How to Start a Lemonade Stand   Leave a comment

Today is Monday, which means invoicing and reconciling for me. I spend the morning updating all my charts, so I know what’s due, what’s been paid for, what hasn’t been. I imagine that this is what makes me different from my predecessor in this role — they thought it was all about calculating cost of goods. Ah, no. It is so, so much more than that.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that you must spend money in order to make money. But how to spend money? How to make that money back? After all, if I buy an apple for 79 cents, then sell it to you at 80 cents, technically I’ve made that money back. But what about my costs for transporting that apple? How did I let you know that I had an apple available to sell? No no, the cost of doing business is so much more than the cost of goods.

So let’s imagine that we are opening the simplest business imaginable. A business so simple, that children do it all the time. Let’s open a lemonade stand.

According to <a href=”https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/old-fashioned-lemonade/7ec9a486-f657-4a36-81cd-71e3a2224866″>Betty Crocker’s Old-Fashioned Lemonade Recipe</a>, the ingredients for lemonade are as follows:

6 cups of cold water

8-10 lemons (2 cups lemon juice)

1 cup sugar

 

This will create roughly 8 cups of lemonade, or half a gallon. So the first thing you must do is calculate the Cost of Goods.

Sugar: Thanks to the <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Sugar_Program”>US Government subsidizing US sugar</a>, sugar is super cheap in this economy! Therefore a 4-lb bag of sugar is roughly $3.50. 1 pound of sugar is roughly 2 cups, so one common 4-lb bag has enough sugar for 8 batches of lemonade. In a real business, you would buy your goods in much larger quantities, but we’re sticking with 4 lbs of sugar for now.

Lemons: One pound of lemons is roughly <a href=”https://www.statista.com/statistics/236893/retail-price-of-lemons-in-the-united-states/”>$1.99</a&gt;, and there are roughly <a href=”https://www.thekitchn.com/heres-what-1-pound-of-lemons-looks-like-232376″>four lemons in a pound</a> on average. So we’re looking at $4 in lemons in a batch of lemonade.

Water: this will be the trickiest part! If you take your water out of the tap, that will be roughly <a href=”http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2013/07/12/cost_of_bottled_water_vs_tap_water_the_difference_will_shock_you.html”>$0.004 per gallon</a>. However, most tap water tastes pretty nasty! I know it does here in NC. NoVa water tasted better, but still not as good as filtered water. So you might have to adjust your recipe, by adding more sugar or more lemon. Alternatively, you could buy filtered water: 1 gallon of filtered water is $1 in my personal experience, and a 5 gallon bucket is roughly $15. Or you could buy a filtered water system, which costs <a href=”https://www.brita.com/faucet-systems/”>$20-30</a&gt;, which lasts for 100 gallons. For the sake of making the math easier, we’re going to go with $1/gallon.

So your costs are:

6 cups water: 6/16ths of a gallon, or $0.38 per batch

8 lemons: $4 per batch

1 cup sugar: 3.5/8, so $0.44 per batch

So the lemonade is $4.82 per batch. Now “per batch” is a half-gallon, or 16 cups.  4.82/16, each cup is roughly $0.30 at cost.

But your lemonade isn’t your only cost! You also have to buy the cups the lemonade goes in! The ice the lemonade go on! The table your lemonade stand sits on. The pitcher, the construction paper sign, the markers to advertise, and the tape to hold up the sign. What do you do with the empty cups? Are you hand-squeezing the lemons? How much does the squeezer cost? How much does it cost for you to squeeze the lemons?

1 10-lb bag of ice: $1-$3 (we’ll go with $2 for the sake of simplicity)

100 pack of disposable cups: <a href=”https://www.target.com/p/dixie-everyday-disposable-paper-cups-bath-cups-100ct/-/A-12969897″>$2.99</a&gt;

1 folding table: $30 give or take, last time I checked

Poster Board: $2.19 at Office Depot

Markers: The classic Crayola set of 10 is <a href=”http://shop.crayola.com/color-and-draw/markers”>$3.50</a&gt;

Lemon Squeezer: $9-$10 if you’re not buying from like Williams-Sonoma

All of this combined is $50.68. That means that a batch of lemonade is $55.50. That would mean that the cost per cup of lemonade is $6.94. Just to make cost!

But you’re not going to be buying cups, poster board, markers, lemon squeezers, and tables for every single batch. This is why you have to assume that you’re operating at a loss at first. Since you have enough cups for 100 servings, let’s see how that’s spread out over 100 servings.

