From CH Staff on
As the ship went down, they kept spirits up. Kind of.
By Patrick Cassels
EXT. LUXURY LINER (DECK) -- 1912 -- NIGHT We're sinking. A moderate crowd of high society PASSENGERS shuffle concerned around deck. Most have life vests strapped over their tux's and gowns. The CAPTAIN approaches the ship's 3-piece band: a VIOLIN, a CELLO, and on accordion, the LEADER (Yankovic). CAPTAIN Men, we have not more than an hour above water! I suggest you find yourselves seats on a lifeboat. LEADER Your concern is appreciated, Captain. But we have decided to play on until... the end. Perhaps our music will provide some peace in these passengers' final hours. CAPTAIN Remarkable. Play on, then. The Captain closes his eyes to take the music in. The band launches into a cruelly uptempo polka-ish tune: LEADER (singing) No hope is left of being saved/The icy sea will be your grave/Pain and death await us all./Hey, I wonder what it's like to drown? The passengers, already nervous, freak the f**k out at this song. They shove each other over, dart left and right, etc. CAPTAIN (frozen, appalled smile) Okay. Hey, perhaps you men should find a lifeboat after all. LEADER No, we've accepted our fate. Perhaps our music will provide... CAPTAIN (scraping up enthusiasm) --some peace, yeah. I got it. Could you provide some peace with something a little less, dark? LEADER Ah! A happy tune! Like that new jazzamatazz that's been sweeping the American South. CAPTAIN Yes, exactly. Jazzama-? Is that a thing? Whatever, that'd be fine. The band launches into a happy melody. They sing: LEADER How many lifeboats are left now? BAND None! LEADER Said how many lifeboats are left now? BAND None at all! LEADER Well maybe there's one left, maybe one more/And if you strangle through the others, this lifeboat could be yours! The passengers go feral, screaming and punching each other, losing all humanity as they desperately look for the lifeboat. A COWARDLY GENTLEMAN throws a KID overboard. The band finishes. Leader nods to the Captain. CAPTAIN Stop nodding! Why are you nodding? LEADER What's wrong? CAPTAIN What is with those lyrics, man? LEADER Hey, "No More Lifeboats!" is one of our biggest hits. CAPTAIN You had these already written?! LEADER Of course. We wrote it around the same time we wrote, let's see, "Survival is a Statistical Impossibility," um... VIOLIN Oh and "Deep Sea Crabs Will Eat Your Face"! CELLO (loud; in Capt's face) I WILL NOT HESITATE TO SHOOT YOU FOR THAT LIFE JACKET! The Captain jumps, defensive. CELLO (CONT'D) (suddenly calm again) ...is another favorite. CAPTAIN The passengers are terrified! LEADER As they should be, after all... (singing) Their lungs will soon be filled/With briny water and, like, probably some fecal matter from terrified swimmers... Another stab of chaos among the passengers. The Cowardly Passenger grabs ANOTHER KID (not even in his way, really) and throws her overboard. CAPTAIN Let me guess, that's one of your biggest hits, too. LEADER No, we were just sort of riffing there. (beat; to band) Let's try it again louder. CAPTAIN Gentlemen!! This ship is going down. The passengers need a song that fills them with courage, not morbid tunes about lobsters eating our bodies-- VIOLIN It was crabs, actually. And they were just eating the face area: ears, nose, eyeballs... LEADER (genuine) The Captain's right. Let's play a tune that will fill this entire deck with the same strength and resolve he has shown... The band strikes up a confident, marching tune. LEADER (beat; then, singing) Fear not the sea, but think instead/Of our brave Captain, who welcomes death/When that iceberg first appeared/He did not turn, he did not steer... (almost talking now) A lot of people warned him about taking a ship out without enough lifeboats but he would not be scared away. So brave! As the band continues, the passengers frown at a mortified Captain. END.