By Mark DanceyFADE IN
[Images of attractive older couples playing tennis, jet skiing, ballroom dancing, taking romantic walks on the beach—all accompanied by energetic music]
VOICE-OVER: Would you like to live to be 900 years old? Have great sex well into your 700s? Live in harmony with the Earth and heaven and finally have time for all those things you've been putting off?
[Attractive older man in cashmere sweater cleaning rain gutter]
VOICE-OVER [continues]: For years, "experts" have claimed that this was not only impossible but also expensive. But today on Incredibly Astounding Unbelievably Awesome Stuff, we'll see an exciting new lifestyle program that, its developers claim, not only makes it possible but also affordable. Ladies and gentlemen, from BibCom Studios, located in Busch Gardens Moline, please welcome the host of Incredibly Astounding Unbelievably Awesome Stuff, Mark St. Mark!
MARK: Thank you, thank you. Wow, what a show we have for you today. Say, is there anyone here who's afraid of dying?
[Crowd shot of people nodding their heads, recoiling in fear, thoughtfully rubbing their chins]
MARK [continues]: For years, people have been complaining that they had to die and couldn't do a thing about it. Well, today we're going to meet a man who says death is a thing of the past. That you can live forever on the system he and his colleagues have developed. Would you be interested in something like that?
MARK: Well, okay, then, let's bring him out. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to two-time Mr. Beef Cake Daytona Beach and one of South Florida's leading biblical scholars, Dr. Mitch Del Rio!
DR. MITCH: Thank you, thank you. Hello, Mark.
MARK: Whoa, whoa, Dr. Mitch! Stop with the hard sell! We don't want to die, and you claim to have the answers. Just give us the facts.
[Audience members nod skeptically, shake fists, flip off Dr. Mitch]
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: Fair enough. You know, Mark, people have been dying for years. It's sad, many times messy, and it can be expensive.
DR. MITCH [continues]: And perhaps the saddest thing is that it's all so unnecessary. At BibCom, we've been studying this probably for months and have come across some exciting technology we believe contains the secrets to eternal life. We've gathered this information in our new program, the "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET" system, available on video, DVD and CD-ROM.
MARK: Where did you find this technology?
DR. MITCH: Are you ready for a shock? The Bible.
MARK: The Bible? Isn't that just for angry loners and pasty Southern chicks?
DR. MITCH: Until recently, yes. The Bible is an ancient text that chronicles man's evolving relationship with God through tales of fratricide, genocide, natural catastrophe, virgin births and grisly executions.
MARK: Sounds complicated.
DR. MITCH: It is. For centuries, people have devoted their lives to its study and interpretation, attempting to wrest from it the secrets of the afterlife.
MARK: Oh, you mean like the Leeza show?
DR. MITCH: In a way. You see, most "experts" assume the Bible's function is to tell us how to assure ourselves of a pleasant life after death. We at BibCom began to look at the Bible in a different way. What could the Bible tell us about living a great, long life right now right here on Earth? It turned out it told us plenty.
What would you say, Mark, if I told you that backstage, I have three men who lived a combined total of 2,849 years?
MARK: I'd say you were the vilest person on Earth and would spend the rest of my days in the single-minded pursuit of your death.
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: Fair enough. But first, chat with my guests. Ladies and gentlemen, from Genesis, please welcome Adam, Methuselah and Noah!
[Crowd applauds as three attractive, buff older men in robes emerge from behind curtain and sit on a couch. Prerecorded "Only Happy When It Rains" plays]
MARK: Wow! Dr. Mitch, aren't these three of the holiest men in the Bible?
DR. MITCH: That's right, Mark. In fact, Noah here was recently ranked in a national poll as one of the holiest men to ever live, just behind Mr. Tom Hanks.
[Crowd oohs, aahs and nods]
DR. MITCH: Gentlemen, welcome. I've been telling Mark and the studio audience that the Bible contains all the secrets anyone would ever need for a long, fruitful life.
