Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me
Written & Directed by Darin Morgan
Edited by James Coblentz
Air date: 1 May 1998
Edited by Libby]
[Suburban neighborhood – night. A stone cherub on the edge of a lawn. It's around 4:00 a.m. and all is quiet – until a car approaches. The driver – who is delivering the newspaper – nails the cherub in the head, knocking it off. As the car heads down the street, we see that every toss is haphazard and lands anywhere except the porch, i.e. a birdbath, a roof, a cat. The last paper sets off a car alarm.]
[Donut Hole – night. An all-night donut shop. The newspaper guy gets out of the car. He is an old man, Abum. He approaches the newspaper stand with a load of paper, inserts in a key and opens the door. It's empty. ]
ABUM: What the hell?
[He shuts the door and inserts a coin into the slot: it sticks so that the door won't open. He chuckles and taps the top of the stand. He goes into the Donut Hole. There are three elderly men at a table. Abum goes to the counter where a young clerk toils, and to whom Abum quickly establishes that he is a crotchety, pain in the ass. Abum knocks on the counter.]
ABUM: Hey, kid! Coffee and an apple fritter.
CLERK: I'm just brewing up a fresh pot, sir, and the apple fritters need a few minutes to cool down.
ABUM: Kid, if I wanted your life story, I would've bought the book. Coffee and an apple fritter. Now.
CLERK: [apologetically] Sir, they're not ready just yet. I have some decaf brewed.
ABUM: Why would I, or anybody in their right mind, voluntarily drink decaf, huh? [he heads toward the table of men] All right, tell me when it's ready. And make it snappy. Some of us actually work for a living.
[When Abum is out of sight, the clerk grits his teeth in frustration.]
CLERK: [to himself] Every morning, the same thing. Bitter old fart.
[He glances over his shoulder, then picks up the coffeepot, brings it waist-level and starts unzipping his fly.]
CLERK: He wants bitter, I'll give him bitter.
[Abum seats himself at the table next to Toby, a glum- looking man; Greb, who is reading a paper, and Blurk, who is munching on a longjohn.]
ABUM: I ask you, whatever happened to "The customer's always right"?
BLURK: That went out with the automats.
GREB: [without looking up] Yeah, you're living in the past, Daddy-O.
ABUM: [to Toby] What's the matter with you? Something wrong?
TOBY: Sort of. I have this ...
ABUM: [holding up his hands] Whoa, whoa, whoa! I didn't say anything about sharing.
CLERK: : Uh, sir? Your order's ready.
[The Clerk puts the coffee and fritter on the counter top. When Abum goes over reaches for the doughnut, we see that it is a demon's hand. Abum's true self is revealed – he is a demon. Abum touches the fritter and flinches. ]
ABUM: Hey! This fritter isn't cooled off enough yet! [adding for good measure] Dammit.
[He heads back to the table where we see that the other old men are really demons as well.]
ABUM: Hey, maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I tell ya, things didn't used to be this way. [sips his coffee and reacts] Aaahhh!
GREB: Burn your tongue?
ABUM: No: that kid peed in my coffee! Hee-hee!
[All the demons begin cackling with delight.]
"Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me"
[Donut Hole – night]
GREB: Anyone care to make a little wager on the big fight tonight?
ABUM: Does boxing still have that standing eight-count rule?
ABUM: Might as well be watching a pillow fight.
[The demons laugh.]
BLURK: I lost all interest in the sweet science when Kid McCoy retired from the ring.
GREB: Ahh, the real McCoy.
GREB: World Middleweight Champion. And inventor of the infamous corkscrew punch that would tear the flesh right off the opponent.
BLURK: He was also convicted during one of this century's trial-of-the-century of killing his married lover and shooting three other people.
GREB: I still love that line in his suicide note: "I can't endure this world's madness any longer."
BLURK: A fighter and a philosopher. But that's exactly what's missing from this bland day and age. Personalities; characters; individuals with an inspirational flair! For example, a while back, I was wandering on an old country highway ...
[Old country highway – night. Blurk, in human form, is hitchhiking. A van stops and he gets in. During his tale, and the others, as well, we go back and forth between past and present.]
BLURK: [voice-over] I was sort of looking for – I don't know, a new sort of titillation. All I found was the same old thing.
[The van driver, Perry, is a young man in his late twenties, and he addresses Blurk kindly.]
PERRY: What the hell are you doing out here by your lonesome, old timer?
BLURK: Waiting for a ride.
PERRY: Yeah? You been waiting long?
BLURK: So many cars passed by, I lost count.
PERRY: Yeah, people are reluctant to pick up hitchhikers these days.
