Fatal Purr (Part 5)

Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4

The stage begins to sink again under waves of heroic flourishes from the orchestra. As the surface reaches its halfway-point, CLANK and SCUFFLE become visible, examining the trapdoor from above. The ENGINEERS and SERAGLIO linger below, with only their heads and shoulders in sight.

CLANK: Yep.

SCUFFLE: Definitely.

CLANK: It’s been messed with.

SCUFFLE: Tampered with.

CLANK: Tinkered with.

SCUFFLE: Opened.

CLANK: Cracked.

SCUFFLE: He’s down there.

CLANK: We shouldn’t have let him get away.

SCUFFLE: But we did.

CLANK: The boss was pissed.

SCUFFLE: But we have him now.

CLANK: The boss will be pleased.

The orchestra begins the organ-grinder melody of “Clank N’ Scuffle’s Spankin’ Shuffle.” CLANK and SCUFFLE begin to sing.

SCUFFLE: Our cadaverous canon is growing quite grim

CLANK: Cuz we like to kill on a whim

SCUFFLE: The jackals and crows strike immaculate poses

CLANK: But they’re anything but fit and trim

SCUFFLE: Though we know we’re the cause of their overworked jaws

CLANK: All that we’ll give is a pause

SCUFFLE: We love our job

CLANK: Our methods might verge on the crude or the crass

SCUFFLE: But we’re still magicians first-class

CLANK: Whether pulling gold coins from the hold where your loins were

SCUFFLE: Or flip-flopping your face for your ass

CLANK: And our ultimate trick is so beautiful sick

SCUFFLE: It’s hit you like an ice-pick

CLANK: So bring it!

The song switches gears into a hip-hop groove. CLANK gets down on the floor and breakdances while SCUFFLE raps behind him.

SCUFFLE: Hey Clank is the tank with the spank who’ll make you go boom

To your doom when he looms in bloom

At night, little shite, and your fright is right cuz he’s Death

Or something else

You’re fucked as a duck if you chuck your luck and say “hi”

To this guy, you will cry and cry

He’s black as a sack full of blackest black in his heart

His darkest part

So sing for the king of the stingy thing, the new post-

Master toast-master’ll roast your ghost

It’s time that this slime should sublime a rhyme and speak

Get on your feet!

Now, CLANK raps while SCUFFLE breakdances.

CLANK: Now listen as I introduce you to my buddy Scuffle

This is one bad potato, he’s got motherfucking ruffles

And if you little piggies try to hide, he’ll huff, he’ll puff

He’ll make you shuffle when you walk, because you won’t have any ankles

Acute will be your pain, but obtuse will be the angles

That your limbs are gonna form, but at least you should be thankful

That this bank’ll always pay you back just what you’re due, with interest

If torture were a magic kingdom, he would be the princess

And I’m not talking dragon dicks or fairy pricks or wizard sticks

This is more like ancient lore and blood and gore and nevermore

SCUFFLE rises and, as the music breaks it down to just a heartbeat rhythm on the bass drum, he and CLANK execute their secret handshake in slow motion. The orchestra brings it back in, and they address the audience.

SCUFFLE: Alright now.

CLANK: It’s call-and-response time.

SCUFFLE: Are you ready for this?

CLANK: Shit!

SCUFFLE: Everybody say hi! Ho!

CLANK: Now say hey! Ho!

SCUFFLE: Hi-de-hi-de-hi!

CLANK: Hey-de-hey-de-hey-de-ho!

SCUFFLE: Elephant seal!

CLANK: You can stop now.

The melody reverts to the original, and CLANK and SCUFFLE revert to their proper singing selves.

SCUFFLE: We trust that our treatise has made a deep mark

CLANK: Straight through the shafts of your heart

SCUFFLE: Our fathomless zeal and frenetic appeal

CLANK: And the bloodthirstiness of a shark

SCUFFLE: And the brilliant result is a walking assault

CLANK: On your values, a scathing insult

SCUFFLE: Then pour on salt

CLANK: The deadly cult

SCUFFLE: Two-man gestalt

CLANK: But it’s not our fault

SCUFFLE: We love…

The music ends as CLANK and SCUFFLE embrace.

CLANK: He’s definitely down there.

SCUFFLE: Should we go down and get him?

