My Skin Is Covered with a Thin Layer of Peanut Butter – Mercury Marvin Sunderland
HOOD: A teenage girl. Wearing a big, impressive red cloak, has lots of daggers strapped all over her, complete with a sword in a sheath at her side, and a shield. Has a piercing or two in her lip.
BRICK: A teenage boy. Wears lots of pink and reddish brown. Wears overalls with a large assortment of building tools such as hammers and mortar smoothers sticking out.
WOLF: An adult man. Intimidating, tough, and very, very tall and muscular, wears lots of gray, tattered clothes and has shaggy, gray hair. Carries a large assortment of bladed weapons on him, like Hood.
HOOD and BRICK are in a forest. It is about dawn, the lighting is very dim. They are looking around for something.
BRICK: — And then I told her, look, if you can’t —
HOOD: Brick, do us both a favor and shut up right now.
BRICK: But, Hood —
HOOD: I don’t care. We need to be quiet, or he’ll hear us. And we want to have an advantage this time.
BRICK: Hood. I still don’t believe you when you say that he’s back.
HOOD: Shut up. He is.
BRICK: I could do without the rudeness.
HOOD: (Threatening with one of her knives) Brick, honest to god, if you don’t shut up, I will personally turn you into bacon. Okay? Shut up.
BRICK trembles. He curls up into a ball, terrified.
BRICK: D– don’t even joke about that.
HOOD rolls her eyes.
HOOD: I’m not actually going to do that. Just stop talking. Okay? If you don’t, Wolf will hear us —
BRICK: Oh, come on. Wolf died. I ate him. In that stew I put him in after the little fucker tried to get into my house through my chimney. He tasted like vengeance and like turnips and apples from the farmer’s field and the souls of the two annoying little brothers that I lost to him. I can’t believe you want to pull me along with this silly charade.
HOOD: Okay, you’re forgetting that I also cut open his stomach to escape him after he ate me and my grandmother. Point taken? He’s back. Again. He lives through the stories that the humans tell their children at night, just like us, no matter how many times we die in them. I don’t see why he’s any different.
BRICK: He hasn’t been seen in the three centuries we’ve searched, and in the time that everybody has searched. Everybody is convinced he’s gone. And so am I. I want to leave.
He starts to go the other way. As soon as he is a step away from being offstage, HOOD sprints over and roughly pulls him back.
HOOD: Don’t leave. You ain’t goin’ nowhere. He is back, and I can prove it.
BRICK: Give me a break. He DIED! I KILLED HIM! YOU KILLED HIM! WE BOTH KILLED HIM! HE’S DEAD!
There is a rustling in the foliage near them. They stop, tensed.
HOOD: (Hushed) It’s him.
She carefully draws out her sword. There is silence for a while.
WOLF: Took you long enough.
Dazed, HOOD and BRICK turn around. WOLF has entered the premises.
Been a long time since I’ve last seen you, Hood. Same to you, Brick.
They are too paralyzed with shock to answer. WOLF laughs.
I still got the power I had all those years ago, I see. You two are related to some tasty creatures. Got any more grandparents I could munch on, Hood? Any more siblings for my snack, Brick? No? What a disappointment.
He chuckles, amused with himself. HOOD comes to her senses.
HOOD: Wolf, I hate to break it to you, but eating two little pigs and an old lady and then failing to eat a third little pig and a little girl isn’t that much of an accomplishment. I mean, you were dumb enough to think that blowing down a brick house with your own breath would actually work. Times have changed.
She brings her sword to WOLF’s throat. She smirks.
And I have gotten stronger. How’s your belly doing, if I must ask?
WOLF gets very surly and his posture changes.
WOLF: Dangit, Hood, I’ve gone through, like, fifteen surgeons to fix it and it’s still messed up. Don’t bring that up to me. I’ve gotten stronger too. Dang you. You ruined my dramatic entrance.
As HOOD and WOLF talk, BRICK scoots his way. He is trying to leave. He is terrified.
