Skip to content

Quest For a Nice Suit

Fates_Matham

From 1982, this was written as a response to seeing the movie Quest For Fire. The screenplay format is a part of the satire, as this was never seriously meant to be considered for production.

Dramatis Personae

ATROPOS - One of the Fates
CLOTHO - One of the Fates
LACHESIS - One of the Fates
SOD - A caveman
THORAX - A caveman
RATSASS - A caveman
LUMMOX - A caveman
MITSEY - A cavegirl
POLYPHEMUS - A famous momster
PROCRUSTES - A Taylor

FADE IN:

INT. A SMALL CLUTTERED CELL ON MOUNT OLYMPUS - DAY

The THREE FATES (LACHESIS, ATROPOS, CLOTHO) are at work spinning the threads of destiny and weaving them into the fabric of life. Bolts of cloth are piled up all around them reaching nearly to the ceiling. The view from out of a small window is of mountain peaks and clouds.

LACHESIS
(pulling a length of thread from her spindle)
Dear, could you just nip this one for me?

Atropos leans over with her shears but a bundle of flax is in the way.

ATROPOS
I’m sorry, I can’t quite reach…

LACHESIS
(Irritated)
Well, just come over here and do it.

ATROPOS
Oh… All right. Just a minute.

LACHESIS
(sarcastically)
If it's not too much trouble.

Atropos makes an exaggerated struggle getting up, then tangles her feet in some yarn.

CLOTHO
Careful! Careful! Watch the scissors.

ATROPOS
Excuse me, but…

Atropos bumps into one of the stacks of fabric and sends it tumbling down on top of the other two.

ATROPOS
Damn…

CLOTHO
Hey…!

Clotho’s distaff is knocked from her hand and goes rolling across the floor. Atropos makes a grab for it and jabs her sister with the shears.

CLOTHO
Ow…! Now, look what you’ve done! I’m bleeding!

ATROPOS
Well, I'm sorry but…

Atropos grabs a loom to steady herself and starts to pull it over.

CLOTHO
Stop it! Just stand still or you’re going to tumble everything.

ATROPOS
I’m just trying to get this…

(more cloth drops onto them)

ATROPOS (cont.)
Oh, crap!

LACHESIS
Great! Look at this mess!

ATROPOS
(falling back onto her stool)
Well don't blame me! It’s not my fault the place is such a clutter. Honestly, I don't see why we can't get rid of some of this stuff.

CLOTHO
It's important. It's history.

ATROPOS
History? It's not history. There’s no system to it. It’s just a lot of old stuff.

LACHESIS
Well, nobody ever said anything about what we're supposed to do with it.

ATROPOS
Of course not. Nobody ever gave it a thought.

LACHESIS
Maybe we should catalog it.

ATROPOS
Oh, I like that. "catalog it." Like we don't have enough to do weaving the fabric of the World's destiny. Now we're going to "cataloged it." By era or region? Or maybe you have some theory about historic process you’d like to demonstrate.

LACHESIS
Oh, shut up. I'm only…

ATROPOS
What! Tell me to shut up! I'll snip your thread, sister. Don’t think I won’t.

LACHESIS
I don’t have a thread.

(Atropos starts rummaging through the heaps of cloth.)

ATROPOS
(rummaging)
Oh yes you do! Everybody has a thread. It’s around here somewhere.

CLOTHO
Please! Please! This isn't getting us anywhere.

ATROPOS
It's about to get her somewhere.
(to Lachesis)
Fields of Asphodel, you’ll love it. You can give my regards to Hades and the gang down in Tartarus.

CLOTHO
Stop it!

LACHESIS
Don't yell at me, sister. She's the one making all the stink.

ATROPOS
Me…!

CLOTHO
Well, I think she has a point.

ATROPOS/LACHESIS
(together)
Who?

CLOTHO
Well, I mean, we can't just go on making this stuff without having some place to put it, now, can we?

ATROPOS
Right, like out the window.

