Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Humor: The Farters Are Due On Maple Street

October 31, 2011

Note: This is a rewritten script for the classic Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.” The story is about paranoia that arises when something unknown happens in Anytown, U.S.A. The episode has been heralded as a parable on the dangers of McCarthyism and the creeping sense of suspicion of Communist agents in the 1950s. Of course, this rewrite takes it in a slightly less serious direction.

ACT ONE
(Fade in on a shot of the night sky. The various heavenly bodies stand out in sharp, sparkling relief. The camera moves slowly across the heavens until it passes the horizon and stops on a sign that reads “Maple Street.” It is daytime. Then we see the street below. It is a quiet, tree-lined, small-town American street. The houses have front porches on which people sit and swing on gliders, talking across from house to house. Steve Brand is polishing his car, which is parked in front of his house. His neighbor, Don Martin, leans against the fender watching him. An ice-cream vendor riding a bicycle is just in the process of stopping to sell some ice cream to a couple of kids. Two women gossip on the front lawn. Another man is watering his lawn with a garden hose. As we see these various activities, we hear the Narrator’s voice.)
Narrator: Maple Street, U.S.A., late summer. A tree-lined little world of front-porch gliders, hopscotch, the laughter of children, and the bell of an ice-cream vendor.
(There is a pause, and the camera moves over to a shot of the ice-cream vendor and two small boys who are standing alongside just buying ice cream.)
Narrator: At the sound of the rip and the flap of the curtain, it will be precisely six-forty-three p.m. on Maple Street.
(At this moment Tommy, one of the two boys buying ice cream from the vendor, looks up to listen to a tremendous screeching escape of air from overhead.
A wind plays on the faces of both boys, disgusting them, and then moves down the street and disappears. Various people leave their porches or stop what they
are doing to stare up at the sky. Steve Brand, the man who has been polishing his car, stands there transfixed, staring upwards. He looks at Don Martin, his neighbor from across the street.)
* fade in: cause the television image to appear gradually
Steve: What was that? A weather balloon deflating?
Don: That’s what it looked like. It kinda smelled though, didn’t it?
Steve: Yep. I didn’t hear anything except a tremendous rip.
Myra: ( from her porch). What was that?
Steve: (raising his voice and looking toward the porch). Guess it was a deflating weather balloon, honey. Came awful close, didn’t it?
Myra: (wrinkling her nose) Too close for my money! Much too close.
(The camera moves slowly across the various porches to people who stand there watching and talking in low conversing tones.)
Narrator: Maple Street. Six-forty-four p.m. on a late September evening. (He pauses.) Normally it would smell like autumn, but it will soon smell like something else. Maple Street in the last calm and reflective moment (pause) before the monsters farted!
(The camera takes us across the porches again. A man is replacing a light bulb on a front porch. He gets off his stool to flick the switch and finds that nothing happens. The fixture lightly smokes and the man is not pleased with that smell. Another man is working on an electric power mower. He plugs in the plug, flicks the switch of the mower off and on, but nothing happens. He smells something awful. Through a window we see a woman pushing her finger up and down on the dial hook of a telephone. She then waves her hand in front of her face to disperse a smell. Her voice sounds far away.)
Woman: Operator, operator, something’s wrong in the air, operator! (Myra Brand comes out on the porch and calls to Steve.)
Myra: (calling) Steve, the power’s off. I had some beans on the stove, and the stove just stopped working. I am afraid there is a gas leak.
Woman: Same thing over here. I can’t get anybody on the phone either. The phone seems to be dead. This may be a dangerous situation. No one light a match!
(We look down again on the street. Small, mildly disturbed voices are heard coming from below.)
Voice One: Electricity’s off.
Voice Two: Phone won’t work.
Voice Three: Can’t get a thing on the radio except the ballgame. Apparently, someone slide into first and felt something burst!
Voice Four: My power mower won’t move, won’t
work at all. Now I won’t get the sweet aroma of freshly cut grass.
Voice Five: Radio’s gone dead!
