Workshop Wednesday

We're in to the last section of this episode. Sadly, all the good action happened in the last part. There's one small fight sequence, but this bit of the episode is mostly talking. I write very talky characters, apparently.

Remember to catch up on the previous adventures of The Follower in the Works of Mike FinkelsteinWhat's that, you want to read various creative works from Asteroid G Lead Editor Mike Finkelstein? Well, if that's what you want... archive before reading this section.

The Follower: Episode 1, Part 3

"Pilot Heroes" Concluded

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FADE IN

We see the heroes once more walking down the street. FOLLOWER has pulled away from the group and is walking with his head down.

APATHY:

FOLLOWER?

FOLLOWER doesn't respond. APATHY waits and tries again.

APATHY:

Dude. You know I'm right.

FOLLOWER:

No! You're talking about quitting. Letting evil take the upper hand!

APATHY:

There is no evil.

FOLLOWER:

What sort of an example would we be setting if we just quit? Where would the city be without us?

APATHY:

It's doing fine so far with the little we do.

FOLLOWER:

You ever stop to think that maybe we really are just in a lull?

APATHY:

Well I...

They both grow quiet, and just look into each other's eyes. APATHY backs down first. They walk for a few moments.

FOLLOWER:

And you're wrong...

APATHY:

What about?

FOLLOWER:

Evil. There is still one man left to fight.

APATHY:

Who?

FOLLOWER:

ETIQUETTE MAN.

APATHY:

Well, I'm sure he's fighting the good fight...

OBVIOUS:

That's not what he's saying.

APATHY:

(pause) He went bad?

FOLLOWER:

That's why this team is together now. I got a very sudden promotion from sidekick to hero...

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT, PAST.

We see ETIQUETTE and FOLLOWER walking down the road, much like the heroes are doing in the present. ETIQUETTE seems agitated.

ETIQUETTE:

(talking to himself) I'm not sure what's up...

FOLLOWER:

What, Boss?

ETIQUETTE:

Oh, nothing, sidekick. Just a feeling...

FOLLOWER:

Evil?

FOLLOWER suddenly looks around, trying to find the evil.

FOLLOWER:

Good thing you're about to fight it!

ETIQUETTE gives a wan smile.

ETIQUETTE:

That's just it... The feeling I'm getting is the very lack of evil. It's been two months since we've had anything to do... Disheartening, really.

FOLLOWER:

But that just means we're doing our job properly.

ETIQUETTE:

Chum, sometimes... (sigh) oh, never mind...

The heroes wander past a tree, one of those city affairs that has the little ineffectual privacy gate around it. We hear a meow, and the heroes look up, spying a small black kitten, THE BLACK CAT, in the tree looking rather afraid.

FOLLOWER:

It seems stuck, Boss.

FOLLOWER throws off his coat and start scrambling up the tree.

FOLLOWER:

I'll save it.

ETIQUETTE just stands there rather unhappy.

ETIQUETTE:

(said to himself) I spent years fighting for this city, ridding it of evil... If all the evil is defeated... what will I do?

By this time FOLLOWER has reached THE BLACK CAT. It willingly jumps into his arms, and he pets it for a moment to calm it.

ETIQUETTE:

I know the rules of heroes and villains. There's a balance to everything. Good and evil, right and wrong... Have I upset the balance?

ETIQUETTE looks up the tree at FOLLOWER, who is very carefully climbing back down. ETIQUETTE walks away before FOLLOWER is back on the ground. We see him walk down a darkened alley and disappear. FOLLOWER looks around, very confused.

FOLLOWER:

Boss?

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FOLLOWER:

The city lost a good hero that day.

The heroes are all quiet for a moment.

APATHY:

What was he going on about... the balance?

FOLLOWER:

Not really sure. I only caught parts of it while I was climbing.

OBVIOUS is back reading from his book. He still manages to respond, though.

OBVIOUS:

If you read enough comics, you'll find references to it, time and again. Similar references are made through all pop-culture media devoted to heroes and villains. A balance between good and evil that, if offset in either direction, can disturb the fabric of the universe.

APATHY:

But that's fiction!

OBVIOUS just gives him a knowing look. FOLLOWER doesn't notice.

FOLLOWER:

If Obvious is right, then it wasn't fiction to ETIQUIETTE. As it was, he seems to have done the only thing he could to make the balance secure again...

EXT: THE CITY, DAY, PAST

We see FOLLOWER walking down the street, THE BLACK CAT happily trotting along on her leash, patrolling. We hear a crash, and an alarm go off.

FOLLOWER:

Come, BLACK CAT! Evil has made itself apparent!

FOLLOWER scoops up the kitty as we see, at the bottom of the screen, a little comic book style box that says "The Black Cat is not in any way associated with the Marvel Comics character, the Black Cat."

