Waiting for E-Cat: A comedy in two acts

Waiting for E-Cat
A comedy in two acts

by: Kelley Trezise, a.k.a. Zedshort, a.k.a Steve Robb

Zed: A man
Spam: Zed’s talking dog friend
Rozzi: Inventor of the E-Cat, neither seen nor heard
Kribet: A blogger
Martin-Stanley: A monster “owned” by Kribet
Gibbsey: An Op/ed writer
Defcalion: A seafaring business man
Moolah Smith: A wealthy skeptic
Sol Milo: A crafty scoudrel


Place: an empty space by a road

(Zed and Spam sit on the ground in the semi-darkness of the early morning peering into a computer screen seemingly mesmerized, their faces illuminated by the glow.)

Zed: Nothing new, nothing changed.

Spam: Change to a different site.


Zed: Nothing new, nothing changed.

Spam: A watched E-Cat never boils.

Zed: How long have we been here? I want salvation. I want good news of Rozzi and the E-cats and for the patho-skeptics to stop beating me.

Spam: Yes, it seems we’ve been here forever, waiting for Rozzi and the E-Cats. But the patho-skeptics will beat you no more. Not with me here. Without me to buck you up you would have been reduced to a pile of bones long ago.

Zed: Tell me the story again, please.

Spam: I’ve told you the story many times. There was heat, there was helium, there were gamma rays, there were neutrons. But all we really need is heat.

Zed: And the other three?

Spam: Who cares about the other three. Heat is sufficient to save us.

Zed: I wish it would come soon.

Spam: I’ll check another site.


Zed: Anything?

Spam: Nothing new, nothing changed. When will Rozzi and the E-cats come?

Zed: It seems we’ve been here forever. Lets get some sleep.

Spam: No, no sleep yet. Rozzi and the E-Cats may come and we would miss the defining event.

Zed: We may be early. A watched E-Cat never boils.

Spam: We are at the right time. Stay awake…just a little longer.

Zed: When will Rozzi and the E-Cats come? Will it be soon?

Spam: Yes, soon, I promise. Remember the evidence. There was net heat out and a sufficient COP. Time seems to be stuck. The evidence is there. It is there I tell you.

(Zed starts to doze off.)

Spam rouses him: Wake up Slow-Boat! You can’t go to sleep now!

Zed: I had a weird dream, Spamuel. We were on a steam train speeding through the darkness, but for brief flashes of light that illuminated the scene, all about was obscured. I tried hard to catch glimpses of the terrain and make sense of it. I had the feeling the brakes weren’t working and we were headed toward a terrible end.

Spam in an aside to audience sotto voce: I’ve had much the same fear.

Zed: Spamuel, please, tell me again the funny story about the bitch you rogered in Hermosillo.

Spam: Which one?

Zed: You know, the old one with the big floppy ears. And use hand gestures as you tell it.

Spam: So, I crossed the border at Nogales and drove to Hermosillo. I sniffed about for a day…wait, I gotta pee.

Zed: You always have to pee.

Spam: Yes but I pee for more than one reason. I have real business to attend to.

(Spam exit stage left.)

Zed standing and cheering to Spam offstage: Give that bush a shot for me. Good boy!

(Spam enter stage left.)

Zed: How long have we been watching? This waiting is like a living death. Maybe we should just hang it up and forget about this E-cat thing.

Spam: If we do, we will surely regret missing out on the latest development. It’s best to stay close and keep watching for Rozzi and the E-Cats.

Zed: It seems so, so long ago…I…I’m not sure anymore. The suspense is painful, I wish I was dead. Why don’t we just shoot ourselves and be done with this painfully interminable waiting.

Spam: There are two bullets left in the gun we could take turns shooting each other.

Zed happily: Yes Spamuel, let’s try. I have the revolver. Allow me to shoot you.

Spam: Oh Slow-Boat, no I wouldn’t think of going first. Allow me the honor of shooting you first, please.

Zed: You are so most considerate Spamuel. Thank you. Wait Spamuel, what if the second bullet misfires? That would leave the other in the embarrassing position of being a murder.

Spam: Yes, you’re right. That would be embarrassing.


