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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (8/7/09) 7:14pm - ... wherein Peter writes a sketch for Friday Sketch War.

This week's Sketch War theme is "The Cold War".

               Sketch War
               Cold War Edition
               "Very Important Regulations"

               FADE IN:



               INT. POWER-PLANT OFFICE - DAY

               STEVE (40s) sits behind a desk in a boxy, gray office.

               Schematics and photos of nuclear reactors line the walls; a
               large, friendly advertising poster ("Happy Meadows Nuclear
               Power... Clean and Affordable Energy") occupies the most
               prominent spot.

               A thick-looking gray binder sits on the desk.

               VLAD (30s) knocks and pushes the door open.

                                   STEVE
                         Vlad!

               Vlad speaks with a clear Russian accent.

                                   VLAD
                         You asked about the cavitation
                         sensor --

                                   STEVE
                         This isn't that.

                                   VLAD
                         We replaced its through-line
                         capacitor, and we only need you to
                         sign off --

                                   STEVE
                         In a second, Vlad.

               Steve gestures towards a seat.

               Vlad sits.

                                   STEVE
                         As of today, you are officially a
                         level-one nuclear technician!

                                   VLAD
                         I got the promotion?

               They share a laugh and a handshake.

               Steve dusts off the binder.

                                   STEVE
                         Just a quick formality and we'll
                         get you set up.

               Steve reads from the first page.

                                   STEVE
                         Are you, or have you ever been, a
                         Communist?

                                   VLAD
                         What?

                                   STEVE
                         It's security regulations.  Your
                         new post is core-critical, so I
                         have to ask these questions.

                                   VLAD
                         Okay, um, not a Coummunist.

               Steve marks down the answer.

                                   VLAD
                         Why are you asking --

                                   STEVE
                         These were written in 1958.

                                   VLAD
                         No one updated the security
                         questions in fifty years?

                                   STEVE
                         They're nuclear regulations, Vlad.

                                   VLAD
                         Good point.

                                   STEVE
                         Now:  have you ever been in a group
                         or agency bent on undermining
                         western capitalism?

                                   VLAD
                             (sarcastic)
                         Yes, Mother Russia will expand her
                         great Communist Empire to every
                         corner of the --

                                   STEVE
                         I'm gonna put down "No."

                                   VLAD
                         Why don't you ask if I am in Al
                         Qaeda or something?

                                   STEVE
                         Oh, that's the new subsection.

                                   VLAD
                         Ask me those questions.

                                   STEVE
                         There aren't any questions, just --
                         well -- are you Middle Eastern? 
                         No.

               He marks that down.

                                   VLAD
                         Was that -- that was a racial
                         profile!

                                   STEVE
                         Which you passed!  Okay, are you or
                         any of your family a Russian
                         national?

                                   VLAD
                         I'm from Moscow, Steve.  Tasha is
                         from St. Petersburg.  You know this
                         already.

                                   STEVE
                         Well, just -- can't you just *say*
                         you're from Jersey or something?

                                   VLAD
                         You know what?  No.  I won't. 
                         These regs are stupid and
                         insulting.  I'm proud to be Russian
                         and, even though I really want the
                         promotion --

                                   STEVE
                         Hold up, hold up.  Okay, we can
                         list you as Russian, if we claim
                         you're a double agent.

                                   VLAD
                         I will not -- a double agent?

                                   STEVE
                         We can say that you're a Russian
                         spy feeding misinformation back to
                         Central Committee.

                                   VLAD
                         That actually sounds kind of cool.

               Steve pulls a microfiche canister out of a cabinet.

                                   STEVE
                         You just have to send one of these
                         microfiches canisters to Russia
                         every month or so.

               Vlad takes the microfiche, unspools a bit, studies it.

                                   VLAD
                         I can send these to random friends
                         back home.

                                   STEVE
                         And you can explain to them why
                         they're getting slightly incorrect
                         schematics of fifty-year-old
                         ordnance on a medium that was end
                         of-lifed twenty years ago.

                                   VLAD
                         Perhaps more fun if I don't.

               Steve stands.

                                   STEVE
                         So.  The cavitation sensor?

               Vlad stands.

                                   VLAD
                         It just needs a quick look.

               They go to the door.

                                   VLAD
                         You don't think I'd really --
                         y'know...

                                   STEVE
                         Of course not.

               They exit.

                                   STEVE (O.S.)
                         If this plant melts down, it'll
                         melt down the old-fashioned way: 
                         through well-intentioned
                         incompetence.

                                   VLAD (O.S.)
                         Amen.

                                                              FADE OUT.




(I've cross-posted this to the Sketchwar site.)

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