Early afternoon, January 20, 2011: Precipitation in the form of freezing rain that, over the course of ten minutes, turns to sleet. Inside the Metro offices, a group of decision-making employees wearing khakis and button-up shirts bought from Wal-Mart crowd around the scummy, unclean windows. (It would cost too much to have the windows cleaned, and the budget must be clear so that road work downtown may continue.) They watch, enraptured and awe-struck, as the drops turn to flakes.
Bureaucrat 1: What is this?
Bureaucrat 2: I know not. [pause] Consult the Codex.
[Audible gasp from the Metro government workers.]
Bureaucrat 3: Surely, we do not need to consult the Codex quite yet. Verily, the objects falling from the sky are truly frightening—Louis hath shat himself quite thoroughly.
Louis, the Bureaucrat: Sorry.
[Louis exits to clean himself.]
Bureaucrat 3: But one man’s soiling of himself doth not warrant the gathering of the Codex.
Archie, the Intern: What’s the Codex?
[A hush falls over the group of city employees. They turn from the windows and stare, slack jawed, at the one who does not know of the Codex.]
Bureaucrat 1: Ask thou, “What is the Codex?” Yea, thou shouldst surely ask “What is the sky?”
Archie, the Intern: Bob, why did you start sounding like Shakespeare? What the hell is the Codex?
Bureaucrat 1: Because—
[Florish. Ensemble turns to stage left. Mayor Karl Dean, draped in royal blue robes with an Illuminati insignia on the hood, sweeps in towards center stage.]
Mayor: Robert of Bellevue, hast thou retrieved the Codex?
[Bureaucrat 1, henceforth Robert of Bellevue, drops to one knee.]
Robert of Bellevue: Nay, my Lord. The infidel, Archibald the Intern, wast commenting upon his lack of knowledge of the holy book.
Mayor: Intern, is this true? Thou dost not know of the Codex?
Archie, the Intern: No one told me about any Codex in my city planning courses.
[The entire group of bureaucrats drops to their knees. A CLASH OF THUNDER outside. Fully-formed snow falls outside.]
Mayor: Two of you shall accompany the uninitiated one to the Nashvillian Labyrinths to collect the Codex. Once it has been brought back to me, I shall glean our proper response to this… white rain outside.
Archie: You probably should have salted and de-iced the streets last night.
[The bureaucrats GASP. Mayor Dean slowly steps up to Archie and SLAPS him across the face.]
Archie: Jesus! What the fuck?
Mayor: Let that be a lesson to you! Now go! The future of this city upon a hill depends upon thine success!
The interior of the Nashvillian Labyrinths. Low, blue lighting. Dry ice across the stage. Audio of drips of water falling from stalactites and the occasional flutter of bat wings. At stage left, a thick book rests upon a stone pedestal, lit with pale yellow.
Bureaucrat 4: And that is the story of how Nashville was founded.
[Two Bureaucrats and Archie enter, stage right.]
Archie: I thought Nashville was a fort that grew into a trading area.
Bureaucrat 5: [laughs] No, that is simply what the schoolchildren are taught in order to not learn that there is a much deeper, insidious story to tell.
Archie: And these… what, Elder Gods, is that what you called them?
Bureaucrat 4: Yea, verily.
Archie: Okay, these Elder Gods were driven out of their cities of green stone by a band of intrepid humans, who left the Codex here, in the Cave of Knowing, so that future generations should know how to combat the Elder Gods’ mechanisms.
Bureaucrat 4: Yea, verily.
Archie: What does this have to do with snow?
[The bureaucrats LAUGH.]
Bureaucrat 5: The Codex is not limited to such paltry topics as war, or defense; in its pages are everything one needs in order efficiently run a society.
Archie: Ah, so the Communist Manifesto.
Archie: Sorry. Joke.
Bureaucrat 5: Yes, quite.
Archie: And that’s it over there?
[He walks over to the Codex, reaches out to grab it, and is stopped by Bureaucrat 4.]
Bureaucrat 5: Nay, thou art not a supplicant. We must purge ourselves.
[The Bureaucrats drop to their knees and begin to sing “Friends in Low Places.”]
[Lights fade out]
The interior of Mayor Dean’s office. A low-lit room in black lights. Bookshelves full of arcane and ancient-looking tomes. The windows, with black velvet drapes, show big fluffy snowflakes falling outside. Car horns faintly honk outside.
Mayor Dean, still draped in his royal blue robes sits in a throne of skulls. Seated opposite, across the large, mahogany desk, is Robert of Bellevue, now wearing a black robe marked with an Illuminati symbol.
Mayor Dean: How goes the MTA’s preparation?
Robert of Bellevue: The tires have been replaced with worn-down rubber circles, as thou hast requested, my Lord.
Mayor: Excellent. As the Codex states: “Rubber is gold. Rubber is invincible. Rubber is worthy.”
Both: The Codex is true. The Codex is wise.
[The Bureaucrats and Archie enter from stage left. Bureaucrat 5 holds the Codex in front of him.]
Bureaucrat 5: My Lord, the infidel has been educated. The Codex has been recovered from its resting place in the Cave of Knowing, in the Nashvillian Labyrinths.
Archie: Guys, this Codex is a written-in library book from an asylum.
All, except Archie: Silence!
Mayor: Turnst thou to the chapter of the Codex which details the proper response to snow.
[Bureaucrat 5 hands the Codex to Bureaucrat 4, who opens the book and reads, reverently, as if from a Bible]
Bureaucrat 4: Balls. Balls of steel. Bears don’t got shit upon me for I am the king of fucking bears. Ice is for pussies. Don’t fucking care about ice, cause I ain’t a coward. They say I gotta go to rehab, I say no no no. Ahhhhhhhhhh. Close that shit down. Close all that shit down, it’s raining from the sky, it’s raining all get-out from the sky. Hurpa durp.
[He closes the book.]
Mayor Dean: So it is written, so let it be done. Close the schools; do nothing on the roads.
Archie: Are you insane?
Mayor Dean: So it is written in the Codex: Snow and ice are for cowards. Snow and ice don’t got shit on us. Nashville shall not stop for snow.
[Lights dim, exeunt.]