Peace, War, and Toothpaste

A dramatic journey through the tormented lives of four D&D nerds and their struggles against oppression as being part of a minority.

Actually, it's an entirely psychotic comedy with even weirder chemistry between the very diverse, very mentally unstable characters, never missing a chance to be politically incorrect along the way. Oh yeah, there's a plot in there somewhere, too.

By Joelle D. Haskell

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Characters

Lane Dunn: The main character, a very sarcastic teenage boy who plays D&D with his three (and only) friends.

Betty Dunn: Lane's mother who has gotten down lacking personality to a T.

Bob Dunn: Lane's father, whose favorite hobby is pretending to have a job.

Harper Jason: Lane's incredibly stupid friend who thinks he's funny. He's not.

Robert Shadwick: Lane's other friend, who is slighty smarter than Harper but not as witty as Lane.

Nezumi Dokutoku: A really, really, really weird Japanese girl. She plots world domination in her spare time.

Miriam Dunn: Lane's over-religious older cousin.

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(The setting is a living room. Four teenagers - Lane, Harper, Robert, and Nezumi - are seated around a table, hunched over pieces of paper, moving around miniatures, and rolling dice. Robert sits behind some sort of a standing up piece of cardboard.)

Robert: The Bloated Dire Fiendish Ethereal Spiders surround you. Roll initiative. (Everyone rolls a die at once.)

Harper: I'm first. Cool. Okay, I shout my barbarian battle cry and swing my seven-foot triple axe at the closest spider.

Robert: It dies.

Harper: Hey, cool, I'm like, on a roll. Get it, roll? Like, dice. Like, rolling dice. Hahaha!

Lane: Shut up.

Harper: Why?

Lane: Because you are stupid.

Nezumi: Yahar! My turn! I grab my Battle Banjo and play She's Coming Around the Mountain of Death! (Pantomimes playing a banjo.) Harharhar!

Robert: Wait, what? That's not even a real song. You're just making it up.

Nezumi: Quiet, you miniscule masculine entity. Your puny white brain is no match for my superior Japanese intelligence! I invented cars!

Lane: Okay, Nezumi, you shut up too. You didn't invent anything except a new and disturbing way to use toothpaste as a melee weapon. You're not from Japan. I don't think 'Dokutoku' is even your real last name.

Nezumi: Still thy tongue! Dare not insult the female! I am the only chick nerd you'll find in town, and if I leave you, you will not find another like me! BAHAHAHA!

Lane: We're not dependent on your presence. I think we can manage to exist without you. Maybe even survive better.

Nezumi: What have I done to endanger thy lives?

Lane: Oh, I don't know, just little things. Like throwing wild animals and sporks at us, or lacing our food with gasoline.

Nezumi: ...I change my move. I beat Lane's character over the head with my Battle Banjo!

Lane: What?! You can't do that! Besides, you're not even evil! Are you? Is she?

Robert: Ummm...Well, I sort of let her make her character evil. So yes, she can attack you. (Lane and Harper glare at him)

Lane: Okay, I was the one wanting to be a necromancer here, and you let El Freako be the one who can attack us on a whim? At least I could have used by death magic to raise you guys from the dead.

Harper: Haha. El Freako. That's a good one. It sounds like, Spanish, or something. That's cool. Hey, I know Spanish. Audios! Hahaha!

Lane: Shut up.

Harper: Why?

Lane: Because you are STILL stupid. And as long as your insistant stupidity continues to exist, your mouth shall remain closed. Okay?

Harper: Uh, like, okay. Chill, man. You're going all 'smart' on me again.

Lane: Yes, well, you could trip on a twig on the ground and it could be considered smart compared to you.

Nezumi: (Rolls, and snickers, then cackles.) Let's see you laugh now, wizard-boy! My Battle Banjo pierces your flimsy sorcerer's robes and crushes your skull!

Lane: Um, you can't aim at specific body parts. Just tell me how much damage I take, okay?

