Timeless, Sc 9 – 10
Plato once said, “There is no harm in repeating a good thing.” Then again, he also said, that humans are just featherless bipeds. So while him being a truly wise philosopher is a matter up for debate, we do agree that no harm will come in repeating the things we enjoy most. Probably. So with that in mind, why not repeat the previous scenes of Timeless before moving onto this brand new instalment? you can find them here:
All caught up? Good! Then let us not keep you from falling headlong into scenes 9 and 10!
Chapter 3: The Philosophy of Dungeons and Dragons
***Philosophers and Gods***
(The scenery changes to ancient Greek architecture. We find a group of philosophers in the middle of a serious debate.)
Plato: Can we please just focus on the matter at hand?
Aristotle: Which is the fact that we all live in a cave and are essentially blind?
Plato: Yes! I mean, no, obviously we’re not blind, but yes! We are all blind to the truth!
Aristotle: And what exactly is the truth?
Plato: That is the only real question!
Aristotle: No, I’m asking you! What is the truth?
Plato: (Exasperated) I don’t know.
Diogenes: If it’s the chicken thing again –
Plato: How many times do I have to tell you that was just a theory!
Diogenes: Tell that to the poor chicken I had to pluck to prove my point.
Aristotle: Look, the only real truth is the truth we can see with our own eyes!
Plato: Yes, but it’s not the ideal.
Aristotle: Neither is living in a cave!
Plato: I told you, that was just an allegory.
Aristotle: Hey! Here’s one for you. If all philosophers stink and Plato is a philosopher, then Plato must stink, too!
Diogenes: You’re a philosopher too, Aristotle, you logistical nightmare!
Aristotle: That’s not even –
(A sudden bang and a flash and the group of kids appear. The philosophers are all shocked and give the appropriate gasps and ooo’s and aaa’s. They all run and hide.)
Herbert: Alright, let’s get to work.
Max: Hang on, let me just get the feeling back in my face.
Vera: Where is everyone?
Plato: You there! (The group jumps back) Who are you?
Aristotle: Yes, what cave did you crawl out of?
Plato: Shut up.
Herbert: My name is Herbert. We’re looking for –
Diogenes: Herbert? Haven’t heard of a god called Herbert.
Herbert: Oh. No, I’m not a –
Drake: Hang, maybe we can play this to our advantage…
Herbert: Don’t be ridiculous. We’re obviously not gods.
Aristotle: Well, you did just appear out of nowhere.
Herbert: Yes, but –
Plato: You’re not gods? Ah! New students then! Welcome, welcome! Can I interest you in a bit of literature? No? No matter, I have lots of other paraphernalia!
Aristotle: Don’t you mean propaganda?
Plato: You watch your mouth.
Diogenes: Where did you come from?
Herbert: That’s going to take some explaining. Look, I’m really just looking for my sister. Have you seen her?
Diogenes: (Looks around the stage) No. But then, have any of us ever seen anything?
Vera: How about this guy? He looks like he’s seen a few things. (Points to a very stern looking fellow)
Aristotle: Don’t bother asking. He’s a stoic. Pfffft.
Plato: Now, there’s something we can all agree on. Are you sure you are looking for your sister?
Aristotle: But how can you be sure you’re looking for her?
Diogenes: Are you not, in fact, looking for yourself?
Vera: They’re nuts.
Lazarus: Hang on, I think they’re onto something here…
Plato: What is the self?
Aristotle: Where is the self?
Diogenes: And what do you do with the self once you’ve found it?
Plato: I think the actual question here is –
Plato: Is –
Plato: Is –
Lazarus: What?! What is the question?!
Plato: (Triumphantly) Exactly! The question is “what is the question!?”
Lazarus: (After a moment) Yeah, but I knew that already.
Herbert: Look, can you help us or not?
Diogenes: Probably not. We haven’t actually helped anyone in years.
Max: Do you know who can?
Plato: Go ask Zeus.
Max: What? Zeus, like the god Zeus?
Aristotle: Yes. He is the king of the gods. If anyone can help you find your sister, he can!
Drake: Do you know where he is?
(All the philosophers point in different directions)
Drake: You don’t know, do you?
