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Ths Strange Case of Doctor Linguo

ACT I

SCENE 1 - DETECTIVE'S OFFICE

Samantha Shovel.  Private Eye.  Hardboiled.  She sits
behind a desk, feet propped up, overturned
bottle.  The usual. Note: Jacques is nothing like
Shovel describes.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
The City. It's a rough place- for those who don't know
their way around and for those who do. I've heard it
said that "down these mean streets a man must go who is
not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor
afraid".  Anyone who's ever worked the City knows
that's a dirty lie pushed by penny-worth dime store
hacks.  When your life's on the line, there's always
time for a quick "Hail Mary" or a count-to-five or
whatever.  I know.  I've been there.  I go down these
mean streets every day, but I'm not unafraid.  Also,
I'm not a man.  Detective Samantha Shovel.  Private
eye.  Not a lucrative business, but one that stays

interesting.


It was a day like any other, except it wasn't.   The
morning was cold and so was my coffee. I was sitting
behind my desk, trying to think of ways to con my
landlord into giving me another month's bye on the
rent, when a tall blonde drink of Scotch on the rocks
walked through the door.  Being a detective, I
immediately sensed that something was wrong.  After a
moment, I realized what it was:  drinks can't walk.  I
blinked.  Turned out it was a man.  Tall, blonde, and
Scotch, it was true, with that rich brogue that could
make statues weak at the knees.  This man starts
babbling to me and he says -

Jacques enters while Shovel is speaking.

JACQUES


Detective- gotta help me here.
Some mischief is afoot, I fear.
There are some mysterious goings-on
Into which I have been drawn.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
(aside)
In my line of work, you deal with all sorts of whackos,
nutjobs and general riff-raff.  Still, when the only
steady work you get is from old ladies demanding you
find their cats for half-price, you gotta take what you
can get.  Still, I have to admit, this was the first
one I'd ever seen take the effort to rhyme.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
All right, calm down, sir.  Who are you?

JACQUES


The name is Jacques- Jacques Cousteau.
Not THAT one. Common name, you know.
I live in town, up on the hill-
The western side of Greenliville.
The town's a pretty quiet place-
For simple life, not too fast-paced.
But something odd is going down,
Since all the people in our town
Are talking quite unnaturally-
That's why I talk in rhyme, you see.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL

(aside)


The fact that he could keep up the rhyme scheme that
long was impressive, I have to admit.  But still, this
didn't quite add up. I've heard a lot of wild stories.
But an entire town talking "unnaturally"
is...intriguing.  This is the case you live for - the
one that could get you your license so you can practice
this job legally.  The case that you can parlay into a
talk show appearance and a combined book-slash-movie
deal that could net millions - or at least enough to
pay off the cashier at the grocery store.  Then I
realized I could stand here all day with this
hardboiled monologue, or I could take the case.  I
decided to take the case.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL


You gotta deal, pal.  It'll cost ya, but I will take
your case.

JACQUES
I thank you for your kind goodwill.
I'm sure that I can foot the bill.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
Fantastic.  Now, then, I suggest we begin at the best
joint in town - you know, the one where all the cool
cats and dogs hang low after hours.  Where would that
be, the bar, the pub...perhaps the tavern?

JACQUES


If it's a tip you're looking for,
I would suggest the footwear store.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
The shoe store.  Well, it's time for your town to bare
its soul.

Detective Shovel pulls out some humorous object
and cocks it like a gun.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
To the shoe store!

SCENE 2 - THE SHOE STORE

The Shoe Store.  It is, indeed, a happening shoe
store.  Shawn the Shoe Store Salesperson is
selling shoes when Detective Shovel and Jacques
enter.  Shawn turns to them.

SHAWN


Salutations! Shoes, sir? Stellar shoe selection- see?
Small shoes, stupendous shoes... surely some shoe suits
such suave shoppers! Select some shoes!

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
We're not here for the shoes, ma'am- I'm a private eye,
you see, here to investigate the outbreak of strange
language that seems to have overtaken the town of
Greenliville.  When did this strange affliction begin?

SHAWN


Saturday. Something seemed strange Saturday- suddenly
spoke s's. Shrugged shoulders, sold shoes. Soon, Samuel
showed. Samuel spoke spoonerisms. Samuel sounds so
silly! Something's sure strange!

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
I see.  So - you rhyme, you alliterate, and he- what
did you say Samuel does?

SHAWN


Spoonerisms. Swapped syllables. "She sells/Sea shells"-
something similar.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
I think you mean a tongue twister.

SHAWN
Sorta.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL

(aside)


So...they all had some language tic, but it was not the
same language tic.  Intriguing...

JACQUES
You said yours started Saturday?
Guess I got mine a different way.
On Friday I began to rhyme:
At noon-ish, Eastern Standard Time.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
So it wasn't all at once, then.  Do either of you know
the first person to start acting strangely?

SHAWN


Slender sour spear salesperson. Sells slimy snacks.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
Slimy snacks? I'm not sure I catch your drift, ma'am.

