Tales From the 'burbs, Part III
By Thomas

Thanks to Steve Brown for helping me with my grammar.

(Mrs. Johanson's kitchen. Mrs. Johanson is listening to a song on the radio)

Mrs. Johanson: <Wheeze> Is it just me or is music deteriorating? In my youth you had to sing. Now it all sounds like it comes out of a computer. <Wheeze> Therefore, it's good to know there're still people who care about quality. Record companies who won't sign deals unless it's...


(The office of Ruttheimer Records. The owner and manager, and Upchuck's father, Charles Ruttheimer II, is sitting behind his desk. He is an older and gray haired version of his offspring. He's in a meeting with Trent. A good looking secretary wearing a skimpy outfit is serving him coffee. Trent doesn't get any.

Secretary: Here you go, Mr. Ruttheimer.

Charles: Thanks, Ashley.

Secretary: It's Tuesday. Ashley's here on Monday. I'm Candy.

Charles: So you are. You can go now. See you tonight.

(Candy leaves)

Charles: (sighs) Women. When I think of all the time in high-school I wasted chasing after them. Call-girls are so much easier to deal with. You were saying, Trent?

Trent: What I said was, that with one album, "Behind my Eyelids" behind us...

Charles: Which was a single. And on vinyl. (looks at Trent's blank face) Which meant that no one could play it. How much did you pay Plush Records to print it?

Trent: That's not the point, man. If you would just give us a chance...

Charles: Who is this "us" you keep referring to? From what I heard, "Mystik Spiral" no longer exists.

Trent: Sure we do. It's only a matter of time before we get back together again. We've broken up before.

Charles: I understood it was final this time. (looks something up on his computer) It says here that Nicholas Campbell can't play anymore due to his drug problem.

Trent: There's no law against drinking gasoline.

Charles: That Max Tyler has been committed to the mental ward.

Trent: Max's not insane. He found Jesus, that's all.

Charles: Jesus is a garden gnome?

Trent: We all have freedom of religion, man.

Charles: And that Jesse Moreno is in jail for sleeping with minors.

Trent: He thought she was a dwarf.

Charles: (leans back) You're looking at this the wrong way, Tent. Getting rid of the others is the best thing that could happen to you. They were holding you back. You have a much better chance going solo.

Trent: What a minute. Are you offering me a contract?

Charles: Well I would. (pause) Except...

Trent: Except what?

Charles: You don't really want to know.

Trent: Tell me anyhow.

Charles: As you wish. (reads from the screen) "Unlike most of the scum that crawls into your office, Trent Lane is a promising musician. He writes decent lyrics, he can play the guitar, and most importantly, he's got that certain something that'll make naive teenage girls drool over him. In fact there is but one thing to prevent you from signing him a record deal."

Trent: (curious) Yes?

Charles: "He doesn't sing very well."

Trent: What!? That is so not true, man. If I could talk to the person who wrote that...

Charles: She's never been wrong before. (shrugs) But why not. (into the intercom) Misty...

(intercom) Candy: Candy.

Charles: Candy. Will you ask my talent spotter to come in here.

(intercom) Candy: Right away, Mr. Ruttheimer.

Charles: (to Trent) She's a genius I tell you. Knows everyone and everything about the Lawndale music scene. Wouldn't know what to do without her.

Trent: She doesn't know me very well. That's for sure.

(The door opens. A young woman dressed in a business suit comes in. It's Monique)

Trent: Monique! You're the one who said I can't sing? How could you?

Monique: Duh. It's my job. And it pays a whole lot more than playing with "The Harpies" ever did.

Trent: I can't believe it. You sold out. You've become "the man".

Monique: Technically that would be "the woman". But you're right. I sold out and it's the smartest thing I ever did. Next to breaking up with you for good of course. You didn't really expect me to keep on dating a guy who lives with his parents?

Trent: But I don't do that anymore. I've got my own trailer now.

Charles & Monique: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!

(Outside Ruttheimer's office. Upchuck is hitting on Candy. A German shepherd is laying on the floor)

Upchuck: Being my dad's secretary sort of makes you my secretary as well. So maybe we could meet after work...?

Candy: Forget it, Upchuck. I'd have to be a crack whore to sink that low.

Upchuck: Uhhh, feisty.

Intercom: ... got my own trailer now... ha ha ha...

Candy: God, what a loser.

Upchuck: (thoughtful) Where you see failure I see opportunity. Or an opportunity to gain access to the lovely Miss Lane anyhow. (to the dog) Come, Igor. It's back to the lab. We've got ourselves a "volunteer". (evil smile) He just doesn't know it yet.

(Upchuck's secret lab. It's built inside a dungeon. Upchuck, wearing a dirty lab coat, is standing at a huge machine full of blinking lights)

(Igor comes over to him. He's carrying a human hand in his mouth)

Upchuck: Bad dog. I told you to stay away from my mannequin.

(There is a knock on the door)

Upchuck: It's open! Come in!

(Trent enters. He's carrying his guitar with him)

Trent: (looks around) Sorry, man. I must have the wrong address. I'm supposed to play at a birthday party. (pause) Hey. You're Ruttheimer's son. The pervert scientist.

Upchuck: That's mad scientist, thank you. It says so right on my mad medical degree. And you didn't get the wrong address. I used it as an excuse to lure you here.

Trent: Oh. That's cool, I guess. Nice place you've got. Looks like as dungeon.

