Carnivale
Outskirts, Damascus, NE

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Self-Promotion

Previously: Management said goodbye, Brother Justin said fuck off, and Ben said that he'd protect Scudder.

We open right where we left off: Management revives and starts strangling Ben. This time, though, we go vision-questing to the spooky tree. Management says, "Behoooold the Usher." Ben -- who always looks excitingly clean in these visions -- walks up to the tree as Management says, "A dark heart dwells where branches meet." A younger, intact Management stands by the tree in his Russian regalia. It's probably worth noting that the sky is blue and calm, and that everything's a little overexposed to make it extra-bright, so it's the flip side of the red skies and gloominess of Brother Justin's visits to the tree. "Anointed dagger, plunge thee deep," Management says, concluding another couplet as he draws out the trench knife and stabs the tree trunk where it starts to split. Thunder cracks, and blue blood oozes out of the tree. Keeping one hand on the knife, Management puts his other hand on the top of Ben's head. Ben screams, and the camera moves up and out.

Casa de Creepy. Iris is sewing, Brother Justin is reading, and Balthus is praying for the sweet release of death. I'm just guessing about that last one. Justin suddenly starts twitching as if he's gonna release another milkquake. Iris watches pretty calmly as Justin convulses and then throws himself onto the floor, where he twitches about. I wonder if it's hard to do scenes like this without everyone's getting the giggles. Then Balthus leans forward and starts making incoherent noises. It's not clear if he's also affected by the mystical goings-on, or if he's just trying to say, "Bite your tongue off! Go on, do it!" Iris looks at Balthus with mild surprise. Eleanor enters the room, carrying a tea tray, and says, "Oh, charades! Um, Shake, Rattle and Roll? Twitch City? Possession?" Justin suddenly raises back up onto his knees, and his eyes are black. Eleanor drops the tea tray and does a full Macaulay Culkin. Justin just as abruptly collapses and lies still. Balthus twitches his lips a little and settles back in his wheelchair. Iris continues to stare.

Management's trailer. Ben tries to pull Management's hand away from his throat. Management gasps, "Accept your fate," and lets his hand fall. Ben looks down and sees the blue blood on the floor being absorbed into the trench knife. He touches the blade gently, and there's a tiny "ping." Then he turns to look behind him, and sees that the door is open and Scudder is gone.

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Carnivale

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