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The Henhouse Crumbles

[Loner, Sidekick, and Hero are still on-stage from the previous scene. Villain enters, pushing Damsel. All characters watch as he pushes her to center stage and lays her down on her back. He then begins glancing impatiently at his watch]

Sidekick Oh boy! There she is! Quick -- you've got to save her. The train's coming!

[A train whistle sounds in the distance.]

Damsel Aiiieee! Get over here and untie me, dammit! What kind of a hero are you?!

Villain Ha ha! You'll never save her, you do-gooder!

Hero We've been through this. I'm not trying to save her until he wakes up, or we get a new writer.

Villain [Out of character] Oh come on -- you gotta at least try. I'm supposed to say [In character] "You'll never save her you do-gooder!" And you say "Your evil plans can never triumph over the power of good!" Just try it!

[Train whistle sounds again, closer now. Villain looks around nervously.]

Villain Time's running out. That train's getting awful close now.

Sidekick Yeah -- don't you think, maybe, you ought to defeat him already and save her?

Hero Shut up.

Sidekick See, it says right here in my Hero Handbook...

Hero Shut up...

Sidekick [Reads from book] "Always save a Damsel in Distress..."

Hero [Knocks Sidekick to the ground] Shut Up!

[Train whistle again -- really, really close]

Villain [In torment] Augh! I can't take this anymore! If you won't save her, I'll do it myself! [runs to Damsel and tries to untie her knots] Arrgh! I've never had to Un-tie the knots!

Damsel Aiiieee!

[Train whistle sounds again, right on top of them. The light of the train can be seen on stage. Villain looks in the direction of the train and dives out of the way as the train rolls through, whistle blowing madly.]

Damsel [screams and dies] Aiiieee!

All [In discust] Uuuhh!

Villain [Gets up slowly, dazed. Confusion turns to anger.] You killed her! She's dead! You're not supposed to let her die! [Snatches up a convenient sword and begins gesturing with it, not really even noticing what it is.] You're supposed to save her. What's the matter with you?!

Hero [Hero snatches up another sword and begins advancing on Villain.] You villains always take everything so seriously.

[They fight.]

Villain You're supposed to be the hero! You're supposed to save the damsel, but you just let her die! How am I supposed to follow the script if you don't play your part?

Hero Who are you to tell me how to be a hero?

Villain I can be a better hero than you!

[Villain knocks Hero's sword from his hand.]

Villain Let me show you how a real hero fights. [Tosses the foil back to Hero, who redoubles his efforts.]

[Villain falls backwards over something and winds up on his back. He is disarmed, and Hero's sword is at his chest.]

Villain I don't suppose there's any chance of me getting that sword back?

Hero Ah ... no. [Stabs Villain]

Villain I don't get it. When I'm the bad guy, I lose. I can accept that -- that's the way it should be. But I was trying to be the good guy!

Hero Don't you know? The hero always wins in the end.

Sidekick You know -- I don't think you're very nice. I looked up to you! I went to sidekick school to be just like you! But you're no hero! [Snatches up Villain's sword.]

[They fight.]

Sidekick What were you thinking?! You let the lady die. You killed the villain! You've been hitting on the maid! And you ate all the chocolates!

Hero Some Sidekick you are. A real sidekick wouldn't double cross his hero. And I can hit on anybody I like!

Sidekick Your "H" is loose!

[Hero looks down and is knocked off his feet.]

Hero Well, I suppose you're pretty proud of yourself, eh? This is what you always wanted: to get rid of me and become the hero yourself. [Spreads his arms] So go ahead. Do it. If you can.

Sidekick [Trembles for a moment.] No. I won't let you goad me into it. [Drops the sword] Get out of here. [turns his back]

Hero Sucker. [Takes the sword and goes to stab Sidekick in the back. A shot rings out. Hero falls over, dead.]

[Maid enters, carrying a gun]

Sidekick He's dead.

Maid Yes, he is.

Sidekick But why did you kill him?

Maid Some things are right, and some things are wrong. You can only ignore them for so long. I've seen the good, the bad, and the strange walk through this lobby, and for five years now, I've treated them all the same. I've made their beds and cleaned their floors. I always called them ma'am or sir, but never by their name. I've sat on the sidelines and let life walk right by me. [pauses and thinks for a second] Some things are right, and some things are wrong. I'm right this time. For the first time in five years, I've finally done what I knew was right.

Sidekick I wonder what we do now? [Picks up his handbook and glances through it. Maid snatches the book out of his hand and tosses it over her shoulder]

Maid You don't need that anymore.

Sidekick Are you sure?

Maid Yes.

Sidekick But, but what if ... no, I can deal with that. Or what about ... no. I guess you're right! But what do we do now?

Maid Well, it looks like we'll need another hero.

Sidekick And you want me to be your sidekick! Oh, I accept!

Maid No. You're going to be the hero. You've been trained [takes Hero's cape and gives it to Sidekick] and I think you're ready.

Sidekick Thank you. Now I am off to save the world from evil doers! Now I will stop the train, slay the villain, and save the damsel. Let me see. The train. Too late. The Villain! Already dispatched. All I need is a damsel to rescue. Any damsel. Would you mind if I rescued you?

Maid If you really must.

Sidekick Thanks. Fear not fair maiden. I shall save you! [picks her up and starts to run off] Umm... where do we go now?

Maid Anywhere without train tracks through the lobby.

[They exit]