Lot No 249

What Makes A “Villain”

I saw this great video the other day called “The Spell Block Tango” which reimagines many Disney Villains doing their version of the “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago. Well done, funny, and it offers us the point of view of the bad guys. This is nothing new, the book and musical Wicked, did the same thing with the Wizard of Oz‘s Wicked Witch of the West, giving us insight into what made the green skinned witch the person she is. Shakespeare’s MacBeth is a play about someone who isn’t a hero but gives us insight into what drove this man to the lengths he did. In Edgar Allen Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the narrator commits a horrible crime for no real reason except for a series of perceived insults but no examples of what those insults were. Montresor is unreliable and really gives us no reason to sympathize with him. That brings me to the point of this blog today.

A little over a month ago, I finished a new 10-minute play titled One More Glass Of Wine, that uses Poe’s Cask as inspiration but delves deeper into why Bruce (my version of Montresor) kills Jacob (Fortunato). Or rather, in my script, gives Jacob the opportunity to kill himself. Does a man who is responsible for a teenage girl’s death deserve to die? If he does deserve to die, whose responsibility is it to bring about that death? The law and the court or the father and the family? That is the question that I present in One More Glass Of Wine, but I don’t offer an answer because to me it’s a question that doesn’t have a clear cut answer and that makes for a fantastic villain in my opinion. That is why MacBeth is a great villain and protagonist and why so many authors (like Gregory MacGuire) try to explore the reasons behind what makes a villain a villain.

And if you want to see the “Spell Block Tango” video, check out my Facebook page.

A couple of non-related notes, on this Halloween, I want to encourage you to participate in “All Hallows Read“, a great chance to get books into the hands of your trick ‘r’ treaters. It’s a fantastic program that encourages reading.

I’m also giving away a copy of my play The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 over at Smashwords on Halloween. This 10-Minute play is a retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lot 249. This will be the LAST CHANCE to get this play directly from me as it soon will be published as part of a collection. More details on that as it becomes available. You can pick up The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 at Smashwords.

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The Monday W.I.P.: The Mysterious Case of Lot 249

It’s that time of year again. The time for ghosts and ghouls, monsters and vampires, werewolves and zombies to all come out of their hiding places and haunt us. That’s right, it’s Halloween time! Happy Halloween.

It’s also the last Monday of the month and time for a check in on my 10-Minute Play Goal. Have I finished this month’s play? Why yes I have, thank you for asking. This month I decided to tackle a Halloween theme, since it is October. But I didn’t want to do anything too traditional. I was struggling with this, what do I do? Then I was watching the 1990 film Tales From The Darkside and was reminded of an old Arthur Conan Doyle story that formed the first segment in that movie. The story is entitled Lot No. 249 and was the genesis of the “modern mummy” story, the first story to explore the mummy as an agent of vengence. From Wikipedia:

 Written in the wake of the late-19th-century fascination with Egyptology, “Lot No. 249” was the first story to depict a reanimated mummy as a sinister, predatory figure and had a profound influence on the horror movie genre throughout the 20th century.

It’s a wonderfully creepy story that I felt was “Halloween” enough, but at the same time unique. With recent trends in horror focusing on zombies, werewolves, and vampires, the poor mummy has been kind of left to the wayside, forced to fend for himself. This is my humble attempt at breathing some life into the mummy.

What I have done is placed the story in one solitary room, a police interragation room, and we open on such an interragation taking place. One Detective Doyle is interviewing Dr. Bellingham. The entire play takes place in this room, with the tension and the clues slowly building. Bellingham is the detective’s only suspect, but is he guilty?

                                                                           

                         The Mysterious Case of Lot 249                    

                                       By                                  

                                 Everett Robert                            

                                    Based on:                              
                      "Lot 249" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle                  

          Emergency Room Productions    Emergency Room Productions         
          October 2012                  c/o Everett Robert                 
                                        2114 Walnut St                     
                                        Hays, KS 67601
Cast of Characters                           

          Detective Doyle:             late 30s-early 50s. Police          
                                       investigator. Beefy, large          
                                       man. Physically intimadating.       

          Dr. Bellingham:              late 20s-early 30s. An              
                                       academic, an Egyptologist,          
                                       associate at the university.        
                                       Pysically slight. Not               
                                       intimatding at all.                 