Water: 16.67 gallons of water, or $17

Lemons: 100 lemons for $100

Sugar: Since I don’t hate anyone, you can buy <a href=”http://stovercompany.com/granulated-sugar-25-lbs.html”>a 25-lb bag for $26.16</a>. Buying in bulk is easy!

1 10-lb bag of ice: $2

100 pack of disposable cups: $2.99

1 folding table: $30

Poster Board: $2.19

Markers: $3.50

Lemon Squeezer: $10

So you’re looking at $193.84, and $1.94 per cup, just to cover your costs. Which is much more reasonable. And hey, that’s just for your first 100 cups. Let’s say you plan on selling 200 cups. Because you’re only buying some things once, that’s $1.70 per cup!

But what about the time it takes to make the lemonade? Since I hate lemons I have no idea, but I assume a few minutes. Let’s say 2 minutes per lemon — or 3 hours and 20 minutes.

This is where economics come in. This is where the idea of opportunity cost comes in. How much is your time worth? What money could you be making, if you weren’t squeezing lemons? How much value does hand-squeezing your lemons add to your lemonade? One gallon of lemon juice is anywhere from $3-$3.30. So if you buy your lemon juice by the gallon, you can get 8 batches of lemonade from each gallon. For a batch of 100:

Water: $17

Lemon Juice: 13 gallons of lemon juice (12.5 gallons per 100 servings), for $41.25

Sugar: $26.17

Your total cost of goods is now $135.10, or $1.35 per cup. You’re already saving $0.60 per cup. Or, if you hand-squeeze, you could think of it as costing sixty cents per serving to have someone squeeze the lemons by hand. Is being able to say “this is fresh, hand-squeezed lemonade” important to your brand? Are you willing to mark up your lemonade by another $0.60? What about the cost of paying someone to man the booth? Or is this a one-man operation, and you just have to pay your rent?

And this is all just your cost of goods. You haven’t even done the simple mark-up to make any kind of profit or revenue. That’s why organic, hand-squeezed lemonade might cost $3, but the regular factory-produced stuff might cost $1. That’s why a black cup of coffee costs $2.50 at Starbucks, even though you can get 8 servings out of that $2 in coffee grounds.

The farther away you get from your initial cost: the table, the marker, the paper, the squeezer, the less you have to charge.

Children save a lot of money. They don’t have to buy the table or the posterboard or the markers. They’re granted those by their parents. They’re not buying lemons and sugar themselves. Their parents pay the water bill. They can get away with charging $1 for something that should cost $3, because they’re not footing the costs themselves. So instead, children get to see the fun part of the business — the part where you can sell your product directly, without worrying about the overhead.

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Posted November 27, 2017 by agentksilver in Uncategorized

End of Act 1   Leave a comment

SCENE SIX

Limbo, which is represented by a security desk. Behind the security desk are two doors, both marked as STAIRS. One is for heaven and one is for hell, but the doors make no indication which is which. A nymph, Thanatos, sits at the desk, appearing as a security guard. There is a couch and an end table with magazines on it.

Joshua enters, carrying the handbasket with the baby inside.

Thanatos: And who do we have here? What’s your name, handsome?
Joshua: He doesn’t have a name.
Thantatos: And such distinguished company!
Joshua: Is there a place I can set him down?
Thanatos: Of course of course! Right over there!

Thanatos indicates the end table. Joshua pushes the magazines out of the way and sets down the handbasket.

Thanatos: There must be a story here.
Joshua: Oh, it would take too long.
Thanatos: What’s your hurry? We have all eternity.
Joshua: Do you have anything to feed him? I don’t think he’s eaten since he was born.

Thanatos produces a baby bottle from the desk. It could be a baby doll bottle, one of those things that “drains” when you hold it upside-down.

Thanatos: So, speak. Tell me your tale.
Joshua: Well it all began five thousand years ago with a giant tower.
Thanatos: Not your story! His tale, you pedant.
Joshua: Are you sure this is safe for a baby?
Thanatos: It’s ambrosia. I feed it to all the unbaptized infants. Now speak! Tell me this child’s story!

Joshua sticks the bottle in the baby’s mouth.

Joshua: Well, there’s a woman.
Thanatos: Of course.
Joshua: A sinner, through and through. Bought an eternal life with her womb and then sold this child to a witch for infinite money.
Thanatos: Clever.
Joshua: So now the forces of earth and hell are fighting for this little tiny baby.
Thanatos: Interesting. If I know my demons, and I do, he probably had her sign a contract in blood.

Joshua takes the contract out from his suit pocket.

Joshua: And she signed a contract with the witch.

