Excerpt from “Intensifying Hearts & Dreams” – season 17, episode 45

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Int: Location unknown, the Committee conference chamber

Members of the Committee and various invited guests from other organisations are gathered around the conference table. STERN SPICE is speaking on the phone with wait sorry never mind.

Let’s start over. Members of the Committee and a large group of various invited guests from other organisations are gathered around the conference table. The four Committee members – STERN SPICE, GODLY SPICE, ANCIENT SPICE and METAFICTIONAL SPICE – are represented by monolithic holograms of various colours, but other delegates are either there physically, or represented by holograms of their true forms. In attendance are: DAVID DEAD, speaking for the deceased; EAGLE SILVER and EAGLE BRONZE, speaking for the Inspecting Eagles from God; ANGÉL GABRIÉL, speaking for the Intensifying Heart Club and the Gastronomy Institute; a MOON SANTA, speaking for the Santas of the Moon; THE UMBILICAL MAN, speaking for the Voodoo Cops; THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD, speaking for the Church of Scientology; REGULAR MIKE, speaking for the pop groups Sebra and Tore Disco; and EMMA ISLET, speaking for the Secret Fire Department. There is noise and chatter among the delegates, until-

GODLY SPICE

Say it with me… SILENCE, FOOLS!!! It’s time this meeting was formally started.

 

The chatter dies down.

STERN SPICE

As you’ve read in your invitations, this meeting has two purposes. One: To address the matter of the criminal organisation and/or person, MYSTERY MASK. Two, and more importantly: To address the matter of FRANK. By the power of Grayskull, GODLY SPICE will lead the meeting. All in favour?

 

GODLY SPICE

Aye!

 

STERN SPICE

Aye.

 

ANCIENT SPICE

Shore, shonny.

 

METAFICTIONAL SPICE

Although I haven’t been part of the story for a long time, I concur.

 

GODLY SPICE

Very well. To the first subject of discussion. MYSTERY MASK – what are we dealing with here? Please provide due evidence with your statements. You are called on to give testimony like men and only of the truth and so on, and so on, you know how it works.

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD raises its hand.

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

Thank you for inviting me. Well, if I were to speak on this subject I might first ask: What evidence have you that MYSTERY MASK is an organisation at all? Why, they could just as well be a person possessed of an unusual number of Body Thetans. This is an area where I have some expertise. And if they really are a person, who can say whether they’re criminal at all, or just subject to the confused will and feelings of their many Thetans? These matters need to be clarified, respected delegates.

 

GODLY SPICE

Very good. The question that was raised was that of MYSTERY MASK’s identity. Do we have any respondents?

 

DAVID DEAD indicates he wishes to speak.

DAVID DEAD

I don’t have much to say about that, but I have to question why a common ghost has been invited when I am supposed to speak for the dead. Your sillhouette is too stationery, and I feel my office is being disrespected.

 

There is a great deal of murmuring around the table, and THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD raises its eyebrows significally.

FYLOSO

Why I never!

 

STERN SPICE

That’s out of order, DAVID.

 

GODLY SPICE

Silence, fools. DAVID DEAD, off-topic discussions are prohibited. You are not to question the circumstances of this council. Any others?

 

DAVID DEAD smirks charmingly, and EMMA ISLET raises her hand.

EMMA ISLET

I don’t particularly appreciate the authoritative tone of your response there, GODLY. It ought to be the will of the people that decides the subject of conversation, in any constellation. However, I am qualified to speak on this as me and my colleagues in the Secret Fire Dept. have dealt with MYSTERY MASK in the line of duty. As always, we are surrounded by the deepest shroud of political secrecy so I can’t speak to the details, but it is certainly our opinion that MYSTERY MASK is an organisation rather than a person, and that they’re definitely criminals.

 

MOON SANTA

Merry Christmas!

 

THE UMBILICAL MAN

The Voodoo Cops concur with the Secret Fire Dept. We have worked together on several cases and I can vouch for their honour. Some of the MASKS are able to use low-level magic, which shows up on our voodoo detection equipment.

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD smiles sleazily.

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

Well, one might be moved to question the trustworthiness of an organisation which seems to do a, shall we say, fair bit of dabbling in obscure and dark arts. Certainly it is the view of my church, and indeed of most dependable professionals, that the only difference between voodoo and the terrible practice of psychiatry is in the name and trappings, as it were. I ask that the testimony of this man be strucken from the record, respected delegates!

 

There is a great deal of outrage.