CLOTHO
We don't want to do something impulsive. That could give us a bad reputation. What I think we should do is ask somebody for advice. Then it's their responsibility.

ATROPOS
(sarcastically)
Ask somebody? Who? Themis?

LACHESIS
Well, she did put us onto this job.

ATROPOS
Put us out of the way, you mean.

CLOTHO
(indignant)
Atropos, that's no way to talk about our mother!

ATROPOS
Mother is it! Ha! A fine mother she is! Has us up here spinning away till Kingdom come just to keep us out of her hair.

CLOTHO
You know she has important duties to attend to.

LACHESIS
Sure, like hanging around waiting for Hera to turn her back, so she can have another tumble with the boss.

CLOTHO
That's not fair. Themis is a well respected Titaness, and Zeus relies on her for counseling and advice. Pindar says it's better than any of the God's, and he's a great poet.

ATROPOS
Is that so? Well then why doesn't she advise him to get our brother Prometheus off that rock before that awful bird pecks his liver into pâté? Eh? Because she doesn't want him getting into her hair either. You might as well face the facts. What ever those smart–assed poets say about her, we've got a lousy mother, and if we ask her what to do with all this junk, she'll have us piling it up till we smother under it!

LACHESIS
She's right! I say we show a little initiative for a change and dump the stuff.

CLOTHO
(with resignation)
I Suppose. But it does seem a waste to just toss it out. After all, there is some beautiful material here. It must be good for something.

LACHESIS
Maybe some of the God's would like it?

CLOTHO
I don't know. Athena gets really pissy when it comes to anybody showing off their weaving. We don't want to all end up like Aracne.

ATROPOS
Oh, that was just grotesque. Ugh, I can't even think about the poor girl without getting the creeps. All those hairy legs…! And fangs! Forget it!

LACHESIS
Do you think she has to eat bugs?

ATROPOS
Bugs? Of course she has to eat bugs! What else can spiders eat? Vegetables?

LACHESIS
Poor thing.

CLOTHO
Well, maybe we could give it to Man.

ATROPOS
Man! What on Earth for?

CLOTHO
I don't know. It was just an idea. I guess they wouldn't have any more use for it than we do.

LACHESIS
Hey, I've got it! Why don't we make them some clothes!

CLOTHO/ATROPOS
(together)
Clothes!

LACHESIS
Sure! They hardly have anything decent, and I'll bet they'd look really nice all dressed up.

ATROPOS
At least it would give them something to talk about, instead of spending all their time trying to figure out what we're going to do next.

Atropos snips a thread with her shears. (SFX: SNIP)

ATROPOS (cont.)
By-by, Pindar.

CLOTHO
They ought to be stylish. And well made, too. Nothing tacky.

LACHESIS
Of course.

Atropos has started poking around through the bolts of cloth.

ATROPOS
Hemm… look, here's a good worsted. Oh, and here, this twill could make a dandy pair of trousers — just trim up this edge a little.

Atropos uses her shears to cut the loose threads off the edge.

CLOTHO
Careful! I think that one's still current.

ATROPOS
Oops… Sorry… What was it, do you know?

Clotho inspects the piece of cloth

CLOTHO
Let's see…. Ah…, It was the pre–Navaho cliff dweller culture.

ATROPOS
Oh dear. Not the whole thing?

CLOTHO
Afraid so.

ATROPOS
(embarrassed)
Heh… well, I guess nobody'll ever figure out what happened to them.

CLOTHO
Let’s just try to be more careful, shall we?

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

EXT. EARTH - THE JUNGLE - DAY

A CREATURE — half man, half ape — is loping down a jungle trail. He has a beetling brow, tiny eyes and crooked teeth. His hair is a mass of knots, tangles and bits of food. His naked body is covered with dirt, hair and grease.

He stops abruptly when he sees a black dinner jacket hanging from a tree limb. The man–beast looks at it with awe and wonder. Cautiously, he reaches out and touches the lapel.