Spam: I’ve a brilliant idea. Let’s put our heads together, I’ll pull the trigger. The bullet will pass though your head first and strike mine next killing us both.

Zed: Oh Spamuel, you are most wise. And considerate. Alternatively, I could pull the trigger killing you first and then me.

Spam: Or, I could pull the trigger killing myself first then you.

Zed: Or, I could pull the trigger killing myself first then you.

Spam: I feel better now. But before we make such a great effort, let’s first refresh the screen a few more times.


Zed: Anything? Does Rozzi say anything new? Have the E-Cats arrived?

Spam: No. Not yet. Let’s check Rozzi’s site and see if he has responded to our question. No. Nothing new. Nothing changed.

Zed: What did we ask Rozzi? I don’t see the question posted.

Spam: Oh, nothing much. Just how many millions he has made by selling exclusive distribution contracts.

(Click. They peer into the screen.)

Zed: Why is the question not there. Have we been banned?

Spam: Yes, banned. I fear we’ve been banned to the perimeter.

Zed: Have we no rights?

Spam: None. We are just enthusiastic peasants, banned to the edge of the E-Cat event.

Zed: I’ll change site.


Spam: There! There’s something new! Read, read! No, wait, we’ve read this before.

Zed: Nothing new. Nothing changed.

Spam: A watched E-Cat never boils.

Zed: I’m hungry! Let’s eat!

Spam: Fine. Here, I found a Slim-Jim on the ground. Help yourself.

Zed dusts it off on his shirt and proceeds to chew.

Zed: Are we committed?

Spam: Committed?

Zed: Yes, committed to Rozzi and the E-cats.

Spam: What do you mean?

Zed: If Rozzi fails to show can we go on?

Spam: There was heat I tell you. Yes, we are committed.

Zed: His name was Rozzi, not Piantelli?

Spam: Yes! I, think. Yes.

Zed: Nothing new. Nothing changed.

Spam: We are what we are. E-Cat enthusiasts waiting and waiting on the perimeter.

(A howl is heard from off stage left and the two-headed monster Martin-Stanley appears in harness, carrying the burdens of Kribet who has Martin-Stanley on a leash. The slave, heads down, is muttering long strings of equations of physics.)

Kribet: Make sense or shut-up you two fools! Halt! Halt, I say!

Zed to Spam: Was he addressing us?

Kribet: Allow me to introduce myself! I am Kribet!

Zed to Kribet: Are you Rozzi?

Kribet: Kribet, I am Kriiibeeeett. Hear me, hear me, I am Kribet.

Spam: I think he said he was Privet.

Kribet: I disavow any knowledge of the creature you call Rozzi.

Zed: In this dim light you could be mistaken for Rozzi.

Spam: We are waiting for Rozzi and his E-Cats!

Kribet: Here? On my domain?

Spam: We meant no harm.

Kribet: Oh, well. There’s room enough here for all to post an infinitude of blather.

Zed: Who is your beast and what is wrong with it?

Kribet: This is Martin and Stanley, the two fools that once dared to question the most cherished truths of the Priests of Physics. At one time they were mainstream science, but for their transgressions against the established truth they were beaten down, and down, and pushed on to the darkness of the perimeter where they pursued the pathological science of cold fusion. Now look at them. He was once two men but in retaliation, the Priests have fused them together and they will stay that way forever as punishment for their transgressions. He has one body, two brains, and no mind. All he is capable of now is muttering equations. Physics, chemistry, math…phah…who needs or understands all that?! Now I speak for him and all scientists.

(The monster Martin-Stanley provides a chair upon which Kribet plants himself. Kribet opens a laptop.)

Kribet: I will now proceed to compose the news. You may watch and appreciate and while you appear to be fellow travelers and somewhat able to appreciate what I have to say, please remain silent and do not interfere with my pronouncements. (He proceeds to type into his portable computer) Martin and Stanley are on the trash-heap of history, Widon-Larson theory rules supreme. Rozzi is a fraud. The E-cat does not exist. (He stands and as he sweeps his arm in a grand gesture and pronounces.) There you have it. Any questions?