(Pete Van Horn, a tall, thin man, is seen standing in front of his house.)
Pete: I’ll cut through the back yard to see if the air’s as stagnant over there, on Floral Street. I’ll be right back!
(He walks past the side of his house and disappears into the back yard. The camera pans down slowly until we are looking at ten or eleven people standing around the street and overflowing to the curb and sidewalk. In the background is Steve Brand’s car.)
Steve: Doesn’t make sense. Why should the power go off all of a sudden and the phone line? And what is that smell?
Don: Maybe some kind of an electrical storm or something. Would explain that odor of, what, burning?
Charlie: That don’t seem likely. Sky’s just as blue as anything. Not a cloud. No lightning. No thunder. No nothing. How could it be a storm? Please it smells more like something died.
Woman: I can’t get a thing on the radio. Not even the portable. I won’t know who won the state fair cheese cutting competition!
(The people again begin to murmur softly in wonderment.)
Charlie: Well, why don’t you go downtown and check with the police, though they’ll probably think we’re crazy or something. A funny smell and right away we get all flustered and everything—
Steve: It isn’t just a funny smell, Charlie. If it was, we’d just shrug our shoulders. No, someone farted…majorly.
(There is a murmur of reaction to this. Steve looks from face to face and then at his car.)
Steve: I’ll run downtown. We’ll get this all aired out.
(He gets in the car and turns the key. Looking through the open car door, we see the crowd watching Steve from the other side. He starts the engine. It turns over sluggishly and then stops dead. He tries it again, and this time he can’t get it to turn over. Then very slowly he turns the key back to “off ” and gets out of the car. The people stare at Steve. He stands for a moment by the car and then walks toward them.)
Steve: I don’t understand it. It was working fine before—
Don: Out of gas?
Steve: (shakes his head) The opposite. I can smell nothing but gas, like it overflowing!
Woman: What’s it mean?
Charlie: It’s just as if ( pause) as if everything had stopped and started decaying. (Then he turns toward Steve.) We’d better walk downtown towards the fresh air.
(Another murmur of assent to this.)
Steve: The two of us can go, Charlie. (He turns to look back at the car.) It couldn’t be the weather ballon. A weather balloon couldn’t do this.
(He and Charlie exchange a look. Then they start to walk away from the group. Tommy comes into view. He is a serious-faced young boy in spectacles. He stands halfway between the group and the two men, who start to walk down the sidewalk.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand—you’d better not!
Steve: Why not?
Tommy: They don’t want you to.
(Steve and Charlie exchange a grin, and Steve looks back toward the boy.)
Steve: Who doesn’t want us to?
Tommy: ( jerks his head in the general direction of the distant horizon). Them!
Steve: Them?
Charlie: Who are them?
Tommy (intently). Whoever farted.
(Steve knits his brows for a moment, cocking his head questioningly. His voice is intense.)
Steve: What?
Tommy: Whoever farted doesn’t want us to leave here.
(Steve leaves Charlie, walks over to the boy, and puts his hand on the boy’s shoulder. He forces his voice to remain gentle.)
Steve: What do you mean? What are you talking about?
Tommy: They don’t want us to leave. That’s why they shut everything off. They want us to smell the lingering fart.
Steve: What makes you say that? Whatever gave you that idea?
Woman: ( from the crowd ). Now isn’t that the craziest thing you ever heard?
Tommy: (persistent but a little frightened ). It’s always that way, in every story I ever read about a fart in the books. He who smelt it, dealt it.
Woman: (to the boy’s mother, Sally, who stands on the fringe of the crowd ). Sally, you better get that boy of yours up to bed. He’s been reading too many comic books or seeing too many movies or something!
Sally: Tommy, come over here and stop that rude kind of talk.