BLURK: In ancient times, the Greeks always had to help vagabonds because they never knew if the beggar might be one of their gods in disguise. I guess nowadays, it just seems safer to assume that each stranger is the devil.
PERRY: Could be a serial killer. Or worse.
BLURK: So how'd you know I'm not?
PERRY: [amused] Huh! You didn't strike me as a serial killer type, Pops.
BLURK: You're an expert on serial killers, are you?
PERRY: Oh, no, I'm not an expert or anything, but I do actually spend a lot of my spare time reading true crime books.
[Donut Hole. The other demons nod and say "Ah!" and repeat "True crime books!"]
BLURK: Exactly! You see where this story is headed. As it turned out, the kid not only had an interest in serial killers, he once made contact with one.
[Van. We see a little red devil statuette mounted on the dashboard. Perry taps it so that the head jingles.]
PERRY: [reverently] This was made in prison by Johnnie Mack Potter: the most prolific murderer in America. He was convicted of killing 36 people.
BLURK: How'd you get a hold of that?
PERRY: Well, Johnnie Mack Potter used to be the janitor and mascot of my old school, the Roosevelt High Red Devils. He was caught the year before I attended, so I never met him. But every day I walked down those hallways, and I couldn't help but think to myself: "Wow! A serial killer once cleaned these."
BLURK: "Wow!" is right!
PERRY: So I wrote to him in prison and he sent me this devil doohickey. But here I am, probably boring you with all this killer talk.
[Blurk reaches into his pocket and shows Perry a picture of a man (who looks like a murderous John Waters) standing in a football field in a devil uniform.]
PERRY: Hey, that's Johnnie Mack Potter in his old mascot uniform! How'd you get that?
BLURK: I'm a murder memorabilia collector myself.
PERRY: [relieved] You know, it's kind of neat to be able to talk to someone about this stuff and not feel a sicko.
BLURK: Tell me, Perry, why do you think you possess this morbid fascination with serial killers?
PERRY: Well, I'll be honest with you, I don't know.
BLURK: You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that you, yourself, possess so many characteristics of the prototypical serial killer?
PERRY: [shocked] What?
BLURK: White male in his 20s; the abused product of a broken home who spent his youth starting fires and/or torturing animals; an early addiction to drugs and/or alcohol.
[Perry gulps nervously at this assessment.]
BLURK: Inability to hold a steady job or relationship with women. [voice rising] Spending all your free time dreaming about turning your masochistic/ mutilation/sex fantasies into reality! To say nothing of the fact that you drive a van, and keep a roll of duct tape in your glove compartment!
[Blurk opens the glove box and produces the duct tape triumphantly. Perry is shocked.]
PERRY: How the hell did ... ? What are you trying to tell me?
BLURK: Play the hand you've been dealt.
GREB: Good Lord, don't tell me that's all it took?
BLURK: You know, we were so envious when Man was given free will. But what has it brought them? The belief that their lives are determined by everything other than their own will.
ABUM: And the right to vote.
TOBY: Wait a minute, I'm confused. You mean the man became a serial killer because ...
BLURK: Yes: just because.
[Highway road – night.
The van is pulled over to the side of the road. Perry is on his knees, throwing up. Blurk sits on the bumper of the van, next to a dead prostitute, looking on approvingly.]
BLURK: [voice-over] His first victim was a prostitute. This was to be expected. I was a little concerned that his initial reaction was a tad oversensitive. [to Perry] Don't worry, kid: it's like your first beer. You not only get used to it, but eventually life doesn't seem as good without it.
[Perry, still trying to catch his breath, looks up at Blurk.]
PERRY: I want to become the most prolific serial killer in the history of this country.
BLURK: He didn't want to be the most colorful killer, or the most weird: he just wanted to break Johnnie Mack Potter's record, to be number one.
ABUM: Quantity, not quality.
BLURK: His "originality" began and ended with prostitutes. He killed another one that very night. Then, it was prostitute after prostitute.
GREB: Ehh, been there, done that.
BLURK: One night, he managed to inject some irony into his blandness: I talked him into attacking some self-proclaimed devil worshipper.
[Perry's van – night. Perry is struggling to secure the devil worshipper, who is dressed totally in black, replete with black lipstick and white pancake makeup. Blurk is in the passenger seat, smiling.]
DEVIL WORSHIPER: Satan, save me! Satan, save me, please!
BLURK: [quoting the victim] "Satan, save me!"
[The demons cackle.]
ABUM: I'll bet there was no divine intervention there, huh?
BLURK: Unfortunately, the very next night, he was right back to prostitutes.
[The demons moan in disappointment.]
BLURK: So clichéd was this guy that he often returned to the scene of the crime. Because, you know, that's what killers supposedly do.
