Szechwan Panda: Unedited Version

Ten Authors. One Story. No Sense.

[Barry begins by drawing: going under the knife, szechwan panda, Princess Papaya for the entire team]

[Blake Nelson draws a situation: “can’t decide what girl to ask to the winter dance; has to pick from seven girls he likes”]

William, after eating too much at the Szechwan Panda, after some plastic surgery under the knife… He really likes Claire, but she — for some reason — wants him to pick from her seven friends.

[Lizabeth Zindel draws a situation: “kids find out parents are secret agents”]

Claire’s pretty cute, but she doesn’t have it going on the way this girl Vanessa Mablahblah has it going on. So he decides to sneak over to Vanessa’s house, but when he gets there, he notices the house is very strange. The windows have cardboard on them.

He peeks inside and he sees her parents — they’re sitting there and they’re dressed up in these James Bond outfits. And they’re sharpening some really sharp knives.

[Martin Wilson draws a character: Tipsy McStumble]

So William gets the hell out of there. He doesn’t care about Claire. He wants to check out Tipsy McStumble, who’s really really hot. She lives a street away. Just seeing the parents with the knives… Forget her. Her parents might kill him.

So, Tipsy McStumble is this really tall, voluptuous brunette woman. He knocks on her door and when she answers, Tipsy is shirtless…but she doesn’t have breasts.

[Sarah MacLean draws a character: drag queen crimefighter]

William, of course, is alarmed by both her nudity and her lack of bosoms. So he’s shocked because there’s been all this background with the parents and the knives and now this drag queen. He asks her, “What’s up?”

And she says, “I’m so glad you’re here because I need some help building a crimefighting team.”

[Madeleine George draws a situation: “embarrassing picture posted on Facebook”]

William is like, “Dude, this is my lifelong dream. My whole intent in going to the dance is to bust this spy ring that I know is operating out of the school. So you and I are going to put this together.”

And she’s like, “Great! Come in because I have this camera set up in the back and I need you to… Hang on one second.”

She puts William down in this chair, a big soft wing chair.

[Bill Konigsberg draws a situation: “the boat leaves at noon”]

So William sits down in the wing chair and Tipsy is sort of stumbling all over the room. And she says, “What time is it?”

“I don’t know. Eight, eight-thirty.”

And she says, “Good, ok, we have fourteen, fifteen” — she can’t count very well — “we have like sixteen hours until the boat leaves.”

And he says, “What boat?”

And she says, “That’s the thing you don’t know about there. There is this transgender, transsexual, transvestite, drag queen—”

[Coe Booth draws a situation: “go skinnydipping”]

–boat that is going to Hawaii and we’re going to get on the boat, but before we get on the boat, we still have a little time to go skinnydipping out back in the neighbors’ pool.

So William and Tipsy sneak over the fence and they get into the neighbors’ pool area, and just as they’re about to take off their clothes…

[Sarah Darer-Littman draws a character: Sally]

…Sally and the long-forgotten Princess Papaya show up with a camera, and they take pictures, and they upload them to Facebook, and start propagating them all over the internet.

William is very embarrassed by this because he knows that all the other seven girls that he was planning on asking to the dance…

[Marie Rutkowski draws a character: Thomas Jefferson impersonation]

William had not previously considered Princess Papaya as one of his candidates for the prom, but now that he’s looking at her, he realizes that she is nothing less than smoking hot. So he offers her a mango lassi, only to discover when she begins to clutch her neck and gag that the reason she’s called “Princess Papaya” is because she’s allergic to tropical fruit.

However, in the midst of her gagging, she suddenly begins to do something very strange, which is to recite the Declaration of Independence.

[Barry Lyga draws a character: Ryan Brainiac]

Tipsy, of course, is upset by all of this, mainly because she was really looking forward to going skinny-dipping with William, but also because the boat does leave at noon and now it’s nine o’clock and Tipsy, who can’t do math, thinks they only have an hour and a half to get to the boat.

