(We open in Louie's. It's about a week after Halloween. Sach is reading a comic book. Slip is reading the newspaper. Butch is sipping a soda. Whitey is fiddling with the back of the radio. Louie is behind the counter, wiping glasses.)

Sach: (Shudders) Oooh, this horror comic is spooky.

Whitey: Yeah? Can I read it next, Sach?

Slip: *From behind the paper* If it's so spooky, why ya still readin' it?

Sach: 'Cause I guess I still wanna be scared after Halloween. It's about an young man who was turned into a wolf creature by a coven of witches and made to bring them young men to steal the essences from. (Hands it to Whitey) Yeah, I'm done.

Whitey: *Accepts the comic, then scratches his head* Gee, that sounds kinda familiar...

Sach: I guess it's on my mind. Poor Chuckie! He ain't been actin' right since those ladies got their hands on him last week.

Louie: He's seemed fine to me. Maybe a little down, but not like last summer.

Slip: *Puts the paper down* Sach, how many times have you asked him if he's fine & he's told you yes?

Sach: I just got this feelin'....

Slip: *Nods* You got a feelin'...

Sach: Yeah. Those ladies got into his head again, and whatever got in there stuck.

Slip: *Shakes his head* Yer imaginin' things, Sach.

Sach: I don't think I am, Chiefy. You'll see when he comes in.

*As if on cue, Chuck comes in...or rather, bursts in with a huge grin on his face.*

Slip: *To Sach* I ain't seein' it, Sach.

Chuck: *Out of breath* I just ran...all the way here...because my show...is being produced!

Slip: Wait a minute. What show?

Chuck: The one I've been working on all week!

Slip: That's what you were doin'?

Sach: Your show?

Butch: That's wonderful! (He hugs Chuck)

Louie: I'm proud of you, Chuckie.

Chuck: It was supposed to be a novel, but... I thought I'd try my hand at writing a play instead. Granted, it's off Broadway by about five streets, but people will still see it. And I've got good news for you guys, too.

Slip: What's the good news?

Chuck: We're all gonna be in it!

Slip: Yer kiddin'?

Chuck: I'm not, I swear!

Butch: Us?

Slip: *Nods* Congrats, kid. *gives Sach a look*

Sach: I'm gonna be a star!

Sach: (Frowns and mutters to Slip) There still somethin' wrong...but I don't want to rain on the kid's parade.

Slip: *Mutters* Sach, there ain't nutin' wrong with him. Let it go.

Sach: (Sighs) All right.

Butch: We're really going to be in the play? (Grins) I've done some acting. I've been on the radio and in a few B-movies.

Sach: I did plays in school!

Chuck: There's parts for everyone!

Louie: Even me?

Chuck: Even you, Louie.

Louie: That's wonderful! (Grins at Chuck) You know, I was on Broadway in the 20s. I appeared in the original "Abie's Irish Rose."

Sach: Really?

Louie: (Nods) I got quite a few good notices, too.

Chuck: I bet you did.

Slip: Did any of you other guys know Chuck's been workin' on this?

Butch: I had some idea he was doing something - I do share a room with him - but not a play.

Sach: Nope.

Whitey: *Shakes his head* Me neither.

Chuck: There is one thing I figured I might as well share now. Since I wrote it, I figured I'd have a lead role. I had someone else in mind for the lead good guy, so I gave myself the lead bad guy role.

Slip: A bad guy? How bad we talkin'?

Sach: (Mutters to Slip) See?

Chuck: *Gives an odd little smirk* Kidnapping and hypnotism.

Slip: *Mutters to Sach* I think I'm startin' to...

Butch: Whom did you have in mind for the good guy?

Chuck: You.

Butch: Me?

Sach: Butchy?

Butch: Really? You want me to be the lead?

Chuck: Yeah, I do.

Butch: Oh Chuck! (He hugs him again) Thank you!

Sach: I guess Rachel n' Jane have the female leads.

Chuck: *nods* Yes, they do. Jane with Butch & Rachel with me.

Butch: Jane will be my leading lady?

Sach: Is this gonna be lovey-dovey?

Chuck: Maybe a little, but not really.

Sach: Oh good. I want somethin' with a lot of action. I wanna be Tyrone Power. (He swings a comic book around like a sword)

Louie: Be careful, Sachula! Don't hit the jukebox!

Chuck: Sach, you're not getting a sword.

Slip: Smart move.

Sach: Awww! (Grins) How about an axe, then? Or one of those sharp little knives...

Chuck: No weapons.

Sach: You ain't no fun.

Chuck: Sorry, Sach, but there's already enough people using weapons as is. Are you guys available to come to the theater? I'd like to give you your parts and get you fitted for costumes.

Sach: Sure! I ain't doin' nuthin'.

Louie: I'll have to get mine later. I'm in charge of the store this afternoon.

Chuck: I'll bring some stuff over for you later, Louie.

Slip: *Stands* Well, letís get going, then.

Sach: Oh boy! (Hugs Slip) We're gonna be theater stars!

Slip: A'right, Sach, geez.

(Fade out on the guys. Fade in on a very small, simple old building in downtown New York. Chuck leads the boys into a much smaller backstage area than the one used for the Halloween haunted house.)

Sach: Wow, this is a nice little place.

Butch: It's kind of cozy, for a theater.

Chuck: It seats no more than a hundred people, but it's really nice. Some big shows got their start here.

Sach: Wow!

Butch: That's really great!

