<i'm AWAKE!>

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I'm Awake!


by Larry Stark

PAGE ONE
PANEL 1
NARRATION:
It's early morning in his big, expensive home in the suburbs of New York. HARRY CLARK sits alone, endlessly chain-smoking one cigarette after another and gulping the drink at his elbow. You wouldn't think it to look at him, but at only twenty-nine, Harry has a comfortable bank account, a large circle of warm friends, and stands at the head of his profession. Why then has he had no sleep in the past thirty-one hours?
PICTURE:
Harry, in a dressing gown, stubbing a cigarette into a messy, overflowing ash-tray. His face looks rumpled and unshaven.
HARRY:
I'm awake!

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Harry, thinking, picks up a decanter of sherry and prepares to refill his glass. A balloon intrudes from the right-hand panel into the bottom of the block.
HARRY (Thought balloon):
Only an hour or two more and I'll be able to go to the office. Plenty of work there! I'll have lots of things to occupy me, lots of things to keep me awake ! Oh, WHY won't they let me ALONE? If I can just get through the next... WHA..??
BALLOON:
Did you think I wouldn't find you here, Harry?

PANEL 3
PICTURE: SPLASH, filling the whole rest of the page: the sumptuous living-room of a rich bachelor. HARRY at left has dropped decanter in surprise and stares at the doorway, where MISS KITTEN has just entered.. She is a costumed comic heroine, sinuously sexy in revealing leotards, boots, and a broad pair of cat's-eye glasses with no pupils showing. There is an elaborate zap-gun holstered at her hip. She stands haughty and menacing, cape aswirl behind her, dominating the panel.
MISS KITTEN:
Harry, I WARNED you what I'd do if you didn't start treating me differently. How can you expect a girl like me to stay a virgin forever? I want a SEX-LIFE Harry, just a NORMAL sex-life! Is that too much to ask?

PAGE 2
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
Harry has fallen back on the couch in terror. We see over his shoulder MISS KITTEN, larger than life, drawing her zap-gun. There is something feverishly unreal about all this.
HARRY:
No! No! Leave me alone, can't you!!!
MISS KITTEN:
When are you going to give me a break and make a REAL WOMAN of me, Harry? If you don't promise to come across, I'll just have to give you a shot with my little laser...

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Shot past Harry's terrified right ear as a laughing Miss Kitten shoots him point-blank in the face with her ray-gun. The swirls of her hair and her cape have taken on an Art Nouveau intensity.
MISS KITTEN;
Ha-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaaa!!!!!
THE GUN emits a sizzling, high-pitched ZZZEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
Head and shoulders shot of Harry waking up. He has rolled off the couch onto the floor, face down. The sound of the laser has snaked around and whips through the top of the panel.
HARRY:
What's that!.. Oh, it must be my ALARM CLOCK in the bedroom! I've been ASLEEP again!
CAPTION OVER FINAL TWO PANELS:
Harry Clark shaves and showers and, refreshed, drives in to work...

PANEL 4
PICTURE:
Harry has shaved most of the lather from his face, but has put down the razor and talks to himself in the mirror.
HARRY:
Those dreams are so REAL! So VIVID! I'll have to talk to Dr.Zucker about them again this noon...

PANEL 5
PICTURE:
Harry at the wheel of a spiffy sports-car, driving out of a garage. A lush lawn, with trees and hedges, and part of his big house are in deep background.

PAGE 3
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
View forward alongside Harry's car, showing he has stopped in a long traffic-jam around a toll-gate. At the extreme left of the panel, a stirrup hangs from the bulge of a horse's belly, a mailed foot with a wicked spur poised in it. Ballon at panel-bottom comes from the owner of the foot.
HARRY;
Damn it, why do they always have their morning traffic-jam at MY particular toll-gate?
BALLOON:
To put thee in my POWER, Varlet!

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Harry looking out his window. We see, past him, a knight in full armor mounted on a tall, menacing steed. The knight's shield is a black oblong with perfectly square corners, and three strings dangling from three places along one long edge. His sword is a long, blunt-pointed broadsword with a wide square-cornered oblong across the hilt.
BARON BROADSWORD:
Did you think to outrun ME, Sir Harry? You, who have broken every law of chivalry? You, whose very HONOR lies in SHREDS???