Aristotle: How dare you? We know everything!
Plato: But honestly, no. He doesn’t come around much. Not since we made him vanish in a puff of logic.
Herbert: A puff of what?
Diogenes: We may or may not have accidentally, logically, proven that he… doesn’t exist.
Aristotle: He’s all sour with us, now, so he mostly just hangs out on his mountain, sulking.
Plato: We assume.
Herbert: Which way’s the mountain? (All the philosophers point in one direction. They all look slowly up at the mountain in the distance. Drake whistles) Well, thanks for your help.
Aristotle: Don’t mention it.
Diogenes: Actually, do. May help our rep, just a little.
Plato: Hey, I just remembered! It’s two-for-one olives at the agora tonight! Let’s go!
Drake: Are we honestly climbing that?
Max: What? Scared of heights?
Drake: No. It’s falling then hitting the bottom that frightens me.
Herbert: Come on. We’ll be fine… I think…
(They all ready themselves and head off. At the very top of the mountain, we find Zeus sitting, looking very glum. Next to him is Prometheus. Around them are a bunch of gods, all going about their godly business.)
Prometheus: What? What?! What are you sighing at?
Zeus: Oh. Nothing.
Zeus: (Suddenly) It’s like they don’t even care anymore. Here I am, the mighty Zeus, god of thunder, and they all just blow raspberries at me. I ought to throw down some lightning! See how they like that logic! Never should have given Pandora that box.
Pandora: (Challengingly, from behind Zeus) What did you say?
Zeus: You heard me! Everyone’s thinking for themselves now, thanks to you! Ugh, it’s like Sisyphus all over again. Three times! Three times that guy gets one over on me! Now look at him, rolling that rock of his. Ha! I’d start getting my rolling muscles ready if I were a certain group of philosophers.
(There’s a scuffle heard from off stage. All the gods turn to look in that direction.)
Cerberus: You can’t go in there!
Herbert: We just want to have a word. (The group stumbles in behind Herbert)
Cerberus: Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Zeus: (Looking very impressive all of a sudden) What is the meaning of this? What mortal dares enter the house of Zeus, king of the gods? Speak now! Or be banished forever to the realm of Hades!
Cerberus: Best speak up. If you have to go to Hades, I’m going to be the one who has to take you, and I really don’t like it down there.
Zeus: Silence, Mutt! You’re supposed to be a guard dog, so go guard something.
Cerberus: Guard the door, Cerberus. Don’t wee on the furniture, Cerberus. Put that down, Cerberus. At least master Hades played “fetch the soul” with me every once in a while. (Exit)
Prometheus: Ignore Cerberus. He’s just cranky cause his real name’s Spot. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Prometheus, and this is Zeus.
Zeus: Mightiest of all the gods!
Prometheus: What he said. Welcome to Olympus, little ones.
Max: You’re Prometheus?
Prometheus: Yes. And this is Zeus –
Zeus: Mightiest of –
Max: Yes, but you’re Prometheus!
Prometheus: That’s right?
Max: Why aren’t you chained up?
Prometheus: What do you mean?
Drake: Must not have happened yet, Max.
Max: You’re supposed to be all chained up to a rock.
Prometheus: (With a nervous laugh) What… er… what would I be doing, chained up to a rock?
Vera: Feeding a vulture your own liver.
Prometheus: Why would I be doing that?
Drake: For giving mankind the gift of f –
Prometheus: Flowers! Ah! You saw right through my plan, you little scallywags! (Gives them a very significant look of “shut up.”)
Zeus: Flowers? Why do you want to give the humans flowers?
Prometheus: I thought I might brighten the place up a little. Make the mortals’ hearts… (awkward) warm. You’re right, though, they don’t deserve flowers. Nope, no sir! No flowers for those lousy humans.
Zeus: (Seemingly satisfied with Prometheus’ answers, addresses the group.) What are you doing here, mortals?
Herbert: We’ve come to look for my sister. Have you seen her?
Zeus: Probably. I am Zeus! I see everything!
Herbert: Great! Can you help us find her?
Zeus: Er… what does she look like?
Herbert: A little like me. Same hair. About this tall. Very, very smart.
Zeus: Mmm…Where’d you see her last?