HOOD: Well, it’s good to know that my blade worked so well, even back then. My weapons have gotten —
WOLF: OI! BACON! GET BACK HERE BEFORE I HUFF AND I PUFF YOUR HOUSE DOWN!
BRICK turns around, horrified.
BRICK: Did you just call me Bacon?
WOLF: Uh, duh, of course I —
BRICK: I will not tolerate slurs, Wolf.
HOOD: “Bacon” is a slur?
BRICK: YES, AND BOTH OF YOU CALLED ME IT!
WOLF: Well, I don’t know. You’d make some good bacon. It’d be good for my next project on Not-So-Epic Mealtime.
BRICK: You work on Not-So-Epic Mealtime?
HOOD: Oh, you go on that bacon-and-beer cringeworthy cooking show. You’re one of those.
WOLF: What? I just go through it, under a different identity. I just have this thing I want to do next, you take a deep-fried ball of peanut butter and cover it in bacon, and then you slather on more peanut butter, deep-fry it, then cover it in more bacon —
HOOD: No, no, that is disgusting. I can’t believe you. I bet you’re one of those fedora-tipping lowlifes who spends all of your shit time playing Black Ops and drinking Mountain Dew and eating your damn Doritos while wearing fingerless black gloves as you rant about — what — a — MENINIST you are, or, oh, sorry, why should I be one protect your fragile old man heart, MALE SUPREMACIST.
Was I right?
WOLF: (Sullen) I was house-zoned and you know it.
She stares at him in utter disbelief.
I can’t believe this. I already thought it was bad that you ate my grandmother and attempted to eat me. But now this.
She runs off to the edge of the stage, her head in her hands.
BRICK: Are you okay?
HOOD: I — I think I need a moment.
BRICK: My skin is covered with a thin layer of peanut butter.
HOOD and WOLF look at BRICK strangely.
HOOD: … What was the context of that?
BRICK: I can feel it. My skin is covered with a thin layer of peanut butter.
WOLF: Are you feeling the future? Your future as bacon?
HOOD shoots him a glare. He doesn’t notice.
BRICK: I — I think I am.
Something’s telling me that. I’m feeling how I’ll feel after death. On Not-So-Epic Mealtime. I can feel more peanut butter being slathered on me and —
He clutches himself, falling on the floor. He is writhing in agony.
AHHH! AHHHH! I’M BURNING!
WOLF: That would be the deep-fryer. (Licks chops) Mmm, I can already smell the sizzling bacon.
HOOD: (Points sword at WOLF) You’re gonna have to get through me to eat him. That ain’t happenin’, unless you’ve forgotten the demise of the three bears.
WOLF’s posture completely changes.
WOLF: … You wouldn’t dare do that to me. At least, I hope not.
HOOD: Hey, good ol’ Goldie paid good money for me to kill of those porridge-eatin’, chair-sittin’, bed-sleepin’ grizzlies. They got what they deserved. And let me tell you, she might’ve called Baby Bear just right, but if you ask me, it’s Mama Bear who’s just right. She was a just right cloak, after all. Her blood was even the just right shade to dye it.
She twirls around, showing off her cloak proudly. WOLF clings to himself, horrified for if that might happen to him.
And I have to say, Mama Bear wasn’t the only one that was useful. I now have a nice red blanket and pillow on my bed because of her two other family members I killed.
WOLF: No, don’t make me your victim —
HOOD: Oh, you think that’s bad? I had to be sent to go kill those two little brats who ate that witch’s house.
Oh, Hansel and Gretel deserved it. They ate that poor woman’s house and then they ate her after she baked in her own oven for long enough.
WOLF: Okay, first off, her house was made out of candy and they had to kill her in self-defense so that they wouldn’t die. But — I didn’t know — that they ate her —
HOOD: Yes, they did. They were criminals. And now, thanks to them, I have —
WOLF: No, no. I don’t want to hear it. You are absolutely disgusting.
