH ALL THE REALITY OF THE SEA ABOUT US, IT IS ALMOST CERTAIN THAT I AM NOW STRAPPED TO A GURNEY BACK AT MOTHER TERRISTA’S ISLAND AND SUFFERING THE TORMENTS OF A THOUSAND YOUNG FEMALE CADETS.

NEREIA: (LEWD AND SARCASTIC) NOW THAT’S A GOOD STORY, ISN’T IT, SON?

WILLOUGHBY: PROFESSOR—THIS ISN’T A DREAM! THIS IS MY MOM!

PROFESSOR: WILLOUGHBY, WHEN I LAST SPOKE THIS MORNING TO YOUR MOTHER—YOUR REAL MOTHER, THAT IS—SHE SPOKE OF NO PLANS FOR A SEA JOURNEY. SHE WAS CONCERNED THAT OUR AFTERNOON TOGETHER IN THE LAB MIGHT INTERFERE WITH HER SUPPER PLANS. I ASSURED HER I WOULD BE A RESPONSIBLE NEIGHBOR, AND YOU WOULD ARRIVE HOME PUNCTUALLY—LITTLE SUSPECTING, OF COURSE, THAT THE DAY WHICH HAD BEGUN SO ROUTINELY WITH SOME EMERGENCY DENTAL WORK (THE ANESTHETIC EFFECTS OF WHICH MAY STILL BE HEARD IN THE JOWLY RESONANCE OF MY NOVOCAIN-SWOLLEN CHEEK CHAMBERS) WOULD LAUNCH US UPON THE AMBAGIOUS SPACE-TIME ADVENTURES OF THESE PAST THREE YEARS. AND NOW HERE IS THE POINT, WILLOUGHBY: FOR YOUR MOTHER, THESE YEARS HAVE BEEN NOT EVEN THE PASSING OF AN AFTERNOON—SHE STILL EXPECTS YOU HOME FOR DINNER—ON TIME—WHICH YOU WILL NO DOUBT BE ONCE WE FREE OURSELVES OF OUR CURRENT ENCUMBRANCES. WILLOUGHBY—YOUR MOTHER IS AT HOME—AND MOST PROBABLY IN THE KITCHEN RATHER THAN THE TUB.

WILLOUGHBY: PROFESSOR—MY MOTHER’S A GODDESS. SHE NEVER STAYS HOME.

NEREIA: BUT ON THE SACRED DAYS, I AM ALWAYS WITH YOU, MY PERIPATETIC SON, AM I NOT? HAVE I NOT TRAVERSED THE VERY UNIVERSE ON THIS, YOUR CORK DAY?

WILLOUGHBY: AW MA, I TOLD YA I DON’T WANNA BE CORKED. I LIKE BEING A LITTLE BOY. I HAVE A DOG!

PROFESSOR: NO NEED TO PLEAD JUVENILE IMMUNITY, WILLOUGHBY. EXCEPTION FROM THE STOPPERING UP OF YOUR ORIFICES IS A UNIVERSAL HUMAN FRANCHISE. AND YOUR MATERNAL DOPELGANGER’S THREAT OF THE TORTURE IS ONLY FURTHER EVIDENCE OF HER INAUTHENTIC HUMANITY.

WILLOUGHBY: IT’S NOT A TORTURE PROFESSOR—IT’S A... A... A FIGURE OF SPEECH. ALL THE LITTLE GODS GET "CORKED" WHEN THEY TURN TWELVE. AND NOW IT’S MY TURN, DON’T YA GET IT? IT’S INHUMAN... JUST LIKE MY MOM.

PROFESSOR: WILLOUGHBY, DO YOU MEAN TO SAY THAT TODAY IS YOUR BIRTHDAY?

WILLOUGHBY: WELL, SORT OF. IT WAS THREE YEARS AGO. AND IT’S STILL TODAY. BUT I DON’T KNOW WHETHER I’M TWELVE—OR FIFTEEN.

NEREIA: YOU ARE TO BE ETERNAL, APOLLO JACQUES. YOU ARE TO BE A GOD!

PROFESSOR: YOU ARE TO BE TWELVE, WILLOUGHBY. AND THIS SEA-NYMPH HAS CONFUSED YOU WITH SOMEONE ELSE.

WILLOUGHBY: NO SHE HASN’T, PROFESSOR. SHE WAS THERE WHEN I WAS BORN.

NEREIA: AND EVER SINCE THAT DAY, I HAVE AWAITED THIS ONE—AND THE NEXT ONE—THE DAY OF YOUR TRUE DIVINITY—THE DAY OF YOUR ARRIVAL AT THE WORLD’S OMPHALOS, WHERE ALL CAN BE CAST, AND ALL CAN BE GATHERED—AS BEFITS THE SON OF DEITIES. (DOWN, SARCASTICALLY) THE DAY WHEN THAT MACRAMEING FATHER OF YOURS MUST FINALLY GO FISHING WITH HIS SON AND THROW THAT INTERMINABLE NET INTO THE SEA.

PROFESSOR: ER... MER... MADAM MERMAID—THE OMPHALOS IS A NAVEL WITH AN "E." I BELIEVE YOU HAVE THE WORD CONFUSED WITH ITS NAUTICAL HOMONYM—A NATURAL ENOUGH MISTAKE FOR SOMEONE OF YOUR "SPECIES."

