Behind the Cape

The following is a short play I developed for a creative writing class. Its loosely based on a concept I had for a short screenplay, but changed dramatically.

I’ve always been a fan of deconstructing Superhero / Villain archetypes. This is my chance to explore normal human relationships but within fantastic heightened world. I wanted to add more of a subplot involving the main character’s lust for the another woman but due to the constraints of the project I was unable to.

I’m thinking about adapting this again into a short screenplay to be filmed so maybe I’ll add in the subplot again later. I hope you enjoy.

Behind the Cape

By

John Longo

John Longo, c 2013 John Longo

Cast of Characters

Dr. Demon: Tall, self-serving and
pompous. He should walk around
with his arms constantly
folding behind his backs.
He opens the playing wearing
a modern costume, black
and red colors, leathery,
full of textures. He loves
to refer to himself when
he’s flustered and he gets
flustered a lot. He often
sweats profusely in those
situations and is constantly
wiping his brow. He never
uses contractions and likes
to put Not after words it
doesn’t usually follow.

Bad Karma: She loves a man who only
loves the idea of world
domination. She has a silver
costume with baby blue flakes
on it. She has the power
to stop time, move back
and forth through time and
create blue electric balls
of energy that shoot from her
hands. She says God a lot,
especially when upset.

The Man: Always speaks with
Alliteration to start every
sentence. His costumes are
always Bright colors, Red,
Yellow, Blue. After every
line he smiles and poses
slightly ex. arms folded
across his chest, hands on
hips.

(MORE)

Scene

Dr. Demon and Bad Karma’s tiny apartment, Maniac Manors Insane
Asylum and Paris.

Time

Now, and in the recent past for Dr. Demon and Bad Karma.

ACT I

The LIVING ROOM of DR. DEMON and his wife, BAD
KARMA. Bad Karma is sitting on the couch, a EVIL
PEOPLE MAGAZINE in her hands. Dr. Demon is looking
around the room for something. They are both in
their contemporary costumes. There’s DIRTY
CLOTHES, UNOPENED MAIL, PANDORA’S BOX WITH A
BROKEN HINGE, A DEMON STAFF, A HALF EATEN PIZZA,
and THE MAN-REPELANT bottles around the room along
with various Demon Helmets, Red, Black, Purple.

DR. DEMON
Have you seen my cape?

BAD KARMA
The red one or the purple one?

DR. DEMON
Red.

BAD KARMA
No.

DR. DEMON
Does that mean you have seen the purple?

BAD KARMA
No.

DR. DEMON
Really?

BAD KARMA
Yes.

DR. DEMON
Yes, you have?

BAD KARMA
No, I haven’t.

DR. DEMON
Curses, woman! Why must you constantly use your
feminine wiles to confuse me?

BAD KARMA
I’m not confusing you. You’re just a moron.

DR. DEMON
Moron? Moron? Me… a moron! How dare you! I am am Dr.
Demon, king of calamity, scourge of scourges, master of
misery –

BAD KARMA
That last one sounds right.

Beat

DR. DEMON
Where is that blasted cape?

BAD KARMA
God, what do you need it for anyway?

DR. DEMON
It’s Tuesday. You know Tuesdays are my night to take
over the world.

BAD KARMA
Yup, I do. And so does the entire League of Virtue.

DR. DEMON
You think I, Dr. Demon, fear the League of Virtue?
Neanderthals, the most clever name name they could
think of was, League of Virtue?

BAD KARMA
Says Damien Damon, aka Dr. Demon.

DR. DEMON
Nothing wrong with using alliteration to your
advantage. Besides, woman. It’s not like your code name
is some clever play on the king’s English.

BAD KARMA
Uh-huh. What was the name of your evil team again.

DR. DEMON
(Beat) The Legion of Evil.

BAD KARMA
Exactly. (Beat) Besides, we both know it’s not the
league you’re afraid of.

DR. DEMON
(glaring)
Do not be ridiculous, love. He is, they are merely an
unsanitary nuisance. A speck of drool, to be wiped off
my mighty lips. They –

BAD KARMA
HE has kicked your ass every Tuesday for the last 10
years. (Beat) Truth hurts, hun.

A brief, tense pause.

DR. DEMON
Where the hell is that blasted cape?

BAD KARMA
Don’t go out tonight. Stay here. Please. Don’t try to
rule the world tonight. Please. Stay home, we can watch
Behind the Cape. Please, for me?

DR. DEMON
How dare you, minx. Why would someone of my intellect
waste his time watching that drivel?