CLANK: Are you asking me?

SCUFFLE: Yeah.

CLANK: Nah. He’ll come back up.

SCUFFLE: Once he sees what’s down there.

CLANK: Which shouldn’t take long.

SCUFFLE: We can get him right when he comes up.

CLANK: I’ll flog his brains out.

CLANK demonstrates by hitting the trapdoor with his cane.

SCUFFLE: I’ll kick his head in.

SCUFFLE stomps on the trapdoor for effect.

CLANK: Besides, I have to take a leak.

SCUFFLE: Good idea.

ENGINEER #108: Did all that banging count as a sign?

ENGINEER #1: It’s good enough for me.

SERAGLIO: Behold my bravado. Behold!

SERAGLIO leaps onto the ladder, followed by the ENGINEERS. Meanwhile, CLANK opens the center stall and finds its walls still dripping blood.

CLANK: What the…

SCUFFLE turns around to see what’s going on. The stage completes its decline.

SCUFFLE: …the hell?

CLANK: Maybe he didn’t make it down there.

SCUFFLE: If he didn’t open the trapdoor, though…

CLANK: What did?

SCUFFLE: Maybe it’s not a good idea to wait for him to come up.

CLANK: In case what comes up isn’t him.

CLANK and SCUFFLE jump in fright as the trapdoor bangs open. However, when SERAGLIO emerges, they rapidly regain their composure.

SCUFFLE: It’s him!

SERAGLIO: It is them!

CLANK: You’re coming with us.

SCUFFLE: Boy, are you in trouble.

SERAGLIO: Yes, there is much trouble in this factory, which is why you have to take me to see your boss.

CLANK: The boss says we have to take you back, see.

The ENGINEERS emerge from the trapdoor, un-noticed by CLANK or SCUFFLE.

SCUFFLE: We got in trouble because of you.

CLANK: So you’d better not try to run this time.

SCUFFLE: Or we’ll make it so you can never run again.

CLANK: If you’re good, we’ll be good to you.

SCUFFLE: And only mess you up a little.

ENGINEER #1: That won’t be happening.

CLANK and SCUFFLE turn around and see the ENGINEERS.

CLANK: What’s this?

SCUFFLE: It looks like a roach.

CLANK: A little roach and his buddies.

SCUFFLE: Crawled up from Roach-Haven Hall.

ENGINEER #108: You can’t intimidate us. Not anymore. And we know that’s where your real power comes from.

ENGINEER #1: We can easily outmatch you if we take you on as a team.

SCUFFLE grinds his heel into ENGINEER #108’s foot with an agonizing crunch while CLANK shoves his cane into ENGINEER #1’s windpipe and holds it there until ENGINEER #1 turns purple. They then rejoin each other for their secret handshake.

CLANK: Real or not…

SCUFFLE: Power is power.

CLANK: We have it.

SCUFFLE: And you don’t.

CLANK: No matter how much you teem.

ENGINEER #1: Okay, maybe we can’t outmatch you. But…time to think of Plan B…

CLANK and SCUFFLE crow like poison.

ENGINEER #1: Hold on! Don’t be so quick to laugh. You can’t be here. We jammed the lock with a toothpick.

SCUFFLE: We had a bigger toothpick.

ENGINEER #1: Oh…this sucks…

CLANK and SCUFFLE saunter over to SERAGLIO.

CLANK: Now you.

SCUFFLE: Public Relations man.

CLANK: The boss has had a new office built.

SCUFFLE: Just for you.

CLANK: This one’s much more unpleasant.

SCUFFLE: And impossible to escape from.

CLANK looks back at the ENGINEERS.

CLANK: What team are you?

ENGINEER #1: Why should we tell you? So you can report us? Never!

ENGINEER #57: Subordinate Claws Team, sirs.

SCUFFLE: You see?

CLANK: This is respect.

SCUFFLE: The kind that people like us demand.

CLANK: What are you doing here?

ENGINEER #57: We were here when the lock-down started.

SCUFFLE: All of you?

CLANK: Doing what?

ENGINEER #1: Dangerous things.

ENGINEER #108: Diarrhea.

SCUFFLE: Dangerous diarrhea?

ENGINEER #57: If you must know, we had typhoid fever.

CLANK: What do you mean you had it?

