Art by Tony Brandl, the Rabbit Hero. Buy wonderful things at his etsy store.
Alamo Basement was a theatrical troupe I was involved with for around a year and a half back in 2005 and 2006. My good friend Tony Brandl—artist, writer, rabbit hero, and modern day Renaissance man (which is literally true as he spends most of the year working at Renaissance fairs around the country)—was a writer and performer with the group and started telling me about it. The more we talked, the more it sounded like something really cool that I’d want to be involved with. So I checked out a performance and was really impressed—the writing was funny, the acting strong, and the performances overall really impressive given the nature of their productions (more on that in a future post).
After the show, Tony talked with the troupe about the possibility of me joining the writing staff, and they invited me to write a tryout sketch so they could see what I had. The result is the skit that follows: “I Was a Teenage Necromancer, or Leave It to Satan.” I’ve decided to leave it warts and all since 1) that’s how it was performed, and 2) I am a lazy, lazy man. After seeing it performed—and they did a fantastic job with it—I decided that it was a little clunky. In spite of that, it went over really well and wound up in regular rotation at performances and was included on a promotional DVD for the group. In the end, it was probably the second most popular and staged of the sketches that I wrote (the most popular, “Texas Chainsaw Support Group,” I’ll be saving for a future date).
Legalish Stuff: What follows is copyright Jon Etter, blah, blah, blah. If you want to reprint it or perform it anywhere, ask permission first and give me credit as author, and I’ll probably be cool with it. Do it without permission, and I’ll sick Thwamdar on you.
I was a Teenage Necromancer, or Leave It to Satan
Will Peterson–nerdy teen
Mr. Peterson–’50’s style, Ward Cleaver-esque father
Thwamdar–A demon (I picture a fratboy with horns)
Jack–a teen, chief tormentor of Will
The Scene–Will’s bedroom
(Will stomps into room.)
WILL: (shouts) Fine! I’ll go to my room! This was where I wanted to go anyway! I’ll show them…and those jerks at school…and that dick at the multiplex who kicked me out last week…and that guy who wouldn’t rent me porn at the video store..and…and…oh, just anyone I feel like! Okay (starts taking some pseudo-magical props out of his backpack–maybe a rattle, candles, and definitely a book), I’ve got the book, the supplies, and…(looks at floor) Cool! Mom didn’t mess with my pentagram. OK, go time! (Opens book, finds page of spell, and performs incantation–feel free to improv something in gibberish ending in “I summon thee forth, mighty Thwamdar!”)
WILL: Oh, mighty Thwamdar, I summon thee from the pits of Tartarus to…
THWAMDAR: Is that the new PlayStation?
WILL: What? Um…yeah.
THWAMDAR: Cool! These things are the shit! Do you have…Hell Yeah! Grand Theft Auto! Now that’s what I’m talking about!
WILL: Uh, anyway, Oh, Mighty Thwamdar, I have summoned thee from the pits of…
THWAMDAR: Yo, dude–you got a cell phone?
WILL: Why? Wait–are you going to use it to summon up some of your demon brethren to rain fiery vengeance upon the earth in my name?!?
THWAMDAR: Yeah, sure, whatever. Just give it here.
WILL: Awesome! (hands over phone)
THWAMDAR: (dials) You know, these are the best thing Satan ever thought up. OK, maybe George W. becoming president was better but… Yo, yo, yo!!! Guess who’s out of Hell? Yeah, yeah! What are you doing? Wrong–you’re hangin’ with me, Home Slice. Yeah, she can come too. I’m at…(turns to WILL) What’s the address?
WILL: 213 Grove Street.
TWAMDAR: 213 Grove Street. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Peace out.
WILL: So the demon hordes are on the way?
THWAMDAR: Sure. Why not.
WILL: COOL!!! Okay… Oh, Mighty Thwamdar, I have summoned thee…
THWAMDAR: You don’t have to do that.
THWAMDAR: The “Oh, mighty Thwamdar” stuff. I’m right here, man.
WILL: Oh! Okay. Cool! So, anyway, first I want you and the other demons to torture my parents or something–not enough to kill them or anything, just enough to make them stop being such douchebags and let me do whatever I want. And then I want you to go and completely fuck up the kids at school who keep messing with me. I want you to kill them, but I want it to hurt and take a long time and stuff. Maybe disembowel them as part of it. Yeah! Disemboweling would be cool. And then…
THWAMDAR: Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on! Before I even think about doing anything like that, I’m going to need some beer.
WILL: Okay. Cool! (runs out of the room)
THWAMDAR: Dumbass. Okay, time to get my game on. (Starts playing game.)
(Jack appears at window)
THWAMDAR: What up! Get your ass in here!
(Jack and Sami enter)
JACK: Yo, when did you get out, Dog?
THWAMDAR: Just a few minutes before I called. Some punk just summoned me to “wreak fiery vengeance” and shit.
JACK: So where is the dumbass?
THWAMDAR: Getting us beer! (General cheers.) Okay, I gotta put some more hurt on Sin City here, then I’m whupping your ass at Tekken.
JACK: As if! (to Sami) Let’s make out.
SAMI: Sure. (They make out.)
(Will backs into the room with a case of beer.)
WILL: Okay, here’s what I could find. I think there’s some whiskey…(Turns around and drops case of beer. Everybody turns to look at him.)
THWAMDAR: Yo, careful with the beer! (rushes over to case)
THWAMDAR: (to himself, looking at can) Schlitz?
SAMI: Hey, it’s that kid you’re always pounding on!