WILLOUGHBY: SHE’S NOT TALKIN’ ABOUT MY BELLY BUTTON, PROFESSOR!

NEREIA: WHERE ALL THE CORK OF THE WORLD COLLECTS. WHERE THE BOY FINISHES WHAT THE FATHER HAS BEGUN. APPLIES THE BUOYS, CASTS THE NET, HAULS THE LIFE. FROM THE POINT WHERE THE NET, PERFECT IN ITS PROPORTIONS, CAN BE TRULY SPREAD. (DOWN, SARCASTICALLY) AND IF YOUR FATHER’S YOUR FATHER, ENMESHES EVERYTHING.

PROFESSOR: CERTAINLY, YOUR TRUE FATHER WOULD DISPLAY JUST SUCH NIMBLENESS OF FINGERS IN HIS NETTING AS DOES OUR PRESENT SHIP’S CAPTAIN, WILLOUGHBY. BUT I ASSURE YOU HE IS AS DELUSIONAL AS YOUR MOTHER, NOT WITHSTANDING HIS SUPERIOR SPECIES SEMBLANCE.

NEREIA: SUPERIOR? THAT MANLY EXCUSE FOR A GOD? WHY HE LOOKS LIKE YOU! YOU DUMPY LITTLE CREATURE.

WILLOUGHBY: (QUIZZICALLY) HE LOOKS LIKE DAD?

PROFESSOR: NOT IN OUR COUNTENANCE, WILLOUGHBY. I BELIEVE SEE MEANS IN THE CORPOREAL IMPRESSION WE MAKE: OUR OUTWARDLY SIMILAR RESEMBLANCE TO REAL FLESH AND BLOOD BEINGS, WHICH I MUST OBSERVE AGAIN SHE IS NOT.

NEREIA: OH, I’M NOT, AM I? I CAN KICK. CAN YOU SWIM?

SOUND OF PROFESSOR BEING WHACKED WITH SHARP FLAP OF MERMAID TAIL. YELLING WITH ITS SMART AND WAILING AS HE TOPPLES OVERBOARD, ENDING WITH A BIG SPLASH. MOMENTS LATER THE PROFESSOR BEGINS FLAILING ABOUT IN THE WATER ALTERNATELY GASPING FOR BREATH AND YELLING FOR HELP.

PROFESSOR: OUCH..........OHHHHHH!

WILLOUGHBY: PROFESSOR!

NEREIA: THERE YOU SEE APOLLO JACQUES. FLESH AND BLOOD ARE NO MATCH FOR THE MUSCLE OF A GOOD TAIL. CAN HE SWIM?

WILLOUGHBY: (ANNOYANCE AND WORRY) NO, HE CAN’T EVEN HOLD HIS BREATH. HE’S "H U M A N," MA.

PROFESSOR GOES UNDER AND IS SILENCED BY THE SOUNDS OF THE SEA.

BEAT.

NERIA: (DRYLY WITH SUPERCILIOUS TONE) WAS HE?

WILLOUGHBY: (BOTH A CRY FOR ASSISTANCE AND A COMPLAINING APPEAL TO HIS FATHER) D-A-D!!

 

SCENE TWO:

SWITCH TO NIGHT SOUNDS OF THE SEA AND THE NOW DRIFTING BOAT: THE SEAGULLS ARE GONE AND THE WAVES LAP GENTLY UPON THE HULL AS NEREIA ENCHANTS HER SON WITH DIVINE ASPIRATIONS.

NEREIA: LOOK, APOLLO JACQUES MARTINEZ-XIOTL-DIEGO-DE’ZULU-GONSALVES! UNCLE ORION STRIDES HIS GIANT FRAME ACROSS THE NIGHT SKY.

WILLOUGHBY: YEAH, YEAH—AND HIS SHOULDER BLEEDING WITH BETELGEUSE—I’VE HEARD IT A THOUSAND TIMES.

NEREIA: BUT YOU’VE NEVER LISTENED TO IT. IT IS AN ETERNAL STORY, APOLLO JACQUES. THAT STORY WHICH WILL NO DOUBT SOMEDAY IMPRESS ITSELF IN THE VERY PATTERN OF THE STARS FOR AGES HENCE—AND HUMILIATE OUR EVERY DESCENDANT WITH THE MYTH OF THE "FOOLISH AND LAZY FISHERMAN" HELD UP FOR ALL TO STUDY IN THE NIGHT SKY FOR AS LONG AS IT LASTS!

WILLOUGHBY: MA, WOULD YA DO ME A FAVOR: CALL ME "WILLOUGHBY".

NEREIA: "WILLOUGHBY"? WHAT IS A "WILLOUGHBY"? ARE YOU SOME SORT OF A TREE INSECT? (ANGRY) THAT "PROFESSOR" WITH HIS "SCIENTIFIC" NAMES!. YOU ARE APOLLO JACQUES! (TAKING AN EXASPERATED BREATH AND TURNING TO DAD, SPEAKING LOUDER AND MORE LIKE A SCOLDING, SHREWISH WIFE) YOU SEE, ARISTOTLE? THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT! HE WANT’S TO BE CALLED "WILLOUGHBY"—LIKE SOME COMMON LITTLE BOY. WELL, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO SAY FOR YOURSELF, YOU WITLESS... KNITTING... MUTE?

