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Cerberus, the watchdog
Deceased, the professor of mythology
Charon, the ferryman

A Stage

The curtain rises. At stage right is a small, two-person ferry; at stage left are the towering gates of Acheron. The tweed-suited, bow-tied, white-bearded Professor sits at the back end of the ferry as a black-cloaked Charon, in the front end, docks along the Styx riverbed. Opposite the Professor and Charon, Cerberus' three heads are biting on the chain that holds him at the gates. The Professor stands up in the ferry and, a cake balanced on his shoulder with his right hand, he digs into his pocket with his left hand and pulls out an obulus penny, which he pays to Charon.

CHARON (pocketing the coin). Careful with that cake, son. You're going to need it to get past that guy. (Points his thumb at Cerberus.)

PROFESSOR. Yeah, like I'm really looking forward to what's past that guy.

CHARON. What? Hell? (Shakes his head and chuckles.) Too late for that now, son.

PROFESSOR (gets out of the ferry). Thanks for the lift.

CHARON. Pleasure, son, pleasure. (Rows away.)

The Professor stands for a moment, looks at the cake in his hands, then looks at Cerberus, then the cake, then Cerberus. He walks cautiously over, stops at a distance and clears his throat audibly. Cerberus' middle head (the lion) stops biting the chain, looks up, then butts heads with the other two (wolf and dog), who come to attention after a howl and a whimper.

PROFESSOR (like he's talking to an infant). Doggie want some cake?

CERBERUS (just the wolf's head). Excuse us?

PROFESSOR (back to normal voice). Oh, you speak.

CERBERUS (wolf). What?! We've got three brains! Of course we speak!

PROFESSOR. Well, um, would you like some cake?

CERBERUS (wolf, shaking his head). Oh, great, more cake.

CERBERUS (dog). I happen to like the cake.

PROFESSOR. What's wrong with the cake?

CERBERUS (wolf). Look, I know they were supposed to bury you with it so you can bring it to us and pass, but why does it have to be the same goddamn cake every time?!

CERBERUS (lion). Just leave it.

CERBERUS (dog.) Sweet!

The professor puts down the cake, stands for a moment, puts his hands in his pockets.


CERBERUS (all heads). So.

PROFESSOR. So, is that it? I mean, I just leave the cake and walk on through?

CERBERUS (wolf). Well, what the hell do you want us to do?

PROFESSOR. Aren't you supposed to snarl at me or chase me or something? I mean, I've been studying mythology all my life, in fact, I teach it at the university, and you're nothing like what I've been describing to my students.

All three heads look at each other for a moment, then look back at the professor.

CERBERUS (lion). Just what have you been teaching them, professor?

PROFESSOR. Well, that, um, you're ...

CERBERUS (wolf, loudly interrupting). Hades' bitch?!

PROFESSOR (startled). What? I wasn't going to say that.

CERBERUS (wolf). Well, what then?

PROFESSOR. Um, nevermind.

Long, awkward pause.

CERBERUS (lion, breaking the silence). Sorry, professor. I have to apologize for Wolfie over here. He's a bit touchy, you know, about all those stories.

PROFESSOR. I see. Which stories?

CERBERUS (lion). Well, there was this guy here a while back, what was his name, let me see, some Greek guy, it might have been Hesiod or Horace or 

PROFESSOR. It was both of them.

CERBERUS (lion). Anyway, he was saying all kinds of crazy, crazy stuff about us.

CERBERUS (wolf and dog). Crazy stuff!

PROFESSOR. What crazy stuff?

CERBERUS (wolf, in disbelief). What crazy stuff?! Aren't you the expert? How about all that B.S. about us eating people?! I mean, c'mon, what do you think people bring us the cake for?

CERBERUS (lion). And don't forget that story about us sleeping on the job when Orpheus came to get Eurydice!

CERBERUS (dog). Oh, man, that one's a classic.  What'd he do again? Sing us to sleep?

CERBERUS (wolf, shaking his head). Ridiculous.

PROFESSOR. So, none of it's true, then?

CERBERUS (all heads). Of course not!

PROFESSOR.And what about Hercules and his Twelve Labors?

CERBERUS (wolf, foaming at the mouth). Hercules? Hercules?! That ... that stupid ... that stupid jock?!

CERBERUS (lion). Whoa there. Down boy.

CERBERUS (wolf, still foaming). Hercules?! Hercules?!

CERBERUS (dog, shaking his head). Oh, now you've done it, mister.

PROFESSOR. So, um, all that stuff about Hercules grabbing you by the throat, dragging you up to the surface, parading you around Mycenae ... it's ... it's not true?

CERBERUS (all heads). No! Hell no! It's a myth!


[Forever after at


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the inaugural issue of the land-grant college review
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that's primarily about this guy

& those with quick connections may be interested in the latest
offerings from the irritable colonists

& those in nyc and surrounding environs who believe in buying shit
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called pindeldeebozilibub may be interested in attending this on july 7th

& those with audio capabilies & a love for pop-up advertising
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& to honor america's annual fireworks/bbq day,
we offer this bit of genius by a british guy
obsessed with pharmaceuticals