Steve: Go ahead, Tommy. We’ll be right back. And you’ll see. That wasn’t a humongous fart or anything like it. That was just a . . . a weather balloon or something. Likely as not—(He turns to the group, now trying very hard to sound more optimistic than he feels.) No doubt it did have something to do with all this power failure and smell and the rest of it. Weather balloons can do some crazy things. Like sunspots. Or garbage dumps
Don: ( picking up the cue). Sure. That’s the kind of thing—like a new garbage dump. They I heard City Hall was going to start one on the other side of town. Maybe the wind picked up and brought the stench over here. (He wets his lips and smiles nervously.) Go ahead, Charlie. You and Steve go into town and see if that isn’t what’s causing it all. (Steve and Charlie walk away from the group down the sidewalk as the people watch silently.
Tommy stares at them, biting his lips, and finally calls out again.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand!
(The two men stop. Tommy takes a step toward them.)
Tommy: Mr. Brand . . . please don’t leave here.
(Steve and Charlie stop once again and turn toward the boy. In the crowd there is a murmur of irritation and concern, as if the boy’s words— even though they didn’t make sense—were bringing up fears that shouldn’t be brought up. Tommy is both frightened and defiant.)
Tommy: You might not even be able to get to town without a gas mask. It was that way in the story. Nobody could leave. Nobody except—
Steve: Except who?
Tommy: Except the people who passed said gas. They looked embarrassed are hoping they don’t get caught. So they act. They act like us who didn’t fart.
(The boy suddenly stops, conscious of the people staring at him and his mother and of the sudden hush of the crowd.)
Sally: (in a whisper, sensing the antagonism of the crowd ). Tommy, please son . . . honey, don’t talk that way—
Man One: That kid shouldn’t talk that way . . . and we shouldn’t stand here listening to him.
Why this is the craziest thing I ever heard of. The kid tells us a comic book plot, “he who smelt it, dealt it,” and here we stand listening—
(Steve walks toward the camera and stops beside the boy.)
Steve: Go ahead, Tommy. What kind of story was this? What about the people who smelled it first?
Tommy: That was the way they prepared to cover up their faux pas. It was a whole family who farted! A mother and a father and two kids who acted like they weren’t to blame . . . but they were.
(There is another silence as Steve looks toward the crowd and then toward Tommy. He wears a tight grin.)
Steve: Well, I guess what we’d better do then is to run a check on the neighborhood and see which ones of us smelled it initially.
(There is laughter at this, but it’s a laughter that comes from a desperate attempt to lighten the atmosphere. The people look at one another in the middle of their laughter.)
Charlie: (rubs his jaw nervously). I wonder if Floral Street’s got the same deal we got.
(He looks past the houses.) Where is Pete Van Horn anyway? Isn’t he back yet?
(Suddenly there is the sound of a an industrial fan’s engine starting to turn over. We look across the street toward the driveway of Les Goodman’s house. He is at the switch trying to start the fan.)
Sally: Can you get started, Les?
(Les Goodman gets out of the car, shaking his head.)
Les: No dice.
(He walks toward the group. He stops suddenly as, behind him, the engine starts up all by itself, clearing some of the air. Les whirls around to stare at the fan. The fan idles roughly, smoke coming from the exhaust, the frame shaking gently. Les’s eyes go wide, and he runs over to his fan. The people stare at the fan.)
Man One: He got a fan started somehow. He got his car started!
(The people continue to stare, caught up by this revelation and wildly frightened.)
Woman: How come his fan just up and started like that?
Sally: All by itself. He wasn’t anywheres near it. It started all by itself.
(Don Martin approaches the group and stops a few feet away to look toward Les’s fan.)
Don: And he never did come out to look at that thing that bellowed overhead. He wasn’t even interested. (He turns to the group, his face taut and serious.) Why? Why didn’t he come out with the rest of us to look?
Charlie: He always was an oddball. Him and his whole family. Real oddball. Always asking us to pull his finger.
Don: What do you say we ask him?
(The group starts toward the house. In this brief fraction of a moment, it takes the first step toward changing from a group into a mob. The group members begin to head purposefully across the street toward the house. Steve stands in front of them. For a moment their fear almost turns their walk into a wild stampede, but Steve’s voice, loud, incisive, and commanding, makes them stop.)
