Zeroes

A check-cashing place. SLITHER-O, some sort of “man-snake” or another, waits impatiently at the counter.

THE VOICE: (voice-over) In a check-cashing place in a bad part of town, Slither-O, former king of the Viperian, an ancient reptilian-like species from caverns beneath the surface of the Earth, has been left waiting for almost twenty minutes.

EMPLOYEE returns with paperwork and such.

EMPLOYEE: I’m sorry for the wait, Mister… (double-checks) Slither-O?

SLITHER-O: Yeah-huh?

EMPLOYEE: So, I just spoke with my manager…

SLITHER-O: Here it comes.

EMPLOYEE: I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we won’t be able to help you cash your check today.

SLITHER-O: And why the Hell not?

EMPLOYEE: Well. You are a, uh…

SLITHER-O: A what?

EMPLOYEE: You know…

SLITHER-O: No. I don’t know. So, why don’t you tell me?”

EMPLOYEE: Because you’re–

SLITHER-O: A man-snake?

EMPLOYEE: –a supervillain.

A beat.

SLITHER-O: Oh.

EMPLOYEE: Anyway. Mr. Slither-O. Because of your, let’s say, history with our, and other – many, many other – financial institutions…

SLITHER-O: Financial institution? This is a check-cashing place in a stripmall.

EMPLOYEE: True. But you were the one who went around robbing us. And I do mean us – this location – specifically. On several occasions.

Slither-O throws the equivalent of his hands into the air.

SLITHER-O: That was years ago!

EMPLOYEE: Also true. But because of that very true history, you’re officially banned from this location.

SLITHER-O: You’ve gotta be shitting me.

EMPLOYEE: And all our sister locations.

SLITHER-O: This is ridiculous! I served my time!

EMPLOYEE: Also, the whole “man-snake” thing.

SLITHER-O: Wow.

EMPLOYEE: Do man-snakes even have a valid form of identification?

SLITHER-O: I gave you my driver license.

EMPLOYEE: Yes, but aren’t man-snakes from like, Mars, or something?

Slither-O writhes in pain and groans a loud, frustrated groan.

SLITHER-O: My family and I are from Arizona! (beat) Well, the caverns beneath Arizona.

CUSTOMER #1 interjects themselves into all this for no good reason at all.

CUSTOMER #1: Hey! You can’t call it that.

SLITHER-O: It?

CUSTOMER #1: Snakemen. Not “man-snakes.”

SLITHER-O: Can we go back to how you called me a fucking “It”?

Yet another voice (CUSTOMER #2) thinks it a good idea to open their damned mouth at the worst time possible.

CUSTOMER #2: Snake-people, Dear.

CUSTOMER #1: What’s that?

CUSTOMER #2: They prefer to be called “snake-people.”

SLITHER-O: No. We don’t.

CUSTOMER #1: (to CUSTOMER #2) Oh, right. (to SLITHER-O) Sorry. Snake-people.

Slither-O blinks at the smiling pair of oddly shaped people in front of him.

SLITHER-O: I should have incinerated you people years ago.

Employee gasps, clutches at non-existent pearls.

EMPLOYEE: Excuse me?!

CUSTOMER #1: Did he just threaten us?

CUSTOMER #2: I think so.

EMPLOYEE: Fascist.

SLITHER-O: What the Hell is happening? Are you hairless-apes serious right now?

The hairless apes gasp a collective hairless, ape-like gasp.

CUSTOMER #1: Racist.

EMPLOYEE: Robberies are one thing to overlook, Mr. Slither-O. But I will not tolerate racists in my financial institution!

Employee slaps a big, red button labeled SECURITY ALARM. A high-pitched, rather annoying alarm shrieks.

The hairless apes eye the equally hairless Person of Scale. Slither-O looks about for a wall to bash his skull against a wall until he no longer can.

SLITHER-O: What’s next? Is some “caped-crusader” asshole gonna show up and–

CRASH! GNAT-MAN enters, shatters a big fucking pot atop Slither-O’s skull.

GNAT-MAN: Pot today, Slither-O!

Slither-O howls in excruciating, confused pain.

GNAT-MAN: Everyone okay?

HAIRLESS APES: (together) Thank you, Gnatman!

GNAT-MAN: I heard the alarm from the parking lot. (beat) I mean… my gnat-sense was, uh… buzzing?

SLITHER-O: Did you seriously just hit me with a potted plant?

GNAT-MAN: Stay down, Slither-O.

SLITHER-O: I think I have a concussion.

Gnatman cackles like a damned maniac. 

GNAT-MAN: Good thing they have a wonderful doctor down at City Jail!

SLITHER-O: This is such bullshit.

GNAT-MAN: It’s true, Mr. Potty Mouth. They keep Dr. Magician on retainer.

SLITHER-O: (rolls eyes) Huzzah.

GNAT-MAN: Though, I think he’s technically a registered nurse…

SLITHER-O: I don’t care.

GNAT-MAN: Anyway. The police will be here any minute to deal with you.

Police sirens bleat, pull into the stripmall.

DETECTIVE-MAN, an unseemly anachronism wearing a trench coat in the middle of a pleasant summer afternoon, enters with several OFFICERS.

DETECTIVE-MAN: We’re here to deal with Slither-O, Gnatman.

GNAT-MAN: Detective-Man! Just in time!

SLITHER-O: Me? I was trying to cash my goddamn paycheck before The Craptacular Jack-ass here–

GNAT-MAN: Hey!

SLITHER-O: –conveniently shows up “out of nowhere” and assaults me!

DETECTIVE-MAN: Assault? You’re a supervillain.

Slithero stomps what he calls feet and screams.

SLITHER-O: Retired! I’ve been retired for like, five years!

DETECTIVE-MAN: Yeah, yeah.

Detective-Man cuffs whatever passes for Slither-O’s wrists.

You can blog all about it while we process you down at the station.

Detective-Man and Officers escort Slither-o out the door.

SLITHER-O: “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer, Gnatman!”

GNAT-MAN: (to EMPLOYEE) So, uh…

EMPLOYEE: Yeah?

GNAT-MAN: Slither-O did try to rob you, right?

A beat.

EMPLOYEE: Yes?

GNAT-MAN: (shrugs) Good enough for me.