NO RESPONSE FOR A MOMENT BUT THE GENTLE SOUNDS OF LAPPING SEA AND CREAKING BOAT, THEN THE WEAK WHISPER OF THE NEAR DEAD PROFESSOR, WHO IS RECOVERING UNDER THE NURSING CARE OF FATHER WILLOUGHBY.

PROFESSOR: (IN A HOARSE AND WEAK DEATH-EXHALATION THAT IRONICALLY RESEMBLES NEREIA’S EARLIER SIREN-LIKE WHISPERS) WIIILLL....LOOOOOOO.....BEEEEEEE. IN... THE.... TREEEE....

NEREIA: SHUT HIM UP, ARISTOTLE, BEFORE I DROWN HIM AGAIN!

WILLOUGHBY: (IN COMFORTING BED-TIME WHISPERS) IT’S ALL RIGHT, PROFESSOR, I’M RIGHT HERE. SAVE YOUR BREATH. GO BACK TO SLEEP. DON’T WORRY—DAD’LL FISH YA OUT AGAIN. AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. WON’T YA, DAD?

SILENCE OF THE NIGHT SEA.

WILLOUGHBY: THANKS, DAD. (IN HUSH) I THINK HE’S ASLEEP NOW.

NEREIA: (IN A MALICIOUSLY SARCASTIC WHISPER) OH, GOOD. NOW IF WE COULD ONLY GET UNCLE ORION TO TIP-TOE ACROSS THE SKY, PERHAPS HE’LL NEVER WAKE.

WILLOUGHBY: I’LL BET HE WOULD—HE’S GOT A DOG, YA KNOW! RIGHT THERE UNDERNEATH HIS FEET.

NEREIA: (EXHORTING HIM TO GREATER AMBITION) LOOK NORTH! TO THE ARMS OF HERCULES UPON THE HORIZON!

WILLOUGHBY: AW, MA—CAN’T WE EVER TALK ABOUT ANYTHING BUT FAMILY?

NEREIA: ALL RIGHT. LET’S TALK ABOUT FEATS. YOUR FEATS.

WILLOUGHBY: BOYS DON’T HAVE FEATS! AND WE GET ALONG JUST FINE WITHOUT ‘EM. THEY’RE ONLY IMPORTANT TO YOU CAUSE YOU’RE A MERMAID!

NEREIA: "MERMAID!?" DON’T YOU DARE USE THAT OBSCENTY IN THE PRESENCE OF YOUR MOTHER, APOLLO JACQUES! APOLOGIZE!

WILLOUGHBY: BUT I DIDN’T MEAN IT THAT WAY! THAT’S JUST YOUR...

NEREIA: SCIENCE IS WASTED ON A GOD! YOUR VERY INFANT DROOLS BEGAT A GREATER BOUNTY. ARCHERY IS WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN! BOWMANSHIP--SEAMANSHIP--NETMANSHIP: THE FEATS OF DIVINITY!

WILLOUGHBY: FORGET IT, MA. I’M NO GOOD AT SPORTS. DAD’S TRIED A MILLION TIMES TO EXPLAIN HIS KNOTS TO ME, AND I JUST CAN’T GET IT. HEY--WHY CAN’T HE DO ALL THIS STUFF FOR ME? IT’S HIS NET ANYWAY. HEY, HOW ABOUT IT, DAD? .... DAD? .... DAD? HEY, WHERE’D HE GO?

NEREIA: THE TIME IS COME, APOLLO JACQUES.

WILLOUGHBY: BUT THERE’S SOMETHIN’ WRONG HERE, MA. DAD WOULDN’T JUST GO AND LEAVE HIS NET IN A BIG LUMP LIKE THAT.

NEREIA: LISTEN CAREFULLY, MY SON. SOON YOU WILL SEE RISING UP OUT OF THE SEA WITH THE STORM-RIDDEN DAWN A GREAT MOUNT IN THE DISTANCE. WHEN A BRIGHTNESS SETTLES UPON ITS CREST, YOU MUST TAKE UP YOUR BOW AND WITH YOUR STRONGLY LAUNCHED SHAFT, PIERCE ITS MISTY CRAG. THEN WILL THE SEA OPEN TO YOU; THEN MUST YOU CAREER THE WHIRLING CURRENT; THEN MUST YOU CAST THE NET AND HAUL THE LIFE. FAREWELL, APOLLO JACQUES--GOD TO BE.

SOUND OF NEREIA JUMPING OVERBOARD WITH A SPLASH, LEAVING WILLOUGHBY UPON THE BECALMED SEA WITH JUST THE SOUND OF LAPPING UPON THE HULL.

WILLOUGHBY: (BEAT) BYE, MA.

SUDDEN SOUND OF ENORMOUS CLAP OF THUNDER, ENOUGH TO SHAKE EVERY WOOFER IN NEW YORK.

PROFESSOR: WILLOUGHBY! PLEASE! SAVE YOUR THUNDEROUS BOWLING FOR SOME VAN WINKLE! I AM MERELY LETHARGIC, NOT COMATOSE.

WILLOUGHBY: BOWLING ISN'T A HEAVENLY SPORT, PROFESSOR! I GOTTA SHOOT AN AROOW.

PROFESSOR: MY BOWLING WAS A METAPHOR, WILLOUGHBY, AND MY ALLUSION, LITERARY. YOUR THUNDER IS NO FICTION.