Steve: Wait a minute . . . wait a minute! Let’s not be a mob!
(The people stop, pause for a moment, and then, much more quietly and slowly, start to walk across the street. Les stands alone facing the people.)
Les: I just don’t understand it. I tried to start it, and it wouldn’t start. You saw me. All of
you saw me. (And now, just as suddenly as the engine started, it stops, and there is a long silence that is gradually intruded upon by the frightened murmuring of the people.)
Les: I don’t understand. I swear . . . I don’t understand. What’s happening?
Don: Maybe you better tell us. Nothing’s working on this street. Nothing. The air is sour. We can’t clear the air, no one can. Except you.
(The people’s murmuring becomes a loud chant filling the air with accusations and demands for action. Two of the men pass Don and head toward Les, who backs away from them against his fan. He is cornered.)
Les: Wait a minute now. You keep your distance —all of you. So I’ve got a fan that starts by itself—well, that’s a freak thing—I admit it. But does that make me a criminal or something? I don’t know why the car works—it just does!
(This stops the crowd momentarily, and Les, still backing away, goes toward his front porch. He goes up the steps and then stops, facing the mob.)
Les: What’s it all about, Steve?
Steve: (quietly) We’re all on a farting kick, Les. Seems that the general impression holds that maybe one family isn’t what we think they are. Farters too embarrassed to admit it. Different from us. Farters from the vast beyond. (He chuckles.) You know anybody that might fit that description around here on Maple Street?
Les: What is this, a gag, like a whoopee cushion? (He looks around the group again.) This a practical joke or something?
(Suddenly the fan engine starts all by itself, runs for a moment, and stops. One woman begins to cry. The eyes of the crowd are cold and accusing.)
Les: Now that’s supposed to incriminate me, huh? The fan goes on and off, and that
really does it, doesn’t it? (He looks around at the faces of the people.) I just don’t understand it . . . any more than any of you do! (He wets his lips, looking from face to face.) Look, you all know me. We’ve lived here five years. Right in this house. We’re no different from any of the rest of you! We’re no different at all. . . . We have scented candles and potpourri! Really . . . this whole thing is just . . . just weird—
Woman: Well, if that’s the case, Les Goodman, explain why— (She stops suddenly, clamping her mouth shut.)
Les: (softly) Explain what?
Steve: (interjecting). Look, let’s forget this—
Charlie: (overlapping him). Go ahead, let her talk. What about it? Explain what?
Woman: (a little reluctantly). Well . . . sometimes I go to bed late at night. A couple of times . . . a couple of times I’d come out here on the porch, and I’d see Mr. Goodman here
in the wee hours of the morning standing out in front of his house . . . in only his boxers (She looks around the circle of faces.) That’s right, only in his boxers . . . as if he
were airing them out, (pauses) as if he airing them out.
(There’s a murmur of reaction from the crowd again as Les backs away.)
Les: She’s crazy. Look, I can explain that. Please . . . I can really explain that. . . . She’s making it up anyway. (Then he shouts.) I tell you she’s making it up!
(He takes a step toward the crowd, and they back away from him. He walks down the steps after them, and they continue to back away. Suddenly he is left completely alone, and he looks like a man caught in the middle of a menacing circle as the scene slowly fades to black.)
ACT TWO –SCENE ONE
(Fade in on Maple Street at night. On the sidewalk, little knots of people stand around talking in low voices. At the end of each conversation they look toward Les Goodman’s house. From the various houses, we can see candlelight but no electricity. The quiet that blankets the whole area is disturbed only by the almost whispered voices of the people standing around. In one group Charlie stands staring across at the Goodmans’ house. Two men stand across the street from it in almost sentrylike poses.)