Upchuck: That's because it is a dungeon.

Trent: But aren't we above ground?

Upchuck: Hey, the water table's only four feet below ground. You try building a decent dungeon in this muck.

Trent: And isn't this a strip mall?

Upchuck: Okay. So maybe it's not a real dungeon. But I'm a real mad scientist. Where else am I supposed to hide my secret laboratory?

Trent: Inside a volcano?

Upchuck: Nevermind. Look, Trent, I know about your little "vocal" problem, and I can help you. (points to the machine) This can be your new vocal cords.

Trent: Um... I don't mean to criticize or anything. But how am I supposed to fit that thing inside my throat?

Upchuck: (smiles) You don't. I'll install a sender and a transmitter inside you. They'll intercept the sound when you sing, send it to this machine that'll enrich your voice making it more feminine, and send it back. You'll become an instant success.

Trent: I see. But will sounding more like a girl help me become successful?

Upchuck: Sure it will. Just look at Michael Jackson.

Trent: Eeeeeew!

Upchuck: I mean listen to him.

Trent: Oh. (pause) Hey. What do you want in return?

Upchuck: Oh, that. Just a small favor. Something to freshen up my dungeon.

Trent: Meaning?

Upchuck: Your sister, whom I'll dress in rags and chain to the wall and use as a sex slave.

Trent: What!? You can't have Janey. She does my laundry.

Upchuck: (shrugs) Come on. Surely the life, freedom and dignity of your sister is nothing compared to you becoming famous.

Trent: Hmmm... Good point.

Upchuck: I knew it. Now lie down on the operating table over there. (takes a scalpel from his pocket)

(After the operation. Trent is sitting on the table wearing a bandage over his throat. Upchuck is standing in front of him)

Upchuck: Now try and sing something.

Trent: Now? My throat hurts.

Upchuck: Yeah, now. Jeez, I may be a mad scientist, but it's not like I have all day to do this stuff. I do have other things to do in my life.

(Trent starts singing his song "Icebox Woman". But instead of his usual voice he now sings it in a wonderfully rich and beautiful voice)

Trent: (stops singing) Hey, it really works. Sounding like this I'll get a record deal in no time.

Upchuck: Told you so. Now about my payment. Your lovely sister...

Trent: Your payment. Right.

(Trent takes out a pocket knife and stabs Upchuck in the stomach)

Upchuck: AAAAH!

Trent: You really thought I'd let you have my sister? Now if you'll excuse me. I have to be at the Zen. It's talent night tonight. I'll come back later to pick up the machine.

(Upchuck collapses on the floor. Trent picks up his guitar and leaves)

(At the Zen. Trent is standing on the stage having just finished his first song. The audience is going wild)

Audience: More, more, more, more, more...

(Cut to one of the tables where Ruttheimer II and Monique are sitting)

Charles: What is this? You told me he couldn't sing. Are you trying to ruin me?

Monique: I... I don't understand.

Charles: Then understand this. You're fired.

(Upchuck's lab. Upchuck is laying on the floor in a pool of his own blood)

Upchuck: (whispering) Somehow I always knew this would happen. That I would die a virgin.

(Igor comes over and bites his hand)

Upchuck: (whispering) Bad dog. (pause) No, good dog. Igor, the machine. Drag me over to the machine.

(Igor looks confused)

Upchuck: (whispering) The one with the most blinking lights.

(Igor starts dragging Upchuck over to the machine)

Upchuck: (whispering) I can use the machine to call for help. All I need to do is turn off the receiver and connect the transmitter to the microphone. Lets see what his audience will think of that.

(Igor finishes dragging Upchuck. Upchuck manages to sit up and starts pushing some buttons on the machine)

Upchuck: (coughs up blood) Help. I've been stabbed. I'm at the "My Big 'Uns are Your Big 'Uns" strip mall. Come quickly.

(The Zen)

Trent: ...elp. I've been... bed... my... uns... are your... mall... quikly. (voiceover) It's Upchuck! He's still alive, and he's using the machine to make me say stuff. I have to get back to the lab.

(Cut to another table where the 3 J's are sitting)

Joey: What's he saying. I can't understand a word?

Jeffy: Beats me.

Jamie: Who cares. (loud) We want to hear you sing.

(At Upchuck's lab. Upchuck is lying dead next to the machine. Igor licks his face. Then he begins to howl)

(The Zen)

(Trent starts howling like a dog. This goes on for awhile until the door behind the stage flies open and the owners three doberman enter. They jump onto the stage attacking Trent and tearing him to pieces. Soon blood is running down the stage)

(Cut to the 3 J's table)

Jeffy: What's he doing now?

Jamie: Its a stunt. Like when they break their guitars on the stage.

Joey: Looks kind of cool. (loud) More, more, more.

(Mrs. Johanson's house. Mrs. Johanson is still listening to the radio. Igor is laying at her feet)

Mrs. Johanson: <Wheeze> Talk about a short career. The audience wanted more and they got more. <Wheeze> And even if I'll never hear Trent sing again its still one of my favorite stories. <Wheeze> You see I got to keep the dog. (to Igor) Igor, go get mom a snack.

(Igor leaves and comes back shortly after carrying Tricia's hand in his mouth. He drops it at Mrs. Johanson's feet)

Mrs. Johanson: <Wheeze> Is that a great dog or what?