WILLOUGHBY: YOU BET IT'S NOT. IT'S FEATS! AND NOW! YOU GOTTA HELP ME! DAD'S DISAPPEARED, AND I NEED A BOW!

PROFESSOR: ABOARD AS WE ARE UPON THIS SHIP, WILLOUGHBY, THE PROPER PRONUNCIATION OF THAT WORD WOULD BE "BOW," AS IN YOUR VESSEL'S FOREPART. I FEAR YOU HAVE INHERITED YOUR MOTHER'S PROPENSITY FOR NAUTICAL MALAPROPS.

WILLOUGHBY: IT AIN'T A PROP, PROFESSOR. IT'S MY FATHER'S FATHER'S FATHER'S... FATHER'S... ERGGGHHH... THING YA SHOOT ARROWS WITH!!! IT'S MY FIRST BIRTHDAY FEAT.

PROFESSOR: OF COURSE--THE WEAPON RITUAL. A RITE OF PRIMITIVE MAN AS WELL. USUALLY AN SECRETED MALE HEIRLOOM... PARTLY EMBEDDED WITHIN SOME SACRED ANCHOR...

WILLOUGHBY: THERE'S NO ANCHOR ON THIS SHIP. DAD DIDN'T BELIEVE IN 'EM... HE WAS A FREE-FLOATER. ALL WE EVER HAD WAS A BUCKET AND A NET!

PROFESSOR: OF COURSE, WILLOUGHBY! UNCOOP THAT BUCKET!

WILLOUGHBY: BUT THAT'S MY MOTHER'S BUCKET, PROFESSOR!

PROFESSOR: WARPED STAVES MAKE HARDY BOWS, WILLOUGHBY. EMPTY AND DISASSEMBLE IT!

WILLOUGHBY: OH, ALL RIGHT--BUT I KNOW MOM'S JUST GONNA MAKE ME FIX AND FILL IT AGAIN.

SOUND OF WILLOUGHBY EXERTING HIMSELF TO TIP THE BUCKET OVER, SPILLING WATER OUT ONTO THE DECK, THEN INDUSTRIALLY KNOCKING APART THE BUCKET LUMBER TILL HE FINISHES WITH A BREATH OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AND THE SOUND OF A SINGLE PLANK FALLING UPON THE OTHERS. SIMULTANEOUS TO WILLOUGHBY'S LABOR ARE THE SEA AND WIND SOUNDS OF AN INCREASINGLY AGITATED ATMOSPHERE.

WILLOUGHBY: THERE! NOW

PROFESSOR: GOOD. NOW GRAB THE TRAILING END THERE TO YOUR FATHER'S HEAP OF HEMP, AND UNBRAID AN TWO ARM'S LENGTH OF A SINGLE STRAND.

WILLOUGHBY: I CAN'T DO THAT, PROFESSOR! THAT HEAP IS MY FINAL FEAT!

PROFESSOR: FIRST BEFORE FINAL, WILLOUGHBY--EVEN TO GODHEAD--IF YOU WOULD BE A GOD. (BEAT; DROP TO VERY SERIOUS AND INTIMATE TONE) WOULD YOU, WILLOUGHBY?

WILLOUGHBY: (BEAT, AWKWARDLY STALLING) AHHHHHHHHHHH.... HOW CAN I STRING THIS STAVE WITHOUT ANY NOCKS? AND WHERE DO I GET AN ARROW?!

PROFESSOR: THE ARROW IS WITHIN YOU, WILLOUGHBY.

WILLOUGHBY: (BEAT) I GOT IT! THE MARLIN SPIKE! IT'S A LITTLE HEAVY BUT IT'S POINTY AND SHARP. IT'LL BE HELL TO SHOOT BUT I THINK I CAN DO IT.

PROFESSOR: PERHAPS A FOOT OR TWO, WILLOUGHBY. BUT THE SHEER WEIGHT AND AERODYNAMICS OF THE SPIKE WILL ONLY IMPEDE ANY FURTHER FLIGHT.

WILLOUGHBY: BUT I GOTTA SHOOT IT OVER THE HORIZON, INTO THAT MOUNTAIN OVER THERE COMIN' OUT OF THE SEA WITH THE SON. SEE?

PROFESSOR: (QUIET ASTONISHMENT) IT IS MY DREAM.

WILLOUGHBY: (EXASPERATED AT THE REALITY ISSUE AGAIN) IT'S NOT A DREAM, PROFESSOR--IT'S THE MOUNTAIN AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD!

PROFESSOR: I HAVE SEEN IT IN THE OCEAN DEEPS! SECONDS BEFORE MY RESCUE AT YOUR FATHER'S HAND. AS THE SEA FILLED MY LUNGS AND I RESIGNED MY FATE, I SAW PURGATORY, WILLOUGHBY. IT WAS THAT MOUNTAIN.

WILLOUGHBY: I DIDN’T MEAN IT WAS REALLY COMING OUT OF THE SEA--LITERALLY--PROFESSOR. IT’S JUST FIGURE OF SPEECH! I MEANT IT’S COMING UP OUT OF THE HORIZON. THAT’S JUST WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE--CAUSE IT’S SO FAR AWAY. THAT’S WHY IT’S A FEAT. WATCH.