[Perry's van – night. Perry is driving toward the crime scene. The police have cordoned off the area.]
PERRY: Looks like they found Victim #36. One more, and I top Johnnie Mack Potter. Then I become the serial killing champ!
BLURK: [drolly] Maybe you should get T-shirts printed up.
[We see Frank Black among the investigators. He looks up as the van approaches, and sees Blurk as a demon. Frank stares at Blurk as the van drives by.]
TOBY: [suddenly interested] Wait a minute. What does this guy look like?
BLURK: I know how terrible this is gonna sound, but they all look pretty much the same to me. But I swear to God, this man reacted like he had caught a glimpse of my true essence!
ABUM: Impossible! It's not in their nature!
BLURK: All right, so my story's a little out there. Go with it. In any case, having seen this weird guy, and being so bored with my killer, I figured enough was enough.
[Van. Blurk picks up the red devil doohickey off the dashboard and drops it onto the highway. We see Frank approach and pick it up.]
BLURK: [voice-over] After they got the fingerprints off of it, it didn't take them long.
[Van – night. The back of the van doors are thrown open by the police, where Perry is asleep.]
POLICE: Freeze! Hold it right there!
[They cuff him. Perry struggles all the while.]
PERRY: Mr. Blurk! Mr. Blurk!
BLURK: Of course, I was nowhere to be found. Later, he told the police that I was the one responsible for the murders!
ABUM: They're always blaming others.
BLURK: But the criminal psychologist deduced that the elderly hitchhiker didn't actually exist. I was merely one segment of the killer's split personality.
[The demons cackle.]
BLURK: So after some time had passed, I felt it was the right time. I sent my killer companion a friendly little note of advice.
[Jail cell – Day. Perry is reading Blurk's letter: "Nothing to do now but hang yourself with your own underwear."]
TOBY: [voice-over] And did he do it?
BLURK: [voice-over] He gave it the old college try.
[Perry has his underwear around his neck. He has strung up it to the top bunk in an attempt to kill himself. But the bunk isn't tall enough (and he isn't short enough), so he ends up comically bungeeing with his elastic underwear, his knees touching the ground.]
BLURK: Too bad he had never gone to college.
TOBY: [voice-over] But then it was really all for nothing, wasn't it? You didn't achieve total closure.
BLURK: [voice-over] Well, it's my attitude that sometimes you have to sacrifice self-satisfaction for a sense of poetic justice.
[Giving up, Perry, with the underwear still around his neck, lays back in his bunk. Something catches his eyes, and he looks at his feet: the red devil doohickey is sitting on the bars of the cell. Suddenly, a man yanks on the underwear around Perry's neck and begins strangling him. Perry's cellmate is Johnnie Mack Potter.]
BLURK: And that, my friends, is why Johnnie Mack Potter remains the reigning, and still undisputed, serial-killing champion.
[fade to black]
[Donut Hole – night. Abum puts a quarter in a pay phone and dials a number.]
ABUM: Hello? Is this the Helm residence?
MR. HELM: [drowsily] Yes, it is.
ABUM: May I please speak with Mr. Helm?
MR. HELM: This is him. What's happening? What's the matter?
ABUM: [launching into a cheesy telemarketer's spiel] Nothing's the matter, sir, unless you're being overcharged by your long-distance phone company! May I ask which current service you use?
MR. HELM: What? What time is it?
ABUM: It's time to start saving over 30 per cent on your long-distance calls! Now, if you sign up with us ...
[We hear a dial tone. Abum laughs triumphantly and heads back to the table.]
GREB: I don't like working with serial killers myself: if they get caught, they end up on death row, which is the only place where humans can still find God.
ABUM: The trouble with serial killers is they're too evil.
BLURK: Well, hey, if you're afraid of them ...
ABUM: That's not what I meant and you know it.
TOBY: What did you mean?
ABUM: Their evil is too conspicuous. When people hear about some psycho killer, it can lead them to thinking about the nature of evil, which leads to thoughts about right or wrong – bad or good.
GREB: All that thinking can get ugly.
ABUM: Yeah! You don't want to consider a crack like that. You just want them to go through their routine of living their lives.
BLURK: What do you do to gut their souls?
ABUM: I don't do squat anymore. They do it all for you.
TOBY: I'm not sure I'm following.
ABUM: Mankind has progressed to a point in its dim-witted history where life has been drained of all of its enchantment. All you got to do is sit back and enjoy.