He hands her the other contract. Thanatos takes them both and studies them.

Joshua: Of course, they conflict, since one says he belongs in Hell and the other says he belongs on Earth. Unclaimed soul.
Thanatos: Where does it say that he belongs in Hell?
Joshua: I’m not sure.
Thanatos: Only one of these contracts deals with the child.
Joshua: What?
Thanatos: Oh, the child is mentioned in the demon’s contract, but there’s nothing about custody. Just that the child is to be made. Only the witch’s contract says anything about ownership. Just by reading the contracts, I would have to say that the child belongs to the witch.

A fiddle sting. The witches and the demons burst in from either side of the stage. Rowan cackles with glee.

Xarlach: Foul! I call foul!
Willow: Oh hush, you’re only saying that because you lost.
Hermione: You lost!
Rose: Losers!
Willow: No matter what, you would complain unless it went your way.

Rowan, meanwhile, approaches the basket. She takes the baby out of the basket and clutches him to her chest. The demons begin throwing birds (specifically crows) at Joshua and Thanatos. The witches begin throwing birds back. Rowan is front and center. Music, either fiddle or violin music, begins playing a happy, loving song. Rowan pushes the blanket off of the baby’s face.

Joshua: What’s his name, Rowan? You should name him.
Rowan: His name is Johnny.

Posted September 22, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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The Devil Went Down to Court   Leave a comment

SCENE FOUR

In Hell, a group of damned souls are sitting around a shared worktable. One chair is empty. A really bad Top 40s song is playing quietly. One of the humans keeps clearing their throat. Another one is frowning at their computer, clicking their pen absent-mindedly. A third is touch-typing, very slowly.

Xarlach enters with a recently-damned soul named James.

Xarlach: You must be the new guy Demonic Relations told me about. James Campbell?
James: The third.
Xarlach: Great, do you mind if I call you Jimmy?
James: That’s not my name, my name is-
Xarlach: Great, Jimmy, welcome to fourth level of Hell. I’m your boss, Xarlach Geamahr. But you can call me Xarlach. How do you like it so far?
James: A lot less warm than I imagined.
Xarlach: Fantastic. Now, we do things a little differently here on the fourth level of Hell. We don’t do the traditional closed spaces. We’re more informal, and down to earth. Or down below earth, am I right?

He waits for James to laugh. After a moment, James forces a small chuckle.

Xarlach: What’s so funny? This isn’t funny. You’re a terrible person, Jimmy, and you’re here to be punished. You’re going to be tortured for all eternity. Hah! Look at your face! Now here in Hell we used to have lots of closed doors and individual punishments, but we had a restructuring a century or so ago, so we do things differently. We thought, we have all these terrible people here already, why don’t we just let them do the torture themselves? We’re very egalitarian. We think outside the box, by getting rid of the box. Here is your chair. This open-space system – sit down – this open-space system allows for better flow of communication and ideas. How do you like your seat?
James: It’s pretty comfortable actually.
Xarlach: That’s great, Jimmy.
James: James.
Xarlach: You’re going to be sitting here forever.

Xarlach walks away.

James: So wait, what do I do?

He looks at each of his fellow damned. A moment while the sounds continues. James sniffs, loudly.

James: Where is that music coming from? Who’s playing that music? Is it you? You, you with the throat, are you playing that racket?

Throat-clearer shakes their head.

James: Hey, with the pen, are you playing that music? Could you turn it down?

Pen-clicker shakes their head.

James: Hey, (sniff) hey, sorry to interrupt, but are you playing that music?

Slow-typer shakes their head.

James: Oh. Okay. Maybe the person who was here before? (checks his computer) No? Where is that (sniff) where is that music coming from?

A beat. The pen-clicking, throat-clearing, and slow typing continue. James stares at the slow typer.

James: You have two hands you know. You could use both hands. (sniff) Both hands. Twice as fast.

Another beat. The pen-clicking, throat-clearing, and slow-typing continue. James sniffs, and then sniffs again. The Top 40s song ends.

James: Oh thank goodness.

The same Top 40s song begins again.

James: Nooooooooo!

He buries his head in his hands.

Pen-clicker: Hey, shut up.

Lilith, a representative from Demonic Relations, enters.

Lilith: Have any of you seen Mr. Geamahr?
Throat-clearer: He just dropped off Mr. Sniffles here.
Lilith: We don’t call people names here, Chuckie. His name is Jimmy.
James: It’s James!
Pen-clicker (points): He went that way.

But Xarlach re-enters.