SCUFFLE: Isn’t it fatal?

ENGINEER #57: No, this was the twenty-four hour typhoid.

CLANK: In any case, you’d better come with us.

SCUFFLE: You can share the office with your hombre here.

CLANK: There isn’t really room for four, but…

SCUFFLE: There isn’t really room for one either.

CLANK: Speaking of which…

SCUFFLE: There are supposed to be four to a team.

CLANK: What happened to the other one?

ENGINEER #108: Number twenty-four is…

ENGINEER #57 hastily steps in front of ENGINEER #108 and points to the stall second-to-left.

ENGINEER #57: Still in there. I wouldn’t disturb him, if I were you. It could get messy.

SCUFFLE: When will he be out?

CLANK: We’re supposed to bring this guy back pronto.

ENGINEER #108: Never…

SCUFFLE: We can’t wait that long.

CLANK raps on the stall door with his cane.

CLANK: Hurry up in there!

ENGINEER #1: Don’t do that!

SCUFFLE: Why not?

ENGINEER #1: The…fever. It makes you see things. Turns your mind inside out. If he hears you, who knows what he’ll think? What comes out of that stall…won’t be human.

CLANK: What’ll it be, then?

ENGINEER #1: A pyretic maniac.

ENGINEER #57: Pestilent.

ENGINEER #108: Gnashing.

ENGINEER #1: Gushing.

ENGINEER #57: In fact, you’d better stay here until he gets out. To subdue him. We’ll go on ahead.

SCUFFLE: How do we know you won’t try to escape?

ENGINEER #1: We’ll keep an eye on each other.

CLANK: Well…okay. It’s just around the corner.

SCUFFLE: Go out here and make a right.

CLANK: Then make another right at the T-shaped junction.

SCUFFLE: After that, it’s the third left.

CLANK: After the second right.

SCUFFLE: Then you’ll come to a five-way intersection.

CLANK: Take it.

SCUFFLE: Then it’s about fifty-three paces up.

CLANK: On the right.

SCUFFLE: There will be a piss-yellow doorway.

CLANK: You can’t miss it.

SCUFFLE: It’s the same color as the rest of the doors.

CLANK: The combination is one seven oh seven three.

SCUFFLE: Wait five seconds.

CLANK: Then two two two two two to the tune of “Shave And A Haircut.”

SCUFFLE: “Two Bits.”

CLANK: Don’t mess it up.

SCUFFLE: If you do, you’ll set off the alarm.

CLANK: And the gas.

SCUFFLE: The office is right through that door.

CLANK: To the left.

SCUFFLE: Clear?

CLANK: Crystal.

SCUFFLE: Now fuck off.

The ENGINEERS grab SERAGLIO and hurry offstage.

CLANK: That went well.

SCUFFLE: The boss will be pleased.

CLANK: There could have been more struggling.

SCUFFLE: I like it when they struggle.

CLANK: Then, we get to hit them.

SCUFFLE: I like that.

CLANK: He’s pretty quiet for someone with typhoid.

SCUFFLE: Maybe he fell asleep.

CLANK: Let’s wake him up, then.

SCUFFLE: They said there might be…dementia.

CLANK: It can’t be that bad if he can sleep through it.

SCUFFLE: Alright.

SCUFFLE boots the stall door. Inside, something stirs audibly.

CLANK: See, that got him moving.

The door explodes off its hinges and clatters to the floor moments before the TOY, still deranged from her run-in with the toilet bowl, lands atop it. Before they can react, she grabs CLANK and SCUFFLE by their legs and carries them, inverted and screaming, one in each arm, into the center stall. They grab onto the bottom of the door as they go, slamming it shut, but their taut quivering fingers disappear one by one. After some flailing, their hands gain a grip on the top of the door. They pull themselves up to shoulder level, but slip down again, maintaining their grip for only a few seconds with their teeth. Just then, to a well-paced flourish from the orchestra, the stalls slowly retract into the wings and the ENGINEERS enter with SERAGLIO. They find themselves in a spacious purple-lit room. The floor seems to contain, in thin neon lines, a diagram for the room’s construction. The walls are covered in other diagrams, mostly different variations on the theme of the Kit-N-Ex. The entire effect is reminiscent of advanced cave-paintings. The curtained pedestal still stands at the back of the stage.

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