Scene: A stage set of a balcony, with two chairs in the forefront. DOMINIC is sitting in the left chair, with a kitten on his lap. Behind him we can see a
movie screen on the far wall. Dominic is currently
speaking in what appears to be an ordinary cellular
Dominic: "... look, Kemuviel, just go ahead and take down the Tether. You-know-Who is distracting the Vidiot, so you'll have plenty of time to go in. Remember to leave the evidence - and use /plastic explosives this time/. Yes, yes, I know, it's a great new superpower that he gave you, and you want to have fun with it, but we want to make it at least look like the Traitors are engaging in a little behind-the-scenes political maneuvering, nu?
"Why am I talking like this? Because you called me on an unsecured line, and this way nobody would ever believe that I was the one you were talking to..."
Voice Offscreen: "Thirty seconds!"
Dominic: "Have to run. We're live, tonight. Give 'em Hell... Yes, yes, it's redundant. Give it to them anyway."
Dominic hangs up the phone, sits comfortably, and smoothly segues over to female form.
Dominique: "Good evening, and welcome again to Sitting in Judgement, Heaven's very own movie review show. I'm your host, and if you don't know who I am, then many of your fellow-viewers no doubt deeply envy your naiveté.
"Tonight we'll be reviewing a movie that's been out for a while - frankly, Nybbas has been even clumsier than usual lately - but I Know that all of you tune in to see two Archangels glaring at each other, anyway. However, my guest tonight gets along with everybody. I've been meaning to talk to him about that, actually...
"But the Inquisition can wait until after the show. Soundman, turn on the applause machine so Marc can come in."
MARC, shaking his head while wearing his trademark grin, comes in and sits in the other chair.
Marc: "Dominique, you aren't supposed to tell them that, you know."
Dominique (shrugging): "They already knew, I'm sure. Anyway, welcome to the show."
Marc: "Glad to be here..."
Dominique: "Small talk for thirty seconds."
Marc: "...and that's just an instruction on the cue cards. It's not supposed to be said aloud."
Dominique: "I know. I thought it was funnier this way."
Marc: "Well, the cameraman thinks so, at least. What the heck: it's not like we have to worry about ratings. Ready to talk about Chicken Run?"
Dominique: "Of course. Really, I thought that movie was thoroughly delightful. A clear moral allegory about the futility of evil, coupled with a strong subtext about how falsehood only causes trouble in the end. The animation was truly artistic, and amazingly detailed, considering the limitations of the medium. Some elements might be a little strong for corporeal children, but there was nothing really objectionable, even there. All in all, I'm amazed that the film was produced by Hollywood."
Marc (sourly): "Of course you would be. After all, it wasn't a personal attack on you."
Dominique: "Pardon me?"
Marc (Leaning forward): "That film was one of Nybbas' subtler attacks on the Word of Trade. The entire movie was a barely disguised condemnation of the free enterprise system, not to mention a personal slur on me. We won't forget that in a hurry, let me tell you."
Dominique: "What a ... completely unexpected response. Please continue."
Marc: "With pleasure. First of all, let's look at the scenario. We've got a bunch of chickens, trapped in a prison and forced to continuously sacrifice their future in exchange for survival. This is clearly intended to be a vicious parody of modern corporate life: that's insulting enough, but it gets worse. The main villain of the piece is an emotionally starved woman who decides to maximize her 'obscene' profits by converting all of her workers for short-term gain. This is satirical on so many levels: Mrs. Tweedy is clearly intended to evoke the stereotype of the modern female executive, and her evil plans are filled with exaggerated corporate slogans and imagery. Couple that with the cheap exploitation of the average human viewer's fear of corporate layoffs, and the heavy-handed metaphor of Machinery as Agent of Death, and you have a film that sends entirely the wrong message to impressionable children."
Dominique (wonderingly): "You actually believe in the Truth of your words. Amazing. But doesn't the fact that the chickens were eventually saved through the use of machinery a refutation of the last point?"
Marc: "Well, they had to escape somehow, and Lord knows they couldn't fly..."
Dominique: "Indeed. And, now that I think about it, they got many needed parts from two capitalists themselves..."