PANEL 3
SPLASH: Again, a shot past Harry's ear. The Baron's horse rears, with hugely menacing hooves and fearsomely neighing face, while the Baron has drawn back for a coup-de-grace . It is all a little larger than life. The Horse's NEIGHHHHHHHH whips through the panel.
BARON BROADSWORD:
There can BE no escape for a villain such as you! My horse will trample you like the dog you are!

PANEL 4
PICTURE:
A huge, blunt-fronted truck with an angry driver looms over Harry's tiny VW. Harry inside looks astonished. The NEIGH, turned to EEEP-BEEEP-BEEP-BEEEEEEEEP!!! whips through the top of the panel.
DRIVER:
Hey Mac! Can't you see the road's clear!
HARRY:
Oh my God! I must have dozed off right at the wheel!

PAGE 4
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
SPLASH: Harry steps through a door into a huge office filled with people at desks and drawing-boards. The glass panel of the door reads:
BILL BROCK PUBLICATIONS
"Comics with a Difference!"
On the walls are four huge "personality posters" of MISS KITTEN, BARON BROADSWORD, THE BULK, and DR. SINISTER. Just inside the door, Marie looks up through cat's-eye glasses from the bottles of paints at her colorist's desk.
CAPTION:
It's a relief when Harry finally gets to the office...
MARIE:
Well! Welcome home boss! Say, you look really dragged! Want to check some color-separations for me? Oh hell I forgot! Brock has been bellowing for you for about fifteen minutes already.
HARRY:
Ever known him not to? Maybe you'd better have a strong black coffee waiting for me when I come out! Thanks, Marie.

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Harry and Brock face each other across a desk in Brock's office. He is a gruff, squat line-backer type.
BROCK:
The reports are in from our market-survey team, and sales have never been stronger. We're going ahead with that quarterly giant-issue, but it's got to be on a rush basis! Think you can crank out a new script for each of your characters by next week? I know it's a lot of extra work, but...
HARRY:
That's what you have editors for, isn't it Bill? Sure, I'll make the try. But I haven't been getting much sleep lately...

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
Harry leaves Brock's office and passes Dave's drawing-table on his way to his own desk. Dave holds a long T-square. Brock's baloon projects from the office.
BROCK:
Well, get right on it then. If you get bogged, let me know.
DAVE:
Oh say, Harry, have you got a minute to look at some truly STUNNING pencils?

PAGE 5
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
Harry turns to go to his desk, while Dave holds up his black portfolio and brandishes his T-square.
HARRY:
Wish I did, Dave. I've just been given a whole mess of new stories to write.
DAVE:
New?? Hah! To STEAL, you mean! What from this time? Norse legends? Or something from India? Come on Clark! Just how long has it been since you wrote an original sentence? Hmmmn?

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Harry is at his desk. Marie has come up behind him and put a steaming coffee-cup at his elbow, then stops to give him a cuddle.
MARIE:
Don't mind Dave. He rags everybody! But man, you really look bushed! I keep telling you, things would get a lot better if your life had a feminine touch to it. When you going to give little Marie a chance, humnh? I'm a specialist in BACK-RUBS!
HARRY:
I'd better take a rain-check, sweetheart. If you get me any more relaxed I won't wake up till Monday!

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
Harry hunches over his desk, pen and pad in hand. There is a shadow across the desk, and a balloon from the invisible figure casting it.
HARRY:
Okay, where can we start...? The Doctor will have to menace the world again. Maybe this time with....
BALLOON:
WHY must you always MISCAST me!!

PANEL 4
PICTURE:
Harry looks up to find DR. SINISTER lunging at him, a Bowie- knife in his left hand.
DR. SINISTER:
You always think of me as a crafty villain, and I'm NOT! You must show me REFORMED, fighting villains alongside the OTHER heroes! Rejuvenate me, Harry! Turn me into a hero, or... I'LL CUT YOUR TRIPES OUT!!!

PAGE 6
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
Harry slumped across his pad, suddenly jolted awake, looks at his watch.
HARRY:
Wha..!! Oh shit, another damn DREAM! I've dozed off again. And if I don't hurry I'll be late for Dr. Zucker!

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Reasonably tight shot of Harry sitting on a subway, pad and pen still in hand. Into the panel projects a huge paw-like hand, and a balloon from its unseen owner.
HARRY:
Ideas, ideas! Got to have these new scripts by next week...
BALLOON:
Damn right you have to have them by next week!