Lilith: Ah, Mr. Geamahr. My name is Lilith, from Demonic Relations. Do you mind if we have a conversation?
Xarlach: Not at all. What is this about?
Lilith: I just wanted to talk about your performance on your latest initiative.

Xarlach sighs dramatically.

Lilith: First I want to hear it in your words. What happened?
Xarlach: She sold the anti-Christ.
Lilith: Who sold the anti-Christ? Start from the beginning. Where did you two meet?
Xarlach: We met on Yahoo Answers. She was looking for advice on where to donate her eggs. I messaged her asking her what she was looking for, I told her I could give her something worth more than money, all she had to do was bear my child. She was selfish and greedy from the very beginning. I liked that about her. But there was something else about her. A certain lack of desperation.
Lilith: Go on.
Xarlach: So she signed the contract, we consummated under the full moon on the day of her ovulation, and that was that.
Lilith: Did you follow up with her?
Xarlach: No.
Lilith: Why not?
Xarlach: I didn’t want to seem like I cared.
Lilith: But did you care?
Xarlach: No.
Lilith: Why not? This was entrusted to you. Only one demon a century gets a chance to create an anti-Christ.
Xarlach: I thought I wasn’t supposed to.
Lilith: Every anti-Christ is different. You have to treat it as you think best. Now, who did she sell your anti-Christ to?
Xarlach: A witch.
Lilith: Rowan Babaya?

She takes out a thick folder with Rowan’s name on it and hands it to Xarlach.

Xarlach: She works for us?
Lilith: She did some sub-contract work a while ago. She created thalidomide to poison unborn children for us.
Xarlach: So she’s killed children?
Lilith: No. Just horribly deformed them. It helped inspire our Zika Virus mutation.
Xarlach: And that’s who that human sold my child to?
Lilith: Your child?
Xarlach: Yes.
Lilith: Who exactly do you think you are, Mr. Greamahr? Do you think that just because we allowed you to step with a living soul that you are somehow special to us? This child is nothing more than a bloody stool in a consumption of the earth. You bought a woman on Yahoo Answers and somehow that makes you the owner of this child? How shall I put this on your record? Is this lust or greed? I think you’ve done enough Mr. Greamahr. Let the lawyers handle the rest.

SCENE FIVE

Hospital ER desk. Joshua Josephson is sitting behind the desk. He has a yamulke on, but is now wearing scrubs. Angie rolls in on her wheelchair, still with the baby in the handbasket.

Angie: Hi, I’d like to drop this baby off.
Joshua: What’s wrong with the baby?
Angie: Nothing, I just don’t want it.
Joshua: Well you have to give a reason.
Angie: I thought that you couldn’t ask under the Safe Haven law. If within 48 hours of birth, you decided you didn’t want the kid, you could just hand it over. Well it’s been 3 hours and I definitely don’t want the kid so just take it. Take the baby.

She puts the handbasket on the desk.

Joshua: Alright, I suppose you gave birth here in the hospital. Did you fill out a birth certificate?
Angie: No.
Joshua: Well let’s fill one out real quick.
Angie: No.
Joshua: I’ll even do all the writing for you. What’s the baby’s name?

Angie begins wheeling away.

Joshua: It will make the child’s life easier in the long run!
Angie: I don’t care! I just want to get out of here! I fulfilled my end of the bargain, it’s not my fault no one else will do their part!

Angie exits completely.

A beat. Joshua bows his head, feeling the pain of failure.

Lilith enters.

Joshua: So what happens now?
Lilith: By human law, the child enters a temporary home until a suitable permanent one is found. It is preferred that the temporary home – and the permanent home – be with the child’s biological family. Otherwise…well an infant will get swept up within days of entering foster care. Humans want babies.
Joshua: So you win then.
Lilith: Yes. We have. (She takes the handbasket) This isn’t what we wanted, Son of Man. But it is how things have turned out. Funny, how your king’s providence turns out in the end.
Joshua: Why wouldn’t this be what you want? The child’s soul is yours without any work.

The Witches all enter at once.