So she immediately grabs William and says, “Forget about that skank Princess Papaya, we have to get to the boat because we’ve got to get on the transsexual, transgender, transvestite boat that’s going to Hawaii because that’s where the spy ring is operating. The dance is a red herring.” So she grabs William…

[Blake: “floundering through the sea”]

So William is surprised to find he’s on a lifeboat with the girls he was originally supposed to be with. Interestingly, their names are Sneezy, Wheezy, Leezy, Easy, and Sleazy. It’s very hot out there, so they have to undress. When Sleazy starts to take off her shirt–

[Lizabeth: Gustavus Adolphus]

–William suddenly looks at her with her shirt and he has this amazing… The moon is reflecting off of her bare chest and he has this epiphany, that he really deep down is in love with Princess Papaya, and he’s sick of being a player. And he starts to have this mirage, and this man named Gustavus Adolphus comes out of the sea and says he’s going to teach him all about love. And so he says, “Come here…”

[Martin: zombie uprising]

Just at that moment, a lot of other people start coming out of the sea besides Gustavus Adolphus. And William realizes that they all look a little pale and creepy and sort of like their limbs are about to fall off. And they stink. And they’re all swimming towards the ship.

“Oh my God — we’re being attacked by zombies! Sleazy, Easy, Cheezy — whatever you girls’ names are! — we’ve got to row back to shore and escape and warn everyone on land. We’ve just got to.”

So they all start paddling, being pursued by the zombies and…

[Sarah M.: Parents walk in at the wrong moment]

…they all get to the beach and there are these zombies and it’s an awful moment.

Sneezy says, “Wait I have it. I have the answer. My father is a plastic surgeon. And he’s working on some zombie plastic surgery procedures. And so maybe we ought to just go straight there.”

Tipsy, who is with Sneezy and everyone else, says, “This is a great idea.”

They get on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which just happens to be there, keys and everything.

[Madeleine: Best. Weekend. Ever.]

And they fire up the Harley and all nine of them are balanced on there and the zombies are just coming faster and furious behind them, but they’re roaring, heading for Sneezy’s house, where there’s this ad hoc surgery place in the back yard, in the garden shed. And she just knows that they’re going to be able to solve it.

And on the back of the bike, there’s William and he just puts his hands up and goes, “Best Weekend Ever!

[Bill: Adeline Lindbloom]

So they’re there at the house and Sneezy says, “I want you to meet my mother, Dr. Adeline Lindbloom.”

Adeline comes forward and says, “Look at all of my equipment here. What we need is one zombie who we can start with because they want to do the surgery.”

And so they get a zombie volunteer. And they bring the zombie volunteer in and they lie him down on the tabel. First they thumb through the book and see what kind of faces Adeline has made before with other zombies…and she’s done some beautiful work.

[Coe: Studio 54]

One of the faces happens to be Bianca Jagger, a frequent visitor to Studio 54. So the zombie chooses that face and it’s a miracle: Within three hours, this zombie is transformed into Zombie Bianca Jagger.

And they all say, “Hey, it’s Studio 54 still open? Let’s go to Manhattan.”

They get on the Harley and all of them go to Studio 54, which miraculously is still open.

[Sarah D: In an airport men’s room]

But unfortunately, they get lost on the way to Studio 54 and they end up in JFK. And the zombie Bianca Jagger isn’t quite sure which bathroom…has to go to the bathroom. I’m not sure zombies do, but anyway… They can’t decide whether to go to the men’s room or the ladies’ room, but ends up in the airport men’s room. And ends up taking a wide stance and gets pulled over by a policeman.

[Marie: death by pomegranate]

So Zombie Bianca is standing in the security line, ready to board, and is pulled over by the security officer, who says, “Excuse me, would you happen to have any pomegranates on you, Zombie Bianca?”

Zombie Bianca says, “Excuse me, are you just profiling me because I’m a zombie? Do you really think I’m carrying pomegranates that are going to blow up the entire plane and bring a chaos of fruit on the entire world?”

And the security says, “Yes, because zombies are like that.”

So the security officer pulls Zombie Bianca aside…

[Barry: The Journey of the Time-People]

So, the security guard  pulls Zombie Bianca aside into a special room with a black door that has no doorknob and no hinges and yet somehow still opens. They go in and the security guard says, “I’m actually not a security guard. My name is Ryan Brainiac. I was supposed to be mentioned earlier in the story. I’m actually one of the time people and we need you because the 374th century is in danger.”

