Saturday Afternoon Gospel Special, with Mr. Nabisco

Irinka Marigold Starchilde is an ordinary girl in an ordinary neighborhood. Everyone can identify with Irinka! She lives in a high room overlooking a tree. There is a nest in that tree with baby birds chirping in it. The tree is growing out of a sidewalk. That’s how normal Irinka is!

“Hey, Irinka,” says Slick. He’s her boyfriend.

More of a friend, really! Irinka corrects.

“Hey, Irinka,” says Slick. He’s her . . . friend.

“Hey, Slick!”

“So, Irinka,” says Slick. “Want to try drugs?”

Irinka looks at Slick with shock. “No!”

“Why not?”

Irinka thinks. “My anti-drug is a history of abuse by my drug-addled father-in-law. But my mama chased that weasel out of our house!”

“That’s a pretty good anti-drug,” Slick admits. “Mine used to be that I was too poor to afford them. Then I cleaned up, got a good job, and now I can have all the drugs I want.”

“Wow,” says Irinka. “Your Puritan virtues cancelled out your anti-drug!”

“It’s wonderful, but also sad,” says Slick.

“I thought you had a backup anti-drug,” asks Irinka, “in Saturday Afternoon Specials?”

“What’s today?” Slick asks.

“Monday,” says Irinka abashedly. And, “Oh.”

Slick looks smug. “So, do you want to try some?”

“It’s tempting,” says Irinka. “I come from a broken home. How can I resist that kind of easy pleasure?”

With Mr. Nabisco! thinks Dr. Terror. But he’s not in this story yet.

“Oh, what the heck,” says Irinka. “I’ll try some. But just a taste!”

“It’s made by Drug Company,” says Slick. “So you know it’s good!”

Irinka tastes a bit of drugs.

“Mm, mm,” says Irinka. “This is some fine horse.”

Slick looks a little sick. “They make it out of horses?”

“No, no,” says Irinka.

Suddenly, Irinka’s mama bursts in. “Irinka! Are you trying some of those no-good drugs?”

“They’re actually quite good, mama!”

Irinka’s mama snatches away the bag of drugs. She casts it out the window. It opens and spills all over the bird’s nest. The baby birds devour the drugs and become rude, bad, and poorly molted. That’s their terrible destiny!

“Gasp,” gasps Irinka. “What have I done? I have become an addict! But now I face a fateful decision—do I go cold turkey, or allow myself to be drawn into the terrible world of drugs? Mama! Can you help me?”

“I’ll talk to the preacher man,” says Irinka’s mama, whose name is Cherise.

SCENE II

Cherise talks to the preacher man. He doesn’t have a name. That’s how preachy he is!

“Preacher man,” she says, “can you help my daughter?”

“I’ll give you my answer in a song,” he says.

Seems there’s nothing in this world of ours
That doesn’t strive to drag you down
Hunger, sickness, violent video games
Drugs, and crime—don’t let them get you down.
The world is harsh, it’s painful, but whatever
Wheat Thins’ Love is Forever.

Wheat Thins’ Love is Forever,
Salty love is all around,
When you’re tired, when you’re in the dark,
Salty love will lift you off the ground.

Wheat Thins’ Love is forever, girl,
It’s the gift Mr. Nabisco brings.
He sends his love to you in cracker form,
Wheat Thins’ Love is a wondrous thing.
And if you wonder if it’s night or day,
If maybe that love’s diurnal?
I’m here to tell you such a wondrous thing:
Wheat Thins’ Love is eternal!

SCENE III

Dr. Terror sits in his lab in Drug Company. He’s watching a screen. The screen has a little picture of Irinka on it.

“I don’t know what to do!” says Irinka.

“Hm,” says Dr. Terror. He scruffles at his goatee. “This is an interesting case. I can see that Mr. Nabisco has an interest in her soul.”

He presses a button. “Boss,” he says.

The mysterious Boss of Drug Company answers. “Yes, Dr. Terror?”

The Boss’ voice oozes evil.