Rowan: There he is! The child is mine!
Hermione: But he’s a boy!
Lilith: Oh dammit.
Joshua: Who are you?
Rowan: I’m his mother! The little sausage is mine!
Joshua: No you’re not. His mother is Angie Davis.
Rowan: And she signed a doctrine (produces the document) and signed it in her own blood saying that upon the child’s birth he is mine, for whatever purpose I need of him! I had been planning on raising an apprentice, but since he’s a boy…
Joshua: It’s solid. Clear intent that the child was never meant to go with you.
Lilith: Unfortunately no. Both parents of the child have to be present and sign, in the presence of a notary, in order for the document to be legal. I am the only one with a document signed by both parents.
Willow: Incorrect, you foolish minion. In the case of an unknown father, the mother has sole legal right over the child.
Lilith: But we all know the child’s father is Xarlach Greamahr of the fourth level of Hell.
Willow: Exactly, of Hell. He has no legal rights on this plane of existence. He might as well not exist at all by the laws of this land.
Joshua: The only way Xarlach could claim the boy is if Angie Davis signs a paper listing him as the father of her child, and she’s already left. She’s not coming back.
Lilith: Why are you on their side? They’re not on your side.
Joshua: They’re of the Earth. I love the Earth, and so I love them.
Lilith: Why do you want this child? Human children are stolen every day by the likes of you.
Rowan: He’s a demonspawn. Most children don’t become hellions until they’re two.
Lilith: So he was advertised as a demon’s child. The fact that he is Xarlach Greamahr’s child is the reason why you want him. And, mind you, this sale was made without his consent.
Joshua: Kind of funny that your kind would be stuck on consent.
Lilith: Our kind is built on consent. Xarlach Greamahr was never consulted on the ultimate fate of his child. According to him, and according to this document signed by the mother, the intent of both parties was that the child would be brought up by Angela Davis.
Willow: Brought up?
Lilith: Yes. Raised as her child. Because he is her child.
Rowan: No!
Rose: Shh!
Willow: But it could be argued that “brought up” simply meant giving birth to.
Lilith: That’s not the colloquial definition of “brought up.”
Willow: It’s one of them.
Lilith: No it’s not.
Willow: Yes it is.
Lilith: No it’s not.
Willow: Yes it is!
Lilith: No it is not.
Willow: Yes it is! To summon. Bring up. Spawn.
Joshua: Ladies, ladies. You both have excellent cases and you’re ruining it all by getting caught up in semantics. Let the courts decide.
Lilith: Oh no.
Willow: The courts?
Rowan: What courts?
Lilith: No no no no no.
Joshua: The heavenly courts, of course. Presided over by St. Peter himself.
Lilith: That place is biased against our kind. Of course the witches will win!
Rowan: I like this plan!
Joshua: We’ll hold court in a neutral territory halfway between heaven and hell.
Hermione: Detroit?

Posted September 7, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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I named the witch Rowan   Leave a comment

SCENE THREE

The Rowan enters her hovel, currently dimly lit, looking sad. Perhaps sad but earthy music could play. She pushes in a baby chair and picks up her familiar, a black cat.

Unbeknownst to Rowan, her friends Willow, Rose, and Hermione are all hiding, having planned a surprise party.

Willow: LUXO!

The lights brighten. Willow, Rose, and Hermione all pop out from their hiding spots.

The Witches: Surprise!
Rowan: What is this? How dare you cross my threshold?
Rose: It’s a baby shower!
Hermione: A surprise baby shower!

They all cackle gleefully and bring her over to the party set-up.

Willow: The humans always celebrate whenever they make a new baby. It helps them be more prepared for the coming days!
Rose: So we thought we would have one for your new changeling!
Hermione: There’s cake and games and presents!
Rowan: I do like presents.

Rose thrusts a pink cupcake at Rowan.

Rowan: Did you make this?
Rose: I did.

Rowan pretends to eat a bite.

Rowan: Mmm. Delicious and tender.
Hermione: Me first! My present first! For your new changeling, I present to you…a bassinet!You know, for the child to sleep in.
Willow: You fool! The child won’t be that small forever.
Hermione: We can make it bigger! We’re witches! Anyway, the important thing is that you have to imitate the womb of the mother to calm her cries. You can rock the bassinet like so, and sing a song, and it will make the child stop crying.
Willow: You can enchant the child to stop crying.
Hermione: It won’t last forever. Charm a child with kindness, and you won’t have to curse it into staying. Lesson one of parenting.
Rose: Lesson two. The first one was when you told her how to use the bassinet.
Hermione: Details.
Rose: Anyway it’s my turn. My gift for the new changeling is…a bottle that is always the right temperature. You see a human feeds their child by giving them milk from their body.

The witches all react with disgust.

Rose: But this bottle will always be human temperature so you can feed the child whatever you like, so the child will be happy to eat, and will grow strong.
Hermione: And fat.
Willow: And tender.
Rose: She’s not going to eat the child! She’s going to raise her to become one of us! Anyway what gift did you bring for the child? I saw you arrive with nothing.
Willow: Nothing but this. (She takes a photo out of her pocket. It’s a photo of a corgi puppy) Her future familiar.