BAD KARMA
Because a lot of our old friends are on it now. And
even some of our enemies. Like Mr. Friend. Did you know
he was addicted to pain killers? Can you believe that?
No wonder he was always such a push over and needed
that, that, that dorky sidekick… What was his name,
Kid something, Shine, Shone, Shoe…

DR. DEMON

(With regret)
Sure. Kid Sure was his name.

BAD KARMA
(Remembering somberly)
Oh, yeah. That’s right. (Beat) So, then there was The
Clause, remember him? Tall, brooding bad guy, he had a
Mohawk. He wore a cape too. I think he was in the
Masters of Doom for a bit. Well anyway, he quit the
business like five years ago, after dislocating his hip
in a fight with American Standard, remember that?

DR. DEMON
Vaguely, I believe it was in the M.O.D. newsletter
blast.

BAD KARMA
Right, exactly. So he goes to one of those like max
security hospital jails, hidden in a pocket dimension.
A real hellhole. Decides right then and there, chained
to the hospital bed, he’s going to change. He quits the
business, gets set up with a councilor and now, he’s a
born again Christian. Works as a pastor in some church
of god down soul. Him and American Standard are even
friends now. Can you believe that? He helps out time to
time with profiling. Makes a nice living at it too.

DR. DEMON
That wretched, pathetic fool.

BAD KARMA
Why? Cause he realized this wasn’t the life for him? He
didn’t want to wear tights and try to take over the
world ever week? (Beat)Do you think we’ll ever be on
Behind the Cape?

There’s a pause between them. There is no answer.

BAD KARMA
I think ours would be juicy. Probably a two parter.
They’d interview everyone we knew. I wonder if we’ll
still be alive. (Beat) Anyway, it would be neat is all.

DR. DEMON
The first thing I am going to do when I take over this
wretched world is cancel that salacious show. No, I
take that back. I’ll burn the the producers’ flesh in a
vat of radioactive sharks, then cancel it!

BAD KARMA
Right. That’s if you can find your cape first.

DR. DEMON
Exactly. Blasted cape. Are you sure you didn’t move it
when you cleaned last?

BAD KARMA
I haven’t cleaned in months.

DR. DEMON
That much is obvious.

BAD KARMA
Oh, god, I’m sorry. All hail, Dr. Demon. Master of
monologues, terror of typeface. Able to pass a
University of Phoenix PHD course on super villainy in a
single bound. Lo the hero who finds his one weakness…
washing a dish.

No response. He continues to look.

BAD KARMA
Let’s go team up with our doppelgangers in the
multiverse, tonight. Or head up to our secret Moon city
and eat some of the alien populace. Something,
anything. God, anything we can do together. You can
take over the world tomorrow.

DR. DEMON
No! Tonight. It must be tonight. That’s the plan.

BAD KARMA
The plan? The plan? The goddamn plan! Screw the plan!
It’s your frigg’n plan. You can change it when you
want. God, whatever happened to you? You use kill your
own henchmen if they looked at me too long. You once
enslaved the entire west coast so that they could feed
me wine and grapes. God, I must of’ve been crazy when I
agreed to go out with you.

DR. DEMON
We did meet in Maniac Manors Insane Asylum. Remember?

BAD KARMA
God, of course I remember.

She grabs his arm forcibly.

DR. DEMON
What? What are you doing. No. No. No!

The stage blacks out. There is a strobe flicker.

BAD KARMA V.O.
We were in group therapy. God, you were so handsome. So
smart and eloquent. Always eloquent. I knew immediately
that I wanted to slaughter every guard with you, and
only you for as long as we lived.

The lights come up, stage left. Two chairs are
illuminated. Bad Karma and Dr. Demon are sitting.
They both have on orange jumpsuits and they’re
arms are shackled. Dr. Demon is slumped over,
making gagging noises. This is a living flashback.

DR. DEMON
(gagging)
Damn you, woman! You know time traveling makes me
nauseous.

BAD KARMA
Back then, all I had to do was look in your eyes and I
knew, I knew exactly what you were plotting.

The Dr. stands up, fully immersed in his flashback
self. He easily breaks the shackles off his
wrists, Bad Karma follows suit.

The lights flicker and the stage lights turn red.
He is using his sonic electric powers. We hear
lighting sounds, a rumble. A single light hits Dr.
Demon’s face from a low angle. He looks evil.

DR. DEMON
I am Dr. Demon. No walls can contain me. No shackles
shall bind me. This world will burn beneath my feet.

BAD KARMA
(in flashback)
God, you’re so frigg’n – Um… I mean, yes, Dr. Demon.
May I help you kill the guards?

DR. DEMON
My dear. Anything less would be… Uncouth.