Spam: Your slave appears much abused.

Zed: Do you ever let him off his leash?

Kribet: He is not a slave. He is a mere golem. No! I don’t let him off his leash, as he is dangerous! Stay back from him and do not listen to his ramblings about cold fusion! He may infect you with his pathological blather. I speak for these two and the scientists of today. What did these two know, after all they were just lowly chemists? If you like I can make him dance for you.

Spam: What’s the news Slow-Boat? Has anything changed.

Zed: I’ll check. Here! There’s something new here from Rozzi! He says he will make more and bigger E-Cats! And, he talks about Martin and Stanley. There’s a photo here of them in their younger years.

Spam: Wondrous news! Let’s have a look.

Zed holding the portable screen up to Spam and incidentally to Martin-Stanley.

Kribet: No! Don’t show him that photo! Don’t let the monster see himself!

(The eyes of Martin-Stanley locked on to the screen image of themselves in their younger years and original state, grew wide with terror at the realization of what had become of them.)

Martin-Stanley: Ooooooh! Ooooooh! Hideous! Hideous!

(A torrent of vomitous shot from the two mouths of Martin-Stanley and onto Zed, drenching him with an alphabet soup of writhing Greek, Latin and Arabic mathematical symbols that spread themselves uniformly over his body as if they were alive.)

Spam running up and placing his two front paws on Zed’s chest: Don’t move they’re organizing themselves into equations of various forms! There is data here, data! Most interesting!

Zed: Hideous! Hideous!

Kribet: Now, look what you’ve done Stanley! And you Martin should know better! What a way to treat a stranger. To pour out your nonsense on this poor impressionable fool. You’ve stained him for life. Made him a believer in cold fusion most probably. Of all the most ridiculous nonsense. (To Zed) There, quick now, go jump in that lake.

Zed exits stage right and a loud splashing sound is heard.

Zed offstage: Hideous!

Spam while lapping up the vomitous: Most fascinating data. Simply fascinating.

Kribet: Well, we must be off now. Farewell, farewell! On monster!

Martin-Stanley: Hideous! Hideous!

Exit stage right, Kribet shouting from offstage: Remember, Rozzi is a fraud and E-Cats don’t exist!

Enter stage right a sopping wet Zed: Goodby and good riddance.

Spam: Goodby patho-skeptic. Quick, Slow-Boat, check for news of Rozzi and the E-Cats.


Zed: Nothing new. Nothing changed. No news of Rozzi and E-Cats. I am so tired of living in this purgatory. When will Rozzi arrive with the E-Cats? Nothing changes for us ever. I am beginning to forget why I’m here.

Spam: Have faith. Remember, the data you saw. It made heat. Listen not to the kriviting of the Kribetts.

Zed: A watched E-cat never boils. What will Rozzi and his E-cats do when they arrive? Make cups of
tea? Make ice-cream?

Spam: Don’t worry your pretty little head about the long term geo-politico-economic ramifications of such an Earth-shattering event. Rest assured, my Slow-Boat, it pulls up just short in importance to the Singularity, so don’t fret. Simply understand that it will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Refresh the screen, perhaps something new has happened.


Zed: Look, oh happy days! A new article in the mainstream press. A new article on Forge magazine, Gibbsey has written another opinion piece about Rozzi and the E-Cats!

(Spam reads the article by Gibbsey aloud.)

Gibbsey: What is the truth about the E-Cat? When should one believe? Why should one believe? Under what conditions should one shift ones opinion? How long should one remain straddling the fence regardless of how splintery the rail? There is fact and there is data. There is data and there is proof. There proof and there is theory. There is theory and there is evidence. There is evidence and there is data. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Show me proof, don’t show me equations. Make the E-Cat shimmer with heat. Make the E-Cat blast a shriek from a steam whistle. Make the E-Cat turn a generator. Make the E-Cat turn an ice-cream churn and I will wander home happily lapping my tasty treat, fully convinced. As of now there is still doubt. I doubt Rozzi and the E-Cats. Give me evidence Rozzi, or give me silence. E-cat indeed!

Zed: Help me Spamuel, my knees are weak. Now I too have doubt!