METHUSELAH: I think we're the proof of that. Look at me. I not only lived to be 969, but I had my son Lamech when I was 187.
ADAM: How is Lamech?
METHUSELAH: What, you think I know? Would it kill a son to pick up a pigeon and drop an old man a line once in a while?
ADAM: That's this new generation for you. Ah, don't get me started on kids.
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: Fair enough. You see, Mark, during the time of our guests, it was quite normal, according to the Bible, for people to live well into their 900s.
METHUSELAH: A young man in his 600s was considered on the way up. My friend Noah here didn't have his first kids until he was 500!
NOAH: My wife and I wanted to travel first.
DR. MITCH: We studied the Bible to see what kind of world these people lived in, what they ate, what they did. What we found was a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and grains, high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. You'll find this and other exciting facts and recipes in the program's "Enoch's Country Kitchen." There's also a fun look at healthy entertaining featuring two of Noah's sons that we call "You Say Ham, I Say Shem, Oh, Let's Call the Whole Thing Delicious!"Applause as Adam and Methuselah pat Noah on the back.
DR. MITCH [continues]: We also found that these people performed daily, backbreaking physical labor, the kind not even today's fanciest personal trainers can provide. They worked outdoors and walked great distances. Combining this with cutting-edge cardiovascular technology, we've developed an exciting new exercise regimen called Heb-a-Robics and have included with the program our patented "tension bars" as well as an ergonomically balanced hoe and 50 pounds of corn seed.
MARK: Sounds sweaty.
DR. MITCH: It is, Mark. But I think what most excites me is that we've discovered that these men lived in a world in which water was not only "under the firmament," but, as the Bible tells us, "above the firmament." Biblical scholars and TV weathermen we interviewed believe such conditions would shield human beings from many harmful aging agents, including the harsh rays of the sun, creating, in effect, an aging buffer. Proof of this is that at the time of the Great Flood, this water was released and dropped on the Earth. It's no coincidence that after the flood, we see a dramatic drop in life expectancy in the Bible, a drop of some 700 to 800 years. Isn't that right, Noah?
NOAH: Life expectancy. Yeah, I saw a drop. Heard it, too. Every day and every night, scratching at the side of my boat, screaming, "For the love of God, Noah! Please, at least my children!" And then the scratching stops. The screaming stops. "For the love of God. . . ." That's a good one, huh?
ADAM: Steady there, Rain Man.
NOAH [looks away]: . . . Whatever.
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: If I can break in here, Mark, what the Bible is saying is that if you take care of the Earth, the Earth will take care of you.
ADAM: Better the Earth than your son. Oy, he'll give you such a knock on the head.
MARK: But I'm skeptical. Hasn't the Earth's firmament—I believe it's called the "ozone layer"—been irreparably damaged? Haven't we already, pardon my language, screwed the pooch?
NOAH: I've heard worse, young man. Believe me, I've seen worse.
DR. MITCH: Good question, Mark. Indeed, the conditions these men lived under no longer exist. So our "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET" team set about to create those conditions for our clients. What we came up with is BibCom's patented "Firm-a-Mitt." You simply wear it every day as you would a hat and it re-creates the atmospheric conditions that ensure long life.
MARK: So what's this Firm-a-Mitt made of?
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: If I told you that, Mark, I'd have to kill you.
NOAH: And God doesn't like the competition.
[Nervous ooohs and aaahs]
NOAH [continues]: It's all right. I'm very close with the family.
CROSS FADE TO:Shots of MAN in his 30s, playing volleyball, driving his sports car, standing aboard the deck of a yacht surrounded by beautiful, bikini-clad women. He is wearing the Firm-a-Mitt on his head.
MAN [shouting above the roar of the wind]: When I first heard about BibCom's "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET" system, I must admit I was skeptical. But then a friend of mine said, "You've been talking about living forever for years—well, here's your chance to do something about it." So I tried it. Well, needless to say, the results have been amazing.