[Bedroom – early morning. A middle-aged, heavy-set man, Brock, is in bed. We hear an alarm buzzing loudly. He hits the snooze button and stops the buzzer. He gets up as if rise but then lies back down at the foot of the bed. The alarm buzzes again and he stops it with a foot. He sits up, but falls back again. The alarm buzzes and he lays his foot on the buzzer and leaves it there. ]
ABUM: [voice-over] I mean, I ask you: what evil genius invented the alarm clock? No other creature but man could concoct a device that interrupts, on a daily basis, their only natural state of happiness. No doubt, the evil genius' evil twin contributed the snooze button.
[Next scene, we see Brock in obvious pain, working out with some horrible exercise contraption.]
BROCK: Oh, boy. [grunting] I beg you.
ABUM: [voice-over] Other human instruments of torture, the rack, the Iron Maiden, are no match for their modern version. Used in a regiment of self-inflicted suffering, all in the name of vanity and rock-hard abs.
[In the bathroom, Brock is shaving with a razor. With each pull, he says: "Ow!"]
ABUM: [voice-over] Their efforts to distance themselves from their animal natures, only show what dumb beasts they truly are.
[Back in the bedroom, Brock is now dressed and proceeding to knot his tie.]
ABUM: [voice-over] Not only required to cover their God-given bodies, they also tie a superfluous, constricting piece of cloth around their necks. For no reason whatsoever!
[Brock stops and stares at his reflection: he has knotted the tie incorrectly.]
BLURK: I fail to see how any of this leads them to eternal damnation!
ABUM: Well, that's the beauty of it! They fail to see it, too, because they think they're living a so-called "normal" life. And you guys have no idea of the torments they'll put themselves through for the sake of such a life.
[Gas station – night. Brock is manning a claustrophobic booth, slowly banging his head on the window.]
ABUM: [voice-over] They'll spend a third of every day in a place that they can't stand, doing stuff they don't wanna do! All in the name of earning a living. I've seen places in punishments in Hell less severe.
[Laundromat – day. In a dreary, steamy environment, Brock stares dully at his load of laundry spinning in a washing machine.]
ABUM: [voice-over] When not at work, their free time is spent in servitude, performing menial chores, none of which could be called "life-affirming". As a wise devil once said: "All roads through Hell lead through coin-operated Laundromats."
BLURK: You seem to be forgetting one little thing in this method of yours: sin!
ABUM: I choose to forget it. Because humans have, as well.
[The others grumble.]
ABUM: I don't mean stop committing sins. Just the opposite.
[Strip joint – night. A female stripper is on stage and begins heading down the end of the runway where Brock is sitting. He looks incredibly bored, having sat through these shows so often, he has become jaded.]
ABUM: [voice-over] They sin so often, it's just become another part of their routine. And whatever passion first compelled them to commit such acts, has long since passed away.
BROCK: [in monotone] Yeah, go, baby. Go. Do it. Shake that thing. Yeah. Yahoo. Do it. Do it. Take it off. Take it all off. Do it. [rests his chin on his hand] Do it.
ABUM: [voice-over] Even their less-guilty pleasures are less than pleasures.
[Brock's bedroom – night. Brock is in bed, flipping through a dozen TV stations. Finding nothing of interest on, he switches off the TV, turns on the alarm clock, switches off the light and goes to bed.]
BLURK: Umm ... am I missing something?
GREB: Yea. Having him fall asleep is not quite the same as having him fall into the fiery pits of hell.
TOBY: How can you expect to ruin them if you don't interact with him?
ABUM: Oh, every once in a while I interact with them, but nothing too evil – minor irritations are all you need.
[Street curb – day. Brock is getting ready to put some coins in the meter when he notices a street sign, and cranes his head to read all the warnings posted on it.]
ABUM: [voice-over] And I find the best irritations utilize their own man-made laws.
[Starting at the top, the signs read:
Permit Parking Only, 7:00 pm to 9:00 am, Except on every other Thurs.
Except on Tues. 1/2 hour parking only
No Parking 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Except No Parking 10:00 pm to 7:00 pm Tues.
One Hour Parking 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Mon-Fri
Abum, in human form, dressed in a meter man's outfit, gets out of his patrol car and places a ticket on Brock's windshield.]
BROCK: Hey, I just parked there.
ABUM: Ahh, tell it to the judge.
[Behind Brock is Frank, who removes a ticket from his red Jeep Cherokee, and approaches Abum.]
FRANK: Hey, what's with this ticket? The meter hasn't even run out!
[He stops short when he sees Abum as a demon.]
TOBY: Could this be the same guy who saw Blurk?
ABUM: He wasn't reacting to my inner essence – all humans look horrified when confronting an authority figure.
GREB: Hey, did this guy look depressed?
GREB: I read an article about people using this herb, St. John's Wort, to cure depression. Remember back in the Middle Ages, humans were using this stuff and claiming to see devils?
ABUM: Ahh, old wives' tales!