And in this room there is a large glass sphere with no seats in it whatsoever…

[Blake: it always happens to me]

So William goes through the door and accidentally ends up in the Italian Renaissance, where Mannerist painting has just become big and everyone holds their wrists like this. [Mimes limp wrist.] And he finds himself being painted by Leonardo da Vinci. And he turns to Zombie Bianca…

[Lizabeth: D’oh!]

He turns to Zombie Bianca and he’s like, “D’oh! Doh doh doh doh doh!”

She’s like, “I love that song! That’s the coolest song ever.”

And they grab hands and they run to the Arno River and they stand on the Ponte Vecchio and… I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a zombie dance, but they can dance like no one can dance. And with the sun setting on the Arno, they start doing this magical, crazy, wild fanatic dance, and everyone…

[Martin: Ryan, a stuck-up narcissist]

So the sun is setting and all of a sudden, William jolts up out of bed. And he says, “Oh my God, I’m never going to eat at Szechwan Panda again! I can’t believe I had a dream like that. Holy cow.”

So he’s waking up and he realizes that his problem is not solved; he still has to choose between seven girls. And he looks over in his bed and he realizes his best friend, Ryan, a stuck-up narcissist, is lying next to him in only his underwear.

[Sarah M.: Anthony, son of Pete Rose]

This is alarming, because Ryan and he have never had a relationship quite like this one before. And he leaps out of bed and says, “You gotta get up! You gotta get up!”

And Ryan shoots out of bed. And he [William] says, “Ryan, what happened?”

Ryan says, “What? Who’s Ryan?”

And he [William] looks around and he realizes this isn’t his bedroom. This isn’t his house.

[Madeleine: shortest boy in the class]

This is the house of Anthony, son of Pete Rose and the shortest boy in the class. So, he is mortified to find himself in Anthony’s house. Obviously, Ryan and Anthony have a thing that goes back for a long time, so that makes sense, but William himself cannot be seen with Anthony. So he sneaks out through the dryer vent and then shimmies down the drainpipe and he finds himself in this elaborate walled garden.

[Bill: War and Sneeze]

So he’s in this elaborate walled garden and he looks around, trying to find his way out. And he looks behind him, and there is Anthony, the shortest boy in the class. He doesn’t want to be anywhere near Anthony — he just wants to get out of there. And he’s looking, but there’re all these flowers and he starts going, “Hnn. Hnn.” He’s allergic to flowers. So he needs to get out of the garden because he starts to sneeze. And I don’t know why, but when he sneezes, he goes, “Ah-war! Ah-war!”

[Coe: Horatio]

And he sneezes and he sneezes and he… Ah-war! Ah-war! Over and over. And then, out of nowhere, comes the Greek god Horatio, who I just invented right now. And they go to battle against Anthony, the shortest boy in the class and the son of Pete Rose, and Ryan. And they have to get out. They have to break through the barrier that Ryan and Anthony have created. And Horatio, in full armor, helps William get through.

[Sarah D: a teacher found out about Sophie’s crush and keeps telling classes about it; Sophie doesn’t find out until her crush yells at her for embarrassing him]

So Horatio breaks through the wall and they find themselves at the door of the school. And in order to get away from little Anthony, the shortest person in the class, they duck into English class, but there’s this whole scene going on because the teacher has found out about Sophie’s crush and is making fun of her and announcing it to the whole class.

[Marie: Violet Crumbs]

Which is when Horatio, who is still around, reveals that he’s the God of Plastic Surgery. And says to Sophie, “Listen, you, Sophie, and this other girl, Violet Crumbs, we’re going to go back to my lab and slice and dice.”

And so Horatio, the God of Plastic Surgery, takes these two back to the lab, where Zombie Bianca shows up and begins wreaking havoc because she doesn’t want anybody…

[Barry: The Blind Pony]

At that very moment, Ryan Brainiac shows up with the time machine and says, “This is terrible that this has happened. By going back in time and having the zombie dance on the Arno River, you have caused the Thriller video to come into existence hundreds of years before it was supposed to. Now time is just a wreck. We have to do something about it.