Spam: Buck up Slow-Boat. I have had my doubts.

Zed: I am hungry for new proof, new data, something solid.

Spam: I could regurgitate some data for you but you wouldn’t understand it. Listen to me. Listen to me. I have seen the Mechanic Rozzi’s data. It was not perfect but good enough, that is what brought us here. There was net energy out! Substantial heat out. Do you not remember? Do you not remember?

Zed knocking his head on the ground: Ooooooh! Give me my E-Cat. E-Cat, now!

Spam: Have heart. Rozzi will bring the E-Cats soon.

Zed yanks his belt off dropping his pants around his ankles.

Zed: Not soon enough. The doubters have beaten me. I am naked before all.

Spam: Pull you pants up! Put on the smile I saw on you the first you heard the good news. Remember? Don’t you remember the wide satisfying grin of a smile that split your face when you first heard of Rozzi and the E-Cats, and the satisfying feeling you had of being saved, the whole world being saved? Remember! Remember.

Zed: It has been so long. So, so long ago. Give me data or give me death.

Spam running up to Zed, sitting in front of him and proffering a paw: Here, take my paw, look into my happy eyes. I’ll wag my tail for you. Believe, believe, Rozzi and the E-Cats are coming, soon. Believe.

Zed sounding hopeful: We could still shoot each other.

Spam: Tomorrow, perhaps tomorrow.

Waiting for E-Cat

A comedy in two acts

by: Kelley Trezise, a.k.a. Zedshort, a.k.a Steve Robb

Zed: A man
Spam: Zed’s talking dog friend
Rozzi: Inventor of the E-Cat, neither seen nor heard
Kribet: A blogger
Martin-Stanley: A monster “owned” by Kribet
Gibbsey: An Op/ed writer.
Defcalion: A seafaring business man

same place

(Next morning Spam enters stage right and sings a song to the tune of the children’s song “Bingo”)

There is a man who has a cat
And Rozzi is his name-O
Rozz, Rozz, Rozzi-O
Rozz, Rozz, Rozzi-O
Rozz, Rozz, Rozzi-O
And Rozzi is his name-O

He likes to tinker in his shop
And build E-catalizer-O
The E-Cat is his game-O.

I would like to have a few
To warm my frigid friend-O
Warm my dingle-O
Warm my dingle-O
Warm my dingle-O
My dingle is too cold-O.

The patho-skeptics beat me down
And cast aspersions round-O
Cast as-pershions-O
Cast as-pershions-O
Cast as-pershions-O
The skeptics are a pain-O

I must believe and say I trust
That Rozzi is my friend-O
Rozzi, friend-e-O
Rozzi, friend-e-O
Rozzi, friend-e-O
I trust my Rozzi friend-O

But there’s no news for me to chew
no E-Cat data proof-O
E-Cat data-O
E-Cat data-O
E-Cat data-O
No E-Cat news is news-O.

(Zed enters stage left head down his pants still down around his ankles.)

Zed: I heard you singing a happy song. How can you be so happy while I am so miserable?

Spam: Slow-Boat! How are you! Good to see you again! I’m happy to see you!

Zed: What’s new. You’re a dog, you’re always happy to see everyone. You wouldn’t be so happy if your doubts had kicked you as mine did me while asleep last night.

Spam: Oh noooo. You’re unhappy. Shall I regurgitate for you some of the data I ingested yesterday?

Zed: I’ll pass.

Spam: Slow-Boat, please, pull up your pants.

Zed: What’s the point? Rozzi is a fraud and there are no E-Cats.

Spam: Buck up friend. Let’s check the news. And pull up your pants.


Spam: Good news! We’re saved! Look here, see? Rozzi is saying he will build a factory to mass produce E-Cats at super low prices at a rate of one million per year. Small ones for home use. Grand news. (grinning sardonically at Zed) E-Kittens!

Zed with a loud groan folds over, his arms drooping so low his hands touch his pants: How long have we been here? Haven’t we heard such things before? Show me an E-Cat, just one E-Cat. Pleeease!