SOD
Urrrpe…

CUT TO:

EXT. THE MOUTH OF A CAVE - NIGHT

A group of MAN–BEASTS and WOMAN–BEASTS are sitting around a fire. The man-beasts are wearing tuxedos and the woman-beasts are in prom dresses. They are tearing burnt flesh off bones and fighting like dogs. AD LIB: grunts and snarls.

CUT TO:

EXT. RIVERBANK - DAY

The man-beasts and woman-beasts are swimming in the river. Their nice clothes are hung on some bushes near the bank.

ANGLE ON BUSHES

A hand reaches from behind a bush and grabs one of the pretty dresses. Another hand grabs a pair of trousers.

ANGLE - RIVER

The bathers are splashing and fornicating, unaware of the treachery taking place on the bank.

ANGLE ON BUSHES

The last article of clothing disappears.

BACK TO SCENE

Someone points to the empty bushes and SCREAMS. They all clamber for the shore, but it is too late. The treasured clothing has been stolen. AD LIB: shrieks and howls.

THORAX, the tribal leader, convinces Sod that he was responsible for the clothes being taken. He tells him that he must go on a quest to recover them

THORAX
Reaahaa num num, Sod!

SOD
Urrrpe ?

THORAX
(pointing off to the hills)
Num, ba da!

RATSASS and LUMMOX, who think that they might also be Sod, offer to go along.

RATSASS
(mumble)
Igoom.

LUMMOX
Ig-agwar.

Thorax wishes them luck and sends them off.

THORAX
Oohkomblah mumderf, Sod. Gumblah.

SOD
(with conviction)
Rump!

RATSASS
(with reservation)
Rump…

LUMMOX
(with bewilderment)
Rump?

CUT TO:

EXT. A CLEARING - DAY

Sod, Ratsass and Lummox come across the remains of a campsite. It is abandoned, but they find signs of recent occupation.

ANGLE - FIRE PIT.

Sod pokes through the ashes and finds the scorched remains of a coat hanger. He sniffs it, then points off toward the country that lies beyond the hills.

SOD
Urrrpe, goom.

LUMMOX
Rump!

CUT TO:

EXT. ANOTHER CLEARING - DAY.

A GROUP OF MAN-BEASTS have captured a GIRL-BEAST and tied her to a pole.

The man-beasts are dressed in poly/cotton activewear; the girl-beast (MITSEY) has on a pleated wool skirt with matching jacket and a prim, white rayon blouse. Her face is painted with dried animal blood and chalk. She has a bone through her nose. The man-beasts are dancing around, tearing at her clothes and making fun of them. AD LIB laughs and taunts.

MITSEY
(distressed)
Ayeee aheee eee eeeeeeee!

Sod, Ratsass and Lummox run into the middle of the group and frighten off the Activewear People with their nakedness. They release Mitsey, who is grateful.

MITSEY
(energetically)
Oooh ah-eeeee, ah-eeeee!

RATSASS
Gomph?

Appalled by her rescuer's appearance, Mitsey averts her eyes. Then she indicates that they should follow her.

MITSEY
(imploringly)
Ah-ooooo, ooh ah-ooooo!

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. A DENSE FOREST - DAY

Mitsey is leading the adventurers along a narrow pathway between the trees. The forest is dark and forbidding. Mitsey urges them to be silent.

MITSEY
(finger to her lips)
Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…

Through the branches they catch occasional glimpses of bright poly/cotton. SFX: eerie forest noises.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CAVE ENTRANCE - DAY

Mitsey leads her companions into a cleft in the hillside. She advises caution.

MITSEY
Whaa woha ooom.

The others seem confused and afraid.

CUT TO:

INT. CAVE

They emerge from the cleft into an enormous cavern, brightly lit and filled with racks of clothes. Overwhelmed by the sight, Sod, Ratsass and Lummox run over to the racks and start ransacking the goods — row upon row of slacks, shirts, jackets: everything from sportswear to formal attire.