SOUND OF WILLOUGHBY STRETCHING BOWSTRING AND UNLEASHING THE SPIKE WITH A STRANGELY PONDEROUS TWANG, FOLLOWED BY A WAFFLING AIR SOUND AND THEN SECONDS LATER BY A DISTANT BUT DISCERNABLE THUMP OF IMPACT. IMMEDIATELY, A VOLCANO TREMOR BEGINS BUILDING TO ITS INEVITABLE EXPLOSION.

WILLOUGHBY: SEE? YOU TRY HITTIN’ SOMETHIN’ THAT SMALL WITH YOUR FATHER’S MARLIN SPIKE!

SUDDENLY THE VOLCANO BLOWS, UNLEASHING STORM CONDITIONS--WIND GUSTS, SEA CRASH, RAIN POUNDINGS UPON DECK, AND SQUEALING SHIP TIMBERS.

PROFESSOR: (SHOUTING AND SPITTING HIS WORDS IN THE FACE OF TORRENTIAL RAINS, AND PROFOUNDLY IMPRESSED WITH WILLOUGHBY’S DISPLAY, TO THE POINT OF HAVING HIS OWN SELF-IMPORTANCE SHAKEN) MOST PRODIGIOUS, WILLOUGHBY! YOU GIVE ME CAUSE TO RECONSIDER THE VALUE OF YOUR UNSCIENTIFIC HERITAGE! (BEAT) I BELIEVE I DETECT A... TREMOR... BENEATH THIS... TEMPEST. (BEAT) OH MY! (PANICKED) A TSUNAMI!

SOUND OF BOAT SUDDENLY PICKING UP SPEED, SLICING THE SEA WITH ITS BOW IN AN INCREASINGLY LOUDER SLUSH. A FEW MOMENTS INTO THE SLUSH, THE ROAR OF A DEVELOPING TIDAL WAVE BEGINS TO RISE TOWARD AN IMMINENT ENCOUNTER BETWEEN SHIP AND WAVE.

PROFESSOR: (WITH COMPLETE PANIC) TURN ABOUT FROM THIS MOUNTAIN, WILLOUGHBY!

WILLOUGHBY: (SHOUTING OVER THE NOISE) THAT’S NOT A MOUNTAIN, PROFESSOR. IT’S JUST WATER. IT’S MY SECOND FEAT. I GOTTA SURF THAT THING! HOLD ON, PROFESSOR.

SLUSH BEGINS TO ARTICULATE ITSELF INTO ALTERNATING PATTERNS OF WATER RUSH AND FRICTION SUGGESTIVE OF A SURFBOARD RIDING A TSUNAMI. SUDDENLY, THE WAVE ROAR CLIMAXES AND RECEDES WITH DOPPLER EFFECT, LEAVING JUST THE CREAKING BOAT IN RELATIVE SILENCE UPON THE NOW CALM SEA. OUR HEROES ARE IN THE EYE OF THE STORM.

WILLOUGHBY: WELL, THAT’S TWO DOWN. ONE MORE... (WITH A SLIGHT NOTE OF DREAD)... AND I’M CORKED.

PROFESSOR: (MOMENTARILY RELIEVED, YET NEWLY WONDER STRUCK) WE ARE BECALMED, WILLOUGHBY.

WILLOUGHBY: (GRUDGINGLY) WELL, YEAH, I GUESS I SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT IT. BUT IT’S NOT LIKE HAVIN’ A DOG OR ANYTHING.

PROFESSOR: (MOMENTARILY REGAINING HIS SCIENTIFIC POISE AND PRECISION) NOT PRECISELY. "SEADOGS" ARE CREATURES OF THE FOG BANKS. THESE DOLDRUMS INVADE A DISTURBANCE MORE SUBSTANTIAL THAN MERE MOISTURE.

WILLOUGHBY: MORE LIKE A HURRICANE--YA KNOW, WITH A BIG HOLE IN THE MIDDLE. (SLIGHT BEAT AS WILLOUGHBY SURVEYS THE SEASCAPE AND MUTTERS QUIZZICALLY) EXCEPT DAD SAID IT WOULDN’T BE EMPTY.

SOUND OF A WATER SPOUT, RESEMBLING THE TINKLING SWIRL OF A DRINK BEING STIRRED ABOUT IN A GLASS, ASSAULTING THE BOAT AND THE PROFESSOR IN PARTICULAR AS IT JUMPS ON BOARD AND WHIRLS HIM ABOUT VIOLENTLY IN A FEVERISH DANCE.

PROFESSOR: YOUR FATHER’S NOT... WHOA.. OOHOOO... OOOOOO... WOEEEEE...... OHHHHHHHHHHH...

PROFESSOR: (DESPERATELY) A VORTEX! A WATER SPOUT, WILLOUHBY!

WILLOUBHY: (CORRECTING HIM) IT’S A "SEA SPRITE," PROFESSOR. SEE? IT’S DANCIN. IT’S PART O’ THE FEAT! (SHOUTING INSTRUCTIONS) BUT YOU CAN’T FOLLOW IT, PROFESSOR. IT’LL LEAD YA ‘ROUND THE BOAT UNTIL YOU FALL DOWN DIZZY.

PROFESSOR: (UNSUCCESSFUL) WOOOEEEEE... OOOHHHHH.... OH!

WILLOUGHBY: HERE, ALLOW ME.