“I’m going to go make sure Irinka chooses drugs,” Dr. Terror says. “That’s the best way for Drug Company to profit!”

“It’s true,” admits Boss. “We make all of our money from revenue. Then we spend it lobbying for evil!”

On the screen, Irinka frets. “I should cling to my anti-drug,” she says. “That’s the right decision.”

“Oh, no, you don’t!” cries Dr. Terror. He vanishes in a puff of smoke and appears before Irinka.

Irinka startles. “You’re a no-good boy!” she says. “I can’t have no-good boys in my room! I’m grounded for trying drugs!”

“I’m not just a boy,” says Dr. Terror. “I’m also a no-good doctor!”

“Oho,” says Irinka, catching on. “You must be Ernest’s drug contact!”

Call me Slick! thinks Ernest, aka Slick. He’s not in the scene, so Irinka ignores him.

“You might say that,” says Dr. Terror, scruffling his goatee. “You might say that indeed.”

“I have been tempted,” says Irinka, frankly. “It’s because of the addiction, you know.”

“I know,” whispers Dr. Terror, seductively. “Once you’re addicted, we have claimed your soul.”

“Wait,” says Irinka. “I don’t have any recourse?”

“None whatsoever!” says Dr. Terror hurriedly. “No recourse. Of course not. Don’t be ridiculous! You’re trapped in the cycle of drugs. But it’s not so bad! Drugs are perfectly good snacks. People just paint them as evil. It’s what the man wants you to think!”

“Oh,” says Irinka. “That’s surprisingly plausible, because the man has little or no credibility with me.”

Dr. Terror rubs his hands together.

Suddenly, Irinka has a realization. “Wait,” Irinka says. “I remember my occult lore! You’re actually the enemy of Mr. Nabisco! When the Drug Company doctors talk about the Man, they mean Him!

Irinka sings.

Mr. Nabisco never keeps you down,
His crumbly love will answer every frown,
He watches all of us from HQ high,
He sends his love to answer every sigh.
And if you turn away from him you must be high.
‘Cause Wheat Thins’ Love is Forever.

“No!” cries Dr. Terror. “No!”

“I’m saved!” cries Irinka. “I’m saved from drugs! By consumerism!”

“No!” shrieks Dr. Terror.

But Irinka just goes to the pantry and pulls out a box of Wheat Thins. She shakes it at him.

“The rattling! The rattling!”

“That’s right, Dr. Terror,” says Mr. Nabisco. He strides into the room. He’s a delicious man made entirely of crackers! He shakes a finger at Dr. Terror. “MY anti-drug is buying vast quantities of deliciously cheap snack food! And that’s the best anti-drug you can get!”

“You haven’t won yet,” says Dr. Terror, his voice low and dangerous like a snake’s. Like a very loud snake’s. “She’s tried the drugs. She belongs to us!”

“Which do you want, Irinka?” says Mr. Nabisco. He fishes a wheat thin out of the box. He holds it up before her. “The drugs? Or this, this my body, this my blood?”

It’s not actually blasphemous. Mr. Nabisco is made of wheat thins! See above!

“I . . . I . . .” says Irinka.

“It was mighty good horse, wasn’t it?” offers Dr. Terror.

“No!” shouts Irinka. “I reject thee!”

Dr. Terror shrieks and vanishes.

Irinka’s mama reenters, with the preacher man. Everyone sings.

Your brain on drugs is like a broken egg,
Your brain on love is like a whole one,
Salvation’s there if you just reach for it,
Nabisco’s light can save your soul, hon.
Wheat Thins’ love don’t fade away none.

“I love you all!” cries Mr. Nabisco, throwing his arms wide. Crackers fountain from his hands and bear his love to every corner of the world.

That’s just the tiniest bit creepy, Irinka admits.

THE END

5 thoughts on “Saturday Afternoon Gospel Special, with Mr. Nabisco

  1. Wow that was hilarious. I especially loved Slick’s anti-drug and Mr. Nabisco’s not-blasphemy. Beautiful.

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