Monday, September 17, 2012


Setting is a laboratory. A number of people look busy there, and smart, like with glasses, and playing with sciencey-looking objects and writing things down on clipboards or tablet computers. Engineer/Scientist 1 runs in.

Engineer/Scientist 1: I've got it!

[Everyone is clearly very excited-- freezing in place, mouths gaping open, dropping things they'd been holding, and so on.]

Others [talking and muttering over each other]: What is it? What is it?

ES1: This will change EVERYTHING! Oh, boy, you guys, you're not going to believe this!

Engineer/Scientist 2: Oh, tell us what it is!

Engineer/Scientist 3: Oh, please, please, tell us! [ES2 + 3 may also talk over each other.]

ES1: Well, you know when a vessel is at sea--

ES3: A boat!

ES1: Yes, that's what I'm thinking of! A boat! Well, you know when one of these BOATS is out at sea, but then it wants to come back to land--

ES2 [clasping his or her hands together]: Yes, yes?

ES1: Well, what does it do?

[Pause. Everyone looks stumped. Some look like they are about to give an answer, but they stop themselves, dumbfounded.]

ES1: That's right. Until now, no one knew what to do. A boat would just have to stay at sea forever and never come back to land, because no one knew what to do about this. Even if someone onboard saw land, even if they got within a few feet of the shoreline, there was no hope, because no one actually knew how to interface with the land. Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...

[ES1 goes and pulls some kind of large board from offstage.]
...the LandinHandin!
[ES1 flips the board to reveal a (silly) (hand-drawn) picture of a pair of giant hands grabbing a small boat from a "sea". The others all make sounds of astonishment and wonder.]

Yes, my friends, behold-- my latest invention acts to take a vessel-- or "BOAT", as my esteemed colleague would say-- from a body of water and bring it back to land, safely and with as few casualties as possible.

[The others all clap and cheer heartily.]

ES3: Marvelous, just marvelous! You have outdone yourself again. And tell us, how much might this device cost the public to implement?

ES1: The cost is TERRIBLY slight. A bargain. Only a billion billion dollars.

[The others make sounds of being impressed and pleased. Many of them nod; some pat each other on the backs.]

ES3: Good show, doctor!

ES1: Yes, thank you. May you all continue to bask in my reflected glow for a great long time.

Others: Yes, yes.

[Suddenly another Engineer/Scientist, #4, comes in with a wicked scowl on his or her face. ES4 seems distinctly evil. Everyone looks quietly stunned at ES4.]

ES4: You thimbleheads! Don't you know??!

[ES3 hides behind another engineer/scientist and peeks out from behind his or her shoulder.]

ES2 [stammering, terrified]: Kn-know what?

ES4: There's already a way for a vessel-- or BOAT-- to interface with the land. It's called... a DOCK!

[Everyone else trembles and winces and lets out little scared whimpers.]

ES1: Th-there... is?

ES4: Yes, yes! And it has been used around the world for years, centuries, perhaps even... longer than centuries!

ES1: No! No! It-- it can't be! But all my research, all my calculations... Are you telling me that... all this has been...

ES4: Yes, yes, you ninglebot! It's all been a big, stinky waste of time and effort!

ES2 [puts his or her hand over his or her mouth in shock]: No!

ES4: And you know what else?

ES1 [possibly about to cry]: What?

ES4: You're a stinky person! Aaaaaa! [laughs demonically and storms out]

[The others gather around ES1 and try to offer consolation.]

ES1: Well... this is... it's not what I had hoped for. But I'm not giving up. I... I still have other inventions. Inventions that will change the world. That's right. I'm not defeated. I'm going to come back stronger than ever. In fact, the LandinHandin wasn't the really great thing I was going to show you. I had something else even better.

[The others perk up and look hopeful and make little hopeful noises.]

It's called... [ES1 hauls another board from offstage.]... the QWEEL!

[The picture on this board is a simple drawing of a wheel. The others all look pleasantly surprised.]

[See the site of National Sketch Writing Month for the meaning of all this.]