Sally: (in a small, hesitant voice). It just doesn’t seem right, though, keeping watch on them. Why . . . he was right when he said he was one of our neighbors. Why, I’ve known Ethel Goodman ever since they moved in. We’ve been good friends—
Charlie: That don’t prove a thing. Any guy who’d spend his time out in his boxers
in the morning—well, there’s something wrong with that kind of person. Something in his pants. There’s something that ain’t legitimate. Maybe under normal circumstances we could let it go by, but these aren’t normal circumstances. Why, look at this street! All the windows are open and people are flapping their arms to get rid of the air. Why, it’s like goin’ back into the Dark Ages or somethin’!
(Steve walks down the steps of his porch, down the street to the Goodmans’ house, and then stops at the foot of the steps. Les is standing there; Ethel Goodman behind him is very frightened.)
Les: Just stay right where you are, Steve. We don’t want any trouble, but this time if anybody sets foot on my porch—that’s what they’re going to get—trouble!
Steve: Look, Les—
Les: I’ve already explained to you people. I don’t have good A/C in my house. I get up and
I take a walk to cool off in my boxers.
Ethel: That’s exactly what he does. Why, this whole thing, it’s . . . it’s some kind of fart madness or something.
Steve: (nods grimly). That’s exactly what it is— some kind of fart madness.
Charlie’s Voice: (shrill, from across the street). You best watch who you’re seen with, Steve! Until we get this all straightened out, you ain’t exactly above suspicion yourself. I know your type, the silent, but deadly!
Steve: (whirling around toward him). Or you, Charlie. Or any of us, it seems. From age eight on up!
Woman: What I’d like to know is—what are we gonna do? Just stand around here all night? Talking about farts?
Charlie: There’s nothin’ else we can do! (He turns back, looking toward Steve and Les again.) One of ’em’ll tip their hand. They got to.
Steve: (raising his voice). There’s something you can do, Charlie. You can go home and
keep your mouth shut. You can quit strutting around like your emissions don’t smell and climb into bed, give your wife a Dutch oven and forget it.
Charlie: You sound real anxious to have that happen, Steve. I think we better keep our stink eye on you, too!
Don: (as if he were taking the bit in his teeth, takes a hesitant step to the front). I think everything might as well come out now. (He turns toward Steve.) Your wife’s done plenty of talking, Steve, about how odd you are!
Charlie: (picking this up, his eyes widening). Go ahead, tell us what she’s said.
(Steve walks toward them from across the street.)
Steve: Go ahead, what’s my wife said? Let’s get it all out. Let’s pick out every idiosyncrasy of every single man, woman, and child on the street. And then we might as well set up some air emission regulatory system. How about a sniff test at dawn, Charlie, so we can get rid of all the suspects. Narrow them down. Make it easier for you.
Don: There’s no need gettin’ so upset, Steve. It’s just that . . . well . . . Myra’s talked about
how there’s been plenty of nights you spent hours down in your basement workin’ on some
kind of amplification system or something. Well, none of us have ever seen that amplification system— (By this time Steve has reached the group. He stands there defiantly.)
Charlie:Go ahead, Steve. What kind of “amplification system” you workin’ on? I never seen it. Neither has anyone else. What do you want to amplify the sound of?
Steve: I’m surprised at you, Charlie. How come you’re so dense all of a sudden? (He pauses.) What do I want to amplify? I want to amplify the sounds of my own farts, of course! Then blame it on weather balloons.
(Myra Brand steps down from the porch, bites her lip, calls out.)
Myra: Steve! Steve, please. (Then looking around, frightened, she walks toward the group.) It’s just a stereo sound system set, that’s all. I bought him a book on it myself. It’s just a stereo. A lot of people have them. I can show it to you. It’s right down in the basement.
Steve: (whirls around toward her) Show them nothing! If they want to look inside our house—let them go and get a search warrant.
Charlie: Look, buddy, you can’t afford to—
Steve: (interrupting him) Charlie, don’t start telling me who’s farts smell like roses and who’s doesn’t. Who’s safe and who’s a menace to our sense. (He turns to the group and shouts.) And you’re with him, too—all of you! You’re standing here all set to crucify—all set to find a scapegoat—all desperate to point some kind of a finger at a
Neighbor or the dog! Well now, look, friends, the only thing that’s gonna happen is that we’ll eat each other up alive—
(He stops abruptly as Charlie suddenly grabs his arm.)