Marc (slightly angry): "What, you mean the rats? Those rats were the worst part! I could have just let the rest of it go, but those rats were the bloody straw that broke the bloody camel's back..."
Dominique: "You've lost me, there. What was so wrong with Nick and Fetcher?"
Marc: "Good Lord, Nikki, didn't you look at their faces? Whoever designed Nick took especial care to duplicate the face of my favorite vessel! Granted, Fetcher's face was a dead wringer for Mammon, but it was a deliberate slap in the face. Then they made them sneaky, oily, and as for that Infernal dance sequence... Jordi had to keep me from looking up the animation studio, then and there..."
Dominique: "Wait a second. Jordi went to a movie?"
Marc: "Well, I had a buy one, get one free ticket, so I had to take somebody."
Dominique: "Still, it's a bit odd. Couldn't you have taken Jean along?"
Marc: "He didn't want to see anything done with claymation. He thinks it's passe. Besides, he had already decided to watch Toy Story II again."
Dominique: "What about Novalis?" Dominique holds up her hand. "Never mind: if you had taken her..."
Marc: "Right, I would have had to go see a movie that she chose. And you know what that would have meant..."
Both together: "Shaft."
Dominique: "You know, it wasn't precisely a bad film, really."
Marc: "Sure, the first 72 times that you see it. But she hums the theme music afterwards, you know. Worse, what if she had suggested that we stay home and watch Pulp Fiction again?"
Dominique: "God, remember that Dirty Harry marathon? How does she manage to reconcile her taste in movies with her Word, anyway?"
Marc: "Wouldn't you know?"
Dominique: "She blocks. Anyway, why didn't you get Laurence?"
Marc: "There wasn't anything adapted from a Kurosawa film showing."
Dominique (weakly): "Gabriel?"
Marc (through gritted teeth): "You can't smoke in theaters anymore."
Marc: "I'm sorry. Even for the Author, that was an extremely lame joke."
Dominique: "I could tell that you didn't want to say it."
Marc: "Can't you talk to him? We are Archangels, after all..."
Dominique: "Who, me? What makes you think that he'll listen to me? Don't forget, this is a man who thinks that I'm much more interesting if I've got the Malakim's answer to Jiminy Cricket following me around..."
Voice off screen clears throat.
Dominique: "...Yes, Bronwen, you've been invaluable, so I don't mind that. Too much. But then, there's this little matter of the kitten, too..."
Marc: "Come on, Nikki, I won't defend him, but he didn't come up with the kitten."
Dominique: "But he stole it shamelessly, didn't he just? And the cloak idea was his fault. Do you know hard it is to put the fear of the Righteous Anger of the Lord into a Heretical when you've got a kitten wearing a cloak on your shoulder? No, you wouldn't: he likes you. He gave you a spy agency and only makes you teach sex-education classes. You tell him how unreasonable he's being."
Marc: "Yes, but he puts bad jokes in my mouth. For example, I can feel myself becoming so defensive that I'm about to blurt out a comment about how I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition..."
A GENERIC PERSON runs out.
Generic Person: "Nobody expects the..."
The Generic Person notes that Marc, Dominique and the kitten have somehow acquired flaming swords. Of course, the kitten's is much smaller.
Generic Person: "Umm, never mind."
The Generic Person exits.
Marc: "That was close. Hmm... I think that the Author's counting pages. We may be out of this soon."
Dominique: "Probably. Anyway, I gave Chicken Run a thumbs-up. Marc?"
Dominique: "And - thankfully - we're out of time. Tune in next week, when hopefully I'll be given lines by someone that's a bit more respectful. Until then, thanks for watching Sitting in Judgement!"
Lights fade, credits run. Marc looks around.
Marc: "Dominic? Mind if I ask a question?"
Dominic: "Go ahead..." He pets his slightly miffed kitten.
Marc: "You're still trying to track down Eli and put him on trial, right?"
Dominic (wary): "The knowledge of Eli's whereabouts and eventual accounting for his actions are of prime importance to me, yes."
Marc: "So why are all of your technical crew Creationers?"
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