SOUND OF THE PROFESSOR FALLING DOWN DIZZILY UPON THE DECK WITH A THUMP AS WILLOUGHBY GRACEFULLY (BUT RAPIDLY, WITH HAPPY FEET SOUNDS) ESCORTS THE WHIRLING SEA SPRITE OFF THE SHIP, AT WHICH POINT THE PROFESSOR BEGINS TO SPEAK HALTINGLY WITH DIZZINESS.

PROFESSSOR: (WEAKLY, BREATHY) OH, MY... SUCH... VERTIGO... THE THING... IS... A... VERITABLE.... DERVISH... OH, MY! (BREATH, THEN WITH GREAT CONCENTRATION) I’M AFRAID I’LL NEED TO HOLD ON TO THE MASTHEAD IF I AM TO REGAIN MY FEET, WILLOUGHBY. PLEASE DRAG ME OVER TO IT.

WILLOUGHBY: NOTHIN’ DOIN’, PROFESSOR! YOU WANT ME TO ELECTROCUTE YA’?

SOUND OF INTENSE ATMOSPHERIC STATIC DISCHARGING INTO LIGHTENING CRACKS AND POPS AS SOME BALL LIGHTENING BEGINS TO BOMBARD THE SHIP.

PROFESSOR: (STARTLED BY THE LIGHTENING POP) OH!

WILLOUGHBY: PUT YOUR ARMS DOWN, PROFESSOR! YA CAN’T CATCH BALL LIGHTENING! YOU’RE HUMAN.

SOUND OF SHARPER STATIC DISCHARGE BECOMES ENRICHED BY A SOFTER AND MODULATED ELECTRO-MAGNETIC HUM AS THE MAST BEGINS TO GLOW WITH ST. ELMO’S FIRE.

PROFESSOR: (AGAIN WONDER STRUCK) THE MAST HEAD, WILLOUGHBY! ST. ELMO’S FIRE!

WILLOUGHBY: AND YOU CAN’T CATCH THAT EITHER. THAT’S WHY I DON’T WANT YA TOUCH IT. HERE HOLD ON TO MY MOTHER’S BUCKET. THAT’S WHAT YOU NEED.

PROFESSOR: (LEANING ONTO THE RIM OF BUCKET IN RELIEF) URR-UH.

WILLOUGHBY: NOW STAND BACK, AND STAY BACK NO MATTER WHAT YOU SEE.

WILLOUGHBY BOLDLY GRABS THE MAST. HUM INCREASES IN INTENSITY AND VOLUME AS WILLOUGHBY BEGINS TO GLOW WITH THE ELECTROMAGNETIC DISCHARGE BEING RELEASED INTO HIS BODY FROM THE MAST.

PROFESSOR: WILLOUGHBY! YOU ARE... GLORIOUS!

ELECTROMAGNETIC HUM MODULATES DOWN TO A SILENCE AS WILLOUGHBY RELEASES HIS HOLD. HIS ENTIRE BODY IS AGLOW AS HE CALMLY APPROACHED THE PROFESSOR.

WILLOUGHBY: HOW DO YA FEEL NOW?

PROFESSOR: WELL ENOUGH TO WALK AGAIN... I THINK. WILLOUGHBY, THIS IS ASTONISHING. I DO BELIEVE YOU ARE A GOD.

WILLOUGHBY: (WITH A SUBTLE NOTE OF REGRET) NOT YET.

THE SUDDEN PELTING OF HALE STONES BOMBARDING THE DECK AND PUMMERING THE PROFESSOR PAINFULLY ABOUT HIS HEAD WHILE WILLOUGHBY APPARENTLY INVULNERABLE TO THE IMPACTS MAINTAINS AN EXTRAORDINARY POISE.

PROFFESOR: (QUITE WILLOUGHBY-LIKE) OUCH! OOCH! OUCH! HALE, WILLOUGHBY! HALE! TAKE COVER!

WILLOUGHBY: NOT YET!!

SUDDENLY THE SOUND OF AN MASSIVE BLIZZARD IS ADDED TO THE HAIL PELTING; BOTH SOUNDS ALTERNATE FROM RIGHT TO LEFT CREATING THE EFFECT OF BOTH STORMS DANCING AROUND THE SHIP.

PROFESSOR: HALE WITH A BLIZZARD?

WILLOUGHBY: NOW YOU CAN GET THE NET. GO AHEAD... GET IT. WE'RE IN THE WHIRLPOOL.

PROFESSOR: WHIRLPOOL!? QUICKLY, WILLOUGHBY... ER... BRING HER... ER, AROUND... UH, ABOUT... AWAY!... BEFORE WE'RE SWALLOWED!

WILLOUGHBY: GET AHOLD A' YOURSELF, PROFESSOR! GO GET THAT NET! THAT'S HOW YA' KEEP FROM GETTIN" SWALLOWED--NOT BY RUNNING AWAY. GO ON!

PROFESSOR: (PANICKED) OH MY... OH... OH... VERY WELL.

THE PROFESSOR, TAKING ON THE WILLOUGHBY ROLE, GRUNTS IN EXERTION AS HE DRAGS THE ENORMOUS NET OUT ITS CORNER, INEXPLICABLY TAKING FATHER WILLOUGHBY’S COMPLETELY ENWRAPPED BODY ALONG WITH IT--WITH A FEW RANDOM THUDS.

PROFESSOR: (MUMBLING BREATHLESSLY TO WILLOUGHBY) OH, MY... HOW HEAVY... YOUR FATHER... HAS MADE.. THIS NET.

