Iphegenia at Old Country Buffet

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Jacob W. Haller

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Jan 5, 2004, 11:11:56 PM1/5/04
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IPHEGENIA AT OLD COUNTRY BUFFET
A CLASSICAL TRAGEDY IN AN IMAGINARY NUMBER OF ACTS

[The curtain rises on one of those chain restaurants with the buffet
where you can get bacon, sausage, ham, and three or four other types of
pork any time day or night. The CHORUS, clad in shorts and tee shirts
with amusing mottos, enters bearing empty plates.]

CHORUS: The food here is excellent, and such large portions! So unlike
existence, whose quality and quantity are determined by the
fates alone. Still, what choice do we have but to dig in?

[Enter a COURIER.]

COURIER: Man, what a day.

CHORUS: [sympathetically] Indeed, it is a day like any other. We can
only hope the Gods will send us a ray of sunlight soon.

COURIER: Yeah, and the humidity too. Say, you haven't seen anyone named
Ia-vnvnloved-mes, have you? I've been trying to track him down
all morning, but with no luck.

CHORUS: The name escapes us, and we think we would remember one that was
so unpronouncable. We look forward to the invention of the
letter 'u'!

COURIER: You and me both. Stupid Roman alphabet. Well, I guess I'll
have some turkey, dressing, and gravy while I'm here. It's all
you can eat, right?

[He EXITS.]

CHORUS: Indeed, it is all you can eat here. We can only hope that young
Ja-vnvnloved-mes, wherever he is, is able to consume his full
allotment.

[Enter JA-MES, accompanied by COURTIERS.]

JA-MES: Whew, I'm glad this place is still open. This ruling stuff
isn't all I'd hoped. Stupid economy. It's good to take a
break.

COURTIER: But, Ja-mes --

CHORUS: Did you say 'Ja-mes'? Is this then the legendary hyphenated
monarch of Tasmania?

COURTIER: Yes, of course. What business is it of yours?

CHORUS: Nothing, we just overheard. You sure found him quickly!

COURTIER: [looking confused, then enlightenment dawns] No, you're
thinking of the COURIER. I'm a COUR_T_IER, with a T.

CHORUS: Whoops! Our faces are red, much like the --

COURTIER: Yeah, whatever. Can we get back to the important stuff?
Your majasty, what I was saying is that I don't think this is
a good time for a break. The people, they'll see you at this
buffet, and they'll think, "The king, he feasts on pork chops
and mashed potatoes with all the fixins while we starve, the
victims of a curse not of our own doing!"

JA-MES: What if I sneak them out some bread rolls?

[ELEVATOR MUSIC starts playing, and a BLIND PROPHET enters.]

PROPHET: Some might think that I am drawn here by the scent of bacon,
but it is the fates that lead me on, will I or nill I.

CHORUS: That's an odd turn of phrase.

PROPHET: Ah, the chorus. They always know something useful. Tell me,
have you seen a courier here recently? That's 'courier', no
't'.

CHORUS: We hardly think we'll make that mistake again. Anyway, yes. I
think he just went to the rest room.

PROPHET: Oh, good, I have to talk to him.

[He starts to wander off, but Ja-mes notices him.]

JA-MES: Hey, you! You're a prophet, aren't you?

PROPHET: Me? No. I'm a, um, entertainment lawyer.

JA-MES: Dressed like that? Come on. Admit it, you're a prophet.

PROPHET: Fine, you have found me out. Guess you've got twenty-twenty
vision. Too bad.

JA-MES: Oh, envy, fine, great. Let me tell you, it's not so good to be
the king. Do you know what's causing this bad economy?

PROPHET: A lack of prophets?

JA-MES: A lack of -- ? Oh, very funny. Also, circular. Try again.

PROPHET: I do know.

JA-MES: And?

PROPHET: I'm not telling. Neener! You wouldn't like it if I did.
Better for you if you left this restaurant now.

[He exits.]

JA-MES: But I haven't had all I could eat yet!

CHORUS: Excuse us, sir, but we couldn't help overhearing --

JA-MES: What now?

CHORUS: Well, haven't the leading economists said that the economy is
tanking because nobody knows where the hell Tasmania is?

JA-MES: Yeah, that's the problem. Apparently the mapmaker they sent out
to survey the place died before he could report back. Too bad,
too, he was a nice guy and could really hold his beer.

CHORUS: Oh, you met him?

JA-MES: Yeah, that was one of the first things I did, met with the
mapmaker, gave him some of the local delicacies, a bit of the
old 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine' -- he was going
to make Tasmania _the_ tourist destination for years to come!
And then the guy keels over. What are my people going to eat,
that's what I want to know. You can't eat dropbears.

CHORUS: Clearly the fates have dealt you a poor hand.

JA-MES: Yeah, well, what are you going to do? I think I'll go get some
of that apple pie. Maybe that'll give me an idea.

CHORUS: Better an idea than a bellyache.

[He and the courtiers exit.]

CHORUS: Great, now everybody's gone and we're lonely. I guess the gods
hate us. Oh, wait, here comes someone. Never mind.

[Enter the PROPHET and the COURIER arguing.]

COURIER: Look, I was paid to deliver this letter and I'm going to
deliver it.

PROPHET: But it's already ten years overdue! Surely there's no rush
now!

COURIER: Look, my predecessor may have been a little, well, lax about
executing his duties --

CHORUS: We understand his trees grow tall on the mulch created from the
missives of his unfortunate customers.

COURIER: Yes, FINE, you don't have to spell it OUT, I was trying to be
CIRCUMSPECT but leave it to the CHORUS to just blurt things
OUT, but the POINT is I'm trying to make a name for myself and
if that means delivering mail that's a decade old then so be
it!