Charlie: (in a hushed voice) That’s not the only thing that can happen to us.
(Down the street, a figure has suddenly materialized in the gloom. In the silence we hear little pockets of gas escaping from its direction. The figure walks slowly toward them. One of the women lets out a stifled cry. Sally grabs her boy, as do a couple of other mothers.)
Tommy: (shouting, frightened) It’s the farter! It’s the farter!
(Another woman lets out a wail, and the people fall back in a group staring toward the darkness and the approaching figure. The people stand in the shadows watching. Don Martin joins them, carrying a shotgun. He holds it up.)
Don: We may need this.
Steve: A shotgun? (He pulls it out of Don’s hand.) No! Will anybody think a thought around here! Will you people wise up. What good would a shotgun do against—
(The dark figure continues to walk toward them, the gassy noise getting louder, as the people stand there, fearful, mothers clutching children, men standing in front of their wives.)
Charlie: (pulling the gun from Steve’s hands). No more talk, Steve. You’re going to talk us into a smelly grave! You’d let whatever’s out there toot right over us, wouldn’t yuh? Well, some of us won’t!
(Charlie swings around, raises the gun, and suddenly pulls the trigger. The sound of the shot explodes in the stillness. The figure suddenly lets out a small cry, stumbles forward onto his knees, and then falls forward on his face. Don, Charlie, and Steve race forward to him. Steve is there first and turns the man over. The crowd gathers around them.)
Steve: (slowly looks up). It’s Pete Van Horn.
Don: (in a hushed voice). Pete Van Horn! He was just gonna go over to the next block to see if the power was on. He must have stepped into the creek and got his shoes wet. That was the sound. His squishy shoes—
Woman: You killed him, Charlie. You shot him dead!
Charlie: (looks around at the circle of faces, his eyes frightened, his face contorted) But . . . but I didn’t know who he was. I certainly didn’t know who he was. He comes walkin’ out of the darkness and the noise—how am I supposed to know who he was? (He grabs Steve.) Steve—you know why I shot! How was I supposed to know he wasn’t passing gas or something? (He grabs Don.) We’re all scared of the same thing. I was just tryin’ to . . . tryin’ to protect my home and nose, that’s all! Look, all of you, that’s all I was tryin’ to do.
(He looks down wildly at the body.) I didn’t know it was somebody we knew! I didn’t know—
(There’s a sudden hush and then an intake of breath in the group. Across the street all the lights go on in one of the houses. Air comes whooshing out of the open windows, bringing a sweet smell to the noses)
Woman: (in a hushed voice). Charlie . . . Charlie . . . the air is flowing in your house. Why did the air flow like that?
Don: What about it, Charlie? How come you’re the only one with fresh air now?
Les: That’s what I’d like to know.
(Pausing, they all stare toward Charlie.)
Les: You were so quick to kill, Charlie, and you were so quick to tell us what we had to be careful of. Well, maybe you had to kill. Maybe Pete there was trying to tell us something.
Maybe he’d found out who let one rip and came to tell us who there was amongst us we should watch out for—
(Charlie backs away from the group, his eyes wide with fright.)
Charlie: No . . . no . . . it’s nothing of the sort! I don’t know my air is cleared. I swear
I don’t. I have never farted in public before. Somebody’s pulling a gag or something.
(He bumps against Steve, who grabs him and whirls him around.)
Steve: A gag? A gag? Charlie, there’s a dead man on the sidewalk, and you killed him! Does this thing look like a gag to you? And you know he’s gonna smell bad in a little while.
(Charlie breaks away and screams as he runs toward his house.)
Charlie: No! No! Please! I am a gentleman!