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
SPLASH:
Subway car full of terrified people. THE BULK -- an exaggeration of Brock -- has torn a chrome rod from its moorings in floor and ceiling and is about to bash Harry's brains out with it.
THE BULK:
And they better be GOOD this time, Harry Clark, or you won't have anything left to think them up with any more! I'll see to that!

PANEL 4
PICTURE:
Psychiatrist's office. Dr Zucker gestures to a couch, with his left hand, but a distraught Harry sits in a chair.
DR. ZUCKER:
Ah, Mr. Clark! Shall we begin..?
HARRY:
I don't think I should use the couch today, doctor, or I'll fall right asleep! It's these dreams! They've been getting worse. And they're so REAL! I don't know what I'm going to do!

PANEL 5
PICTURE:
Dr.Zucker sits at his desk, taking notes with his left hand.
DR. ZUCKER:
Still the dreams, eh? Perhaps you'd better try to explain...

PAGE 7
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
Dr Zucker calmly explains to a wilted Harry Clark.
CAPTION:
And, at the end of the hour...
DR ZUCKER:
It's apparent that our sessions bring to the surface many things you can handle INTELLECTUALLY but not EMOTIONALLY. You can talk to ME of ambivalent feelings toward Marie, but not to HER. You want to accept ME as a hero, but cast me as a VILLAIN. You face your thirtieth birthday feeling that your scripts have been shallow and untruthful hack-work, and perhaps you make your publisher into an exaggerated father-figure!

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Close-up of Harry's face, disshevelled and depressed.
HARRY:
But I KNOW all that! You're just telling me what I've told YOU in the last four or five sessions. But KNOWING it doesn't HELP! It hasn't made the dreams go away, it doesn't make them less real, and it doesn't Let Me SLEEP!!!

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
Dr. Zucker opens a drawer in his desk and fills a bottle with some capsules.
DR. ZUCKER:
Yes, and it seems to me that sleep is PRECISELY what would help right now, Mr. Clark! I'm going to give you some mild sedatives. They will help you sleep for three or four hours, probably without dreaming. But if you DO dream, try to see your dreams as symbolic PROJECTIONS of reality, not reality itself. If you try to think of what they MEAN, perhaps something useful will develop from them. If I were you, I'd go directly home and try them. If your Mr. Brock has anything to say, tell him to phone me!
HARRY:
Oh, thank you Doctor!

PANEL 4
PICTURE;
Harry leaving the office, Marie, Dave, and Brock waving him off.
CAPTION:
And so Harry took the afternoon off...
BROCK:
Of COURSE I understand! Get some rest for God's sake! And don't think about work till Monday! Hell, if you don't get some rest, you may not LIVE to celebrate your BIRTHDAY tomorrow!
MARIE:
You know what you really need, Harry? A complete CHANGE OF PACE! Something GOOD ought to happen to you, Harry!
DAVE:
Give it a rest, old sport! You'll come through for us! You always do!

PANEL 5
PICTURE:
Harry in bed, takes a capsule. The bedside clock reads five minutes past two.
HARRY:
Okay, let's hope these damn things work!

PAGE 8
PANEL 1
PICTURE:
Harry, in bed, rising refreshed and happier. The clock now reads eight forty-five. A RING-RING-RING floats in from the doorway.
HARRY:
It worked! I've slept for hours ... and Not One DREAM! And now I'm awake, and feeling... Who can that be?

PANEL 2
PICTURE:
Harry in his dressing gown, goes to his front door.
HARRY:
Coming.. Coming! Who could it be at this hour?

PANEL 3
PICTURE:
SPLASH: Harry throws open the door, and Miss Kitten, The Bulk, and Baron Broadsword eagerly fling themselves in at him, all smiling at him, all shouting "SURPRISE!!!" Harry faunches back in abject horror.
HARRY:
No! No, you can't be here! I'm awake! I'm AWAKE I tell you!!
I'm AWAKE!!!!!!!!

PANEL 4
PICTURE:
The living-room. In deep right background Harry sits, in a strait-jacket, Dr. Zucker next to him, hypodermic in hand. In foreground, Marie, Brock, and Dave -- costumed as Miss Kitten, The Bulk, and Baron Broadsword -- are explaining things to a policeman.
BROCK:
We were just trying to cheer him up with a surprise birthday- party! I have no idea what happened, officer. Of course, he's been working pretty hard these days. And he's had some trouble sleeping...


Love,
===Anon.


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THE THEATER MIRROR, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide

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