Something moves in the b.g.. The ground shakes, and lurching out of the shadows at the far end of the cavern comes the monster POLYPHEMUS, a twenty-three foot Cyclops with a bad reputation.

POLYPHEMUS
(in a booming voice)
What brings you to my cave!

Terrified, the three man-beasts drop their swag and scramble for the entrance, nearly trampling Mitsey who has been slipping into a pair of black tights and a colorblock fleece top.

SOD / RATSASS / LUMMOX
(together)
WHOOOOOooooooooooooOOOOO!

POLYPHEMUS
Stop!

They stop.

POLYPHEMUS
Why have you come!

They turn and face the monster. Trembling, Ratsass and Lummox push Sod forward as their spokesman.

SOD
with shaking voice)
Ur- ur- urrrpe…

POLYPHEMUS
Thought as much. Well, help yourselves! And if you don't find what you're looking for, ask. There's more in the back.

They return to the racks, and under the watchful eye of the monster they start trying things on.

POLYPHEMUS
(sounding pleased)
That's it, try 'em all. Make sure you get what you want.

Lummox, in a pinstripe suit several sizes too small, goes over to a mirror and checks himself out. Realizing that it's an improper fit, he looks up at Polyphemus.

POLYPHEMUS
No problem, guy. Just a little alteration. I'll have my tailor take care of it. Procrustes! (he looks around)

POLYPHEMUS (cont.)
Procrustes!

PROCRUSTES, a short, swarthy man who looks like a gangster comes out of the back.

PROCRUSTES
What is it, boss?

POLYPHEMUS
Gentleman here needs an alteration.

PROCRUSTES
You got it.
(to Lummox)
Here, just step in the back.

CUT TO:

INT. FITTING ROOM

Procrustes leads Lummox into the room and directs him to lie on a long wooden bed. He picks up a meat cleaver.

PROCRUSTES
We'll do the legs first. Let's see now… a few inches there —

SFX: chop.

LUMMOX
Yeow!

PROCRUSTES
Good, good… now the other one —

SFX: chop.

LUMMOX
Yeow!

PROCRUSTES
Fine! Now, let's have a look at those arms.

Lummox starts to get off the bed.

LUMMOX
(flabbergasted)
Ga-ramba!

PROCRUSTES
Oh, don't be a cry baby. You want to look nice, don't you?

LUMMOX
Rump?

PROCRUSTES
Of course you do, so hold still now.
(takes Lummox's arm)
Let's see, I guess a couple inches here…

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. CAVE - A SHORT WHILE LATER

Sod and Ratsass are showing off their new outfits to an admiring Mitsey.

Lummox walks out of the fitting room on stumps — a dazed grin on his face.

POLYPHEMUS
Well… don't you boys look spiffy now.

SOD
Hoo, wum-wum urrrpe zum?

POLYPHEMUS
Sure, take all you want. Stuff's no good to me.

They start gathering up clothes for the rest of the tribe.

Polyphemus grabs hold of Lummox.

POLYPHEMUS
Say there, buddy! How'd you like a nice hat to go with that?

LUMMOX
Rump.

POLYPHEMUS
Well try this.

He hands Lummox a wide brimmed fedora. Lummox tries to put it on, but the hat is much too small.

POLYPHEMUS
No problem.
(looks around)
Procrustes, over here!

Lummox thrusts the hat back at the Cyclops.

LUMMOX
(adamant)
Gamboona!

POLYPHEMUS
Suit yourself.

Procrustes comes out of the back.

PROCRUSTES
What’d you want, boss?

POLYPHEMUS
Never mind.

Procrustes waits till Polyphemus isn’t looking, then goes over to Sod.

PROCRUSTES
(sotto)
Hey, caveman, come'ere a minute.

He leads Sod off to a corner where they can talk.

SOD
Ludzbut… ?

PROCRUSTES
It’s this Cyclops here. He’s way off his you-know-what, you know what I mean?

SOD
Kamboo. Ig-ig mum urrrpe goom?