Herbert: At my house. Before she was kidnapped by a time-travelling villain. She’s been hidden somewhere in time.
Zeus: (Trying his best to look like he knows what he’s talking about.) Ah! Well… that’s… simple enough… she’s probably just… floating around… in the void! Yes, that’s it. The Void! Somewhere between here and now!
Drake: I don’t think he knows.
Zeus: No, I don’t… But can I interest you in some thunder and lightning? Huh? A little flash here, a little rumble there? Huh? Huh?
Max: But you’re Zeus? King of the gods! You can do anything!
Zeus: Yes, technically. But really, I’m more of a supervisor. I only work in the department of weather and bad news. If you want an expert in time-travel, you should be speaking with my dad, Kronos.
Drake: Great. Where’s he?
Zeus: I may have… accidentally… cut him into little pieces and scattered them across the world so no one would ever find him. (Sees the look of disgust in the eyes of the children.) Only because he wanted to eat me!
Drake: That’s really becoming a recurring theme, this whole cannibalism thing.
Herbert: So, you can’t help us?
Zeus: I’m afraid not. (He starts to ugly cry.) This is why the humans don’t like me anymore!
Vera: This is… awkward. We should probably just –
Zeus: (Wailing) What can I do?!
Herbert: There, there, shhhhh… no… cry… don’t… Let’s get you a nice warm glass of…whatever it is you drink… and have a nice lie-down. Would you like that?
Zeus: Uh-huh… I just… I just used to be popular, you know? Now it’s all about the philosophy! Just questions, the whole time! Who, what, where, when, why? Why? Why? Why?!
Lazarus: Trust me when I say, these aren’t the questions I’m looking for.
Zeus: (Flying into a rage) Well, I’ll show them! I’ll show all of them! Stupid philosophers, think they’re so smart!
Prometheus: Oh, no. He’s no Aphrodite when he’s like this.
Zeus: Cerberus! Get me the Spartans! We’ll see if those “thinkers” can logic their way out of a good old phalanx to the face! (Zeus off. You can still hear him shouting off stage.)
(The rest stare after him.)
Prometheus: (draws the children aside, urgently) Look, I don’t know where your sister is, but I can tell you that she’s not here. If she was, I’d have known.
Herbert: What good does that do?
Zeus: (From off stage) …And then another thing…
Prometheus: Because knowing where she is not is just as important as knowing where she is.
(There’s a crash and a clatter from off stage)
Zeus: (Off stage) Prometheuuuuus! Where did you put my special lightning bolts?!
Prometheus: Under there!
Zeus: Under where?
Prometheus: (giggles to himself) Just made him say underwear. It’s the little things. Now quick, you have to leave before he remembers you’re humans –
Zeus: (Back on) And you! You, tiny mortals, will be the first to taste of my lightning!
Prometheus: Hey! There he is! Listen, big guy, why don’t you let these ones go, huh? They’re only human. What harm can they do?
Zeus: Well… they hurt my feelings… No! You’re just trying to help them!
Prometheus: They seem nice.
Zeus: Nice? Nice!? A cup of tea is nice. A walk in a field of daisies is nice. They’re not nice! They’re humans! Get out of my way, Prometheus. If you’re not with me, you’re with them!
Prometheus: Well, then, I’m with them.
Zeus: (Gasps. Freezes. Over dramatic) That’s it! Prometheus, I shall be expecting your badge and your pass to the all-you-can-eat ambrosia buffet on my desk in the morning. You’re fired!
Prometheus: (Gasps) You can’t fire me! I quit!
Zeus: You can’t quit if you’ve already been fired!
(They squabble on in the background)
Max: And that’s the story of how Prometheus gave mankind the gift of fire. Someone asked to see his manager.
Vera: We don’t need to see any of this, do we?
Herbert: No, we got we came for. Georgie’s not here. Myra?
Myra: On it.
Lazarus: What a strange time this is. All these questions and not a single one answered.
(Myra slaps the clock and the group disappear.)
***Georgie and Villain have a Discussion
(Meanwhile in an undisclosed location. It is dark. Georgie is fiddling/playing with bits of paper. Villain enters flanked by Creature A and Creature B. Villain casually walks in and sits down, watching Georgie. All is silent and sombre.)