JACQUES
I'm pretty sure that that would be
The Pickle Proprietor, Penelope.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
Penelope the Pickle Proprietor, eh? Sounds like another
case of alliteration.

SHAWN


Sonnets.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
Really.

SHAWN
Sincerely.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
It seems our investigation bears fruit... or, in this
case, vegetable.  Since our trail leads there, and it
is lunchtime, let's hit the pickle store.

JACQUES


Truly, our fate is rather fickle-
First caught in, and now helped by, pickles.

SCENE 3 - PENELOPE'S PICKLE PARLOR

The pickle store.  Penelope the pickle proprietor
prepares pickle pies in packages for people.
Detective Shovel and Jacques enter.

PENELOPE
Ah, pickles! So tasty and so green
So sour and savory! Truly perfect snacks!
They shine with such a crisp and glossy sheen
And are proven to protect from heart attacks.

JACQUES


Penelope- there is no time to spare!
We have to find out when and why and where
You first contracted this bizarre affliction
That caused your sonnet poetry addiction.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
We have no time for your couplets!  Penelope, when did
you first get...Shakespearean?  Quickly now, lives are
at stake!

PENELOPE


Of normal speech I first became bereft
Two weeks ago. To give you some direction,
The power plant experienced a theft
On that same day. Could there be a connection?

DETECTIVE SHOVEL
A robbery at the power plant? How interesting. Perhaps
this is the lead I've been looking for...

JACQUES


Penelope, thanks for sharing-
But I'm sure it's a red herring.
I think we really can't
Waste time on power plants.

PENELOPE
When two events occur so close in time
You must consider that they might be linked.
Especially when one involves a crime.
I think this case deserves a second think.
And so, if you'll forgive me any snobbery,
It might pay to investigate the robbery.

DETECTIVE SHOVEL

(aside)


How odd.  My companion - so eager to follow the trail -
is suddenly nervous. Something is up there, and I'm
going to get to the bottom of it. The trail ends...at
the power plant.

SCENE 4 - THE POWER PLANT

The Power Plant.  It is a power plant.  Various
radioactive implements litter the stage. The Power
Plant Guy, reading a magazine, sits onstage.  He,
like everything else onstage, bears a radioactive
symbol.  Detective Shovel and Jacques, who looks
very worried, enter.

THE POWER PLANT GUY
Power plant tours are only at noon and 3:00pm.

SHOVEL


We're not here for the tour.  You're the power plant
guy?

THE POWER PLANT GUY
I am the power plant guy.

He does not look up from his magazine.

SHOVEL
I'm a detective investigating the recent outbreak of
strange language in your town, and this is my colleague
Jacques Coustaeu. But not THAT one.

THE POWER PLANT GUY
How 'bout that.

SHOVEL


Listen: we hear there was a break-in at your plant.
Did you see anything?

THE POWER PLANT GUY
I saw nothin'. Except for two guys stealing some
Babelonium from the reactor core and making off with
it, muttering something about how it would power their
Supercharged Stylistic Superweapon. But that was it.

SHOVEL


Do you ever look up from your magazine?

THE POWER PLANT GUY
Nope.

A strange device peeks onstage.  It is the
stylistic Superweapon.  It looks menacing and
vaguely wand-like.  Perhaps it is a melon-baller.
If all our hopes and dreams were fulfilled, it
would glow.

SHOVEL


Well...I hope it's a good magazine.  Anyway -

The Stylistic Superweapon fires, hitting the Power
Plant Guy square in the back.  He twitches.

SHOVEL
About the robbery -

THE POWER PLANT GUY
Ogay awayay! Isthay agazinemay isay eryvay importantay!

SHOVEL


Interesting... Does Pig Latin count as a poetic form?

JACQUES
Detective, we should run away!
I do not think that we should stay!

The stylistic Superweapon fires again, hitting
Detective Shovel.

SHOVEL


Peace and stillness help.
Stay calm like a summer pond.
Do not panic now.

Out leaps DR. LINGUO.  He brandishes a chloroform
rag and the Superweapon.  During the next haiku,
he chloroforms Jacques and drags him offstage.

SHOVEL


Was that a haiku?
Hmm.  Seven syllables here -
And five more here.  AAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Out leaps DR. LINGUO.  Again.  He chloroforms
Detective Shovel and drags her off as the Power
Plant Guy continues to read his magazine. If you
like, Dr. Linguo may yell "Chloroform!" when he
chloroforms Shovel.

THE POWER PLANT GUY
Ownay ackbay ootay imay agazinemay. Ahay,
Ighlightshay.

 


SCENE 5 - DR. LINGUO'S SECRET

LABORATORY

Detective Shovel and Jacques Cousteau are each
tied to a chair on Stage Left. They are
unconscious. Up Center is the Supercharged
Stylistic Superweapon, a large cardboard box, with
airduct hoses as nozzles and a large label with
the above name on it (think Calvin and Hobbes)
(with lava lamp on top, in which the stolen
Babblonium is hidden). Include other detritus
until it seems like a mad scientist works here (as

one does).

DOCTOR
(enters Stage Right)
Now, Jacques Cousteau, you shall tell me where you hid
the Babblonium.