Nezumi: Ten! AHAHAHA!

Lane: What...Oh, darnit!

Harper: I told ya you should have been a fighter. They have stamina.

Robert: Um. Okay. You guys here a cracking of bones as Nezumi's banjo bashes Lane's weak spellcaster ribs. He dies immediately.

Nezumi: I loot his body!

Lane: Joy. Okay, whatever, I'm going to go grab some chips. And for the love of Mike, Nezumi, YES, you can have some. I don't want you leaning over my shoulder and breathing in my ear like last time. (Stands, and exits)

Nezumi: Bahaha. One down, one to go. And he's only got fifty hit points. I can take him...ehehehehe. (Rubs hands together, eyeing Harper psychotically/hungrily.)

Robert: Okay. Lane's gone, so the spiders get to go now. Upon seeing that Nezumi is an enemy of their enemy the arch-mage Lane of Eldoran, they all five attack Harper the Barbarian. At once.

Nezumi: I wanted to kill him! (Whines.)

Harper: That's like, so not fair!

(The door suddenly opens and Bob Dunn enters in a suit carrying a suitcase.)

Bob: Ah! I'm home from work! Hey, kids, having fun?

Nezumi: ...My Asian senses are tingling. Sensing adult presence...Must...hide...(Scuttles behind a piece of furniture and eyes Bob over the top of it.)

Bob: Alrighty then! What a wonderful day at work! I...um...did some chart-graphing and attended many important meetings! And...I graphed charts!

Harper: That sounds so cool. You have such a like, totally awesome job, Mr. Dunn.

Robert: Do you even have a job? I swear I've seen you driving around town when you were supposed to be at work.

Bob: Of course I have a job! Ha ha! It is a very important one! Can't you tell from my important-looking suitcase?

Robert: (Opens the suitcase. It is empty.) ...

Bob: Oh, I must have, uhm, grabbed the wrong...er...um...Look! A door! I think I'll walk through it! (Exits to kitchen in a hurry.)

Lane: (Re-enters from kitchen, Betty trailing behind. She looks much like a 50s housewife, with a floral dress and cute apron.)

Betty: Oh, but Dearie, it'll be so wonderful!

Lane: Oh, yes. The wonderfulness of my evil cousin tormenting me and my friends never ceases to amaze me.

Nezumi: WHERE'S THE CHIPS?!

Lane: We don't have any. Go buy some. You're the one with all the money.

Nezumi: I deny your accusations! (Scuttles behind another piece of furniture and watches them over the top of it.)

Robert: What are you talking about?

Lane: What, the money, or the torture device equivalent of my cousin visiting?

Robert: The last one.

Lane: Well, like I said. She's evil. Or at least irritating. She's my polar opposite. While I played pretend, she played preacher. Things haven't changed.

Betty: Oh, look, all your little friends are here, too! Would you all like to meet our cousin?

Robert: Sure. She sounds like someone I can beat up.

Lane: She'd probably explode if you just told her you're Pagan. Or secular humanist. Or whatever the heck you decided to be this week.

Robert: Wiccan. Why would she explode?

Lane: She was born with a cross in her hand. She's watched 'The Passion' 70 times in theatre already. She has read the entire Bible all the way through...twice. Her favorite song is a hymnal she sings in choir. As for me...I have faith as much as the next guy, but she just goes way overboard. She's actually gotten kicked out of three different churches for making the pastors cry in humility. Needless to say, I'm not exactly pleased with her visiting.

Betty: Visiting? Oh, she's coming to live with us!

Lane: Oh sweet mother of all that is holy, WHY?!

Betty: Well, her parents passed away recently, and, well, me and your father are her godparents.

Harper: So he's a godfather? Hey, like that movie. The Godfather. Hahaha. (Puts on Italian accent) Does-a he-a talk-a like-a this-a?

Lane: Harper...

Harper: What?

Lane: SHUT. UP.