EXT: THE CITY, SIDE STREET, DAY, PAST.

We see a couple of dark figures looting an electronics store, the window broken open. FOLLOWER runs down the street towards the store. One of the figures looks up, and we see him motion to the other guy. The second figure runs to a car and starts it. FOLLOWER reaches the villains by this point. He stops and strikes a superhero pose even Superman would be proud of.

FOLLOWER:

Stop, evil doer. I, the FOLLOWER, have come to stop you and your evil ways!

To punctuate this, THE BLACK CAT hisses at the villain. The man emerges from a conveniently placed shadow, and we see it to be ETIQUETTE MAN.

FOLLOWER:

Boss?

ETIQUETTE:

Sidekick? I... I hadn't realized you were around.

FOLLOWER:

Boss, it's a good thing you were here to stop the crime! Where are the evildoers?

ETIQUETTE:

FOLLOWER... I'm sorry I...

ETIQUETTE takes a moment to compose himself.

ETIQUETTE:

You'll never take me alive.

FOLLOWER:

(confused) Boss?

ETIQUETTE throws a punch at FOLLOWER, who dodges past it. He never fights back, although THE BLACK CAT puts out her paw and bats in the direction of ETIQUETTE. The boss throws one or two more attacks, then runs to the getaway vehicle as the sound of sirens can be heard. The car speeds off, and then the cops arrive.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

FOLLOWER:

So... that was it. I haven't seen him since, but I know that he's out there. Call it hero sense, I just know that he waits to strike at me and this fair city.

APATHY:

I guess it's possible...

FOLLOWER:

And with him out there, there has to be others. Villainy always strikes together, even if they're separate!

APATHY:

(pause) Riiiiight...

The three begin to walk again.

APATHY:

Anyone hungry? I could go for a burger.

FOLLOWER:

How ‘bout a pizza?

APATHY:

Follower, how can you eat pizza? You're around it all day, and usually have a free pie in the van.

FOLLOWER:

Father Joe's is good pizza!

INT: NIGHTCLUB, BACK OFFICE, NIGHT.

The villains are still plotting in their office. The camera slowly shifts around the three leaders, BOSS, BRUISE, and the ENEMY, until it's revealed that the BOSS is, of course, ETIQUETTE MAN (when he says his first line).

BRUISE:

So who's the mark?

ENEMY:

Well, it has to be someone decently high profile...

ETIQUETTE:

Marsha Steingarden.

ENEMY:

The woman that has her own home solutions television show?

BRUISE:

Who?

HENCHMAN 1:

She's that dame what has the show where she tells yous how to cook and garden and make stuff.

HENCHMAN 2:

Yah. I saw dis show where she made a hammock out of a single ball of yarn.

ENEMY:

I'm not so sure this is a wise person to attempt-

ETIQUETTE cuts off the comment with a look.

ETIQUETTE:

Nonsense! She's perfect. High profile, just like you advised. And I know she has money, what with her new gardening magazine and all the merchandise she puts out... Plus... I just don't like her.

ENEMY:

It would be advisable not to make a choice based upon your own emotions.

ETIQUETTE:

Whatever do you mean?

BRUISE:

She's tellin you to think with your head, Boss.

ETIQUETTE:

I have thought this through. It shall be Steingarden.

ENEMY:

Well, if you insist...

ETIQUETTE:

BRUISE, organize the henchmen. I want to know where Steingarden eats, where she sleeps, how often she goes to her studios or elsewhere. Figure out her schedule.

ENEMY:

I would advise keeping a close eye on all her security. Video cameras, sonic and laser sensory devises, any goons she has. A woman in her position would not walk around without some sort of protection at all times.

INT: FATHER JOE'S PIZZA, NIGHT.

We see the heroes sitting in a booth, eating pizza. APATHY looks none too happy for it.

APATHY:

That whole confrontation with ETIQUETTE... How long after did you and I meet?

FOLLOWER:

That same evening I believe, actually...

APATHY:

You never mentioned that before.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah, I did. Repeatedly. I even had a to-do list on the fridge for a month. First bullet: catch ETIQUETTE.

APATHY:

Oh... I just thought you were taking some lessons on manners and stuff.

OBVIOUS:

ETIQUETTE'S actions having warrant a different perspective on the dynamic between the two of you. What he will do next, and how we should go about further investigations, are colored by your previous relationship with him. You cannot hunt him the way you would other villains.

APATHY and FOLLOWER blink at OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS just shrugs and goes back to eating and reading.

FOLLOWER:

You were an interesting superhero back then, APATHY. I never did understand your reasoning for following the path of justice.

APATHY:

As I recall, you had pizza and beer at your place.

FOLLOWER:

Oh, that could not have been your only reason for joining the team.

APATHY just looks at FOLLOWER and goes back to his pizza.