Villain: I’ve brought you more crayons. (Silence) You haven’t eaten. (Silence) Would you like a toy to play with? A teddy-bear perhaps? (Silence) Very well. (Makes to leave)
Georgie: I’m not going to help you, you know.
Villain: It speaks.
Creature A: (Snickering) It speaks!
Creature B: (Snickering) It speaks to us!
Villain: (Twitches her fingers for silence, creatures off.) What is that? (Pointing to her papers.)
Georgie: Nothing that would interest someone like you.
Villain: Humour me.
Georgie: It’s a tree.
Villain: What is it for?
Georgie: It’s a tree. It’s just… a tree.
Villain: Nothing is just something. It must serve a purpose. Why did you make it?
Georgie: I wanted to make something pretty.
Villain: What purpose does beauty serve? (Georgie shrugs.) Ah, I see. Maybe you wanted to liven the place up? It is a little dreary down here. Full of rats. I shall have them… removed…, if they’re bothering you.
Georgie: No! Leave them alone.
Villain: You’d rather have them nibble at your toes?
Georgie: Yes. It’s not so bad. That’s just how they are, can’t blame them for that.
Georgie: What’s strange?
Villain: (Brushes question aside) Your tree. It needs bigger branches.
Villain: To make more shade for people to sit under.
Georgie: If the branches are too big, the tree might fall over.
Villain: Then people can use it as firewood. Keep themselves warm.
Georgie: But then there wouldn’t be a tree.
Villain: Could use the space for something else.
Georgie: I’d rather have the tree, thanks.
Villain: Then the tree is useless.
Georgie: No it’s not. I can look at it.
Georgie: Because it’s beautiful.
Villain: Things are only beautiful when they serve a purpose. When they work as they were meant to. When the form follows the function.
Georgie: The trees’ function is to be beautiful. And I think it works beautifully. You wouldn’t understand.
Villain: You should eat.
Georgie: Not hungry.
Villain: Then you’ll starve.
Georgie: Maybe I will.
Villain: You’d starve rather than help me? Why?
Georgie: Because you would hurt my friends if I help you. My family. My sister. I don’t want that.
Villain: Sacrifice? Why would you do such a thing?
Georgie: Wouldn’t you? If someone wanted to hurt your friends?
Villain: The machine –
Georgie: Is broken.
Villain: Is not.
Georgie: Is too.
Villain: Is not.
Georgie: Is too! I’ve had a look at it. You’ve got it all backwards. The circuits in the Hydro-Electron chamber aren’t providing a positive charge to the –
Villain: – to the neuro-sympathisers, I know. I thought you weren’t going to help?
Georgie: I’m not. I’m just telling you that there’s something wrong with it, not how to fix it.
Villain: It’s not broken, anyway.
Georgie: You did it on purpose? But that would –
Villain: Change everything, yes. That was the idea.
Georgie: You’re a monster.
Villain: No. No. No, I’m not. No, I am not. It had to be done.
Georgie: Well, I’m not going to help you.
Villain: (Angrily) You’ve made that abundantly clear. How is a tree going to help when there is no air to breathe? What use is an ocean, when there are no more fish? What good is a blue sky when the rains burn through steel, stone and flesh? Wars are won with soldiers… monsters… not teddy-bears. You would sacrifice yourself for your friends? Why? Why, when you are clearly the superior mind? Why would you remove yourself from this world so that the weak can survive? Why would you let the rats feed on you when you could simply make them go away… or better yet… when you could feed on them? Maybe you should be allowed to grow up. Maybe you should be allowed to learn these lessons before you speak of beauty.
Georgie: I’m sorry. You’re not a monster.
Villain: Oh? Then what am I? Please, enlighten me with your wisdom.
Georgie: You’re just a scared grown up without a teddy. And a little weird. But that’s ok. Everyone is. Come to think of it, I am a little hungry. Would you like some of this? There’s way too much for just me.
(Villain hesitates for a moment, then sits down and eats with Georgie.)
Georgie: (With a sincere smile) You know, one day I’m going to make the world better.
Villain: I’m counting on it.
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