HOOD: I could say the same for you, you ate my grandmother and tried to eat me, so I don’t know why you would find that kind of stuff revolting. Actually … Come to think of it, we both originate from an ancient Middle Eastern story about a goat, aka YOU, who eats his own children, aka ME.
WOLF’s posture changes.
WOLF: … You still remember that?
HOOD: Of course I do. You ate me. And now we’re both back, because our stories keep on living on, changing. And I swear to god if you try to call me your daughter again, I’m gonna stab you.
WOLF: (Looking up at the sky, a bit regretful, his hands clasped together in some kind of prayer) I won’t.
I used to be two entirely different creatures. I remember being that goat who ate you. But I also remember being a wolf, in a story similar to today’s tale, recorded in London, in 1849, where Brick also tricked me with turnips and apples, on a farm, and a butter churn from a fair, before I went down his chimney. That’s where we came from, although I have no memory of the unrecorded life I lived before that. And then I evolved from both of those stories into the same character, in this story with me as a wolf, and you and Brick and all of his brothers being seven kid goats, and I impersonated your mother while she was gone by covering my paws with flour, and then all of you hid in the house and I ate all of you except for one, who then got the mother to slice my belly open when she came back, freeing the rest, and then my belly was filled with stones and I died. It’s bizarre, really.
HOOD: And yet, today, even after all those years, being two different characters, who evolved into one, you still are pathetic.
HOOD: Come on. After all these centuries, you are a goat who consumes his children, you are a wolf, the very symbol of death and danger in Middle Age Europe, you are destruction in every symbol that you have ever been, and yet you are pathetic.
WOLF: I don’t understand.
HOOD: Have you not read or seen the stories that the new people come up with these days? In every fractured fairytale I have ever read or seen by them, you are pathetic. You are the crotchety old man who struggles, you are the lonely guy searching for sugar who decides hastily that hiding a badly-hidden murder is a better choice, you are the guy who hides himself rather than admitting that you did something wrong. What is Brick? Brick is the lazy man sitting in Dunkin’ Donuts, he is the clueless traveler in the very fabric of space, he is the bullied geek on the playground. What am I? I am the deranged child who has turned to murder, I am the young girl who has lost her entire family and puts curses on people, I am the assassin who is broken inside and trusts no one. That’s what they say about us, Wolf. And you know what? From what I’ve seen, I think they’re right. Think about that, Wolf.
Think about that. Death himself is pathetic.
You know, Wolf, there’s a big bounty out for you. I could get paid lots of money for killing you. They say … Oh, nothing less than five billion pounds’ worth of gold.
WOLF: You’re kidding me.
As HOOD and WOLF talk, BRICK comes to his senses. He is no longer writhing, but holds himself with caution. He looks at his hands.
BRICK: (Muttering to himself) I’m back to the peanut butter sensation.
He walks behind the others. They don’t notice him. Quietly, he listens.
HOOD: Nope, I’m not. I’ve gotten very famous for bumping off other fairy-tale people’s enemies, you know. But I’ve been looking forward to you the most.
WOLF: Well, then, why did you bring that — that — pig –– that — piece of bacon — along with you? He seems to be able to tell the future. At least — I hope that’s the future …
HOOD: Oh him? He’s always been able to do that, but it’s never at will. He’s feeling the feeling after death — the feeling of being deep-fried and slathered in peanut butter in the future as bacon. Trust me, me and Brick have worked together for a very long time to catch you, it’s been … Oh, give or take a few hundred years of searching with him. I know him very well. But if you must know …
She runs her finger along the sword she points.
My real use for him? (Smirks) He’s nothing but bait.
I just wanted to watch the annoying little guy suffer a little bit before he met his demise.
BRICK gets up.
BRICK: I can’t believe you.
BRICK tries to attack HOOD. She evades.
I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU! HOW COULD YOU —
HOOD calmly turns her sword to BRICK.