GREB: Ehh, still, does this guy look like he might be using this St. John's Wort?
BLURK: Greb, this guy looks like he needed a vat of the stuff.
ABUM: It doesn't matter what they take! It's not in their nature to see us.
GREB: What do you know about their natures? You don't even know how to damn them.
[Brock's Bedroom – Night. Like in the previous scene, Brock flips through the same TV channels; then turns on his alarm, switches off the light and goes to bed.]
ABUM: [voice-over] I just told you: You simply let them go through the routine of living their lives as they see fit. Until, they realize their lives are unfit to live.
[After a few moments in the darkness, Brock sits up and turns on the light. He turns off the alarm, climbs out of bed, opens the window and jumps out. As we watch him fall, for the first time, he has a happy and serene expression on his face.]
ABUM: And it never ceases to amuse me how these idiots only learn to appreciate the glorious freedom of life just when they're taking it. And just before they hit pay dirt.
[Brock finally looks down and screams in horror. We hear a splat and the screen goes to black.]
[Donut Hole. Greb picks up his éclair and licks the cream.]
GREB: If you ask me, subtlety is for closet homosexuals.
ABUM: What's that crack supposed to mean?
GREB: I just find your laissez-faire style to be as lame and tedious as the souls you're destroying. I mean, what's the point of being a devil if you can't have a little fun?
BLURK: I'm afraid I'm familiar with your methods, and I find them to be crass and unpoetic.
GREB: Yeah, like an atom bomb. There's another plus with my technique: mass damnation. I just did a job that damaged millions of souls with one big shebang!
TOBY: How could you manage that?
GREB: Simply by using the instruments Satan himself created for that very purpose.
[Network censor's office – Day. And is he ever. Resembling a really uptight David Byrne, the censor is on the phone, editing a script to hell.]
CENSOR: "Crap". On page seven of the script, your use of the word "crap" is unacceptable to Broadcast Standards. [listening] No, it is acceptable to use the word "crap" but only when not referring to ... [not wanting to say it]... defecation. [listening] No, the use of the word "defecation" is not acceptable either. We suggest that you do not use any word to describe it, and simply cut the scene entirely. [eyes widening] Now that word is completely unacceptable! [calming down] Oh, you were just reacting, not suggesting, I see. [starts flipping] Well, my next objection begins on page eight.
[Greb begins narrating while the Censor furiously scratches out dialogue, repeating "No!", "Unacceptable!"]
GREB: [voice-over] Now, every network has a censor, a guardian of moral rectitude, whose job is to ensure that the viewing public is not corrupted by unacceptable scenes of sex, violence, or any other miscellaneous vulgarity.
CENSOR: No, it doesn't matter that aliens from outer space have no genitalia – they still have groins, and they shouldn't be kicked there. It is unacceptable, revise or cut!
ABUM: Jeez, that sounds like one crappy job.
GREB: You can imagine the weight they must bear; the burden of maintaining a nation's morality on their very shoulders.
BLURK: What are you talking about? It's just TV!
GREB: Ahh, but your forgetting how humans regard everything in their lives now as a matter of life and death. Under that constant pressure, making them crack is a snap!
[Network censor's office]
CENSOR: Unacceptable. If you are going to show a pile of dung, it must be dry dung, not moist. [listening] Why? Because I am Broadcast Standards and Practices and I bear the burden of maintaining a nation's morality on my very shoulders!
[The Censor hangs up and covers his face wearily. Suddenly, he hears punk music playing loudly, and the Censor looks around for its source. Greb, in the form of a devil (à la the dancing baby from "Ally McBeal"), appears before him, gyrating to the music. The Censor shakes his head slowly.]
CENSOR: Not ... acceptable.
[Donut Hole. The demons jeer him.]
BLURK: Rinky-dink kids' stuff!
GREB: I'm telling you, it's very effective.
TOBY: It's so stale and outdated.
GREB: No, it's very modern. You see, in the old days, if you materialized before them, they all knew what they were seeing. The external evidence of a demon trying to tempt a soul. But nowadays, they all assume it's all internal – a psychological breakdown manifesting itself in the form of a visual hallucination.
ABUM: And you called me lame.
GREB: The effects are immediate. One quick materialization, and they're convinced they're bonkers.
TOBY: But then what?
GREB: Then they go bonkers.
[The others nod, finally getting it.]
[Street curb – day]
GREB: [voice-over] I always enjoy seeing how their madness manifests itself.
