Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans: an original play I wrote in five or so hours, under considerable arbitrary restrictions

I mentioned this last week ( I figured I've got nothing to lose save for some dignity, and this is the internet so whatever to that. Remember: the first and last lines of dialogue ( "I never meant to hurt you… really. But it felt so goddamned good" and "I figured it couldn’t be any longer than 3,000 pages… All the best books are under 3,000 pages," respectively) were preordained. And did I mention it was written in like five hours?

Anyway, here you go. Copypaste ahoy!

by Joe Mathlete

(Darkness. A woman’s voice is heard)

DERNA: I never meant to hurt you… really. But it felt so goddamned good.


DERNA: I had my eye on you for some time, you know.


DERNA: I know there will be repercussions. It’s a shame things had to turn out this way. I assure you my intentions were far subtler. But this was inevitable. This was meant to be.


DERNA: Sometimes I wonder if you really can feel pain. Or if that’s just some grand, whimsical flight of fancy. Sometimes I wonder if you can feel anything at all.


DERNA: Why won’t you speak to me? Why won’t you say anything? You’re so famously talkative around him, but when it’s me you just clam up? Is that it?

(long silence)

DERNA: I want all of you. I want to have all of you inside of me. Oh god--

TORP: Honey, I’m home!

(lights up on DERNA, seated at a table, holding a sandwich and frozen in fear)

TORP: (still offstage) Derna, have you seen my magic sandwich?

(DERNA frantically stuffs the rest of the sandwich in her mouth)

TORP: Derna?

DERNA: Hello!

(TORP walks into the kitchen)

TORP: Honey, have you seen my magic sandwich?

DERNA: (mouth still full of sandwich) Which one?

TORP: The one that talks to me and is alive. My magic sandwich.

DERNA: I don’t think so.

TORP: You didn’t… Derna, did you just eat my magic sandwich?


TORP: Derna! I can’t believe you!

DERNA: Sorry…

TORP: Spit it out! Spit that out right now!

(DERNA complies. TORP grabs away the sandwich’s remains)

TORP: How could you?

DERNA: Torp…


DERNA: I don’t know, it just happened…

TORP: How many times, Derna?? How many times did I tell you not to do the thing that you just did??

DERNA: Seventy-nine…

TORP: (cutting her off) SEVENTY-NINE TIMES, DERNA!

DERNA: Well, but… You told me that I should eat it that one time, that it was a good idea to eat it…

TORP: That was just once! I got confused.

(Silence. DERNA wipes the corners of her mouth off with the oversized napkin tied around her neck. TORP tenderly cradles the desecrated sandwich and begins to sob)

DERNA: Well I don’t see what the big deal is anyway! It never talked to me, not even once. I never heard it say anything this whole time.

TORP: It doesn’t talk to just ANYONE, Derna! You’re not an elf.

DERNA: What? What are you talking about? You’re not an elf either.

TORP: No, but the elf I was borrowing it from gave it permission to speak to me. It only talks to elves unless given permission to do otherwise. It was… it was such a good sandwich…

DERNA: What elf? What on earth are you talking about? We don’t know any elves.

TORP: I know an elf, Derna, godDAMMIT. And he let me borrow his magic sandwich that talks and is alive and now look! Now look what you’ve done!

DERNA: Since when do you know an elf?

TORP: I met him online. He’s in my fantasy football league. SHUT UP! Oh god, this isn’t happening, this isn’t happening…

DERNA: Calm down, Torp. Jesus. Look, I’m sorry I ate your stupid magic elf sandwich, okay? I was really, really hungry for a sandwich, and I’m getting sick of Blimpie’s all the time, and I’m still banned from Quizno’s until they drop their dumbass restraining order… Look, you know how much I love sandwiches, and you know I never learned how to make one. It was just a matter of time before something gave…

TORP: You don’t get it, do you? You just don’t get it.

DERNA: Torp…

TORP: You listen to me and you listen good. That sandwich was not mine, it was on loan from an elf and I am in SERIOUS trouble when he finds out what happened to it. And you are, too.