PROCRUSTES
Yeah, well, he used to squash people and eat 'em and stuff. Tough guy, right? Only then he goes an' takes after this slut sea-nymph. Calls herself Galatea, right? Now all he cares about is clothes. Wants to be the sophisticated man-about-town type, know what I mean? Thing is, nothin' fits him. That's how come he brings me in. Hears I'm good with the alterations. Ha! Like I was that good, huh? I mean, look, I'd have to prune this guy's arms back to his elbows and his legs clean up to his nuts, and you still wouldn't get him into a large husky.
(confidentially)
Between you and me, I don't think he'd fit that nymph too good neither, know what I mean? But that don't stop him thinkin' about it.Anyhow, he keeps on getting the stuff 'cause it looks good in the catalogs. Then he don't know what to do with it, so he gives it away. Orders stuff for the girl, too. Not that it gets him anywhere. I mean, fer Christ’ sake…
(takes a black chiffon cocktail dress off the rack)
…when's the last time you saw a Nereid in a getup like this? Huh? Stupid jerk. She won't even come in and try the stuff on anymore. Spends her time hangin'with some sheep-farmer's kid. Acis, right? Somethin’ like that. Dumb hick Arcadian type. There's gonna be a messy end to it, believe me. Kid's gonna show his sweet little puss at the wrong time and splat! That's it. Ace the pair of 'em, more'n likely. Get it? Then it's back to the old ways — stompin' folks for chow. Meantime, I'm stuck in this stupid cave playing valet to a one-eyed humbaba who thinks he'll be Cary Grant if he can just squeeze into a nice suit.(looks around to make sure nobody is listening)So listen, here's the deal. I like youse guys. You're all right. So how's this? You help me get outta here, and youse have got yourselves a tailor for life! What-d-you say?

SOD
Rump. Gumboon ohomba.

Procrustes shakes his hand.

PROCRUSTES
Okay, you're on partner! Now, first thing we gotta do is get him good and drunk. Then we…

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE JUNGLE - NIGHT

Thorax and the tribe are huddled around a fire, trying to warm their naked bodies. AD LIB: grunts and moans.

They hear sounds coming through the trees. SFX: thrashing in the brush. Desperately, they try to cover themselves with leaves and sticks and anything else at hand.

Out of the darkness come Sod, Ratsass and Lummox, along with Mitsey, Procrustes and a bundle of nice clothes. Thorax jumps up and welcomes them.

THORAX
Hak-ak, Sod! Ungo!
SOD
Thorax, ungo!

RATSASS/LUMMOX
Ungo!

Sod shows them the clothes. Thorax and the others are impressed; there is great rejoicing.

THORAX
Ummm-ganooba! Lumbo urrrpe!

SOD
(pleased)
Numbga.

PROCRUSTES
Hey, this is nothin'. By time I get done with youse guys, this'll be the most well dressed tribe in the world!

AD LIB shouts and cheers.

Sod makes a beautiful speech, indicating that his travels have broadened his mind and moved him further along the road to becoming Modern Man.

SOD
Umm ge, lor nah umm ge, lots mar na coomba:
Oogdun 'ha bumbwoh a choomp… etc.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. THE JUNGLE - NIGHT - SEVERAL MONTHS LATER

Sod and Mitsey are sitting together in the moonlight. Mitsey looks fetching in a paisley print maternity shift. While Sod gazes philosophically at the stars, wondering what sort of world their child will grow up in, and what sort of clothes they will wear, she affectionately picks the lice out of his Harris Tweed sports jacket.

In the distance we HEAR the voices of the tribe hard at work.

PROCRUSTES (O.S.)
All right, now let's see… I'd say about three inches off here —

SFX: chop.

VOICE (O.S.)
Yeow!

PROCRUSTES (O.S.)
Very nice. Now just a little bit here —

SFX: chop.

FADE OUT.

THE END

©Rick Fine
orig. 1982
rev. 2006

Scroll To Top