PROPHET: You'll be sorrrrryyyyyy!

[PROPHET leaves.]

CHORUS: Tell me, have you read the letter yourself? Come now, there's
no need to be sheepish.

COURIER: Well, and this is just between you and me, when I was handling
it earlier it did happen to fall open.

CHORUS: And?

COURIER: Totally boring. A letter from some mapmaker's doctor
describing his food allergies. Who would care?

CHORUS: Uh oh. Maybe you should just ... oh, crap, here he comes.

[JA-MES and his courtiers enter again.]

JA-MES: Hey, who's this?

COURIER: I'm a courier. With no 'T'. Hey, are you Ia-vnvnloved-mes?

JA-MES: So people have named me, although usually they prefer to call
me something a little more pronouncable.

COURIER: [proudly] _I_ have a _letter_ for you!

[He hands it over.]

COURIER: And now I can leave, happy in having satisfied my purpose!

CHORUS: But was your purpose that of healing or were you more of an
executioner's howitzer?

COURIER: Oh, shut up.

CHORUS: Farewell, oh sans-serifed one.

COURIER: I said, shut up.

[He leaves, giving the smallest member of the CHORUS a little shove as
he goes.]

COURTIER: Hey, what's in the letter?

JA-MES: I dunno. Hm, the postmark's ten years old. Well, that's the
post for you.

CHORUS: [hurriedly] You know, it's that old, it can't be important.
Maybe you'd better just throw it out.

JA-MES: Hey, for all you know it could contain the solution to all our
problems!

[The CHORUS chuckles uneasily.]

JA-MES: Well, of course not, but what harm can it do? It's ten years
old ferchrissake! Nothing that old could possibly cause me any
harm.

CHORUS: I hope you're right, but the gods do not always let statements
like that go unchallenged.

JA-MES: Hey, by the same reasoning they _will_ let that go unpassed,
because you said they wouldn't! There, I've tied you in knots!

CHORUS: But by that same token --

JA-MES: Oh, shut up.

[He opens the letter.]

JA-MES: "Dear Ja-mes. Just to let you know, some tests came back and
it turns out that Joe is allergic to Marmite, so don't give him
any or he'll die and your island nation or whatever the hell it
is will be doomed to be an insignificant backwater for ever and
if your people ever find out that it's because you fed your
guest something you shouldn't they'll probably, I don't know,
curse you and throw you out of office or something. So it's a
good thing I'm writing you this letter, huh? Well, anyway, I
hope you're well. Enjoy! Sincerely, ..." I can't read the
signature.

COURTIER: [ashen-faced] That proves it MUST be a doctor's note!

JA-MES: Damn! It's all my fault! What a fool!

[He grabs two bowls of gravy and pours them into his eyes.]

JA-MES: I'VE SEEN TOO MUCH!

CHORUS: It is not for man to say to the fates -- Er. Ew. Gross. Um.
Cleanup in aisle seven?

[A JANITOR enters carrying a mop.]

JANITOR: I think you've just about had enough, sir. Oh, by the way,
there's a mob out there calling for your resignation.

JA-MES: I see. [forced laugh] Geddit, because I just blinded myself,
so --

COURTIER: You're out of a job, sir. We don't have to laugh at your
jokes any more.

JA-MES: Oh.

[He looks dejected. The curtain starts to fall, but when it's halfway
down the PROPHET reenters and the curtain's movement halts.]

PROPHET: I told you so!

[The curtain goes down.]

-jwgh

--
"I don't advocate responding to rudeness with rudeness, but inducing
fear is always a good option."
-- Paula on alt.religion.kibology, 30 November 2003

Jim Vandewalker

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Jan 6, 2004, 10:22:01 AM1/6/04
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In article <1g742tu.g7gw2etsz3dtN%yo...@jwgh.org>, Jacob W. Haller
<yo...@jwgh.org> wrote:

> IPHEGENIA AT OLD COUNTRY BUFFET
> A CLASSICAL TRAGEDY IN AN IMAGINARY NUMBER OF ACTS
>
> [The curtain rises on one of those chain restaurants with the buffet
> where you can get bacon, sausage, ham, and three or four other types of
> pork any time day or night. The CHORUS, clad in shorts and tee shirts
> with amusing mottos, enters bearing empty plates.]
>
> CHORUS: The food here is excellent, and such large portions! So unlike
> existence, whose quality and quantity are determined by the
> fates alone. Still, what choice do we have but to dig in?
>
> [Enter a COURIER.]
>

<some stuff happens>


>
> COURIER: And now I can leave, happy in having satisfied my purpose!
>
> CHORUS: But was your purpose that of healing or were you more of an
> executioner's howitzer?
>
> COURIER: Oh, shut up.
>
> CHORUS: Farewell, oh sans-serifed one.
>

A COURIER is MONOspaced rather than sans-serifed, as I can plainly see
by the font of this post.

--
Jim the Dead Guy

Whosetitanelbow

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Jan 6, 2004, 6:54:05 PM1/6/04
to
yo...@jwgh.org (Jacob W. Haller) schreef in
berichtnieuws...news:1g742tu.g7gw2etsz3dtN%yo...@jwgh.org:

>
> [The curtain goes down.]
>
>
Needs more Teiresias.

--
"So the gamers and the scammers say it's the fault of the critics who tried
to carve through the mumbo-jumbo in the first place." -- Josh Marshall

Tim Serpas

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Jan 6, 2004, 10:11:11 PM1/6/04
to
Jacob W. Haller <yo...@jwgh.org> wrote:
>PROPHET: Ah, the chorus. They always know something useful. Tell me,
> have you seen a courier here recently? That's 'courier', no
> 't'.
>
>CHORUS: We hardly know her!

Blah blah blah, ect ect ect.

Wretch

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