The following was sent as a solicitation to several major motion picture studios, in the vain hope that we might be able to pick up a few bucks for the (more or less) true story of an online conflict in the alt.rec.bicycles.recumbent newsgroup during the summer of 2005. [AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is one of the few poems where we used the (purportedly) actual name of ARBR's TROLL, and used the male gender in pronouns referring to the unpleasant old ogre.]

Dear Producer(s):

Please consider the following poem as the basis for a screenplay. I realize it might need a little work, but it should make an excellent play within a play with alternative endings sort of thing that would almost surely appeal to all those effete, highly sophisticated folks in rural Minnesota who so frequently and flagrantly flaunt their fancified familiarity with Fine Arts. The cast of characters will include:

  • The TROLL – the villain, also known as Ed Dolan, who has been voraciously rustling and/or mutilating goats and/or sheep all through the territory
  • The Marshall – oh HELL, you know all the rest! Anyway, here's the first draft of my screenplay:

"Mister Dillon! He's coming!" cried someone like Chester,
And he pointed at Eddie, the ovine molester.
'This is it,' thought the Marshall, 'I've dreamed of this showdown.
Now we'll dance on his grave in a virtual hoedown.

Matt stepped out in the street, hot and windy and dusty,
And he saw that Ed's gun, like his wit, was all rusty.
Marshall Dillon stood tall and the sun was behind him,
But he knew that his foe wore dark glasses, which blind him
To the worth of his peers. All their hopes and their feelings
Mean no more to this villain than little lambs squealing
As he grabs them and... [OOPS! That's a different story;
Let's get back now to Dodge, where the scene's getting gory.]

Here it's Dillon v. Dolan – a classical duel –
Right v. wrong, man v. TROLL, cute and charming v. cruel.
They square off, glaring, sneering, insulting each other;
[Ed is crude, using words that would shock his poor mother.]
Dolan's mad, red with rage, and his dentures are gnashing.
Now their hands streak, and spring up with gun barrels flashing!
Shots ring out; women scream, and both sounds are echoing.
Who's been wounded or killed? There is no way of knowing...

Until Camera B zooms in, closer and bigger,
And we see Evil Eddie, still pulling his trigger.
Twenty shots, twenty-five, but his aim is quite awful,
Plus his bullets are duds. Dolan shrieks, "It's unlawful!
You're a much better shot, and you have better ammo."
Then another slug rips through the TROLL's body - WHAMMO!
But he still doesn't fall; since he's not real observant,
He keeps firing away, badly wounded but fervent.

Ten more shots hit the TROLL; Dillon's aim is effective,
While the TROLL does more harm with his vicious invective.
Dillon shoots; Dolan shouts. They're just standing there firing,
Until, frankly, it gets just a little bit tiring...
You can see Dolan bleeding, the lead freely flying,
But you sense something's wrong. There can be no denying...


That this scene isn't real; it's a bad Western movie,
Or a poem I hoped you might think's kinda groovy.

In reality, shootouts on newsgroups aren't funny;
If one's made as a film, I'd suggest, "Save your money."
As for dealing with TROLLS on an internet forum,
Most folks say, "Never feed one; just simply ignore 'em."
That's a very good rule that should rarely be broken,
But it is really hard, when a TROLL's so outspoken,
And keeps blathering on – a disgusting, bad habit –
Not to pick up a sharp-pointed stick and just jab it!


"Stop the cameras! CUT!" screams a livid director.
"This is GUNSMOKE, by damn, not THE UNDYING SPECTER!

"You've been shot; you are dead. You're a gunned down gunfighter."
The old TROLL, smirking, says, "But I'm also a writer."
Ev'ryone on the set groans in pain – all the backers,
The producers, the best boys and even the clackers.
They all know from the tone of his voice that they're heading
(For the fiftieth time) to a conflict they're dreading.
Letting writers play characters... Lord, what a blunder!
Now the plot of the movie was split all asunder.

Credibility? Gone! Continuity? Missing!
All that's left is the conflict, the moaning and pissing.
Folks, a newsgroup is sort of a live action drama
Where a writer can pose as the next Dalai Lama,
And then quick as a flash – POOF! He's Hannibal Lecter.
It won't make any sense, but there is no director
Who can rein in the chaos; before long the style and
Then the substance remind you of... well, Monkey Island.

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Last updated Jan 13 2007