ANCIENT SPICE

Did I hear that right, shonny?

 

EMMA ISLET

Really, now! THE UMBILICAL MAN is a respected member of law enforcement!!!

 

FYLOSO

Ohhh goodness! What ever will happen next?

 

GODLY SPICE

Silence, fools! The topic of the Voodoo Cops’ trustworthiness was raised. This topic is also not on the agenda, but out of respect for THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD’s well-known religious expertise, I will allow his statement to stand. The comments from THE UMBILICAL MAN are hereby strucken – struck, sorry – from the record.

 

A great deal of surprise and upset at this statement. EAGLE SILVER and his cohort react for the first time, involuntarily craning their heads and raising the feathering at their necks, only to become inscrutable again. THE UMBILICAL MAN gets up and leaves the meeting without saying a word. THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD looks extremely smug.

EMMA ISLET

(Furious glowering at GODLY’s hologram)

 

STERN SPICE

That’s out of order.

 

FYLOSO

…!!!

 

GODLY SPICE

That’s enough. Now. Mr. GABRIÉL, you have been called here to give testimony, as MYSTERY MASK has/have been spotted many times at the Intensifying Heart Club which you represent. You are hereby asked to state what you know about MYSTERY MASK. But before, please enlighten us. What is your position at the Club?

 

ANGÉL GABRIÉL

(Gulp)

I am employed as a sort of general handyman… Gofer, you might say… Yeah…

 

MOON SANTA

Cheers!!!

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

All right, I accept your answer. So tell us… What know you about the mysterious stranger, MYSTERY MASK?

 

DAVID DEAD

He is even leading the meeting now. This little town let me down.

 

GODLY SPICE

SILENCE, FOOL!!! There will be no more interruptions!

 

METAFICTIONAL SPICE

You have always been highly-strung, GODLY, but this is a little much even for you. Almost out of character.

 

GODLY SPICE

It doesn’t matter. Mr. GABRIÉL, speak. What do you know about MYSTERY MASK?

 

ANGÉL GABRIÉL

Uh… Well… We have a theory at the Club. You see, the hair salon is run by a lady named MADAME MORGANNA, see, and, uh… You know, the hair salon.

 

STERN SPICE

We are well aware of MORGANNA, young man. In fact, she was asked to attend this conference, but our missive went unanswered. A most dire insult to the Committee!

 

ANGÉL GABRIÉL

Yes… Well… We think we have the answer to that. My boss, DADDY, is really smart and he has concluded that MADAME MORGANNA is the real identity of MYSTERY MASK!

 

There is scattered murmuring at this news.

STERN SPICE

Do you have any proof of this idea?

 

ANGÉL GABRIÉL

Well… We thought maybe… MADAME MORGANNA, MYSTERY MASK… M-M, you get it?

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

Most fascinating. I recall already having come up with that idea when I wrote ”The Staccato Initiative”. Not one of the science fiction novels I wrote when I was alive, you understand, but a short novel I wrote in one of my many previous lives. It concerned a young man who decided to take on another identity so close to his own self that the people in his life, why, they couldn’t tell any difference whatsoever, and his existence proceeded as it would have anyway! It was a very marvellous examination of the basis of the human mind and the difference between identity as experienced from within, and as put upon us by other men.

 

EMMA ISLET

That doesn’t seem to relate to what we’re discussing at all, though.

 

GODLY SPICE

Any other thoughts before we lay this matter to rest?

 

METAFICTIONAL SPICE

I have a different theory that I’ve nursed since my time working as editor for the show. I believe MYSTERY MASK to be the dandy, PJALTUR. There has never been clear confirmation that he is truly dead – we have not seen a body, nor a death certificate, nor have we gotten anything sensible out of MARCIA (who was supposedly there) since the incident. This bears further investigation.

 

GODLY SPICE

Enough! We have now concluded via MR. HUBBARD that the subject is indeed a person, not a group. We have two suspects: The old crone, MADAME MORGANNA; or the long since dead young dandy, PJALTUR. We call upon all present to use their connections and ingenuity to work out the truth and then report back to this Committee.

 

DAVID DEAD

You’re not even going to ask me to confirm whether this PJALTUR lad is truly dead? I would easily be able to check. All the errors left unlearned, oh…

 

GODLY SPICE

Silence, fool. If you have a report to make, make it at the appropriate time, not right now. No one gets special treatment at this Committee!