Nezumi: Cousin? You mean, MIRIAM? Hisssss! (Starts making strange angry animal noises and twitching.)

Robert: What's wrong with Nezumi? Did she eat something off the carpet again? Or does she need her rabies shot?

Lane: She and my cousin are not the best of friends.

Robert: Why not?

Nezumi: SHE CALL ME CRAZY! I EAT HER POCKET BIBLE! First pockets, next...THE WORLD!

Lane: Okay, guys, help me hide my miniatures. Last time Miriam visited she burned them at the stake in the backyard and smeared their melted plastic remains on the lintel, claiming it was to keep the Angel of Death from smiting me.

(The other three teenagers nod. They pick up their paper, dice, and miniatures and exit.)

(Blackout.)

(The lights come on the same setting, sans D&D stuff. Lane is stretched out on the couch. The three friends are sitting around. All look very bored.)

Lane: Sigh. I wish something would happen. Like someone spontaneously combusting.

Nezumi: (Snickers.)

(There is a loud, obnoxious knocking on the door.)

Lane: Oh look, human companionship I don't need. I'll get it. (Stands, walks to door, opens it.)

Miriam: (Marches in imperiously, luggage tucked under each arm.) Alright, out of my way, nerd-boy! Where's the bathroom? I had a long and annoying flight while some heathenistic little children prattled on about Pokemon behind me, and I need to rinse myself of their verbal sins!

Lane: My, aren't you charming. You're as warm as an iceberg and as cuddly as a rabid bear.

Miriam: Be quiet, LaMe! I'm wearing my lucky cross and I just drank Holy Water! Your tainted mouth cannot phase me!

Lane: And yet the conversation between five-year-olds concerning cute little animals did. You're an oxymoron wrapped in a contradiction. Here, set your bags here on the floor.

Miriam: (Sets her bags down.)

Nezumi: Evil Evangelist witch! Intruder! (Hisses.)

Miriam: (Sneers.) I see you let your weird little friend in again.

Lane: I see you...Oh wait, you don't have friends. Nevermind. I almost forgot everyone would rather lick a porcupine than be near you, ever.

Miriam: That hissing little beast is a Satan-worshipping pest. I'd rid of her if I could, but I don't want to touch her lest I catch something.

Lane: Sorry to burst your bubble, but I hid the tranquilizers, and I'm not getting them out. Unless you'd like to digest some, like, about...Hey Rob, how many is a fatal dosage?

Robert: I don't know.

Nezumi: I do not worship Satan! I worship Yargulsnuff, deity of world domination!

Miriam: Who are those two? (Points at Robert and Harper.)

Harper: I'm Harper Jason! Nice to meet you!

Robert: Robert Shadwick, Wiccan extraordinaire. Pleasure to make your acquaintance. Shall I cast a spell of good luck upon you?

Miriam: AAHH! HEATHEN! HEAAAATHEEENNN! (Whips out a cross and holds it up towards him.)

Lane: Wow, great idea! Maybe if you dump water on him, he'll melt, too!

Harper: Haha. Like the witch in the Wizard of Oz. It's like you called him a witch. Hahaha.

Lane: Harper...

Harper: Shutting up.

Miriam: My...my holy powers! They're not working! EEYAAH! (She runs offstage in panic.)

Lane: Great work, Rob. You scared away the Fundie. Now, if only we could make it permanent...

Nezumi: Murder death kill!

Lane: As tempting as killing my cousin in whatever strange way you can concoct is, I must decline. We have to get her to move in with someone else, like my other aunt and uncle...In a physically harmless, legal way.

Robert: Aw. You took all the fun out of it. Can't it be just a little illegal? Please?

Lane: I don't think I want a criminal record before tenth grade, thank you very much.

Nezumi: I still say we kill her.

Harper: Wait a second!

Lane: What?

Harper: What grade are you in?

Lane: Ninth, why?

Harper: How old are you?

Lane: Fourteen, of course.

Harper: But...but...I'm fourteen too, and I'm in seventh grade...