[The Censor is getting out change for the meter when he notices the street sign next to it. This time it reads:
Testicles by Permit Only
Moist Dung Will Be Towed
Penis Jokes Prohibited
Display of Butt Crack 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm Tues only
Use of the Word Crap 8:00 am to 1:00 am only
The Censor drops his change, shaking his head, and walks off to:]
[Laundromat. The Censor is loading his washing machine when he notices a woman next to him. As she loads her clothing, the Censor begins shaking his head. He picks up her underwear and starts censoring what should go into the washing machine or not.]
CENSOR: No, this is unacceptable. [holding something lacy and tossing it aside] This is acceptable. [he puts the item in the machine] This is unacceptable. [he drops the item on the floor] This is total perversion. [he holds up a black thong] This is way beyond acceptable. [black panties]
GREB: [voice-over] His insanity threw him directly into the belly of the beast.
[Strip joint – night. The same stripper comes charging down the end of the runway to where the Censor is sitting. She performs directly to him, much to his consternation. She sits down at the end of the runway.]
CENSOR: [shaking his head] Oh, this is borderline.
[She lays on her back and puts her legs in the air.]
CENSOR: Um, no, we're on the border here.
[She spreads her legs. The censor looks away.]
CENSOR: Oh, we're over the border here. We're into another zone, unacceptable zone.
[She gets to her feet and takes off her top. Then she removes her panties. She walks to the back of the runway and continues her performance. The censor gets up on the runway and tries to block the stripper from everyone's view.]
CENSOR: No, this is not acceptable! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices and this is not acceptable! Revise or cut!
[A very strong-looking bouncer approaches the censor menacingly. The Censor grabs the pole for dear life while the bouncer wrenches him away. The patrons cheer.]
CENSOR: No excessive use of violence! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices! No excessive use of violence! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices! No ...
[Network censor's office – day. The Censor is on the phone, feverishly editing the same script. ]
CENSOR: You will not get away with this! The final scene is excessively, gratuitously violent! Aliens would not carry Uzis! They are an intelligent, superior race and they would not carry or utilize automatic weapons! I will not approve this! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices!
[He bangs the phone down. We hear the punk music starting up again and sees Greb dancing. He stares helplessly.]
CENSOR: What do you want from me?
GREB: [as the dancing demon baby] Enough words: time for action. You bear the burden of carrying the nation's morality on your very shoulders.
CENSOR: You mean ... ?
GREB: Yes! Kill them all!
CENSOR: [repeating Greb] Enough words: time for action!
[The Censor opens a drawer and brings out a gun.]
GREB: Yes! Now shut up and dance!
[The Censor and Greb dance.]
GREB: [voice-over] See, their grasp on sanity, and thus their souls is precarious at best.
BLURK: [voice-over] I should say so.
[Soundstage. We hear pseudo "X-Files" theme music playing and see a pseudo Mulder and Scully performing an alien autopsy. Two gray aliens burst in with Uzis.]
DIRECTOR: [off-screen] Camera, move.
[We pull back to reveal a working film crew.]
[The Censor has entered the studio. He bursts onto the soundstage and waves his gun in the air.]
CENSOR: I am Broadcast Standards and Practices! This is not acceptable!
[He shoots twice and kills the 1st Alien, who collapses.]
CENSOR: No excessive use of blood!
[The 2nd Alien shoots his Uzi at the Censor.]
CENSOR: No excessive use of violence!
[The censor fires and the 2nd Alien shot dead also. He points his gun at the crew. Most of the crew quickly scurry away, except the camera man and boom operator and a couple of others.]
CENSOR: This is all unacceptable! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices! Everything is unacceptable!
[The Censor finally stops, his sanity returning. He looks at the dead alien actors, then to the remaining film crew, and realizes what he has done. He turns to the film crew and points at the camera. He addresses the cameraman softly.]
CENSOR: Is that thing still rolling?
[The cameraman responds by tilting the camera up and down in a "Yes" fashion. The Censor puts the gun to his chest and fires, killing himself. The A.D. cautiously approaches the Censor's body. He calls the end of the scene.]
A.D.: 60. Take 3. Tail slate.
GREB: Hey, that's where I saw that guy.
BLURK: What guy?
GREB: The depressed-looking guy that saw you and Abum. He was at the aftermath of the alien massacre.
[Soundstage. Frank is examining the crime scene. We hear the punk music from before. Frank looks up, hearing it too, and turns to see if the others notice. He sees Greb dancing to the music until Greb spots Frank watching him and runs away.]
GREB: But I don't know how he saw me. I wasn't trying to appear as an hallucination.
ABUM: Now you're losing your grasp on sanity.
BLURK: Hey, hold on, not so fast. You boasted that the soul that you damned ended up damning millions of others. How do you figure?
GREB: Just take my word for it. Not every network has such strict Broadcast Standards and Practices.