THWAMDAR: (to himself) His dad drinks Schlitz? Maybe I should fuck his parents up…
JACK: What’s up, gaywad!
WILL: I’m not gay!
SAMI: I heard you were gay.
JACK: Yeah, we pretty much all figured you were gay after you wore those pink panties in gym.
WILL: You made me wear them!
JACK: Yeah, but still…
WILL: (turns to Thwamdar) What are they doing here? These are the guys you’re supposed to wreak my fiery vengeance on!
SAMI: Wow, he really did say “wreak fiery vengeance.”
JACK: That’s really fucked up.
WILL: I cast a spell to summon you from hell to do my bidding and…
THWAMDAR: Whoa! Hold up. (Puts arm around Will) Let me explain something to you. (Puts Will in a headlock.) You cast a spell to summon me from hell. You didn’t cast no “Do whatever the fuck I want you to do” spell. So here’s the deal–you get to be our bitch for the evening and if you’re good, maybe we won’t pound you.
JACK: Although we probably will anyway.
THWAMDAR: True, but maybe I won’t…swallow your soul or something if you’re good. (Throws Will to the ground.) Now grab them a couple brews while you’re down there.
(Will gets a couple beers, hands one to Jack, and then his father, wearing a sweater and smoking a pipe, enters.)
PETERSON: All right, just what the heck is going on here? (Looks around.) Now, I know I didn’t give you permission to have friends over, especially since I just grounded you. (general snickering from the others) And what are you doing with beer? I think you have some explaining to do, young man!
WILL: You just wouldn’t understand, dad!
PETERSON: You won’t really know that until you try to explain, will you son?
WILL: I…Okay, I just got sick of everybody always picking on me and you and mom always pushing me around, so I summoned up a demon to wreak my fiery vengeance…
SAMI: He said it again.
JACK: So gay!
WILL: …so, I try to get him to wreak fiery vengeance (glares at Sami and Jack) on everybody, but he wouldn’t and then he threatened me and made me get him beer and brought his friends over and…
PETERSON: All right, I think that’s enough son. (Puts arm arond Will’s shoulder.) I think I see what the problem is. You see (everyone looks at Mr. P in rapt attention), if other kids don’t like you or pick on you, well, you just have to be yourself. Just because you’re gay…
WILL: I’m not gay, dad.
PETERSON: Really? Huh. Anyway, if they don’t like you because you’re “different,” well, then that’s their loss. Just ignore them. And as for your mother and me, we may seem a bit strict at times, but we only place limits on you because we love you. (They hug.)
JACK: Mr. Peterson, I just have to say that that was… the gayest thing I have EVER heard! (to Will) No wonder you turned out gay. (General nodding and agreement.)
WILL: I’M NOT GAY!
THWAMDAR: Actually, for the summoning spell to work, you kinda have to be gay.
WILL: What?!? Really?
THWAMDAR: Naw. But you had to ask! (Laughs and hand slaps.)
PETERSON: That’s quite enough of that. You young people should be ashamed of yourselves. Now, all of you run home. I expect that your parents will want to have a few words with you after I get off the phone with them.
JACK: Oh, I don’t think that’s going to happen, Mr. Peterson.
PETERSON: And why exactly is that, young man?
JACK: Because we got our own demon right here that says you ain’t doin’ jack about shit!
THWAMDAR: (Gets nose to nose with Mr. P.) Word!
PETERSON: (Eyes Thwamdar quizzically and then looks like he recognizes him.) Say, aren’t you little Thwamdar?
THWAMDAR: Uh… yeahhh…
PETERSON: Why, I remember when you were just a whelp. In fact, I was there the moonless night when you and your fellow hellspawn clawed your way out of your mother Baphomet’s womb. Ah, good times!
THWAMDAR: (to Will) Dude, you didn’t tell me that your dad was an Arch-Magus!
(Will gestures that he had no clue.)
PETERSON: Shouldn’t a strapping young demon of the pit like yourself be setting your sights a little higher than general mischief like this? Did you even TRY to buy my son’s soul?
THWAMDAR: No, Mr. Peterson…
PETERSON: That’s what I thought. (Puts arm around Thwamdar.) You see, Thwamdar, there aren’t any minor demons in the hoary netherworld–just demons who don’t set their sights high enough. If you really want to be a prince of the twilight realm, you have to work for it–no one’s just going to hand you the keys to hell. Understand?
THWAMDAR: Yeah, Mr. Peterson. Thanks. (Hugs him.)
PETERSON: All right, then. Now back to fiery abyss with you, and the rest of you better get home PDQ or you’ll be in even more trouble than you already are.
ALL: Yes, Mr. Peterson. (all exit)
WILL: Dad, that was… You just…
PETERSON: (Puts arm around Will) Well son, I hope you learned a valuable lesson. When you summon up a beast of the pit, make sure you also cast a control spell if you want them to fulfill all of your dark desires. And if you’re going to sell your soul to a demon, be sure it’s an archduke of hell, or you’ll be every minor imp’s bitch. But we’ll worry more about that when you’re older.
WILL: Dad, you’re the best! (Hugs him.)
PETERSON: I think you’re pretty terrific, too. Now you better get this all cleaned up and hit the sack–it is a school night after all.
WILL: Can’t it wait until tomorrow?
PETERSON: (Picks up magic prop and starts to wave it about) BY THE ALL-SEEING EYE OF AGAMOTTO, I SHALL FLAY YOUR SKIN AND CAST YOUR BLOODY ENTRAILS INTO THE DEPTHS OF DIS…
WILL: Okay, dad. I get the message.
PETERSON: That’s my skipper! (Pats him on shoulder and leaves.)