Lane: That's what happens when you are very stupid, Harper. You get held back.

Nezumi: The Evil One returns! (Scuttles behind a piece of furniture as Miriam re-enters, wearing many more cross necklaces this time.)

Miriam: (Holding a bowl of water. Flicks it at the group.) Behold, my Holy Water! (Flick, flick.)

Robert: Wow. I didn't realize it was possible to be that obsessed with a religion.

Lane: You can't remember your own religion for more than three days, Rob.

Miriam: (Mutters in Tongues. Or pretends to, at least.) Get him out of this house! And the stupid and weird one, too!

Robert: Yeah, well, I have to do something anyway. Come on Harper, let's go wander around aimlessly.

Harper: Yay! (They stand and exit.)

Nezumi: I shall not leave! (Hiss.)

Miriam: Don't make me get my cattle prod.

Lane: That's like throwing fuel on the flames, Miriam.

Miriam: Oh, be quiet! I'm tired of you bad-mouthing me! Why, back in MY day, everyone was a good little schoolkid and did as they were told!

Lane: Back in your day? You're only five months older than me. I mean, Nezumi here is older than you, even.

Nezumi: Murder...death...kill...(Leers at Miriam.)

Miriam: Shut up, you freaky little pole-rayer!

Lane: For one, it's not pole-rayer, it's role-player. For two, I'm surprised anyone who's memorized every book of the Bible can call any 'freaky'. Doesn't it say something about not judging others in there?

Miriam: You're the one who sits around with your friends practicing demonic rituals! You're all evil!

Lane: For THREE, we don't practice any rituals. And we kill demons, not revere them. And for FOUR -

Miriam: I said be quiet! Have at thee! (Suddenly hits him on the head with a cross.)

Lane: Ow! What the heck is your mental problem?!

Nezumi: Thy Witchness has harmed ally of Nezumi the Bard! Must destroy O Violently Evangelistic One! (Pounces on Miriam. They fall to the floor, hidden behind the couch.)

Miriam: Ahh! She's killing me with - oh my gosh, what IS it?! Is that...toothpaste?! Aaahhhh!

Lane: Nezumi, no! Bad girl, bad!

Nezumi: MURDER DEATH KILL! MURDER DEATH KILL!

Miriam: EEEYAAA-(sudden silence.)

Nezumi: I triumph! Beholden by dental hygienic victory!

Lane: Oh...Not good, not good.

Nezumi: (Stands, becoming visible.) But isn't Laney-kins impressed by my catfighting skills? (Poutey face.)

Lane: Yes, but you weren't supposed to kill her!

Nezumi: I killed her not! She is unconscious only! Good for tying in sack and dumping in a river! Hehehehe...

Lane: Oh. Well in that case, let me have a look at her to make sure she's not permanently injured or infected. (Looks behind couch and jumps back.) My word, I didn't know it was physically possible for toothpaste to DO that.

Nezumi: You wouldn't understand, insolent male-creature, the ancient secrets of the Asians, who invented everything important.

Lane: They didn't invent English.

Nezumi: ...I fail to see your point.

Lane: Nevermind. Let's drag this dangerously pious cousin out of here and mail her to some other country or something.

Nezumi: To my relatives!

Lane: Who and where are they?

Nezumi: My non-evil Japanese relatives in the Land of the Rising Sun and Pocky! They live in a Shinto shrine that they built by hand!

Lane: Wow. I thought your whole ancient Asian deeply-religious family roots were as fake as politicians. I guess I was wrong. Well, why delay? Let's get her out of here.

(Blackout.)

(Lights up. The setting is a Japanese home, with a low table laden with teacups and bowls and chopsticks, and pillows on the floor. A large cardboard box is there.)

Miriam: (Climbs out of the box, looking groggy.) Hey, where am I? This doesn't look anything like home. (Reads the address on box.) What? Shinto shrine? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

(Blackout.)

Fin.