Spam runs off to fetch and return Zed’s belt, drops it at his feet: Here put your belt on and pull up your pants. You’ll feel better in due time, especially with your pants up. Listen, each day brings us closer to the final event of an E-Cat in every home.

Zed fumbling with his belt and pants: Yes, we are asymptotically approaching the end. It seems we’ve been here forever. How long has it been?

Spam: Only so long as is sufficient to accomplish all this waiting and no more.

Zed: A watched E-Cat never boils.

Spam: Think of the beauty of the thing. E-Kittens warming homes soon. Then E-Cat generators, then E-Cat autos, then E-Cat aeroplanes, then E-Cat rocket ships to the moon, the planets, even maybe in our lifetime to the stars.

Zed: E-Cat unemployment for millions, E-Cat depression, E-Cat arms race, E-Cat atomic weapon.

Spam: No greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel power plants shut down. No global warming.

Zed: No warming greenhouse gasses. Global cooling, we’ll freeze.

Spam: Abundant everything. Fresh water everywhere.

Zed: Stupid people making babies abundantly, the Earth stripped of its resources.

Spam: We’ll use the moon.

Zed: The space aliens won’t like that.

Spam: Let’s check for news of Rozzi and the E-Cats.


Spam: Nothing new. Nothing changed.

Zed: A watched E-Cat never boils.

Spam: I’ve an idea. Let’s switch roles. You say something positive and I’ll say something negative about Rozzi and the E-Cats.

Zed: Fine. E-Cats are abundant.

Spam: Try to say it less sarcastically. I’ve not seen one, at least not just yet, but they’re coming.

Zed: Rozzi is a paranoid.

Spam: That’s not a good thing, that’s a bad thing. Try harder.

Zed: Rozzi is less paranoid than I would be if I was in his position.

Spam: Um, not sure how to work that one. Pass.

Zed: It is a warm day and we don’t need an E-Cat.

Spam: It will no doubt grow so warm we will need an E-Cat to cool us. This is not working. Let me say something negative and you respond with something positive. The E-Cat does not exist.

Zed: You cannot prove a negative.

Spam: Fail.

(From off stage the sound of many loud voices.)

Enter stage left Defcalion and Company: Ho, there good fellows, we are the traveling Greek troupe know as Defcalion and Company and we are here to save you. My name is Defcalion. This is my Company and we bear Hyperions, the rival to the E-Cat, which does not exist.

Zed to Spam: Did he say trope?

Spam: Welcome friends, what good news of Rozzi and the E-Cats do you bear us?

Defcalion: Rozzi? Let me tell you of Rozzi. He is a fraud and a thief. He carried from our shores our beautiful E-Cat, which does not exist, and refuses to return it to us. We have declared war upon him and will defeat him in business with our rival product the Hyperion heater. Behold the Hyperion!

(Defcalion looses the string from a roll of a drawing that unravels before Zed and Spam.)

Spam: What the hell is that! It’s just a drawing.

Zed folding over so his hands nearly touch the ground groans: Ooooh, soooo disappointed.

Defcalion: Oh, I see you are pseudo-believers. You believe in Rozzi and the E-Cats but not the Hyperion?

Spam: Do you have something physical to show. Please, please something solid! We beg you!

(The Company carries forward on a litter, a box draped with a cloth. Defcalion grandiloquently yanks the cloth away revealing a box with a button on one side.)

Defcalion: Behold! The Hyperion mockup. It is a thing of beauty is it not? More beautiful than the E-Cat, which I might add does not exist even though Rozzi stole it from us.

Zed: A mockup? Are you trying to crush my heart? Show me something that works!

Spam: Oh, well. I could be more disappointed. I think. Is there anything more?

Defcalion: We have data, secret scientific data compiled by secret people with scientific minds. Here they are.

(Out of the company step three persons with gags on their mouths, their hands tied behind their backs.)

Spam: Can they attest that the Hyperion works. Does it make heat?

Defcalion: They are willing but incapable of speaking as they have signed non-disclosure agreements.

Zed: Can’t you tell us one little secret thing, just one?

Defcalion: Don’t you understand. Business is war. If we reveal our secrets, Rozzi who is a fraud, could incorporate into his E-Cat, which does not exist, our technology which he stole from us. And not the other way around.