                                   Scene                                   

          A police interrogation room                                      

                                   Time                                    

          Present
ACT I                                   

                                   Scene 1

At rise we open on a small, typical, uneventfuland completely normal police interrogation room.Small table, two chairs, a mirror upstage. Two mensit facing each other. One, DR. Bellingham, is aman in his late 20s to early 30s. He is rumpledand nervous, twitchy almost and keeps checking hiswatch as if waiting for someone. The othergentleman, DETECTIVE DOYLE, is older, late 0s toearly 50s and much more put together. Suit, badgeclipped to his belt, but no gun, at least that wecan see. Bellingham checks his watch for the thirdtime since the curtain has risen, the silence isbroken.                                                

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Some slight amusement)                           
               Nervous Doc?                                                

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Snapping back)                                   
               Yes I’m nervous! Why would I be nervous? I’ve been          
               sitting here, alone, for the past 45 minutes and no one     
               will tell me why! In fact no one will tell me anything!     

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Calm down Doc, no one is here to hurt you, we just want     
               to ask you some questions. Can I get you something to       
               drink? Coke, water, coffee?                                 

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               I want to get out of here is what I want.                   

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               And we’ll let you out of here, like I said, we just         
               want to ask you a few questions. Doughnut?                  

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               No!                                                         
                         (Beat, then much calmer)                          
               No, thank you. I’m sorry, I’m just under a lot of           
               stress and you’re not helping with the matter.              

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Leaning forward, interested)                     
               Stress? About what?                                         

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Work.                                                       

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              2.       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               At the university?                                          

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Another sigh)                                    
               Yes, at the university.                                     

                    Bellingham doesn’t offer any more then that, butDoyle does, leaning forward, anxious, interested,and curious. Bellingham realizes that he’s goingto have to answer.                                     

          DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d)                                          
               I just received a new lot from...                           

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Excuse me, a lot?                                           

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Yes, a lot, a package, a crate. I purchased it at an        
               auction and had it shipped here. That was the auction       
               lot number, 249.                                            

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
                         (Jotting down a note)                             
               Oh yes, a lot. I got it, go on.                             

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Exasperated)                                     
               Thank you DETECTIVE. Anyways as I was saying, I             
               received the lot from our sister university in Egypt.       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               From Egypt?                                                 

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Yes, well I am considered one of the top Egyptologists      
               in the country, and I needed this lot.                      

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Due to your recent problems at the university?              

                    This visibly shakes Bellingham who swallows hard,eyes wide.                                             

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               You...you know about that?                                  

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Oh yes, your department chair, Professor Withington,        
               was more then happy to share with us about that. Though     
               I am curious to hear YOUR side, it does factor into our     
               investigation.                                              

                                                           (CONTINUED)
          CONTINUED:                                              3.       

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               What do you mean, it factors into your investigation?       
               What is this investigation about anyways?                   

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               You really don’t know do you? Your colleague, Mr.           
               Norton, was found murdered this morning.                    

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               WHAT!                                                       

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Oh yes, his brain was pulled out through his nose.          
               Messy business all around.                                  

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
               Through...his brain?                                        

                    Doyle nods slowly and Bellingham swallows hard.        

          DR. BELLINGHAM (cont’d)                                          
               Could...could I have a glass of water please?               

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               Of course.                                                  

                    Doyle offers a smile and quickly leaves.               
                    Bellingham sits, quietly holding his head in his       
                    hands and then looking over at the mirror, then        
                    back down. He stands and paces a little, then          
                    reaches into his pocket and fishes out a piece of      
                    paper, carefully folded. He unfolds it and runs a      
                    finger over it and starts reading.                     

          DR. BELLINGHAM                                                   
                         (Speaking silently, simply mouthing the           
                         words, at first but getting louder and            
                         louder)                                           

               Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kand
a...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon-kanda!...Nos-feratos-allo-memnon...            
                    Unseen by Bellingham, Doyle re-enters and watches,     
                    hands deep in his pocket.                              

          DETECTIVE DOYLE                                                  
               What are you reading?

Now I hope you enjoyed that brief sample of The Mysterious Case of Lot 249. If you want to read the entire thing, well I have good news for you, for the next 3 days I’ll be offering The Mysterious Case of Lot 249 for free on my Smashwords page. Just click HERE and get your e-version for free. After that, well who knows what might happen.

Happy Halloween Everyone!