Written by Joe Janes
92 of 365
SUPERHERO SERGIO, 20s
DR. DAMNABLE, 50s
(Lights up on a comic book store. Sergio works behind the counter. Kendra is buying a stack of comic books.)
KENDRAHi, Sergio. How’s it going?
SERGIO“It” isn’t, but I am. I am going, soon, because I am going to be a millionaire.
KENDRAThat’s great. I never knew a millionaire before.
SERGIOKendra, I have worked at this store for five years. I see the comic books that come in and out. I have seen the best sellers, I have seen the stinkers. I have kept a sharp eye.
KENDRAAnd that makes you a millionaire?
SERGIOIt will. Soon, I will be as rich as all the comic book writers you see on these racks. Because I have created my own comic book character.
(In the background, their stories are acted out.)
KENDRAIs he a superhero named Sergio? (Kendra’s superhero appears
in standard hero pose, wind blowing his cape.) I bet he’s tall, muscular, and devilishly handsome. Able to blind purveyors of injustice with just his smile.
SERGIOActually, he’s a zombie. (A zombie appears behind the superhero and bites the superhero in the ear.)
KENDRAZombies aren’t superheroes.
SERGIOBut he’s a good zombie. (The zombie stops when he hears this and throws the superhero’s body offstage, taking over the hero pose.)
KENDRAZombies are inherently not good, Sergio.
SERGIOThis one is. That’s what makes it unique. His name is Phillip. Phillip is a zombie that feels remorse. He accidentally ate his girlfriend and feels bad about it. He vows never to eat another human. Not even bad guys, unless he really has to. He only eats cats.
SERGIOI might rethink that.
KENDRA (excited)Is he one of those speedy zombies?
SERGIODon’t insult me. Of course, he isn’t.
KENDRAThen how does he catch bad guys?
SERGIOHe works with the police. A lady detective named-
SERGIOTawny. Tawny McCougar. (Tawny appears next to Phillip. She also strikes the hands-on-hips hero pose.)
KENDRAShe’s hot, isn’t she? Women named Tawny are always hot.
SERGIOWomen named Tawny are always hot. But I think we can all agree, they don’t age well. And she knows this. It comes in to play later.
KENDRAAnd she’s in love with Phillip! I just knew it.
SERGIONot a first. At first, she hates Phillip. They argue a lot because he’s a zombie. And zombies ate her parents. So, they don’t get along at all. Until Phillip saves her life.
KENDRAHow does he save her life? Please tell me, please.
SERGIOOnly if you promise me you’ll still buy the comic book when it comes out.
KENDRAI promise, I swear.
SERGIOThe bad guy – an evil scientist named Dr. Damnable, Dr. Drake Damnable, who’s actually the cause of all the zombiness - kidnaps Tawny. She’s tied to a chair. (Dr. Damnable comes out and ties Tawny to a chair.) Phillip, who has sworn not to eat or infect another human being, comes in and knocks Dr. Damnable out with a croquet mallet. (Phillip whacks Dr. Damnable in the head. The doctor spins off stage.)
KENDRAOkay. Why a croquet mallet?
SERGIODuh – because Damable’s evil lair is underneath a recreational lawn sports store. Damnable’s Lawn and Garden Games.
KENDRAI think horseshoes would be better. Or a tetherball. What’s a garden game?
SERGIOHe uses a croquet mallet. Period. Sheesh. We’re done here. Take your inferior melancholy vampire books and hit the road, already.
KENDRANo, please. I really want to know what happens next. I promise I’ll buy all the issues of “Phillip the Zombie” and the graphic novel.
SERGIOI will make you sign a paper saying you said that. However, it’s not “Phillip the Zombie.” It’s called “Zombie Process,” get it?
KENDRAYes. No. Maybe. But, probably not.
SERGIOBefore Phillip became a zombie, he worked IT at a big computer company. A zombie process is a Unix process that has terminated and whose parent process has not yet received notification of its termination by executing the wait system call. See? It’s brilliant because it works on so many effing levels. It’s like irony. Sorry, I said “effing.”
KENDRAS’okay. So, Tawny falls in love with Phillip because he saves her from Dr. Damnable.
SERGIONo. Not just. It’s because he was alone in a room with her where she was tied to a chair. He could have eaten her. Easy pickings for a hungry zombie. But instead, he unties her and frees her.
KENDRAThat’s so romantic.
SERGIOWell, I want girls like you to buy the comic book, too.
KENDRAI would totally buy “Zombie Process.”
SERGIOAnd I have the story lines plotted out for the next ten years. In year four, Tawny realizes she’s getting older and wants Phillip to turn her into a zombie so she’ll stop aging.
KENDRAOh. But won’t she then start rotting?
SERGIONot if she lives with Phillip in his customized walk-in meat cooler. But that doesn’t happen until year seven. Phillip breaks up with her to keep himself from succumbing to her will. (Phillips points off, kicking Tawny out, and she walks off.)
KENDRAMan, I wish I was as smart and creative and handsome as you, Sergio. When does the book come out?
SERGIOOh, you know. I’m shopping it around, right now. If I don’t get an offer I like, I might just publish it myself. Keep all the profits all to myself.
KENDRAWell, I’ll keep looking for it on the shelves. (Sergio hands Kendra her bagged comics)
SERGIOYou do that. It’s going to be big. Action figures. Movies. Animated series. A good one. Not crap.
KENDRASee you next Saturday.
(She exits. Sergio grabs a stack of comic books and walks off to the back of the store. Phillip is still standing alone. The superhero, now a zombie, comes back out and attacks Phillip from behind, biting into his shoulder. Blackout.)