[Fade to a TV screen: We see grainy videotape scenes of the censor killing the two alien actors and hear an announcer: "These extraterrestrial visitors need to phone home ... and 911!" Then superimposed in a pseudo Fox-Show-of-the-Week: "When Humans Attack!"]
[fade to black]
TOBY: [glumly] He knows what we are – the man that you've all seen who seems to see us so clearly. I've seen him, too. He knows what we are.
ABUM: I'm telling you it's an impossibility. He can't know.
TOBY: He told me himself.
BLURK: What? When did this happen?
TOBY: The other day. Look, I'd rather not talk about it.
GREB: You can't not tell us. What happened?
TOBY: You don't understand – it's personal.
ABUM: How the hell can it be personal?!
TOBY: The details. They're so tawdry and sordid.
BLURK: Now I must insist you tell us!
[Strip joint – night. Toby, in human form, is enjoying the runway show. Across from him is a young man who probably turned eighteen that very day.]
TOBY: [voice-over] I was at a strip joint. It was a quiet night, and I was just biding my time, on the look out for the next damnable soul. It was obviously his first time in such a place, and I always get a kick out of seeing someone's first taste of forbidden fruit.
[The young man sees Toby and freezes, recognition in his features. The boy runs out of the club.]
GREB: But this yokel doesn't sound anything like the man we saw.
BLURK: Is everybody starting to see our true essence?
TOBY: [voice-over] No, this kid didn't see my true essence. Hell, he didn't even see me. He saw himself – his potential future. It literally scared the bejeezus out of him.
[The demons laugh.]
TOBY: Sure, yuck it up. It's really funny when it ain't happening to you. But this is just another reminder that I'm losing my touch.
[They chide him.]
TOBY: No, it's true. It's been so long since I tempted a soul. Now here I am, scaring wide-eyed innocence back to the other side. In any case, I was feeling very vulnerable at that particular moment.
[Strip joint – night. A stripper named Sally, attractive but past her prime, approaches Toby.]
SALLY: Don't be so glum, handsome. You look like you could use a personal fantasy dance.
TOBY: How much are they?
SALLY: Twenty bucks a dance.
TOBY: How much for an eternity's worth?
SALLY: Well, that would be twenty with a sideways eight next to it.
[In the next scene, the pair have moved off to a more secluded area of the club. Sally begins her lap dance.]
TOBY: What's your name?
SALLY: Chantilly. What's yours?
TOBY: What's your real name?
[Her humor disappears, thrown off for a moment.]
SALLY: Sally. What's yours?
[We see Sally's midriff: a red devil is tattooed on her stomach.]
TOBY: How long have you had the tattoo?
SALLY: I got it when I first starting stripping. [proudly] You should've seen me back then: I was a right little hellraiser.
TOBY: I bet you were.
SALLY: [wistfully] I was gonna sow my wild oats right away, settle down, get pregnant, and watch my little devil grow big. I guess that's not going to happen now.
TOBY: Stranger things have happened.
SALLY: Of course, girls nowadays have tattoos all over their bodies, fake boob jobs, pierced tongues, who knows what all. I guess I'm just old-fashioned.
TOBY: Times change easier than people.
SALLY: Ain't it the truth. I should've quit dancing years ago. But, I have no other skills.
TOBY: Now you're singing my song.
SALLY: Why? What do you do for a living?
TOBY: I guess, this. I used to be so good at it; now, I stink. I don't know what happened or where it went, but it did and it's gone.
SALLY: All good things must come to an end, huh?
TOBY: Life's funny that way.
SALLY: Funny's a funny word for it.
[Something in Sally's expression softens, and she embraces Toby, sobby quietly. He doesn't know how to react for a moment; then moves to hold her. She draws back reflexively.]
SALLY: You have to keep your hands to your sides.
TOBY: I know, I'm sorry.
GREB: Those places are really strict about that rule, aren't they?
TOBY: [ignoring him] We were like two lost souls who, by finding each other, had also found the answer to one of life's mysteries. And the secret to having lots and lots of great sex.
[The other demons trade looks, not knowing what to make of Toby's story.]
TOBY: After that night, we were inseparable. To be apart was painful.
BLURK: [coy] But what did you two do together?
TOBY: You don't understand. We didn't have to do anything. Most nights we just laid in bed and watched TV.
[Sally's apartment – night. Toby and Sally are lying in bed, spooned together, watching TV.]
SALLY: Boy, this show really stinks.
TOBY: You said it. [voice-over] It was heaven. Even the times we had to venture out into the world were wondrous.
[Laundromat – day. The Laundromat looks brighter and cheerier than before. Toby and Sally are dancing cheek to cheek, moving to a melody only they can hear.]
TOBY: Her presence made the mundane seem magnificent.
