What Happens When I Get a Little Too Much Coke Zero In Me

Here at Viable Paradise, one of the traditions is a Tuesday night reading of a Shakespeare play. This year it was The Tempest, and I had the part of Stephano, the drunken butler, while Marko Kloos played Trinculo and Patrick Nielsen Hayden was typecast as Caliban. Whatever regular Chang, who is a student here at VP this year, caught a snippet of our act. Bear in mind that I am, in fact, entirely sober here.

Entirely sober. No, really.

36 Comments on “What Happens When I Get a Little Too Much Coke Zero In Me”

  1. It’s a good thing you write well. Where are your shoes?

  2. HAHAHAHAH I love the title of the video, too!

    This day needed more laffs, thank you.

    Burns — all the best performers doff their shoes before the show. (I used to go shoeless back in my cover band days. In a scientific sample of 2 awesome performers, 2 out of 2 go the shoeless route.) ;)

  3. Sober? Nah. Not under the influence, maybe, but you’re having WAY too much fun to be called sober!

  4. Horia Nicola Ursu – I am an editor and translator, and also a former publisher at Millennium Books. I read, write, translate, edit and publish books. I also collect them. Own them. Possess them. Love them.

    now i finally know how you look when you’re drunk :)

  5. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang, pendulous


    Scalzi was in fact TERRIFYINGLY sober. And hilarious.

    I was the one who was drunk enough that the words slipped o the page into my lap so I had to read others lines.

  6. They say that Foster Brooks rarely drank and wasn’t drunk during his perfomances. It looked like everyone was having a great time.

  7. You may have been sober at that reading, but you learned to act drunk somewhere. Perhaps a few wild dorm parties in college, when shoes were not the only things you lost?

  8. You were truly channeling Bill Irwin (if it’s possible to channel the spirits of living people), who I saw in this role in the Tempest in Central Park in 1995. He was hilarious! Too bad he played opposite the guy who played Cousin Ira on Mad About You as, I believe, Trinculo.

  9. *gigglesnort*

    Good thing I spent the last week hammering through Marko’s booze supply. He’s had recent training dealing with the locquatiously liquored – even if it is a caffeine-and-aspartame high ;)

    Great to see you lot having such a blast.

  10. Ha! Well, I’m glad to see that they got a recording of the reading up, which I failed so miserably at last year. It was sort of funny watching Doctorow switch between BoingBoing and Shakespeare mode.

  11. 19. JJS

    In defense of John, you don’t have to have ever ‘been’ drunk to ‘act’ drunk. ‘Drinking’ can be a spectator sport, after all. I imagine John had plenty of opportunities to ‘see’ folks drunk during college, and hence, avoid the condition.

    Plus, having had the opportunity to attend a Scalzi signing my-own-self, I can say he seems to be the sort of person who is high on life, and needs no artificial stimulants to have a good time. (okay, except maybe Coke Zero, but still…)

  12. I watched a barmaid at staff drinks one night get quite tipsy on red cordial and milk. For some bizarre reason she thought the drink we were making her was alcoholic. It wasn’t. Didn’t stop her though. She got more and more tipsy. It was amusing for those of us in the know.

  13. “Patrick Nielsen Hayden was typecast as Caliban.”

    Way back a long time ago, I read over a story I’d written and realized something: “Oh… the villain in this story… there’s an awful lot of PNH in him, isn’t there? Oh, dear.”

    As it turned out, the story went to a number of markets without success. (But some of the best, and most frustrating, rejection letters I’ve ever gotten: “This is a really good story; I don’t want to publish it.”) As time had gone by, Patrick had been hired by Tor, and eventually started an anthology series, STARLIGHT.

    So… I went ahead and sent him the story.

    It came back with a form rejection, but Patrick had added the words, “Pretty good” up at the top.

    To this day, I’m not sure if he was referring to the story as a whole, or if he just thought I’d nailed the characterization.

  14. I’m afraid I hafta disagree with Kristy. Possessed people are the most fun to play, with drunk running a close second, barely edging out megalomaniacs in third.

    Oh, I’m sorry, John, did you think I was disagreeing with her about you?! Heaven forefend – you were a laugh riot.

  15. I know that guy sitting to your right, that Marko guy, but haven’t seen him in months. Seeing him again, sitting next to one of my favorite Sci-Fi authors, reading Shakespeare makes me grin and giggle at the same time. Bravo, gents.

  16. “You may have been sober at that reading, but you learned to act drunk somewhere.”

    I would contend that habitually sober people are better at playing drunks than habitually drunk people, as they are in command of their faculties whilst learning through observation. Drunk people are too drunk to notice anything and have a tendency to forget stuff.

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