NEW STORM SOUNDS ARE ADDED TO THE MIX INCLUDING THUNDER AND VARIOUS DISCRIMINATE WIND NOISES AT DIFFERENT PLACES IN THE SOUNDSCAPE, FOLLOWED FINALLY BY THE BEGINNINGS OF A WHIRL POOL SWIRL.

WILLOUGHBY GROWS ENRAPTURED BY THE STUNNING SCENE PLAYING OUT BEFORE HIM.

WILLOUGHBY: I NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS--SPARKLING SNOW CRYSTALS. HALE BALLS ARE HARD AS YOUR HEAD. THUNDER BOOMS AS BIG AS YA WANT.

(VIOLENT THUNDER CLAP.)

PROFESSOR: OH MY GOD!!

(AWESTRUCK, THE PROFESSOR DROPS THE NET, WHICH SOUNDS SIGNIFICANTLY WEIGHTIER THAN IT DID AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EPISODE--INASMUCH AS FATHER WILLOUGHBY'S DEAD WEIGHT IS NOW PART OF THE COLLAPSING HEAP.)

WILLOUGHBY: HEAVY, HUH? MY FATHER ALWAYS SAID IT WOULD BE. (BEAT) WELL, THIS IS THE END OF THE FEATS--THE NAVEL--THE PLACE WHERE ALL THE CORK OF THE WORLD COLLECTS. (BEAT) IT’S TIME TO UNFURL MY FATHER'S NET. (BEAT) IT'S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE.

BEAT.

PROFESSOR: (SUDDENLY CALM WITH GRAVITY AT WILLOUGHBY'S IMPLICATION, BOTH QUESTIONING AND TENUOUSLY CONFIRMING THE FAREWELL) GOODBYE? (BEAT) "WILLOUGHBY"?

BEAT.

WILLOUGHBY: (EQUALLY GRAVE) YEAH. (BEAT) IT'S TIME. (BEAT) AND IT'S NOT... (INFLECTION LEFT INCOMPLETE, AS THOUGH WILLOUGHBY WERE CHOKING UP; BEAT; THEN RECOVERING WITH A SAD GESTURE THAT IS BOTH A TOKEN OF AFFECTIONATE RESPECT AND AN EXPRESSION OF GENUINE SPIRITUAL NEED)... HELP ME WITH THIS NET, WILL YA, PROFESSOR? IT'S TOO HEAVY FOR A KID LIKE ME.

BEAT.

PROFESSOR: OF COURSE... (BEAT) WILLOUGHBY.

BEAT.

WILLOUGHBY: (GAINING SPIRIT AT THE MOMENT OF COMMUNION) THANKS. (BEAT) NOW HERE: YOU GRAB ONE END AND I’LL GRAB THE OTHER. AND HEAVE ON THREE. OKAY? ONE... TWO... THREEEEEEEEEEE!

SOUNDS OF THEIR RELEASING "UMPH" TRANSFORMING IMMEDIATELY INTO THE AIR/ROPE SOUND OF THE NET UNFURLING INTO THE SEA, WITH THE SURPRISINGLY LARGE SPLASH OF FATHER WILLOUGHBY’S BODY HITTING THE WATER AS ITS CLIMAX (INSTEAD OF THE MILDER AND MORE DIFFUSE SLAP OF THE NET).

PROFESSOR: MY GOD, WILLOUGHBY! YOUR FATHER WAS WRAPPED UP IN THAT NET!

WILLOUGHBY: (WISELY) SO THAT’S WHERE HE WENT. NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE. (NEWLY RESOLVED AND EFFICIENT) PROFESSOR: I'M GOIN' AFTER THAT CORK. I WANT YOU TO STAY HERE. WHEN THE SHIP STARTS SPINNIN' FAST ENOUGH TO MAKE YA' DIZZY AGAIN, LOOK TO THE LARBOARD--RIGHT SMACK IN THE CENTER OF THE WHIRLPOOL. I'LL COME POPPIN' UP OUT THAT DRAIN LIKE A SUPER BUOY (DARE TO PRONOUNCE AS "BOY"?) WITH THE BIGGEST SACK OF CORK YOU’VE EVER SEEN HANGIN’ OVER MY SHOULDER. THEN I’LL GO UNDER AGAIN AND YA WON’T SEE ME FOR A BIT. BUT YOU’LL SEE THE CORK POPPIN’ UP AGAIN ON YOUR STARBOARD. THEN IT’LL BE HUGGIN’ THE HULL--IT’LL BE ALL AROUND YA’! (BEAT; THEN WITH THE INFLECTION OF A REASSURING PROMISE) I’LL BE SEEIN’ YA’, PROFESSOR.

SOUND OF WILLOUBHY DIVING INTO THE SEA WITH A SPLASH, LEAVING BEHIND THE BEWILDERED PROFESSOR.

PROFESSOR: (BEAT; THEN WITH A CONFUSED, BEWILDERED AIR) WILLOUGHBY?

THE STORM AND WHIRLPOOL SOUND EFFECTS INTENSIFY AND THE STARTLED PROFESSOR GROWS MOMENTARILY DISCOMBOBULATED BEFORE CARRYING OUT WILLOUGHBY’S "DIRECTIONS" WITH GIDDY ANXIETY, LIKE A CHILD.

PROFESSOR: OH MY!