The dysfunctional duo walk downstage toward the
audience. They sway their arms and bodies in a
rhythmic dance. Bad Karma’s cosmic powers glow
baby blue, Dr. Demons a passionate red. They move
around the stage killing unseen fodder. Their
moves are perfectly synced, they cross between
each other like synchronized gymnasts. It would be
beautiful if the results weren’t so horrific. We
hear men scream in agony. Red and blue lighting
flashes in sync.

Dr. Demon and Bad Karma began to breathe heavily,
panting as they move. At one moment they lock
eyes.

The red and blue lights from their powers turn
purple with their final thrusts.

The stage goes black. We hear their heavy
breathing. A soft spot light rises slowly on our
two villains. They are passionately kissing. Their
jumpsuits are ripped and torn to shreds.

Bad Karma pushes Dr. Demon off her.

BAD KARMA
Then what? The thrill was over.

DR. DEMON
Darling, please. What about the robot uprising, the
hero war… Paris.

BAD KARMA
Paris, yes. God, yes that’s right. Yes. That was nice.

The stage goes dark again.

Two flickers of strobe lights. We start to hear
moans, low at first, gradually rising. Rescue
sirens follow and continue throughout the scene.

DR. DEMON V.O.
(gagging)
Damn you. I told you I hate time travel!

BAD KARMA V.O.
Relax. We’re here. Paris. Our great memory. What you
wanted, right?

Orange-Red lights illuminate the background subtly
indicating fire. The city in ruins.

We are in PARIS, FRANCE. The top of the EIFFEL
TOWER.

Dr. Demon and Bad Karma are holding hands facing
each other. They are in early versions of their
costumes. Bright primary colors. Red, blue, yellow
and very limited black highlights. These are
clearly spandex and feature little depth.

Little puffs of smoke waft around the stage.

BAD KARMA
This was – here is, well, the first time –

DR. DEMON
(in the flashback)
I love you!

BAD KARMA
(in the now)
God, I never thought you were capable of love. You, the
the Begetter of Bad.

DR. DEMON
Did you hear me, darling? I said, I love you.

BAD KARMA
I was speechless.

There’s a small beat as she shifts into her
flashback persona.
I love you too.

They kiss. Passionately now. The red lights dim
changing slowly to yellow. The moans die down. The
sirens stop.

Bad Karma pulls away. Dr. Demon is frozen in time.
He still looks like he’s kissing her.

BAD KARMA
(back in the present)
It was short lived.

DR. DEMON
This city is my gift to you, my love.Darling, marry me.
Make me the happiest megalomaniac on this god forsaken
planet. I will

BAD KARMA
You said you loved me, but it was also the first time I
met him. Sure, I’d seen him on the news. Heard the
stories; epic battles. Good versus evil. Yadda, Yadda.
But that was the first time I got to see him in person.
Up close. God, he was so – he just commanded attention.

THE MAN FLIES IN. He too is in bright colors, Red
and Blue only. He punches Dr. Demon mid sentence.
It packs a wallop, but Dr. Demon is able to
withstand it.

THE MAN
You’ll pay for the pain you’ve pontificated on the
people of Paris, Dr. Demon.

DR. DEMON
The Man! Curses. Why must you always interfere in my
affairs?

THE MAN
Everywhere evil exists, I’ll be. (Looking at Bad Karma)
Taking time to traverse with a trollop, I see.

DR. DEMON
How dare you.

Dr. Demon raises his hand and makes a gesture,
activating his cosmic super power meant to
decapitate The Man. A flash of red light swipes
across the stage. The Man waves it off.

THE MAN
Ha, my heinous henchman. The decapitator move. Really?
So predictable. Is that the best you can do? You forget
my Man Belt comes fully equipped with anti-decapitation
pellets. I took several as I was rebuilding the Louvre.

DR. DEMON
Inconceivable!

THE MAN
Listen miss. I adamantly advise you to avoid another
adventure with this asshole. Clean up your act and dump
this loser. Why if you did, I could –

The Man is now frozen in time mid-sentence. Bad
Karma moves closer to him and gives him an
unusually long look. Dr. Demon is disgusted.

DR. DEMON
(in his present tense)
Why? Why…? – (beat) Return us home.

Immediately. The stage goes dark.

BAD KARMA V.O.
I’m sorry. I – I just… I just wanted to – nevermind.
Forget it. Sorry.

The lights come back. Our villains are back in
their living room. They are in their original
costumes.

Dr. Demon resumes the search for his cape.

BAD KARMA
I’m leaving.

DR. DEMON
Hm? Ok, fine. Pick up milk on the way back? I’m going
to want some coffee when I return.