DERNA: What the fuck, Torp, it’s just some little twerpy little elf--

TORP: Do NOT call Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans twerpy!

(JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS appears in a fantastical burst of magic)

JINGLEBEANS: Did somebody say Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans?

TORP: Oh fuck… (whispering to DERNA as he stuffs the sandwich remains in his pockets) Just stay calm.

(JOLLY JOLLY JINGLEBEANS, a merry old elf with cherry-red cheeks and a spring to his step, gleefully dances around the kitchen and sings his song)

JINGLEBEANS: Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans is here
Say my name just once and I appear
With magic shoes and fancy pants
I do my Jolly Jingledance
To make all of your troubles disappear!

TORP: Ha ha ha! Way to go, JJ! I never get tired of that one!

JINGLEBEANS: Why, if it isn’t my good friend Torp! How’ve you been, you old peach basket?

TORP: Great as ever, old buddy. Yourself?

JINGLEBEANS: Why, I’m as merry as a country meadow filled with honey blossoms! Ha ha!

(They share a hearty laugh, then sigh in unison. DERNA is somewhat aghast. JINGLEBEANS leans close to TORP, eyeing her suspiciously)

JINGLEBEANS: (whispering) Is she cool?

TORP: (whispering) She’s cool.

DERNA: Hello?

TORP: I’d like you to meet my wife, Derna. Derna, this is my good friend Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans. You know, the one I was just telling you about.

JINGLEBEANS: Hello there, Derna. Lovely to meet you.

DERNA: Hello… Mr. Jinglebeans.

JINGLEBEANS: Please, call me JJ. Mr. Jinglebeans was my father’s name.


(Beat. JINGLEBEANS and TORP both briefly struggle to keep straight faces, then burst into laughter).

DERNA: I don’t, um… I’m sorry, what?

JINGLEBEANS: Oh, Derna… I have no father! I was born inside of a dewdrop on the tip of a bumblebee’s nose! For you see… I am an elf!

DERNA: Oh really. You are.

JINGLEBEANS: Yes… I am! (to TORP) Is she simple or something?

TORP: Ha ha ha! Oh, don’t mind Derna, JJ… She doesn’t know much about elves, I’m afraid.

JINGLEBEANS: I see. Well, no worries, darling, I’m very pleased to make your acquaintance.

DERNA: Um… Yes. Me too. (DERNA is extremely uncomfortable)

JINGLEBEANS: Well, I can only assume that you’ve said my name and summoned me here today because you’re ready to give me back my magic sandwich that talks and is alive… I’ve missed it terribly.


TORP: Yes, the sandwich… Well, you see, JJ, the thing about your sandwich--

JINGLEBEANS: You do still have it, don’t you? I would be ever so upset if it were to go missing. I love that sandwich so very very much… Always with a kind word or a delightful tale to make even the grumpiest day shine and sparkle like the twinkling of a forest full of fireflies.

TORP: Yes, yes… Yes. Well, it’s not so much that we don’t have it, but you see, the thing about your sandwich--

JINGLEBEANS: I would be simply crestfallen if anything ever happened to that sandwich. Why, I’d probably cut out your tongue, tape your mouth shut and laugh at you while you choked to death on your own blood. Your bitch wife, too. (beat) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

(TORP and DERNA join in his manic laughter, understandably terrified)

JINGLEBEANS: So. Where is my sandwich?

TORP: It’s, ah--

DERNA: I know where it is, Mr. Jinglebeans.

JINGLEBEANS: (turning to face her) Is that so?

DERNA: Yes… I must confess, I pulled a little prank on Torp earlier today. You see, I hid the sandwich before he got home from work, then made him think I’d eaten it by mistake. Pretty funny, huh?

JINGLEBEANS: Oh… Oh. Well… Well you’re quite the naughty little scamp, aren’t you? Torp, you didn’t tell me your wife was such a jokester!

TORP: (his terror now mixed with confusion) Ag.

DERNA: I’m sorry about all that, honey. I’ll go grab it. You two have a seat here and catch up, m’kay?

TORP: … hhhh.