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

A most interesting case. The woman or the boy… But I sense another mystery at work here. I fear a dark conspiracy of naval engineers and therapists may be throwing red herrings our way. I will need to prescribe ample auditing to reach the hidden answer…

 

FYLOSO

Most perplexing. I’ll get to the bottom of this swiftly, or my name isn’t FYLOSO D’FAYOSO!

 

GODLY SPICE

That will do nicely. And now, to get to the true point of our meeting.

 

The holograms representing EMMA ISLET, REGULAR MIKE and DAVID DEAD vanish. Left are the Committee members, THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD, ANGÉL, MOON SANTA and the Inspecting Eagles from God. The latter pair snap to attention. ANGÉL starts to look nervous.

GODLY SPICE

Firstly, it is time this Committee started to live by its convictions. To truly bring the matter of FRANK into the light of day, I have decided that half of the Committee’s members will reveal their true name and face. This charade has gone on long enough, and someone needs to step in and guide events in a more straightforward and hands-on way. I will take this role.

 

The monolithic hologram vanishes… And is replaced by PASTOR JING. The sudden plot twist causes a great deal of fidgeting among the delegates.

PASTOR JING

I, PASTOR JERRY JING, am now the leader of this Committee. As I am filled up to the brim with the Holy Spirit, as well as many other useful spirits, I am the obvious choice to head the new, proactive version of the city’s governing body!

 

STERN SPICE

That’s out of order.

 

ANCIENT SPICE

Why I oughta.

 

PASTOR JING

I require one of you to reveal yourself. The first to do so shall be my second in command.

 

METAFICTIONAL SPICE

I will do it. As I am a mostly anonymous person, and no one could possibly guess who I am, it matters little. And I am sceptical of unnecessary subterfuge… Simplicity, that is my style.

 

Her hologram vanishes to reveal her true identity as – what a shocker – EDITOR. The massive plot twist causes a large-scale orange juice shortage.

STERN SPICE

Quite the surprise there. Shall we move ahead?

 

PASTOR JING

Let’s. By the power and authority of Big Lord God, all who has information on the individual known as FRANK is hereby called upon to speak up! Silence will be deemed a heinous crime within the borders of this town.

 

EAGLE SILVER straightens his back and archs his wings impressively, becoming the most imposing figure at the table by far. His deep-blue eyes flash with wisdom.

EAGLE SILVER

Honored councillors, my colleague and I are here as representatives of the very God of which you speak. And the first thing that needs to be clarified is your strange behaviour, PASTOR. It is a well known fact that you collaborated with FRANK as lately as last thursday. So we would throw the question back, with the full authority of the sacred Big Lord God and by the utmost power of Grayskull. What is your relationship with FRANK, and what can you reveal about his activities? The Lord you claim to serve wishes to know!

 

The pointed question reverberates through the chamber, causing a tense chill to permeate the air.

MOON SANTA

We wish you a jolly Christmas! And a ha-ppee -Nu-jeeeeeeeear…

 

But PASTOR JING only smiles.

PASTOR JING

EDITOR, my friend. The reason I manipulated you into revealing your identity was so I could ask you a question openly. You remember in Chapter 10, when PAULETTE asked me what religion I was supposed to be a part of anyway?

 

EDITOR

Well, I had already stepped down from my official capacity and been subsumed into the events by then, but yes, I do remember it clearly.

 

PASTOR JING

Then you’ll also recall that all parties present, as well as the audience, assumed my answer was one of truthiness? Well, let me dispel that notion. Understand ye now: I speak for Big Lord God because of the office I hold at this Committee. But the religion I am truly a pastor of… Is the CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY!!!

 

Shock, despair, bewilderment on every face except PASTOR JING’s and THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD’s. The Eagles are utterly discombobulated, their strategy in tatters, as they realise how deftly they have been routed, and that they will now have to improvise. The plot twists are falling fast and thick right now, blessed audience!!!

STERN SPICE

That’s really out of order… !!!

 

ANCIENT SPICE

What did he shay, shonny?

 

FYLOSO

I don’t like the sound of that one bit! Ohhh Mama…! Ohhh Harambe…! Ohhh Mañana…!

 

ANGÉL GABRIÉL

He has been betraying us???

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

Ha ha ha ha ha! Feel the sting of my victory! I knew it would happen eventually.

 

EAGLE SILVER

Wait, wait, wait. Let’s slow down for a spell. You’re telling me that all these years, you’ve been able to decieve FRANK himself as to your allegiance; the man who’s been pulling the strings of the Intensifying Heart Club and the Gastronomy Institute both? FRANK, the all-seeing shaman who recently became the first member of his species to attain the coveted rank of Spirit Master? It seems to stretch credulity to think that you could so easily outwit him.