The witches all coo.

Willow: The steed is but two weeks old. In a few more weeks she’ll be ready to be weaned and taken from her mother, just as we take changelings from theirs. They will grow up together, witch and familiar, steed and rider. I had been hoping for better timing, to present the pup to you at this party, but alas.

A beat. The witches all look at Rowan expectantly.

Rose: Do you forgive her?
Rowan: There is nothing to forgive. It gives me time to prepare for the pup’s arrival.
Hermione: Where is the child?

The witches all look around, under the table or chairs, behind the cauldron, but there is no baby.

Rose: Where is the child?
Willow: You tricked us! You told us there would be a changeling to gain our – our presents!
Rose: I made cupcakes for the child!

Rowan bursts into tears. The witches all jump back and hiss.

Hermione: What is this?
Willow: They are tears.
Rose: Genuine sadness. I can feel it in my bones. She smells of grief and misery.
Rowan: The human tricked me! She took my talisman and gave the child to another!
Hermione: Humans can’t trick us. Can they?
Willow: Who did she give the child to?
Rowan: A serpent. A light-bearer. A follower of Satan. I went to claim the child and then he appeared, claiming him for his own nefarious purposes!
Rose: Claiming who him?
Rowan: The child. The child is a boy.
Hermione: A boy?

Rose and Hermione react with disgust.

Willow: Where is the child now?
Rowan: I left him with the mother. My crystal ball…

Hermione brings her the crystal ball. Rowan runs her hands over it and then holds it up to her eye.

Rowan: The boy is still with his mother.
Willow: Rowan. Rowan my friend. Listen to me carefully. We can still fight this. I have dealt with the devil before. You have the contract. But I need to know. Somewhere in your breast, a heart still rattles, trembling, pushing your life-force through your bones, holding up your brains and filling in your wicked fingertips. I need you to call out to your heart and hear what is says. Does your heart long for this boy?
Rowan (tearfully): I have no heart. I gave it to this child before I ever saw him. I want this child. I need him.
Willow: Then we shall take this fight to the depths of the earth. In four weeks the weaning shall begin. Boy and steed shall be joined. The child will be named by our kind.

Posted September 4, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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I lied, I don’t know how many parts this story has   Leave a comment

SCENE TWO

Angie is now in a wheelchair (since new moms can’t walk around in hospitals, I guess). She is carrying the baby in a handbasket on her lap. She is wheeling herself along. Joshua Josephson enters. He is wearing a suit and has a yamulke on his head.

Joshua: Angela Davis?
Angie: The one and only. Well, I’m sure there’s about 750,000 people with my name. And you are?
Joshua: Ah, this is the little one we’ve been hearing so much about.

He reaches a hand for the handbasket. The baby screams. Joshua jumps back. The baby continues to cry. Joshua waits for Angie to comfort the baby, but the baby continues crying. As the conversation continues, the baby slowly calms down.

Joshua: Aren’t you going to…?
Angie: This isn’t my kid. I signed a contract.
Joshua: Yes, adoption papers, but the biological father is contesting the case.
Angie: Y…yes. How did you know? Who are you?
Joshua: My name is Joshua Josephson.

He waits for the name to sink it.

Angie: Have we met before or…?
Joshua: I am a lawyer. The best lawyer money can’t buy.
Angie: I’ve recently come into a lot of money, so I think I can buy a lawyer. Or lease one. You can’t buy people.
Joshua: I like that. Have you named the child?
Angie: No. That witch said that if I name it I keep it. I don’t want to keep this baby. That wasn’t the arrangement.
Joshua: What would you do if you had to keep the baby? Would you give the money back?
Angie: Absolutely not. I’d just drop this kid off in an orphanage or something. It’s supposed to raise hell, might as well give it a shitty childhood. I don’t care who keeps this kid as long as I get rid of it. I did my part.
Joshua: I’m surprised you expected such twisted beings to hold up their end of the bargain.
Angie: Are you saying they planned to do this? Those bastards!
Joshua: Yes, so we should come up with a plan to-
Angie: I’m going to drop this kid off in the ER. There’s that safe haven law, I’ll leave him there and be done with it. Hey wait a minute. That witch gave me all that money in exchange for the kid and then didn’t even take the kid! That doesn’t make any sense. And don’t witches work for the devil, too? So that demon and that witch should be on the same team. What is their deal?
Joshua: Excellent questions, Ms. Davis. What is their deal, indeed. The Devil has plans for this child. Allow me to help you, and we can ensure the safety of…what is the boy’s name?
Angie: I don’t care. I’m getting rid of this kid and then I’m going to chill in the Bahamas for the rest of my eternal life. Except that there’s hurricanes and mudslides in the Bahamas. Hmm. Maybe the Phillipines? No, there’s a lot of civil unrest and they’re all doomed to go under the ocean in a few decades anyway. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just travel for the rest of my life. Hah! That sounds amazing. It was nice to meet you, Mr. Josephson, I’ll see you never.