[Image of MAN being handed some sort of award by a professorial-looking gentleman in a cashmere sweater surrounded by beautiful, bikini-clad women]
MAN [continues]: Yeah, there have been times when people have not understood, that their ignorance has made for some, shall I say, stupid comments. You know, like, "Hey, man, I think your head blew up." And, "Dude, what is that on your head?" And, "What the hell is that thing on your head?" But I take it in stride. I say, "Keep laughing, man. I'll remember that when I'm doing it with your great-great-granddaughter future-style!
CROSS FADE TO:BibCom studios.
MARK: Well, Dr. Mitch, living forever sounds great, but I'm confused. Why do I need to purchase BibCom's "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET system? Couldn't I just pick up any Bible and read the secrets for myself?
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: Oh, Mark, if you could only hear how stupid you sound. Remember, I told you the Bible is an ancient document. That means it's been around for years, and yet in all that time, no one has come up with the technology we're going to make available to your audience today. That's because people who study the Bible invariably get weighted down in questions of interpretation, morality and ethics. The beauty of the BibCom system is that we don't care. Lie, steal, cheat, kill—that's up to you. We're not into judgment. We're into eternal life . . . and some exciting real-estate developments around Miami-Dade, but that's not really the point. We give you the power to live your life as long as you want. And knowing you're going to live forever means not having to listen to anyone, including God, on how to live it.
MARK: Sounds blasphemous.
DR. MITCH: We prefer to think of it as Blasphabulous! Mark, the fact is that dictators, demigods, religious leaders and homophobes have been narrowly interpreting the Bible for centuries, picking and choosing those passages that fit with their particular wants and needs. That's all we've done: tailored out of this chaotic mess—have you ever tried to read this thing? It's harder to follow than Farrah Fawcett [knowing laughter from audience]—we've produced a clear, concise plan for something people have wanted for centuries. In fact, my next guest will put this all into focus. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Old Testament power broker and seminal Zionist, Moses!
[Moses emerges from behind the curtain, a tall, buff, distinguished man with impressive hair. He waves to the crowd, shakes hands with Mark and Dr. Mitch, and then hugs his three Bible compatriots]
MOSES [looking at the three]: How long has it been? You know, I think the last time we were all together was Nehemiah's bachelor party.
METHUSELAH: Hey, Mo, did the fatted calf get home all right that night?
MOSES [chuckling]: Hey, the less said about that the better—or have you forgotten, oh great "Rod of Plenty"?
[Methuselah feigns ignorance while his friends laugh]
MOSES [wiping his eyes, laughing]: Oh, good times, good times.
DR. MITCH [chuckling]: Moses, you lived after the flood and thus weren't fortunate enough to live under the firmament. But the Bible tells us you still lived to be 120 years old and that your "eye was not dimmed nor your natural force abated."
MOSES: Basically, I had my mojo working.
METHUSELAH: Knock wood.
[Crowd and panel break up into gales of laughter. Noah and Adam fall unto the floor. Methuselah puts his hand over his mouth and then mimes See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil]
MOSES [gaining composure, wiping his eye]: Ohhhhhhhh, mercy. But seriously, Dr. Mitch, I lived a long, happy and very useful life right up until the moment God taunted me with a brief view of the Promised Land before exiling me to some forsaken place called Moab, where even my relatives couldn't find my grave.
DR. MITCH: What was your secret?
MOSES: One, drink a lot of water. Two, walking is terrific exercise. Three, eat right—stay away from any animal that eats garbage, whether that be pigs or lobsters. Four, get your rest—at least once a week, just do nothing. And five, don't be swallowed up by the Red Sea, or, just as important, don't take a spear to the back of the head. Actually, I wrote a lot of this down and put it in a book called "Leviticus." You may know it as the Mosaic law.
MARK: Well, looks like Moses here has put you out of business, Dr. Mitch. Here, I'll just open this Bible to Leviticus and . . . hey, wait a minute. This Mosaic law is long and complex. It would probably take me an hour or two just to get through it. And it contains stuff about not eating . . . heron? Swans? What gives?
