Dedicated with love and admiration to every writer (of any genre, experience or fame) who has been asked How did you come up with the idea? Or Do the characters speak to you?
[Setting: The Otherworld, a place where every character, their world and their story(ies) reside before being Chosen. Their lives never touch those of characters from different worlds, except in the Lobby. The Lobby is a no-man’s-land of sorts, where characters can escape their world and meet new people from different places and times. It’s also the place where everyone meets every Saturday morning at noon when characters are Chosen to leave the Otherworld and move into a writer’s head. It is a Saturday.]
[Enter Lobby: Juliet, Romeo, Tybalt, Benvolio, Mercutio, Nurse, Friar Lawrence, and their family/friends.]
Romeo: How does the Choosing work again, Friar?
Friar Lawrence: You see the number on your arm, boy? That number is unique to us. If they call it out, it means we’ve got a new home.
Nurse: If we’re Chosen, it becomes our job to tell our Host our story.
Benvolio: But things have gone wrong before, right?
Mercutio: [shrugs] Only if the Host doesn’t listen or interprets us wrong.
[Groups waits as the official reads a number from the clipboard. The crowd checks their arms and a group of monks step forward. They shuffle through a doorway and vanish, leaving the Otherworld forever. The official reads out more numbers and more groups leave.]
Tybalt: [impatiently] Oi, they’re taking a long time.
Juliet: [hopefully] Maybe we won’t be picked today.
Benvolio: Oh no! That’s us!
[The group is jostled towards the door. Mercutio draws his sword and pokes his head in.]
Mercutio: It’s alright, guys! We got that Shakespeare bloke! Come on! [jumps through]
Romeo: How bad can it be? [takes Juliet’s hand and pulls her after Mercutio]
Friar Lawrence: [to Nurse] Did they forget that they’re all supposed die?
[Setting: a Saturday some hundreds of years later. Most people have forgotten that they might be picked, they’ve been there for so long]
[Enter Lobby: Bella Swan, the Cullens, Jacob Black, whiny high school friends, and a bunch of other vampires]
Bella: [grumbling loudly] I can’t, like, believe we’re still here! I’m getting, like, soggy from all the rain, and there’s, like, only so many cliffs I can jump off of!
Whiny High School Friend #1: Why don’t you just, like, get your boyfriend to eat you? At least you have a boyfriend! Who cares that he can’t be around you when you’re on your period? He’s pasty and greasy — like, sooo hot.
Jacob: [to his motorcycle] Kill meeeeee!
Vampire #1: Okaaaay.
Goody-Goody Vampire #1: No! You can’t kill him. It’ll break the alliance-bond-ally thingy!
[The crowd around them roll their eyes in annoyance as the Goody-Goody vampires argue with the normal vampires and Bella curls up in a ball and goes catatonic.]
Official #1: [whispers to Officials # 2 and 3] Can’t we just get rid of them already?
[Officials #2 and 3 nod and signal a bunch of cowboys to lasso up the irritating bunch.]
Official #2: [to Official #3] But sir, the only Hosts lined up beyond the door are Nora Roberts and an unknown bloke with quite a bit of promise. We can’t put these idiots in their heads.
Official #3: Hmm, you’re right. Oi, you, open that drain in the floor! Some unfortunate woman will end up with them.
[Cowboys toss the characters into the drain.]
Official #1: [into the drain after them] I’m REALLY sorry about this, miss! Try to put some good use to them!
Cowboy #1: [under his breath] I pity the poor creature who’ll have to live with them in her head.
[Setting: not a Saturday. The Lobby is mainly empty, aside from some zombies and an orphaned teenage girl. A group of misfits with varying degrees of awesome swordsmanship skills and dead family members saunter across the Lobby for a change of scenery. A group of falcons are flying around with them.]
[Enter: Arden, Tristan, Ilex, Tamsin, friends/family, allies and foes.]
[Minding their own business and talking about the time they defeated a magical army.]
[The ground shudders.]
Tamsin: [screams] EARTHQUAKE!
Ilex: Don’t be silly, Tamsin. There are no earthquakes in the Lobby.
[GIANT SHUDDER. A crack snakes its way across the floor and beneath their feet. They all grab hold of each other and scream as the crack swallows them up.]
[Land with an ‘oomph’ in some random person’s head.]
Arden: Well, this is just great, isn’t it? We’ve fallen out of the Lobby —
Tristan: [points] Hey! I just saw someone!
Ilex: Are you sure? It looks pretty empty here to me.
Tristan: No, look. Over there.
[All squint in the semi-darkness. They can just make out a fat man with thinning red hair marching around. Six women — two without their heads — are trailing after him, hissing and booing and calling him names.]
Woman #2: I’m NOT a whore, Henry! I was innocent! Do I look like I have six fingers to you? No! Then what on earth is happening out there!
Woman #4: Karma, Henry, yes? You are ze ugly one now, are you not?
Tristan: Where the bloody hell are we?!
Arden: [to Woman #6] Excuse me? Could you tell us where we are?
Woman #6: Oh dear, oh dear. Look what we have here. You’re in Libby’s head. You’re not the first ones. There was some cannibals when we arrived, and since then a couple others. She doesn’t often do much with us, just rants about us and writes poems occasionally. Oh, but I’m rambling. One gets a bit disoriented after awhile in here. I’m Katherine Parr. [points to the other women and the man] And those are Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, and Katheryn Howard. Welcome.
Ilex: Er, thanks.
Katherine Parr: We’re a harmless bunch, really. We’ll happily share Libby’s head with you.
Tristan: [sarcastically] Excellent. Brilliant.
[Libby’s head rumbles a bit]
Katherine Parr: Hmm, no, that’s not an earthquake. It’s a bit strange. It’s been awhile since there’s been that much activity. I wonder…
Anne Boleyn: [laughs hysterically] You guys are gonna be busy for the next couple years.
Catherine of Aragon: Better get comfortable. You’re in for a long wait.