Friday, February 12, 2016


For the first time in a few years, I'm participating in the NCU Library Mystery Party. The theme this year is Shakespeare: all the suspects are characters from Shakespeare plays, and they asked me to play Shakespeare himself. So I made up a lot of material to use at various points of the evening, and here it is.

My opening speech:
Brave sirs and lovely ladies sit you back
Prepare to celebrate this Beacon Night
But keep defenses up against attack
With poison, sword, or kegs of dynamite
My name is Shakespeare; please excuse the skull
It makes it easier to wear a wig
And stage an epic quite fantastical
Or welcome characters to my shindig
Anon we’ll hear a rapping at my door
A Montague, a Capulet, a nurse
A vulgar mob, but let me reassure
That all who follow will be even worse!
Fire up thy brains -- tis time to be a smarty!
Now let’s commence the Lib’ry Myst’ry Party!

My greetings to various characters:
Titania! Thou queen of every fairy
Thou mistress of enchantments unbeknown
Bewitch thou not these youths to choose to marry
Enough already choose it on their own

Brave Oberon, protagonist most gripping!
The guacamole’s there. No double-dipping.

Here Romeo and Juliet arrive
Escorting one their family forbade
You know that neither makes it out alive
The Spark Notes made it sound extremely sad

Here’s Benedict and Beatrice, so cool
The ones who scorn then tease, who flirt then grouch
But no one plays such games around this school
I quote from Pastor Troy: “Let’s all say ouch”

Tis House Macbeth! I am at your commands
The buffet’s there, but first go wash your hands

And now shall you three meet again.
Come in! I’ve guests to entertain.
Bubble, bubble, Doyle’s in trouble
Feel my scalp -- it’s full of stubble!

My alibi
Once Mercutio's ghost (Chris Zirkle) arrives at the party, everyone will have to give a speech explaining why they might possibly be the murderer. Here's mine:

When first I wrote of Romeo and Jules
They weren’t the central focus of the play
A hero brave, who towered over fools
Seemed likely to sell out each matinee
But when I saw Mercutio emerge
‘Twas clear he wasn’t what the story needed
So half the scenes he anchored now were purged
Erased, no matter how he begged and pleaded
At first I felt a sympathetic twinge
Mercutio’s diminishment I grieved
But soon my brash creation came unhinged
And resolutely he refused to leave!
(Counting lines) ... ten, eleven, twelve!

My three quatrains complete, I need a chaser
Don’t bug a writer -- I’ve got an eraser!

My sonnets
During the evening, people playing the game will come to my station in groups, and I'll write them an original sonnet. The sonnets are all prewritten through the first twelve lines, but I'll compose the couplet for each one on the spot, incorporating the name of at least one group member. 

I should also mention that I'm "composing" these sonnets on a laptop, and IT set me up with the email address, so each of them will receive the finished sonnet in an email.

Here are the unfinished sonnets I'm taking in:

At Northwest Christian University
A stranger is a most peculiar sight
It’s such a tight and warm community
Respecting privacy is impolite
We work for Heaven’s kingdom every day
While studying and practicing our sports
Our mentors bid us tend our GPA
But we pay little heed to worrywarts
But soon arrives the time to graduate
The capstone done, the ivy neatly cut
Careers we then must disambiguate
And bid adieu to Beacon scuttlebutt

Our school with Mr Beacon has been blessed
Though what he is remains a mystery
That no one can reveal, though some have guessed
A smiling man with hydrocephaly
Our neighbors are surprised that we’re a school
They think we’re just a branch of U of O
They say we’re smaller than a molecule
A cramped religious archipelago
To sum it up, we’re oft misunderstood
We’re overlooked, unnoticed and obscure
So take a walk around our neighborhood
You still won’t find the answers; we’re not sure

In Ross B. Evans chapel twice a week
The Beacons stand to sing and sit to hear
Their Beacon-logo shirts are on the fleek
If not concealed by rainy weather gear
The worship music roars and dips and fades
And upright worshippers begin to slouch
The chapel speaker skillfully persuades
And Pastor Troy suggests “amen” or “ouch”
The lesson, soft as cuddling, hard as punch,
Encouragement, or tip, or wake up call
Unwinds until the time arrives for lunch
And Troy says “Grace and peace be with you all”