Posted September 3, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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A one-part story   Leave a comment

Lights down. A woman screams in pain.

Nurse: Very good, Angie, just one more push!

Woman cries in pain again. Then a baby cries.

Nurse: And there we go! Good job! It’s all done! We’re all done!

Lights up. Angie is lying on a hospital bed. Nurse is presenting wrapped-up baby to her.

Nurse: There we go. A healthy seven pounds, one ounce, and twenty inches.
Angie: Is that good?
Nurse: A little on the small side but well within a healthy range. Support the head. There we go. You’ll get the hang of it. This all happened so quick I wanted to ask. Have you thought of a name yet?
Angie: Oh, well…

A loud BANG and a witch appears.

Witch: I believe naming the child shall be MY prerogative. Fresh, innocent blood for the art! I held up my end of the bargain, now it’s time for you to deliver.
Angie: Yes, yes, I know. Have you thought of a name?
Witch: Well, I was always fond of Rosemary. Or Rapunzel.
Angie: I think Rapunzel is a bit too on the nose. I like Rosemary though.
Witch: Then it can’t be Rosemary. The child belongs to whoever names it. And the child is mine!
Angie: Well then here. I’m exhausted.

The witch cackles and then reaches for the baby. Another loud BANG, a flash of lights, and a devil appears.

Devil: At last, the child is born! In darkness at the thirteenth hour, nine months from Walpurgis Night, the Childe shall be born. A schism shall be made. The sun shall rise and the seas shall boil, and the Dark Lord of All Creation shall take his place over the Earth. All will shield their eyes from the light, but all will burn.
Witch: Excuse me, I was here first. This child is mine. I already named her.
Nurse: It’s a boy.
Witch: What! That’s no good! What could I do with a boy?
Angie: Hey, no take-backsies! You said you’d take him! I signed with the contract with my blood and everything!
Devil: The child is mine by blood and by rite.
Witch: No, I have the contract here. You see, I have her blood, and I have it in writing here.
Devil: No, rite. R-I-T-E. We had a ritual. She drank the potion and we danced before the hellfires of Abaddon before she offered up her body to bear the Childe.
Witch: You had a one-night stand. I have it written down, in blood and permanent ink-
Devil: Is it Sharpie?
Witch: No, it was a Bic pen. Just a standard ballpoint pen. That’s more than what you could say.
Angie (to Nurse): Could you just, like, put this kid in a basket or something? (Nurse takes the baby) Yeah, there we go.
Devil: You don’t even want the boy. You wanted a girl.
Witch: I have it IN WRITING-
Devil: Please. You’re trying to argue against the demons of Hell. We are the best lawyers around. Do you think you could do this? Dance with the devil at midnight-
Witch: It’s 1 AM-
Devil: This is the devil’s handiwork.
Witch: And I have a contract. What do you have, a horizontal handshake?
Devil: Do you think you can defeat the Devil himself?
Witch: With one red hand.
Devil: I’ll see you in Hell.

Another BANG and the Devil disappears.

Angie: So you’re going to take him, right?

Another BANG and the Witch disappears.

Angie: Oh goddammit.

Posted September 3, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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First attempt at Lovecraft story   Leave a comment

The bones of the stage is a fixed set, currently set up to resemble an old house of the 1690s. The inhabitants, however, are dressed in distinctly 1920s clothing. There are two levels of this old house. On the bottom floor is the room of JUDY MAZUREWICZ. The door is open, and she is praying audibly. MRS. DOMBROSKI, the landlady, is in the common area, running a spinner. The prayer and the spinning are in time with each other. Up a half-flight of stairs is the room of WALTER GILMAN, a student lodger. The door is currently shut, and purple light is beaming out from the old wooden door.

There is a knock on the front door, pert and energetic. Ms. Mazurewicz and Mrs. Dombroski continue their work unabated. Another knock, louder and faster than before. Ms. Mazurewicz pauses. She steps out of her room and looks upstairs at Walter Gilman’s room. The knocks occur again, louder and harder. They are coming from the front door.

Ms. Mazurewicz: Mrs. Dombroski. Mrs. Dombroski! The door!