(A man breaks away from the crowd to chase Charlie. As the man tackles him and lands on top of him, the other people start to run toward them. Charlie gets up, breaks away from the other man’s grasp, and lands a couple of desperate punches that push the man aside. Then he forces his way, fighting, through the crowd and jumps up on his front porch. Charlie is on his porch as a rock thrown from the group smashes a window beside him, the broken glass
flying past him. A couple of pieces cut him. More sweet air rushes out. He stands there perspiring, rumpled, blood running down from a cut on the cheek.
His wife breaks away from the group to throw herself into his arms. He buries his face against her. We can see the crowd converging on the porch.)
Voice One: It must have been him. He who denied it, supplied it…
Voice Two: He’s the one.
Voice Three: We got to get Charlie.
(Another rock lands on the porch. Charlie pushes his wife behind him, facing the group.)
Charlie: Look, look, I swear to you . . . it isn’t me . . . I don’t eat beans or cabbage. But I do know who it is . . . I swear to you, I do know who it is. I know who the farter is here. I know who would smell up the joint and lie about it. I swear to you I know.
Don: (pushing his way to the front of the crowd) All right, Charlie, let’s hear it!
(Charlie’s eyes dart around wildly.)
Charlie. It’s . . . it’s . . .
Man Two: (screaming). Go ahead, Charlie.
Charlie: It’s . . . it’s the kid. It’s Tommy. He’s the one!
(There’s a gasp from the crowd as we see Sally holding the boy. Tommy at first doesn’t understand and then, realizing the eyes are all on him, buries his face against his mother.)
Sally: (backs away) That’s crazy! He’s only a boy.
Woman: But he knew! He was the only one! Kids fart all the time and think its funny! He read those funny stories and thought he’d make us all smell his fart. How could he have known?
(Various people take this up and repeat the question.)
Voice One: How could he know?
Voice Two: Who told him?
Voice Three. Make the kid answer.
(The crowd starts to converge around the mother, who grabs Tommy and starts to run with him. The crowd starts to follow, at first walking fast, and then running after him. Suddenly Charlie’s A/C go off and the fans in other houses go on, then off.)
Man One: (shouting). It isn’t the kid . . . it’s Bob Weaver’s house.
Woman: It isn’t Bob Weaver’s house, it’s the dog! Look at him whimpering!
Charlie: I tell you it’s the kid.
Don: It’s Charlie. He’s the one. He’s old enough to have bowel problems!
(People shout, accuse, and scream as the fans go on and off. Then, slowly, in the middle of this nightmarish confusion of sight and sound, the camera starts to pull away until, once again, we have reached the opening shot looking at the Maple Street sign from high above.)
Scene Two
(The camera continues to move away while gradually bringing into focus a field. We see the brick side of a chili place that sits shrouded in darkness. An open door throws out a beam of light from the illuminated interior. Two figures appear, silhouetted against the bright lights. We get only a vague feeling of form.)
Figure One: Understand the procedure now? Just a drive-by cropdusting in some random neighborhood…Let them soak in it for a few hours, and then just sit back and watch the pattern.
Figure Two: And this pattern is always the same?
Figure One: Have you ever farted in a crowded elevator before? They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find . . .and it’s themselves. And all we need do is sit back . . . and watch as they blame everyone they know before a stranger. That’s just rude if they do.
Figure Two: Then I take it this place . . . this Maple Street . . . is not unique.
Figure One: (shaking his head ) By no means. Our world is full of Maple Streets, people too polite to admit when they are re-circulating their own air. And we’ll go from one to the other and pass our gas there so our wives don’t give us funny looks. One to the other . . . one to the other . . . one to the other—
Scene Three
(The camera slowly moves up for a shot of the starry sky, and over this we hear the Narrator’s voice.)
Narrator: The tools of embarrassment do not necessarily come with “Kick Me” signs and boogers and fake spiders. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, smells—to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, smells can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has an odor all its own for the children . . . and the children yet unborn, even they can smell it (a pause) and the pity of it is . . . that these things cannot be confined to . . . The Twilight (a farting sound is heard) Uh, it wasn’t me!
(Fade to black.)

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