PET SMOKER           by Matlock Zumsteg

(A woman [man in drag?] in stereotypical 50’s housewife garb stands in the kitchen mixing batter. She looks around, then sneakily licks some batter from the mixing spoon. The front door opens. She spits the batter back into the mixture and continues mixing. In runs a young boy.)

BILLY: Mom! Look what followed me home from school! Can I keep him? Please?

(In walks a man, mid-twenties, smoking a cigarette with a blank look on his face.)

MOTHER: Oh Billy. Now you know you don’t know how to take care of a smoker. We’ve never had one before. They make a terrible mess, they smell bad. And, when we moved in, the owner said specifically "No smokers." Plus they cost so much…

BILLY: I’ll get a job, okay, and we can keep him in the backyard! Please Mom! I LOVE him! (Billy hugs the smokers’ arm tightly. The smoker looks at the boy, then ashes his cigarette on the boys’ head.)

MOTHER: Well…he is kind of cute. All right, you can keep him. But only until we find his family.

BILLY: Yeah! (He jumps up and down excitedly whilst the smoker continues to smoke nonchalantly. Boy looks up at him lovingly.) I think I’ll name him Sparky.

(Next shot: evening. Close up of SPARKYS’ hand, unsuccessfully trying to ignite a lighter to light his cigarette. Pan out to show full shot of SPARKY standing on the back porch in a small backyard. He gets the lighter lit, looks at an empty cigarette pack in his hand and shakes it, frowning. BILLY walks out in footed pajamas.)

BILLY: Hey Sparks! I snuck out to say goodnight.

(Sparky shakes his empty cigarette pack in the air at BILLY and grunts to indicate that he’s out.)

BILLY: I know, boy. I got something for ya.

(BILLY holds out a dog dish filled with cigarettes and an ashtray filled with water from behind his back. He sets them down in front of SPARKY, who has been staring at the smokes in the bowl. BILLY holds his hand out to SPARKY.)

BILLY: Well? C’mon boy, shake!

(SPARKY stares for a second, then reluctantly takes BILLYS’ hand and shakes it. A close-up shot of BILLYS’ face shows a tear run down his cheek dramatically.)

BILLY: I’ll never let anything happen to you, boy!

(BILLY hugs SPARKY tightly, pinning his arms to his sides. SPARKY tries to smoke his cigarette around the boys’ shoulder. He pulls away, takes a drag, and pats BILLY on the head.

BILLY: G’night boy.

(BILLY goes back into the house. SPARKY lifts the ashtray to his mouth and drinks from it. Next shot is of BILLY sneaking through the dark kitchen. MOTHER comes in and flips on the light.

MOTHER: Billy? You let Sparky in the house today, didn’t you?

BILLY: (Shuffling his feet.) No.

MOTHER: Well then how do you explain the ash-stains on the rug and the butts in your fathers’ slippers?

BILLY: I’m sorry. I just love him is all.

MOTHER: Well, how about you take Sparky to the park tomorrow?

BILLY: Yeah! Great idea, Mom!

(They hug.)

BILLY: Love ya, g’night!

(BILLY runs off screen. Next shot daytime. BILLY is running down the sidewalk.)

BILLY: C’mon Sparks! (BILLY jogs past the shot smiling broadly. A few seconds later SPARKY comes into the shot, visibly out of breath. He stops centerscreen and bends, putting his hands on his knees and coughs.)

(Next shot shows SPARKY sitting on a park bench. BILLY waves a ball in front of him to attract his attention, then throws it offscreen. SPARKY has no response. BILLY sighs and runs offscreen after the ball himself. BILLY brings the ball back and shows it to SPARKY, still smiling unwittingly. SPARKY stares blankly, then, after a good beat, flicks the cigarette butt at BILLYS’ head.)

(Next shot shows SPARKY pacing back in forth in the backyard, smoking.)

MOTHER: (From offscreen) Billy! It’s been a while, time to clean up after Sparky.

(BILLY walks onscreen carrying a dustpan and broom.)

BILLY: (Calls over his shoulder) I’m doing it now, Mom! (BILLY squats and a close up shows that he’s sweeping cigarette butts, ash and dog poo into the dustpan.)

BILLY: (Frustrated) Mom, can Sparky use the guest bathroom?

MOTHER: Absolutely not, he’ll leave stains.

BILLY: (Looks up at SPARKY and shrugs.) Sorry boy. (SPARKY shrugs in a "don’t sweat it" fashion.)

(Next shot: morning. BILLY stands at the top of the stairs in pajamas and stretches, as if just having woken up, then jogs happily downstairs. Next shot is the kitchen, where MOTHER is staring worriedly out the window. BILLY skips in.)