MOSES: I always meant to edit the thing down. Really, what you're holding in your hand is just a very rough first draft. Aaron kept telling me, "Moses, just throw everything in there, and we'll go back later and tighten it up." But then something was always coming up: stuff flowing out of rocks, people getting swallowed up by the Earth. It really inhibits the writing process. One day, I just got on to another project and forgot about it. That's why I'm so excited about the BibCom program. It boils my laws down to their essentials.
DR. MITCH: We call it "Living la Vida Leviticus!"
MOSES [under his breath]: Yeah, I was meaning to talk to the producers about that.
CROSS FADE TO:Image of a MAN standing behind a chainlink fence covered in razor-sharp barbwire. The MAN is wearing prison togs and the Firm-a-Mitt and is surrounded by beautiful, bikini-clad women.
MAN: I had always liked reading the Bible, but as far as really being useful in my life, I couldn't see it providing me with anything except fodder for the ritualistic "changings" that eventually landed me here. Then someone told me about the "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET" system, and it really opened my eyes to the Bible's possibilities and many useful benefits.
[Image of MAN attempting to strangle fellow inmate with Firm-a-Mitt]
MAN: You know, in my line of work, we talk a lot about life expectancy. Life, life, life—it seems that's all I ever hear. Well, with the BibCom system, I know that I'll lead not only a long life but also one full of inflicting misery and torment upon the unclean masses whose flesh I will defile and poach. Also, I'm looking forward to reading the collected letters of Evelyn Waugh.
CROSS FADE TO:Inside BibCom Studios.
MARK: Well, Dr. Mitch, I think you've convinced all of us. You've showed us that your system can help us live forever. But now comes the really big question: How much is it going to cost us?
DR. MITCH: Of course, the value of eternal life is incalculable. For centuries . . .
MARK [rolling his eyes]: How much, Dr. Mitch?
DR. MITCH: Fair enough, Mark. I'm prepared to offer your studio audience, as well as those watching at home, the "I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M NOT DEAD YET" system—available on video, DVD or CD-ROM—for just three easy payments of $69.99.
[Crowd reacts angrily, jeering and screaming. One man yells, "There is no God!"]
MARK: Sorry, Dr. Mitch. They'd like to live forever, but they don't want to spend a lot of money.
DR. MITCH: But Mark, we're talking eternal life. I . . . Fair enough. How about I give you the system—available on video, DVD or CD-ROM—and this attractive fig peeler autographed by Moses for just three easy payments of $49.99?
[Crowd boos, begins chanting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"]
MARK: I can't control them when they get like this, Dr. Mitch. You'll have to do better.
DR. MITCH [looking concerned]: Okay, final offer: you'll get the system, the Moses-autographed fig peeler and Noah's just-published autobiography, Hip Deep in It: Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned on the Poop Deck, for three easy payments of just . . . $39.95!
[Crowd cheers, begins chanting, "God is great!"]
MARK: Looks like you've done it again, Dr. Mitch!
DR. MITCH: Thanks, Mark, but if there's any credit due, I think it should go to our four guests here. Gentlemen, thank you!
MARK: Indeed, thanks, guys. Any words of wisdom as we close the show?
ADAM: Children should be seen, not heard.
MOSES: Hugs not drugs.
NOAH: You should enjoy a long life—a long life of death and war and cancer and mindless violence and babies washed up on rocks and neighbors whose faces never leave you at night and more wars and more death and more floods. . . . Do you know how to tread water? How about with a baby in your arms? Long life to all of you, but if I can just give you some advice, don't piss off God. Oh, and don't let God love you—he'll love you to death. Trust me. He's really quite deranged, and I say that as someone who is very close to the family.
MARK: What a beautiful sentiment! Well, I just have time to thank everyone again and ask you all to come back next week when Dr. Mitch promises to help us get whiter teeth by using the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Good night, everybody!