She eventually shakes Mrs. Dombroski from her spinning reverie. Mrs. Dombroski goes to answer the door while Ms. Mazurewicz picks up a frying pan as a weapon.

Mrs. Dombroski opens the door to reveal WINNIE GILMAN, a pretty, energetic, very modern girl, clutching a few papers.

Winnie: Is this the witch house?

Mrs. Dombroski shuts the door.

Winnie bangs on the door again.

Winnie: Mrs. Dombroski! Mrs. Dombroski! Let me in! My brother is in there!

Mrs. Dombroski opens the door. Winnie walks right in.

Winnie: Good god this house is old. I can’t imagine why Walter would want to live here. Mrs. Dombroski, my brother is very ill.
Mrs. Dombroski: Drunk I should say.
Winnie: Not Walter.
Ms. Mazurewicz: There have been ill omens of late.
Winnie: Yes, I know. Are you another tenant? I’m Winifred Gilman, I’m Walter’s sister. My friends call me Winnie.
Ms. Mazurewicz: Miss Gilman. Your brother is not well.
Winnie: Where is he? I must see him. Oh I came all this way, I do hope he’ll be alright.
Ms. Mazurewicz: It is almost time for Walpurgis-Night.
Winnie: What?
Ms. Mazurewicz: When hell’s blackest evil roams the earth and all the slaves of Satan gather for nameless rites and deeds. It is always a very bad time in Arkham, even though the fine folks up in Miskatonic Avenue and High and Saltonstall Streets pretend to know nothing about it. I know such things, for my grandmother in the old country had her tales from her grandmother. This time of year it is wise to pray and count one’s beads.
Winnie: Well that can’t be true. Nothing can be nameless. Everything has a name. How could anyone plan anything if they didn’t name it? “Oh you know that rite we do every year, let’s never name it ever” how silly. Oh Mrs. Dombroski please let me see my brother, do you know where he is?
Mrs. Dombroski: Last night I saw him go upstairs to his room, and I have not seen him come back down.
Winnie: Then I’ll go check his room. (she begins heading upstairs)
Ms. Mazurewicz: He may not be there. It is nearly Walpurgis-Night. There will be bad things. A child or two will go missing, and the authorities will do naught. For three months Keziah Mason and Brown Jenkin have not been near this house, nor anywhere else.
Winnie: Well that’s good.
Ms. Mazurewicz: They must be up to something.
Winnie: For Pete’s sake.

Winnie opens the door. A stinger. Winnie shrieks. Then laughs and enters the room.

Winnie: Oh, oh good he is still here. Walter? Walter? Walter, oh, you’re burning up. What strange light! Walter?

She leaves the room.

Winnie: He is very ill. I must fetch a doctor right away. Is there any water, Mrs. Dombroski?

Walter sits up and screams. He is fully-dressed, including shoes, despite having been in a deep sleep.

Ms. Mazurewicz: W imie Ojca I Syna I Ducha Swietego. (In the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit)
Winnie: Walter?
Walter: What? Where am I? Where am I? Oh – I’m – here.
Winnie: Walter?
Walter: Winnie! What the blazes are you – I don’t feel well – my head –
Winnie: Walter, it’s alright. I’m here. You’re always taking care of me, now I get to take care of you.
Walter: But how did I get here? I was…the sun was very hot…there was an iridescent kaldeiscope little polyhedron…a shift and vast as converging plans of slippery looking…yellow, carmine, indigo were madly and inextricably blended…a fantastic balustraded terrace above a boundless jungle of outlandish, incredible peaks, balances planes, domes, minarets, horizontal discs poised on pinnacles, and numberless forms of still greater wilderness—some of stone and some of metal—glittering gloriously in the mixed, almost blistering glare from a polychromatic sky. The city below stretched away to the limits of vision, and–

He picks up an item off of his bed and screams. The item is a metal knob, somewhat resembling a starfish, somewhat resembling a barrel.

Walter: I must go with them, I must meet the Black Man, and go with them all to the throne of Azathoth at the center of Ultimate Chaos. I must sign in my own blood the book of Azathoth and take a new secret name.
Winnie: I am making an executive decision and taking you home.
Walter: But Winnie. I know. I know why I cannot go.
Winnie: You have to come with me. Please, Walter.
Walter: I cannot go to where the thin flute pipe mindlessly.
Winnie: Good. Come home with me.
Walter: I have seen the name Azathoth in the Necronomicon. It stands for a primal evil too horrible for humans to comprehend.
Winnie: Just come home, Walter.

Posted August 29, 2017 by agentksilver in writing

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