HOOD: Silence, little piglet.
BRICK: I am not a piglet, I am a fully-grown pig, and you will respect me and call me as such. I cannot believe you. I trusted you. I TRUSTED YOU. After all these centuries spent side by side, and this is what’s been going on all along? Well, Hood, I think the other fairy-tale people will be very interested to hear about this side of you —
HOOD: This side of me? They clearly would need to know about how you tricked your brothers. I seem to be the only person who knows about that.
BRICK’s posture changes.
BRICK: That’s a secret.
HOOD: Maybe it won’t be anymore.
WOLF: Wait, what’s going on?
HOOD: Oh, nothing, just the fact that Brick knew that his brothers would die.
BRICK: NO, DON’T TELL HIM, I’M BEG —
WOLF: Wait, what?
HOOD: He told them to build their houses out of sticks and straw. Because he knew you were coming. He wanted —
BRICK: — STOP IT, STOP IT, THIS IS A SECRET, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU, STOP IT —
HOOD: To get more of his mother’s inheritance. Who then —
BRICK: — FUCKING STOP —
HOOD: — Had me sent after to kill her, shortly after that.
BRICK: That was a secret.
Well, since you’ve revealed your secret to me, I guess that means that I can go tell all the other fairytale people, about this side of you, I guess I can, I never would have expected you to —
BRICK screams in agony again, falling to the floor.
BRICK: AAAUGH! THE BURNING! THE PAIN! THE —
HOOD: (Laughs) The deep-fryer.
WOLF: You’re. Fucking. Sick.
HOOD smiles. She turns her sword to him, and holds it to his neck behind him.
HOOD: You know … I do really want that money. And I do need a new rug. Most likely a red one. I like red.
WOLF hems and haws. He is terrified. A thought comes to him. He begins to huff and puff.
WOLF: I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll —
HOOD throws him off before he can finish. She throws WOLF face-first into BRICK. He chomps into him on impact. HOOD wastes no time. She plunges her sword into WOLF. She takes out her sword, coated with blood. She wipes some of the blood into her hair, and puts it back into the sheath. She smiles.
HOOD: You’ll huff, and you’ll puff, and neither of you will be living ever again.
She picks up WOLF. She drags him to a side.
His blood is the perfect shade for a new rug in my living room. This will be nice.
She looks over BRICK.
All that can be seen as an injury are deep bite marks in his neck. Perfect. People will have no reason to believe that it wasn’t Wolf who killed him.
A howling sounds. She looks behind herself.
Oh, look. The Not-So-Epic Mealtime wolves have come to get some new meat. (Sighs.) I’m pretty sure Wolf’s told them his idea.
She grabs WOLF, and drags him effortlessly offstage. The lights darken. As they do, you can hear a faint, ghostly sobbing sound of BRICK, sounding very much like the words, “I trusted you, I trusted you”. You can hear a pattering of paws, and a tearing of meat.
End of play.
Mercury Marvin Sunderland is a gay Greek/Roman Wiccan autistic transgender man who uses he/him pronouns. He was born on August 3, 1999, in Seattle, Washington, where he’s lived all his life. He currently attends The Evergreen State College, and his dream is to become the most banned author in human history.
Mercury is a 2013, 2014, 2015 winner of ACT Theater’s Young Playwright’s Program, a 2015, 2016 selected playwright for ACT Theater’s 14:48 HS, a 2016 winner of the Jack Straw Young Writer’s Program, a 2016 selected participant for the Seattle Talent Show hosted by Rainier Beach High School, and was hired as a paid representative of Youth Speaks Seattle in 2016. In 2017 alone, he was selected for and won the 2017 Youth Speaks Seattle Grand Slam, and went off as one of the top five youth slam poets representing Seattle at Brave New Voices 2017, an international slam poetry tournament treated as America’s national tournament, and was selected to perform slam poetry alongside former Seattle mayor candidate Nikkita Oliver at the University of Washington.