Spam: You are Greeks, yes?

Defcalion: Yes.

Zed: That explains much.

Spam: You derive from a long line of pirates, yes?

Defcalion: Pirates?! You call us pirates?! We are business men, seafaring business men! You look at us and you call us pirates?! Us?!

Spam to the audience sotto voce: Me thinks he doth protest too much.

Zed arms still draped to the floor: Shoot me now, pleeeease.

Defcalion: There will be no Hyperions for you my friend. And get off of my domain. This conversation is at an end. (Defcalion suddenly cheering up) Well, we are off to make war upon the thief and fraud Rozzi. Wish us luck.

(Defcalion and Company depart stage right with many happy waves and cheery smiles.)

Spam after they are gone: Goodby and good riddance. What simply awful people. We are back where we started. We have nothing but the shadow of a shade of a hope.

Zed: Nothing new. Nothing changed.

Spam: Maybe you are right. Perhaps we should just shoot each other.

(Before they can, they are interrupted as Moola Smith and Sol Milo enter stage left. Smith leads Milo, his hands tied behind his back.)

Moola Smith: G’day mates. How’s it goin’ ? I couldn’a help but hear your yabber about about tha E-Cat and to step up and give yoos some advice. Ya seem ta be lost a liddle. I’m Moola Smith by name, of Oz land fame. Savior of wayward and helpless Mums ‘n Dads, ‘an the scorn a tha scammers; dastardly devils all! An I got me a specimen right here. Is name’s Sol the conman. Caught im red handed try’n to flog shares of shares of hope ta tha gullible.

Zed raising himself and his pants at the same time: Seems a bit derivative, doesn’t it?

Spam runs over and attempts to lift his leg on Sol: Bad man!

Sol Milo: So what’s wrong with spreadn’ the hope around and ask’n for a bit of compensation for me consultation? I ran out of fuel for my poly-water powered car; that stuff isn’t cheap, ya know.

Zed: May we call you Moola?

Moola Smith: Of course ya can mate. Always like to hear people remindn’ themselves of me moola status and where virtue lies. Listen, I couldn’t help overhear your goings on about Rozzi and the E-Cats. Well if yoos believe in that, then I’ve a big rock in the Northern Territory I can sell ya. Tell ya wat. Any bloke can show me an E-Cat and I’ll quit Oz an take up residence on the Moon. There are nah E-Cats and Rozzi’s a fraud! Well, I’m off with this bad boy, and ta save the poor Mums ‘n Dads from blokes like this un. Stay out of the chat rooms and do the world a favor and don’t be maken’ any copies of yourselves; world’s got troubles enough. Hooroo! (Exit Moola Smith with Sol Milo stage right.)

Spam to Smith: Hope to see you on the moon soon.

Zed to Smith: I hear the moon needs sheilas, better take some with you. Please leave your moola here.

Spam: So much controversy, so little time.

Zed: This empty space is too busy with skeptics and I am loosing faith. When, oh when, will my E-Cat arrive? Let’s check once again for news of Rozzi and the E-Cats, Spamuel.


Spam: Look Slow-Boat. See here, this chat room is full of cheery people who have said that Rozzi is not a fraud and the E-Cats are real.

Zed: They go on and on. Propping each other up with tiny bits of hope.

Spam: They peer into the darkness awaiting a new flash of insight to illuminate the scene, hoping and hoping, assembling the small bits of information into a pointillist painting of the truth. Such faithfulness.

Zed: Or is it foolishness?

Spam: Your pants have fallen down again Slow-Boat.

Zed: It suits me well.

Spam: Let’s sleep Slow-Boat. Tomorrow will be a new day with new news.

Zed: Goodnight Spamuel.

Spam: But, first pull up your pants Slow-Boat.

Zed pulling up his pants: Oh.

Spam stands, staring out into the audience: We sleep, to bury this bitter disappointment in the darkness. To sleep, perchance to dream of E-Cats leaping forth from the blackness bearing tiny points of hope. And so to sleep.

Zed also standing, staring into the audience: To sleeeep.

The End

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