 

PASTOR JING

You have no right to demand I explain how I fooled him, all you need to know is that I did and that I’m no longer affiliated with him in any capacity. Now, I entreat you to answer my original question. No more dodges, regardless how holy you consider yourself. Have you been in cahoots with FRANK, yes or no???

 

EAGLE SILVER leans back in his chair and crosses his arms.

EAGLE SILVER

I call for a time-out to discuss this development with my subordinate.

 

PASTOR JING

Overruled. I am the ultimate authority in this town and you will heed my will!!!

 

THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD

Honour demands that you delay no longer, gentlemen, it seems to me.

 

FYLOSO

Won’t someone put a stop to the PASTOR’s obvious power grab???

 

Suddenly, there is a small flash at the table, as one of the decorative lights has exploded!

FYLOSO

AYY CARUMBA!!!

 

Several Committee slaves immediately rush into the room to clear away the rubble, for the meeting to go on uninterrupted, as is the Committee’s ancient custom. Unnoticed by the other delegates, EAGLE SILVER passes a hastily scrawled piece of godly parchment to EAGLE BRONZE. The latter gets a faraway look in his eyes.

PASTOR JING

This is nothing to be concerned about. Continue your testimony, EAGLE!

 

EAGLE BRONZE is suddenly trembling, stuttering, faltering; but speaks up regardless.

EAGLE BRONZE

I… I have a confession to make, honored Committee. I have t-taken it upon myself to make contact with FRANK. I-it was in a dream I did it. I have betrayed my Lord who I’ve loved most dearly and who has loved me, and my life is surely forfeit by his hand, so I ask that you end my wretched time in this world. I t-take full responsibility for my sin. My purpose was to give away my service to FRANK, in the hopes of attaining greater glory. I was weak, and cared no more for what is holy and right, nor did I care for the wondrous Lord who gave me life, nor my commitment to him. You are free to do with this body, that has served the holy Lord for fourteen thousand years, what you will. I… I’m done.

 

PASTOR JING

Your confession is heard and recieved, as such. We of the Committee must now deliberate before passing our judgment. We shall reconvene in thirty-one minutes by the ritual circle on the roof of the annex.

 

The holograms and the dramatic lights are all turned off. In the flicker of darkness before the government centre’s house lights come back online, EAGLE SILVER whispers in EAGLE BRONZE’s ear.

EAGLE SILVER

I’m sorry, old friend. You will take the fall for this today, but glory will surely be yours in the afterlife. We shall see each other again in the halls of Heaven…!

 

Ext: roof of government centre annex

On the roof, a circle has been drawn in gravel, complete with mystical symbols. All around, holographic shields depict a swirling, apocalyptic storm. EAGLE BRONZE has been tied to a pole in the epicentre. PASTOR JING, EDITOR, the holograms of STERN SPICE and ANCIENT SPICE, and EAGLE SILVER stand all around. THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD floats nearby. ANGÉL seems to have been dismissed in the interim.

PASTOR JING

By the power vested in this Committee by the very Big Lord God you have betrayed, I, PASTOR JERRY JING, do hereby sentence you, EAGLE BRONZE of the Inspecting Eagles from God, to death by cosmic disintegration. Your crime is stated as follows: You have aided the unlawful guru, FRANK, in his quest to do something or other that we haven’t quite been able to work out but which is probably hazardous to the commerce of this town, which is called Doomtown. Tradition decrees that you are given the chance to utter final words, although it sickens me to allow this.

 

EAGLE BRONZE

No.

 

PASTOR JING

Have you aught to say, fool?

 

EAGLE BRONZE

No.

 

PASTOR JING

Very well. Fortwith you die.

 

By a raise of PASTOR JING’s hand, the ancient machinery that powers the government centre grinds into action, and Indigolasers fire at the invisible eye level. EAGLE BRONZE is unceremoniously taken apart at the molecule level and is no more. EAGLE SILVER bows his head solemnly. The Committee members turn towards the camera and bow (even the holograms) as comical trumpet music plays and THE GHOST OF L. RON HUBBARD ascends slowly into the turbulent skies, cackling madly…

(CONT)

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One thought on “Excerpt from “Intensifying Hearts & Dreams” – season 17, episode 45

  1. Pingback: Excerpt from “Intensifying Hearts & Dreams” – season 17, episode 39 | a truth called nothing

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