ABUM: Toby, I don't know where this story is headed, but it's really starting to give me the creeps.
TOBY: One night, she saw my true essence.
GREB: Another one?
BLURK: The world's gone mad!
[Sally's apartment – night. Sally comes out of the bathroom and sees Toby in bed in his true form.]
TOBY: [voice-over] She had gotten up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
[Sally blinks once, her expression calm.]
TOBY: [voice-over] She saw me for all I'm worth, in all my naked devilry.
[She gets back into bed and draws him close to her.]
TOBY: You see, she forgave me my faults. One night shortly after that, we happened to wander into here.
BLURK: You brought her here?
TOBY: Yeah, it's a public place.
BLURK: I know, but there are some places where a woman don't belong!
TOBY: [waving him off] We sat at this very table and I said to her: "Sally, there's something I've wanted to ask her for quite a while now."
[In the flashback, Sally smiles nervously, thinking that Toby is going to pop the question.]
SALLY: What is it, Toby?
TOBY: [nervously] Sally, will you m... , will you – mind if we didn't see each other anymore? I'm really tired of you; in fact, you make me sick, you fat, old cow.
[Sally's face falls, not expecting this at all.]
TOBY: [voice-over] I could've delivered my lines better, I know, I'm a bit rusty, but they were effective. She ran out of here heartbroken. Now in the old days, I wouldn't have checked on my results, but I was still feeling unsure of myself. So after enough time had passed, I went to her apartment, and the police had just gotten there.
[Sally's apartment – night. Police are all over the apartment. Toby goes into the bathroom but is stopped by a cop.]
TOBY: I'm the boyfriend.
[The cop lets him in. In the bathtub, we see that Sally has slit her wrists and bled to death. Toby sits on the toilet and covers his face, crying.]
TOBY: [voice-over] I'm a little ashamed to admit that I was worried. That I might feel sympathy for this being. But seeing her like that only reminded me what ridiculous creatures they are – to destroy themselves over something so fleeting as emotional attachments and biological needs. I was overcome with relief. Plus, it had been such a long since I had notched a soul.
GREB: You see? You've still got it!
BLURK: Just like riding a bike!
TOBY: But that's when I saw him.
[We see Frank in the doorway. He stops and stares hard at Toby, then approaches him.]
TOBY: I don't who he was or what he was doing there, but he knew what I was. I could just tell.
[Toby, in demon form, is sitting with his head in his hands. He looks up at Frank.]
FRANK: [unsympathetic] You must be so lonely.
BLURK: There! He merely mistook you as a grieving boyfriend, nothing more.
GREB: He thought your relieved sobbing was hysterical sobbing.
ABUM: Yeah, I told you: this man has no idea what we truly are.
TOBY: [sadly, repeating Frank] "You must be so lonely."
[The demons look down, knowing the truth in that sentence. The clerk comes out of the kitchen with a platter of fresh fritters; using a pair of tongs, he places them in the display case. Toby wearily gets up – without saying anything, he trudges toward the door. When he is outside, we see him as a human again. Blurk and Greb follow in the same manner. Abum is the last to leave. Just before opening the door, he turns to the clerk, allowing himself to be seen as a demon.]
ABUM: [cheerily] Hey, kid. Great cup of coffee. Keep up the good work.
[Abum cackles and leaves as a human. The young clerk is frozen in disbelief and drops the last fritter with a splat.]
Lance Henriksen (Frank Black
Megan Gallagher (Catherine Black
Bill Macy (Blurk)
Dick Bakalyan (Abum)
Alex Diakun (Greb)
Wally Dalton (Toby)
Dan Zukovic (Waylon)
Gabrielle Rose (The Aging Stripper)
Stephen Holmes (Perry)
Bill Mackenzie (Brock)
Austin Basile (Donut Clerk)
Fawnia L. Mondey (Stripper)
Kett Turton (Devil Worshipper)
Michael Sunczyk (Johnnie Mack Potter)
Music by Mark Snow
Editor: James Coblentz
Production Designer: Mark Freeborn
Director of Photography: Robert McLachlan
Executive Story Editor: Michael R Perry
Associate Producer: Julie Herlocker
Associate Producer: Kathy Gilroy-Sereda
Associate Producer: Jon-Michael Preece
Consulting Producer: Chip Johannessen
Consulting Producer: Darin Morgan
Co-Producer: Robert Moresco
Co-Producer: Paul Rabwin
Producer: Thomas J Wright
Co-Executive Producer: Ken Horton
Co-Executive Producer: John Peter Kousakis
Written by Darin Morgan
Directed by Darin Morgan
Executive Producers: James Wong & Glen Morgan
Executive Producer: Chris Carter