BILLY: Hi Mom! What’s for breakfast? (Sits at table.)

MOTHER: Billy honey, I think something’s wrong with Sparky. You’d better come have a look. (BILLY runs to the window distressed.)

(Next shot shows SPARKY through the window, lying half-conscious on the back porch…smoking. Between drags he violently coughs up red and white fluids.)

MOTHER: (Kneeling to take BILLY by the shoulders.) Honey, I think Sparky has cancer. Should I call the shelter and have him put down?

BILLY: (Close up on face as tears well up in his eyes.) No! (Sets his jaw and turns back toward the window dramatically.) He was my smoker. I’ll do it.

(BILLY steps onto the porch with a shotgun where SPARKY is laying. He aims it at SPARKYS’ breast pocket, which contains a cigarette pack. Close up on BILLYS’ face. He takes a breath, looks down the barrel and a shot is heard. Fade into next scene, we hear a toilet flush. BILLY and MOTHER are standing in the bathroom. BILLY is shoving a severed arm down the toilet. BILLY wipes his brow.)


MOTHER: Yes son?

BILLY: Now that Sparkys’ gone, can we get another smoker?

MOTHER: We’ll see, Billy. We’ll see. (Pats him comfortingly as he returns to shoving the arm down. Another flush is heard as the camera pans away. BILLY says offscreen "Next time, I’ll get a younger one. They’re more playful.")


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SOCKO by Matlock Zumsteg and Ken Haus

(Scene opens a a regular guy sitting on a toilet in a public restroom stall, reading a newspaper. A voice comes from somewhere.)

VOICE: Hey you.

(Man looks around and goes back to his paper unconcerned.)

VOICE: Yeah, you with the paper.

(Man looks around confusedly.)


VOICE: Whatcha doin’?

JOHN: I’m…just trying to have some privacy here.

VOICE: Oh yeah?

JOHN: Yeah.


VOICE: Wanna know what I’m doin’?

(JOHN starts to get annoyed, then curious. )

JOHN: Okay, yeah.

(Uncomfortable silence, then he hears pooping sounds from the stall next to him.Cut to JOHNs’ POV as he holds the paper up he looks around him uncomfortably, then lowers the paper slowly to reveal a grinning sock puppet leering up at him from under the wall of the adjacent stall.)

PUPPET: You like that?

(Cuts to puppets POV as man quickly tries to cover himself by pulling his pants halfway up as if the puppet can see him. He looks shocked, then accepting.)

JOHN: Well, yeah, kinda.

(Back to JOHNs’ POV.)

PUPPET: Oh yeah?


JOHN: Yeah. (Looks sort of uncomfortable.)

(Shot of JOHN confused, and getting scared. Shot of PUPPET, a little closer this time. Awkward silence as the camera trades back and forth from John to the PUPPET, closing in a little more with each shot. Close up of PUPPET, now trembling slightly and face is a little scrunched. PUPPET POV shot of JOHN, camera shakes slightly as JOHN looks on almost horrified, then the shaking stops suddenly, then a big plopping poop sound is heard. JOHN looks shocked, horrified, disgusted. Shot of PUPPET, Now with a smile drawn on its face. JOHN, incensed, grabs for the PUPPET, who zips back under the stall. JOHN pulls up his pants quickly and bursts out of the stall, turns, and opens the door of the next stall, revealing the PUPPET, now coming from the stall where he just was. Awkward confrontation silence. Shot of PUPPET.

PUPPET: Hey, whacha doin’?

(Cut to PUPPETs’ POV. JOHN has looks of complete horror and rushes to leave restroom and we hear the PUPPET call after him "Where you goin’?)


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Spending Time with the Elderly                              By Matlock Zumsteg

Announcer: Hello, and welcome back to "Spending time with the Elderly!" Today, we spent some time with Mr. Jonathan Niblitz of Northern Wiskogie Iowa. He tells us about growing up on dairy foods.

John: I remember sitting around on a log with Mr. Abe Lincoln Whenever we got bored with picking cotton. He used to say "BEEEEEES!!!" Whenever we were swarmed by the bees. We would run around screaming "Beeeees!!!" but no one heard us 'cause we lived in iceland and no one else had discovered it yet. Then I remember, and I remember this, he stopped running, took off his hat, turned around, and used that hat to catch every one of those damned things! Then he put it right back on his head and said to me "Now that's Coffee!" My heart!

(The ring of a flatline is heard.)

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This sketch is a mock infomercial. Scene opens on a clean-cut, very enthusiastic infomercial host.

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(At this point we see the testimonies of one woman and two men. They should appear overly enthusiastic and totally false. They appear to be paid actors.)

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(Cut back to Steven.)

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