A CRACK OF THUNDER INTRODUCES A SEVERE SUCKING SOUND AS THE WHIRLPOOL INTENSIFIES.

PROFESSOR: MY MY MY MY MY NOW WAS IT LARBOARD... OR STARBOARD? YES, LARBOARD--"LOOK--LARBOARD!" WILLOUGHBY?

SOUND OF WILLOUGHBY BREAKING THE SURFACE WITH AN ENORMOUS AND ALMOST DESPERATE SWALLOW OF BREATH, LIKE A SEA ELEPHANT’S.

PROFESSOR: (WITH CHILD-LIKE GLEE) WILLOUGHBY! I SEE YOU, WILLOUGHBY!

SOUND OF WILLOUGHBY DIVING AGAIN WITH A GREAT SPLASH.

PROFESSOR: WAIT, WILLOUGHBY! I CAN’T FIND THE CORK! (CORRECTING HIMSELF IN A WHISPER) NO--THAT WAS ON THE STARBOARD! (SHOUTING TO HIMSELF) LOOK STARBOARD!

AMIDST THE STORM AND CLIMAXING WHIRLPOOL SUCK COMES A SERIES OF POPS AS THE NOW UNBUNDLED CORK SURFACES IN UNCOUNTABLE PIECES.

PROFESSOR: THERE! I SEE IT! WILLOUGBHY--I SEE THE CORK! IT’S ALL AROUND ME!

THE SUCKING WHRILPOOL FINALLY REACHES ITS ZENITH AND EXPELS THE PROFESSOR’S VESSEL WITH THE SQUIRTING SOUND OF A GREASED HOTDOG FLYING OUT OF A PIG’S ASS. (CONSULT WITH BEVILACQUA.)

PROFESSOR: (WITH A STRANGE SURPRISE, AS THOUGH HE HAD BEEN GOOSED BY THE FINGER OF GOD) AHHH...OOOOHHHHH!

STORM, SUCK, SQUIRT, AND SURPRISE ALL CONCLUDE WITH AN ENORMOUS BELLY-FLOP SPLASH OF THE SHIP UPON THE SURFACE OF NOW TRANQUIL SEAS. BEAT. SOUNDS OF SEAGULLS, WAVE LAP, ETC.

PROFESSOR: (DAZED, SPEAKING WITH SHALLOW, QUIET BREATHS) OH MY (BREATH) WILLOUGHBY. (BREATH; SLIGHTLY MORE ALARMED) WILLOUGHBY? (SHOUTING OUT TO THE OCEAN) WILLOUGHBY?!

FOOTSTEPS AS THE PROFESSOR RUNS TO THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE BOAT.

PROFESSOR: (ANXIOUSLY) WILLOUGHBY?! (CALLING OUT LOUDLY) WILLOUGHBY? (BEAT; AN EXHALATION OF UNPLESANT REALIZATION, FOLLOWED IMMEDIATELY BY A WHISPERED, FLEETING AND FUTILE ATTEMPT AT DENIAL) THIS CAN’T BE! BUT... BUT... THIS SHIP... THE OCEAN... (THEN FEARFULLY) THAT MOUNTAIN!

SOUND OF A JOYFUL RYTHMIC BREAKS OF THE SEA’S SURFACE WAY OFF IN THE DISTANCE--LIKE THE LEAP OF MARLIN--CATCHING THE PROFESSOR’S ATTENTION.

PROFESSOR: (SUDDENLY PERKING UP WITH EXCITED HOPE) WILLOUGHBY? (BEAT; CALLING OUT) WILLOUGHBY? IS THAT YOU, WILLOUGHBY?

MORE JOYFUL RYTHMIC SPLASHES.

PROFESSOR: (CONVINCING HIMSELF) YES... YES--IT MUST BE! AND HE HAS HIS FATHER! I’M SURE OF IT!

A NORMAL RANDOM SERIES OF SPASHES THAT CAST RETROSPECTIVE DOUBT ON THE MEANINGFUL PATTERN OF THE PREVIOUS SPLASHES.

PROFESSOR: (THEN DOUBTFULLY) WILLOUGHBY? I’VE LOST HIM AGAINST THE MOUNTAIN. (BEAT; THEN A SUDDEN BURST OF UNDERSTANDING AND ALARM) NO--WILLOUGHBY--THAT’S MY MOUNTAIN! DON’T! YOU’RE A GOD, WILLOUGHBY! (TO HIMSELF) I CAN’T LET HIM DO THAT FOR ME--HE’S ONLY A BOY! (CALLING AGAIN) WAIT--HOLD ON, WILLOUGHBY!

SOUND OF THE PROFESSOR JUMPING OVERBOARD AND SWIMMING AWAY WITH LOUD AWKWARD, SPLASHING STROKES.

PROFESSOR: (STRUGGLING AND SWALLOWING WATER) BLUB... HELP! HELP! I CAN’T SWIM!

SOUNDS OF PROFESSOR FLAILING ABOUT IN THE WATER, THEN SOUNDS OF NEREIA SWIMMING UP UNDERNEATH HIM IN RESCUE.

PROFESSOR: (SURPRISED) OH!

NEREIA: YOU STUPID MAN. HOLD ON TO ME. YOU’VE RUINED EVERYTHING.

NERIA LIFTS THE PROFESSOR UP AND SWIMS OFF TOWARDS MOUNT PURGATORY WITH THE PROFESSOR ON HER BACK.

 

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