“First, we have to go to this pub, The Blind Pony, because the bartender there is Zombie Bianca’s former lover, who has the codes…”

[Blake: JoJo]

“The bartender has the secret codes — the bartender’s name is JoJo — he has the codes to make the Michael Jackson video not exist yet, and…”

So they go back to Michael Jackson and they have a little monkey named JoJo. And the monkey and Michael Jackson hit it off a lot. And so they were able to get Michael Jackson onto one of those…

[Lizabeth: nun superhero]

Just at that moment, we’ve got Michael Jackson, we’ve got JoJo the monkey, we’ve got William, our hero, and all the sudden through the window comes this nun, in superhero clothing.

And she’s like, “It’s time. You’ve been drinking too much at The Blind Pony. We have to get back on track because you have a prom to go to, William. So jump on my back, on my habit, and fly with me, and I’m going to take you back to school and you’re going to pick the girl of your dreams. They’re all waiting for you, can’t wait to see you.”

[Martin: Stormy LaFleur finds her groove]

So they’re flying and he’s like, “Gosh, am I still dreaming?” But the nun won’t answer him.

So she plops him down into the high school and the prom is going on. And he sees his best buddy Joe, who’s like, “Where have you been? Come on in you’ve got to see it. Stormy LaFleur is tearing up the floor. She’s getting her groove going. Forget all those other girls you mentioned; maybe Stormy is the girl for you.

“So why don’t you cut a rug with her and see what happens?”

So he decides I’m going to get out there…

[Sarah M.: cab driver]

I’m going to get out there and I’m going to rock the floor with Stormy LaFleur.

And at that moment — because it’s prom — they decide they’re going to name a king and queen. But because this is a very special high school, they actually name the Prince and Princess Papaya. And so at that moment, the principal gets up and he’s announcing that they’ve had this voting, and it turns out that it’s Vanessa who’s named Princess Papaya.

[Madeleine: Antonio Carlos Jobim]

Vanessa is swept up to the stage where she’s crowned, sobbing, of course. Stormy LaFleur and William have sort of moved over to a corner of the room where they’re kind of like having their own little thing. And into the center of their intense confab strides this extremely tall, incredibly compelling handsome dude, who says, “Excuse me, I am Antonio Carlos Jobim.”

[Bill: black and blue]

“And I do not like that you are dating Stormy LaFleur.”

William doesn’t know what the guy is talking about, and Antonio says, “I said to you, I do not like that you are dating Stormy LaFleur.”

William is speechless. He doesn’t know what to do. So Antonio just clocks him in the face, and William is stunned. He feels his face; he feels his eye expanding; it’s black and blue.

[Coe: “You Stole My Kidney — A Love Story”]

So, William’s face is black and blue and he’s just like, “What are you doing? What’s going on here?”

And Antonio — who happens to be the cab driver — drove Stormy and fell in love with her on the way. And suddenly Stormy embraces Antonio and they run out and out of nowhere comes…

[Sarah D: visiting AA for the first time]

Poor William is left there. He’s got no woman. And he’s got a black and blue face. And he’s starting to have pain in his kidneys, probably from all the drinking at The Blind Pony. So he’s decided maybe it’s time to go to AA. So he hobbles over to AA with his pained kidney and he goes, “You know…”

[Marie: Europa]

“You know, sometimes I feel like Europa from Greek mythology, who was kidnapped by Zeus in the guise of a bull. I feel like a bull has just thrown me onto his back and just ran away with me, through all these different plot scenarios involving transvestites and zombies, and really — I just want to go home! I’m sick of being the victim of the gods. But that’s what happens when you’re Europa.”

[Barry: trying to fish for lost quarters in the subway grate]

So, William staggers out of the AA meeting. It just didn’t do much for him. He still feels like he’s been put upon by the gods. And he just finds himself wandering the city. He tries to fish quarters out of the subway grate for money, but he becomes a bum, a vagabond, wandering, wandering, waiting for the time machine, waiting for the gods to come to him, waiting for Princess Papaya.

And one day, he stumbles into a museum and he notices that Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa looks exactly like Zombie Bianca Jagger. And he’s so confused by that. And then he finally comes out of the museum and he decides to go to another AA meeting and who is there but Tipsy.

And Tipsy says, “I’ll be your sponsor, I’ll take care of you.”

And throws her arm around him and they walk off together into the sunset and as they do, Tipsy says, “Hey! We never did go skinny-dipping…”