Final Curtain

Look, if we could tell you what this is actually about, we would, but your guess here is as good as ours.

“Jack, I think it is time I admit something to myself.”

“Dude, what would that be?”

“Jack, I think it’s time that I admitted my life is unmanageable.”

“Gosh, dude. That’s quite an admission. I wish I had something witty to say in response that kind of honesty.”

“That’s all right, Jack. I appreciate your wit even when it is lacking.”

“Two shay, dude. Two shay. Say, dude.”

“Yes, Jack?”

“Dude, if I may interrupt your moment of clarity to ask a serious question…”

“Please do, Jack.”

“Thank you, dude. Why do we speak in such a strange manner?”

“What do you mean, Jack?”

“Dude, if all we ever do is speak directly to one another to communicate an idea, should we not change formats?”

“Jack, are you suggesting we booster draft?”

“No, dude. I had something more dramatic in mind. Let me show you, dude.”

“Jack, please show me.”

Jack: I was thinking something more dramatic than booster draft.

Pale: Jack, this is a little strange.

Jack: No, this is a little easier to read.

Pale: I don’t like it, Jack.

Jack: You don’t have to keep saying my name every line or so, dude. Your name is posted to the left.

Pale: Yes. I hate it.

Jack: Why?

Pale: There’s an enormous amount of white space separating the character name from the thought.

Jack: So?

Pale: So, that would be fine for a schoolboy’s literature collection, but not for our conversations.

Jack: Fine. How about something even more dramatic?

Pale: I don’t see what this has to do with my problem.

“You don’t, huh? Dude, you are in need of an intervention.”

“Jack, you were going to show me something, were you not?”


Yes. Yes I was.


What the bejeezus is this?


It’s something more dramatic. What do you think?


I hate it.


Why? There’s practically no white space separating the character name from the thought. It’s easier to read. Plus, I don’t have to keep calling you “Dude” or emphasizing my pronunciation through creative spelling to set myself apart from you.


I really hate it.




Because now I have to have a name. I liked not having a name.


That’s your big objection? You’re going to veto this because your pseudonym floats in all caps above your dialogue?


Well, yes.


I should punch you in the face. In fact, I think I will.

(JACK punches PALE in the face. PALE changes the format in response. The stack resolves.)

“Ow! That really hurt!”

“Sorry, dude. You were having a moment of clarity.”

“Well now I’m having a nosebleed!”

“Are the two mutually exclusive of each other?”

“It doesn’t matter anyway because I’m thinking I’ve got to do something dramatic.”

“What are you talking about, dude?”

“My life has become unmanageable. It’s completely out of control because of this.”

“Dude, I’ve been tryin’ to tell you that for years.”

“Well, it’s finally sinking in. This started out as a cute little fun exercise, a diversion, but not it’s out of control. All of my thoughts, all of my energy is taken up by this.”

“It’s not healthy, dude. Admitting it is a big step, though.”

“The worst part is I can’t change it myself. I can only believe that a higher power can restore me to sanity.”

“Higher power? You mean like Oprah?”


Mark Rosewater?”


Ted Knutson?”



“You’ll do.”

“I wasn’t serious.”

“Jack, I must be serious about this. I have a long road ahead of me. I want my life to change. So I have to make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of…of…”


“…right on the tip of my tongue…”

“I’ll wait.”

“Oh, man…I can’t believe this…what’s his name…big guy…the one with the kid…”

“Marlon Brando?”

“Okay, sure. From this moment forward I turn my will and my life to the care of Marlon Brando as I understand him.”

“I never understood Brando, myself.”

“Desperate times, Jack. I’m rock bottom here.”

“Dude, I can see that.”

“I think I need some time alone, Jack. I need to think about things.”

“Yeah, okay. I understand.”

“I need to make a moral inventory of myself.”

“Sure. Back in five?”

“A searching and fearless moral inventory.”


“Let’s not overdo this. Call it eight.”

“I’d like to point out if we switched to a dramatic format we could put ‘eight minutes later’ or something in parenthesis and be done with it.”

“Look, I’m not changing the format this late in the game.”

“Suit yourself, dude. I think it’s wrong.”

“It probably is. I have committed many wrongs. So many. I have to admit that to you. I have to admit that to you and to Marlon Brando.”

“You really don’t, dude.”

“No, I need you to know I have put sub-par decklists in my articles. I have mixed up card names and allowed my work to be published with such errors. Such is the nature of my wrongs. I have taken glory monumental lapses of concentration in a mental competition and invited others to do the same. And I never told anyone Jitte was good in Limited.”

“Well, that’s all kind of bad, dude. I don’t know what to say.”

“You do not have to say anything, Jack. I’m just so ready to quit.”

“Quitting? This is all about quitting?”

“Yes, what did you think I was talking about?”

“Dude, I wasn’t sure. I was waiting for you to leak a Saviors of Kamigawa card or something.”

“No, I’m ready to quit. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want Marlon Brando to remove all defects of character.”

“His or yours?”

“I am not certain. But I am ready for it to happen.”

“Fair enough. Dude, I am psyched about this for you.”

“Thank you, Jack. Thank you very much.”

“So, what’s next?”

“Did I humbly ask Marlon Brando to remove my shortcomings yet?”

“You did defects of character. Does that count?”

“No, shortcomings is different.”

“Then, no.”

“Okay, I do that then. Now, I have to make list.”

“What kind of list?”

“A list of all the people I have harmed. I want to make amends to them all.”

“Who’s on the list?”

“Well, Oprah, Mark Rosewater, Ted Knutson, Marlon Brando, Timmy, Johnny, Spike, and that guy whose six-sided die ended up in my Magic kit.”

“Okay. What about me?”

“You’re on the top of my list, Jack. I want to make amends to you if I can do so without causing you further injury.”

“You had me at ‘quitting’. What’s next?”

“The usual. Continue to take personal inventory, promptly admit I’m wrong when I screw up. Pray. Try and improve my conscious contact with my higher power, or Marlon Brando or whatever.”

“That’s great, dude. Do you feel like you’ve had a spiritual awakening as a result of all of this?”

“I do, Jack. And I think I need to carry this message to others.”

“That’s great, dude! I’m so glad you’ve quit.”

“Well, I wasn’t really getting anywhere. I’m going home and throw out all my stuff and start my new life.”

“Okay, dude. Let me know if you need any help with anything.”

“I will. Right now I think I’ll go right an article.”

“Whoah, chief. Article? Isn’t it a little early to falling off the wagon?”

“What do mean?”

“Well, you just quit writing.”

“No, Jack…I just quit Magic.”

“Why the hell would you quit Magic?”

“You’re the one who keeps telling me it’s a waste of my time and I’m flushing myself down the toilet with this.”

“I was talking about writing. Writing is a terrible thing to do. No good comes from it. It’s a stupid, self-absorbed, disconnected selfish act that benefits no one. At least Magic gets you out of the house. Here, have a booster box.”

“AAGH! Jack, this is just awful, throwing a booster box at me when you know how I’ve struggled! This is quite beyond the pale!”

“Shut up and bust ’em scrub. Serves you right for getting my hopes up. This is worse than that time you convinced me blisterguy wrote an article about a Worldslayer deck.”

“It’s not my fault you don’t own a calendar.”

Pale Mage