BAD KARMA
No, Damien. I’m not going for milk.

DR. DEMON
(Beat)… Wait, what? You are leaving, me? ME!

BAD KARMA
Yes. God, I can’t anymore with you. I just, can’t. You
just refuse… with the tights, and plots and, and…
God, you just want evil, to be evil. It’s all just
nonsense.

DR. DEMON
Nonsense? It’s my dream. Our dream!

BAD KARMA
Our dream? What about kids? I want kids. A nice home. A
clean record. (Sighs) It’s over. it’s settled. I’m
leaving you. You keep chasing a dream you can never
achieve.

DR. DEMON
How can you say that?

BAD KARMA
God, damn it Damien! No matter how good at being bad
you are. No matter how evil and ambitious, we never
win. Bad guys that is. We’ll – you’ll never take over
the world, you’ll never kill The Man, you’ll never…
God you’ll never –

DR. DEMON
What? I’ll never what?

BAD KARMA
Nothing. God, forget it. I’m leaving. I’m just,I’m
done. I’m leaving.

DR. DEMON
You insolent trollop! You dare not leave me. Me. Dr.
Demon. Dominator of Doom. Deathmaker De Jour.

Dr. Demon’s powers flare up. The apartment set is
bathed in red.

DR. DEMON
I’d see you burn before I let you leave!

The wall crashes in, smoke fills the apartment.
The Man enters initially bathed in silhouette.

THE MAN
That’s enough threats there, Dr. Demon.

DR. DEMON
What? No, not you. No! Not now. What are you doing
here? How did you know where my secret lair is?

BAD KARMA
God, Damien, cut the melodrama. We live in La Vista
Loca. Our address is on villainshomes.com for
crisssake. There’s a frigg’n tour bus outside right
now. Anyway, he’s not here for you.

DR. DEMON
What? (beat) You’re leaving me… for him?

BAD KARMA
It’s time for a change, Damien.

THE MAN
Lament the lady leaving later, loser. She’s looking for
a real man. And I’m The Man!

DR. DEMON
No. No. No! I-I can change. We can change. I can fix
this. We can be better.

THE MAN
Positively pathetic, pal. You’ll never change. You’ll
always be a loser. A silver aged, second rate nobody. A
woman like this, she belongs with a hero. She’s worth
more than a one bedroom apartment and Chinese take out
Thursdays.

DR. DEMON
Pizza. We get pizza on Thursdays.

BAD KARMA
I’m sorry. But this for the best and you know it. Now
you can focus on your, your little schemes or what not.
Maybe you can finally go after Doris Dame, you’ve
always had a thing for her. You’ve wanted to kidnap her
right? She’s pretty.

THE MAN
Doris Dame? Dude, don’t dare do dat. She doesn’t
exactly play in our Batcave. If you know what I mean.
(beat). I mean she’s gay. Like a lesbian gay. Doesn’t
like men. Not that The Man has a problem with that. I
like the gays. Not like that. But I like them, as
chums.

DR. DEMON
Doris Dame? What is – What does – Little schemes? No,
not little. I-I will rule the world.

THE MAN
My mercurial menace makes me merry. Hey, today’s
Tuesday? Don’t you usually try to take over the world
on Tuesdays?

BAD KARMA
He can’t find his cape.

THE MAN
Really? Rapturous red or passionate purple?

BAD KARMA
Red.

THE MAN
Ha! His hijacks are hilarious! Classic Dr. D. Well, you
ready, babe?

BAD KARMA
Yes. I’ve already teleported my bags to your Fortress
of Silence.

Bad Karma starts to head out through the smoking
gap that The Man has left in the apartment.

BAD KARMA
There’s leftovers in the fridge. If you want. It’s
chicken, you favorite. I know… well you know you need
protein when you try to take over the world.

DR. DEMON
Yes. Of course. Thank you.

Bad Karma leaves. The Man starts to follow her
out.

THE MAN
Say there, Sally. Sorry about smashing your secret
lair. Dick move on my part. If you still decide to take
over the world later, remind me to write you a check
when I catch you.

He turns to leave but stops.

THE MAN
Don’t dwell in depression, doctor. You shouldn’t be
surprised. I mean, she IS Bad Karma. Well she was.

The Man leaves. Dr. Demon is by himself now. He
sits down on the couch. The TV is on, Behind the
Cape is playing. We can hear the show loud and
clear now in the silence.

TV
Next time on Behind the Cape…

Dr. Demon digs his hands into the sides of the
couch. He finds something. He picks up his RED
CAPE from underneath a couch cushion.

CURTAIN

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