FOLLOWER:

No, the city called out to you, whether you heard its call consciously or not! It made its needs apparent and-

APATHY:

You aren't gonna go on some long speech about justice and goodness over villainy again, are you?

FOLLOWER:

...maybe...

INT: NIGHTCLUB, BACK HALLWAY, NIGHT.

We see the door to the office open and the various goons start walking out. Last to leave at ENEMY and ETIQUETTE.

ENEMY:

I still do not full understand why you chose Steingarden.

ETIQUETTE:

As a consultant, you know little of the ways of super villains. Each villain has to have a style to them, a certain attitude or mannerism, something that defines them.

ENEMY:

A gimmick, for lack of a better word.

ETIQUETTE:

Quite right. Well, mine would be etiquette, or, the removal of it from the world. Steingarden is like a nemesis for me, someone that needs to be stopped.

ENEMY:

You talk as if she's a superhero.

ETIQUETTE:

(laughs) No, she's no hero. The last of the heroes in this city quit long ago... There are few that remain who are willing to fight against us, and in the end, we shall rule.

ENEMY:

As long as the police do not obstruct us.

The two split up, ETIQUETTE going back into his office.

EXT: THE CITY, NIGHT.

The heroes are back on patrol

FOLLOWER:

I can't believe you wanted to quit.

APATHY:

Man, it seemed pointless.

FOLLOWER:

And now?

APATHY:

I dunno. So there's a villain out there. Great. Where's he been the last four months?

FOLLOWER:

I cannot say, but I know that as long as villainy exists, I shall never quit. No, the FOLLOWER, this city's protector, shall be-

APATHY:

So what are we doing tomorrow?

FOLLOWER:

Patrol, of course.

OBVIOUS:

We could enlighten ourselves with a show. Spend a couple of hours strengthening our minds through cultural absorption.

APATHY:

That... sounds like a lot of work...

OBVIOUS:

(sigh) We could catch a flick.

APATHY:

Oh. Cool. Yeah, let's do that.

The heroes near the van by this point. They get in, and the van starts. The radio kicks on, and we hear the radio personality come on at the end of a track.

THE FINK (V.O.):

-first person to call in and correctly name five grunge era bands will win tickets to the concert tomorrow at the Arena. Call us at 1-800-555-9837. Now, back to the rock only here on the Modern Rock Revolution, 91.5 WMRR.

APATHY pulls out a phone and dials the number. He sits there as we hear the phone ring.

THE FINK (V.O.):

WMRR, you know five bands?

APATHY:

Nirvana, STP, Bush, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden.

THE FINK (V.O.):

Good enough, man. What's your name?

APATHY:

APATHY.

THE FINK (V.O.):

Hippie parent's huh?

APATHY:

What?

THE FINK (V.O.):

Well man, you won 4 tickets to see the hair metal show tomorrow night at the Arena. Just come by the station and pick up your tickets. What station just made you a winner?

APATHY looks over at FOLLOWER.

APATHY:

Hey, what station are we listening to?

Through the windows we see the goons getting into their cars. ENEMY looks across the road to the van, but doesn't seem worried by the heroes.

APATHY:

I still could go for a burger.

FOLLOWER:

There's some pizza in back.

APATHY:

No, I said burger. I'm sick of pizza.

OBVIOUS:

We just had pizza.

APATHY:

I was sick of it then too, if you'll remember.

FOLLOWER:

Fine, we'll hit Motaba Burger on the way home. And tomorrow, we find evil and fight it!

OBVIOUS:

After the show.

FOLLOWER:

Yeah, after the show!

The van pulls away and we get a good shot of the follower symbol painted on the rear. The scene fades, until we're left with the just the symbol.

FADE TO BLACK.

CREDIT ROLL.

End Episode 1, Part 3:

So that's the end of the first episode. This one certainly focused on FOLLOWER and ETIQUETTE, exploring their dynamic since, at least for the start of the season, ETIQUETTE was planned to be the big bad. I actually have a whole series plan I wrote at one point, but now I can't find it. Once I've posted all the episodes I completed I might try to remake that outline to give a sense of the scope of the original idea for this project. Of course, all those plans would likely change were I to make this series now -- I have new ideas I want to explore at some point with the characters.

There are a few running gags setup in this section of the episode. Father Joe's, for one, is supposed to be a Papa John's-style chain with a weird, Catholic bent. I think the tag-line would have been something about "every pizza comes with a free basket of garlic wafers." Looking back at it now, the joke just doesn't play.

We also have the first mention of Motaba Burger. This was in reference to the Clerks animated series, where the town of Leonard, N.J., freaks out over a Ebola scare, although in the episode they call it the "deadly Motaba virus". The restaurant (which I don't think features in any later episodes, although we'll see when we get there) would have had a jungle theme to it with a monkey mascot. I like this reference better, so who knows if it would survive into later versions of this project.