Detective Shovel and Jacques Cousteau do not
respond - they are still asleep.

DOCTOR


Jacques!
(Runs over and shakes Jacques)
Jacques!

To this, Detective Shovel and Jacques awaken.

DOCTOR
Ah. Now you are awake. Mr. Cousteau, where did you put
the Babblonium?

JACQUES


That secret I will never spill
for all the money in the till.

DOCTOR
A rhymer, eh? Well, it serves you right, for running
off with my Babblonium. But don't think that you can
cross Doctor Linguo!
(starts gesticulating to the room - a
warm-up to a full monologue)
I thought we had a good deal. You steal the Babblonium.
You bring the Babblonium to me. I pay you for the
Babblonium. I put the Babblonium in my Supercharged
Stylistic Superweapon, and rule the world. But, No! You
had to run off and keep the Babblonium for yourself.
(move right up in Jacques' face)
I WILL get that Babblonium, or you shall forever rhyme

in couplets.

JACQUES
A harsher fate there couldn't be
Than to let all clearly see
That I gave you all the Babb
And took away their gift of gab

DOCTOR


No matter what you say, I'll find that Babblonium.
I'll... I'll build a Babbloniometer and find where you
hid it. I'll steal some more Babblonium. So really,
there's no point in you keeping the Babblonium from me.
I know you're planning on selling it. I'm not
surprised. Why, I'll even buy it from you. Just show me
where it is.
(walks over and caresses the
Supercharged Stylistic Superweapon)
You see, I need to power this. I have my Stylistic
Superweapon
(holds up his Stylistic Superweapon
(hand sized))
But this, this is tiny.
(Smacks the Supercharged Stylistic

Superweapon)


THIS is a real weapon. My Supercharged Stylistic
Superweapon is strong enough to bring the whole world
to rhyming couplets, limericks, alliteration - whatever
I choose. They shall be at my mercy, and I shall rule
the world, if you would just GIVE ME the Babblonium!


Inspector McStraneous barges in and ruins the
moment for the Doctor.

MCSTRANEOUS
Aha! I have finally found
Your secret lair under the ground!
No more are we fleeced-
Come with the police!
What goes around comes back around!

Doctor marches over, with wand in hand to grouse

at McStraneous

DOCTOR
Inspector McStraneous, what are you doing in my secret
underground laboratory, deep within my castle lair? No,
don't answer. It's like every other time. Strange
goings on, and who does everyone suspect? Of course.
The doctor in the castle. This is just like the time
that everyone in town was speaking in Elizabethan
English, and an angry mob showed up at my doorstep. It
was a Renaissance Fair. Can a scientist get a bit of
evil done without being disturbed these days? No! What
with all the policemen, detectives, and yokels with
pitchforks, it's a wonder I ever get any peace and

quiet.


While the Doctor is ranting at McStraneous,
Jacques and Detective Shovel break out of their
bonds. The Detective goes directly for the Doctor,
while Jacques heads for the Supercharged Stylistic
Superweapon (and the lava lamp, in which the
Babblonium was hidden) to arm the weapon

MCSTRANEOUS
Oh dear Mr. Doctor, please look!
You may be a bit of a crook,
With a Shovel behind you,
I would incline to
turn 'round and give her a hook!

The Doctor turns around, and the Doctor and the
Detective start to struggle.

SHOVEL


When autumn leaves fall,
Time to wait has disappeared.
Jacques, shoot it now, please!

Doctor pushes Detective Shovel to the ground

DOCTOR
Hah! I have you now!


JACQUES
You've left me talking in rhyme
I think it's your turn this time.
The weapon is full up with goo
And now it's fired at you.

Jacques fires the now armed Supercharged Stylistic
Superweapon full in the chest of the Doctor

DOCTOR


Oh noez! I iz hit!!1 U iz in mah base firing mah lazah!

Detective Shovel gets up and steers the now
helpless Doctor over to a chair

SHOVEL
Frozen in LolCat
A winter after your fall
Now your plans are foiled.

DOCTOR


Iz not K! Babblonium was in mah lab, on mah bucket.
Want mah bucket!

JACQUES
I'd call it the scientist's blight
That you never make use of your sight
I'm glad to see that you're mope'n
'cause I left it out in the open.

MCSTRANEOUS
When the clock is ready to strike,
the policeman arrives on his bike.
always in time,
to stop up a crime
McStraneous is someone to like.

SHOVEL


Police have big mouths
But only stand and talk big
Jaws gape like spring carp.

DOCTOR
I iz foiled?  Iz sad now.  Was almost there.  I can has

mercy?

SHOVEL
Silence has its worth
To monologue leads downward
In the end, you lost.

Everyone leaves except for Shovel.

SHOVEL


And life continues.
Got my money and license-
Locked up the bad guy.

What happened to Jacques?
He was not the real Cousteau,
So who really cares?

   

Just kidding- he's fine.
Got community service.
Still talks in rhymes though.

 

As for me, I'm good.
I can get used to haikus.
It's good to be terse.

 

I still walk those streets-
Detective Shovel, P.I.-
Digging up the clues.

THE END