JINGLEBEANS: Splendid idea, willow blossom.

(DERNA exits. TORP and JINGLEBEANS slowly sit down at the table. JINGLEBEANS is mildly suspicious; TORP is incredibly uneasy. They sit in silence for several moments)

JINGLEBEANS: I’m really excited about fantasy football this year.

TORP: Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah.

JINGLEBEANS: I bet you’re kicking yourself for drafting Michael Vick, huh?

TORP: Oh… Yeah. I don’t know the rules for what happens if one of your players is gets suspended for making dogs try to kill other dogs, but…

(DERNA enters the room with a revolver and shoots JINGLEBEANS in the chest, knocking him to the ground. She walks over to him and shoots him many, many, many, many more times)



DERNA: Well, come on, Torp! We didn’t have any other options. It was either him or us!

TORP: Well what the hell are we going to do with a dead elf?? We have to get rid of the body… The police are going to… Oh god, I can’t go to prison, I’m too fragile for prison…

DERNA: Jesus, Torp, calm down… He’s an elf. The police aren’t going to do shit. He’s a mythical creature… He doesn’t have a social security number. He was born in a fucking dewdrop.

TORP: I… I guess you’re right…

DERNA: Of course I’m right. (sweetly) Look, honey, I’m sorry about all this. It was wrong of me to eat your magic sandwich that talked and was alive. I promise it’ll never happen again. And I’m finally going to teach myself how to make sandwiches. Just you wait!

TORP: Aw, Derna… You don’t have to go through all that trouble…

DERNA: Too late, baby… I wasn’t going to tell you, but I ordered the Norton’s Anthology of Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques on Amazon just yesterday! I’ll be making us sandwiches in no time.

TORP: Oh, Sweetie Bear… You’re too good to me.

DERNA: You deserve the best, Doo Doo Butter. (she kisses him, the sort of sanitized ‘50s suburban kiss Donna Reed would’ve given her husband (Mr. Reed?))

TORP: (putting his arm around her as they leave the kitchen) Wait, now—Did you get the Norton’s Anthology of AMERICAN Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques, or the Norton’s Anthology of BRITISH Sandwich Recipes and Craftsmanship Techniques?

DERNA: Oh, the American. The British edition was close to thirty-five hundred pages. I figured it couldn’t be any longer than 3,000 pages… All the best books are under 3,000 pages.

(They exit. The play is now over. The audience reacts to this somehow)


TheRobRogers said...

Five hours, huh? Not bad. Had me laughing a few times. And I've started calling my desk mate Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans. He doesn't get it.

frogboots said...


this audience (auditor? reader?)

gives a standing ovation while smirking.


False modesty does not become you, young Joe Mathlete. That was a stellar piece of ridiculousness, and you should be proud of it.

Kathryn said...

Further proof why you're the best famous ...web blog guy with an awesome surname. Bravo, brave Mr. Mathlete!

Matthew said...

I couldn't help but imagine that play being performed by the cast of Upright Citizens Brigade. Specifically,

Amy Poehler ... DERNA
Matt Walsh ... TORP
Matt Besser ... JINGLEBEANS

I laughed out loud several times.

Neil said...

as did i. mister mathlete, you are what folks around here call 'slanted'. (a good thing in this context)

thanks for posting it, it was great fun!

Android said...

I thought it was great! To be honest, I'd like to submit it into a one act play festival at The University of Guelph, the school I go to. Let me know if you're cool with that.

Joe Mathlete said...

I would not oppose that at all, android. If you can somehow cast UCB, that would be even radder, but it's not a dealbreaker.

Android said...

I'm 90% sure this will make me seem silly, but what's UCB?

Joe Mathlete said...

UCB = Upright Citizens Brigade, as per Matthew's suggestion above. They're an sketch comedy/improv group who had a series on Comedy Central for a few seasons... Amy Poehler does the news on SNL nowadays, and Matt Walsh is/was in Man Bites Dog on Comedy Central; they might be kind of hard to secure a commitment out of.

Android said...

Well, If I can't get them, will random college students be okay?

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