Sach: Ok Chuckie, lead us to our costumes!

Chuck: Down this way. *leads them down a short hall & stops at a door with a sign that says "Men's Dressing Room;" opens the door* Here we are, gentlemen.

Sach: (Looks around the clothes-filled room) Wow. This place is even better than that theater we saw last week.

Butch: Not bad, for a small theater.

Chuck: Some of the fancier ones came from an auction I found. Some they'd already found at a second-hand shop.

Sach: (He pulls out a crown and a cape) I wanna wear these! (Puts the crown on) I declare myself King Horace DuBussy Jones the First!

Chuck: You're in luck, Sach. You're playing the King.

Sach: I am? Really? I'm a King?

Butch: (Raises an eyebrow) Sach is in charge of a kingdom?

Sach: (Flings the velvet and fake fur-trimmed cape around him) And why not? I think I'd be a great king! I'd be good to all my subjects. I'd give 'em all whatever comic books they wanted.

Chuck: Guys, really, I have my reasons for giving you these parts.

Butch: And what are they?

Chuck: Whitey is a Wizard to the King. Slip, you're the King's Advisor, and Butch, you're a humble musician who takes it upon himself to help the King.

Slip: Obliviously, you knew who was gettin' each part.

Chuck: That's sorta what I hoped.

Butch: I'm proud to be a humble musician.

Sach: (Smirks at Slip) You're advisin' me. I like that.

Slip: *Folds his arms* Great.

Sach: So, advise me, advisor.

Sach: Say somethin' good.

Slip: Shuddup.

Sach: That ain't good.

Butch: When do we get our scripts?

Chuck: They're right here. *grabs a stack of papers of a table* Here we go.

*Slip takes the one off the top.*

Whitey: *Takes the next one* Oh boy!

Butch: (Sighs) This brings back memories. I used to love appearing on radio as a kid, either playing music with a band or in a show.

Chuck: *Hands Butch his script* I hope you have as much fun here. *Chuck hands a script to Sach and keeps the last one.*

Butch: I know I will. The author is my best friend!

Sach: What about the girls, n' Louie?

Chuck: Louie's the innkeeper. Sally is the other advisor to the King and Slip's fiancee. Jane and Marsha work for Louie. Rachel is a sorceress with me.

Butch: I can't see you as a bad guy, though.

Sach: (Mutters to himself) I think I can.

Chuck: I'm hoping to show off some acting skills.

Butch: I'll help you if you need it.

Sach: I'm gonna be a brilliant king. I read a lot of "Prince Valiant," you know.

Chuck: I know, Sach. *turns to Butch* I think I'll be okay.

Butch: How about some of the other guys? Bobby, Buddy, Junior...

Chuck: They're all in it, too.

Butch: Can we see the sets?

Chuck: Sure! Follow me. *heads out the door*

*Whitey goes out next.*

Sach: Chiefy, I still think there's somethin' wrong here. Why did he make himself the bad guy?

Slip: I dunno, Sach, but I'm thinkin' there's som'en wrong, too.

Sach: I mean, he seems happy...but remember what he was like the last time those bad ladies got to him?

Slip: I remember more than you'd believe. I was hopin' he's okay like he kept sayin', but I ain't so sure.

Sach: Maybe you n' I oughtta keep an eye on him at the show.

Slip: *Nods* I wish we didn't have to.

Sach: (Nods) I do, too. I like Chuckie. He's like another little brother. I just think he's still got a little vampire left in him after last week.

Slip: I didn't wanna believe it, cuz he IS my little brother. I didn't wanna think that som'en could be wrong with him, but I think yer right. He may not be bitin' anyone, but...he ain't right. If he was, I'd be the bad guy and he'd be the lead good guy.

Sach: (Nods) Yeah. I know Chuckie. He'd never make himself a bad guy, 'cause he ain't one.

Slip: Dammit.

Sach: I don't like it either...but I know what I feel, and it ain't good.

Slip: What, exactly are ya gettin' from him?

Sach: He's still got a lot of darkness left in him.

Slip: Whadaya mean by darkness?

Sach: He's got a kinda dark light around him. It's in his energy. Maybe he don't even know it.

Slip: He can't know it or he wouldn't keep denying there's something wrong. Before, he just didn't wanna talk about it, but he never denied that som'en happened.

Sach: Maybe that's what came out in this play.

Slip: *Nods* He woulda said before everything if he'd been workin' on som'en, an' he wouldn'ta kept it a secret. He got this out an' produced in under a week. If that don't mean there's som'en else at play, here, then I dunno what would.

Sach: (Nods) Everythin' else he ever made that he called "big" took months, sometimes years.

Slip: An' made sure he involved us, lookin' fer ideas an whatnot. This...ain't right.

Sach: Yeah. Usually, he don't like to talk 'bout what he's writin', 'specially not to us.

Slip: Ya mentioned dark energy. What's he usually look like?

Sach: Lighter. Quiet. Sorta...shy.

Slip: That's how he usually is, y'know, reserved. Ya never mentioned nutin' like this after that other encounter he had. What'd he look like then?

Sach: (Gulps) Dark, distorted. Sorta fuzzy. Like he wasn't all there.

Slip: *Nods* But he's all together now, right? Just dark, huh?

Sach: (Nods) Yeah. No fuzz. Just dark.

Slip: That's a plus, at least. *pauses and sighs* We'd better catch up to them. C'mon. *We fade out as they walk out the door.*