At NCU the rationale entire
Is strengthening the youthful proselyte
Equipping Beacons all to spark the fire
And then to stoke the flame and shine the light
By day we scrutinize the Holy Word
To catch a glimpse of Jesus’ silhouette
By night, our bellicosity is spurred
Our games work our salvation out in sweat
From time to time we mount the Beacon Bus
To travel to a game away or tourney
‘Tis wearying, but we don’t groan or cuss
‘Tis just another missionary journey

Remember blue and gold float proudly o’er
A tiny campus near the U of O
The premiere college on Pacific shore
I spy the unconverted -- tallyho!
To witness to a student who’s a Duck
Takes faith and miracles and prayer and fasting
Predictably, they’re sometimes thunderstruck
At Christian college students -- flabbergasting!
To those who hunt for pleasures of the flesh
For fame and fortune, wealth and plenitude
The Gospel sounds like “Move to Bangladesh
Abandon all the daydreams you’ve pursued!”

To cross at West Eleventh Avenue
You seize your life and hold it in your hand
Pacific crossing in a bark canoe
Legitimately comes with less demand
You check your phone and blow a kiss to death
You daydream of a lunch that’s nice and zesty
You dodge a driver fueled by rage and meth
You pause to read the text sent by your bestie
To live is Christ, and so to die is gain
Might be the motto for the street Eleven
One of these days there’ll be a roadkill stain
And some poor Beacon will awake in Heaven

Your pounding heart cannot endure for long
You poor unhappy victim of a crime
It seems so unacceptable and wrong
To kill a college student in your prime
You pause to pant and turn toward your left
And realize you’re not quite halfway done
You daydream of your family bereft
This might not be as painful from a gun
You reach the top and pray that there’s no more
You pray for mercy from your dear Creator
And now you’re on the Goodrich topmost floor
The miracle you crave? An elevator!

At NCU integrity’s a theme
At NCU the ladies are all chaste
Particularly on the running team
The ladies have an expertise in haste
Across the whole United States of Feet
The Beacon Ladies have been chased and back
In Charlotte they let others taste defeat
They showed their speed in place of talking smack
And still around the neighborhood they run
On rainy days and ere the sun is high
For having worked their way to number one
They hesitate to tell the top goodbye

Step up and read the menu on the wall
Then scan your card and tap it on your choice
Reflect upon your bad cholesterol
But when you hear them call your name, rejoice.
Review your options on the salad bar
And scrutinize the boiled leftovers soup
Confuse Jose by saying “Au revoir”
Then find your table and rejoin your troupe
Whoops! You forgot the silverware and drink
Take one more trip to gather all you need
Then settle at your table, tickled pink
To socialize and decompress and feed

My "Thy mama" jokes
If anyone gets too unruly, I'll hit them with a "Thy mama" joke. Naturally, it will be in iambic pentameter. Here's my stock:

Thy mama is but such a foolish troll
She took a spoon to lick the Superbowl

Thy mama’s old -- I’ve proof for that remark
So old she left her purse on Noah’s ark!

Thy mama’s old -- deny the truth no more
Her driver’s test was on a dinosaur!

Thy mama’s face is such a sad mistake
That at red lights she makes the cameras break

Thy mama’s ugly -- ugly to the bone
She had to trick or treat over the phone

Thy mama’s ugly -- none can beautify
So ugly, Hello Kitty said Goodbye!

Thy mama is so corpulently fat
To wash her bum takes one whole laundromat

Thy mama’s fatter than a horse that neighs
And when it’s hot, she sweats out mayonnaise!

Thy mama’s fat, which cannot be denied
At Disneyworld, kids thought she was a ride!

Thy mama may deserve thy sweet affections
But she’s so fat that she wakes up in sections!

Thy mama’s fat; she can’t resist the fridge
And when she bungee jumps, down comes the bridge!

Thy mama’s fat -- she sinks entire navies
She broke her leg and out came sausage gravy

Thy mama’s fat -- an eating binge for sharks
I’m sad to say her shadow has stretch marks

My closing speech
If they're agreeable, this is what I plan to say right before they reveal who the murderer is:

Though Mercutio’s life is ended
Think but this and all is mended
That a murderer cavorted
Shamelessly, but now is thwarted
Gentles, be not unimpressed
Bring the proof and we’ll arrest
And, as I am an honest Bill
If we have unearned goodwill
Now to earn your cheers, not boos
Some will win and some will lose
Else the Bard a liar call
So good night unto you all
Give us your hands if naught’s amiss
Now we’ll find out who killed Chris!

Some of it, I freely confess is clunky and dull. But in my defense, I did put nearly all of this together in the past day and a half.

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