"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"
IMPORTANT NOTE: For the sake of comedy (?), I pretend that Warren Zevon is not yet dead. In reality, he died of cancer in 2003. Rest in peace Warren, you crazy, awesome son-of-a-bitch.
NOTE: I do not own the rights to South Park or Warren Zevon's songs, but I wish I did. This piece is written in the form of a script. It includes the original character Charlie Pierzynski (see "The Charlie Arc" for more details). It's rated T for language only. Kenny's lines are parenthesized to indicate that they are muffled.
Contains references to:
"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" by Warren Zevon. (If you are unfamiliar with this song, I recommend looking up the lyrics or, better yet, listening to a version on YouTube. It's a classic.)
"Excitable Boy" by Warren Zevon
"Picture to Burn" by Taylor Swift
"Teardrops on My Guitar" by Taylor Swift
Part 1. Red Bull + Nine-Year-Olds = Best Sleepover Ever
Stan is in his hat and pajamas (green T-shirt and blue pants) in his room, setting up snacks. His door is open. Charlie walks up; she's still dressed in her normal clothes. She's holding two bags of Cheesy Poofs.
Charlie: Okay, I got the Cheesy Poofs.
Stan: Two bags?
Charlie: Well, I was going to get just one, but then I remembered Cartman was coming.
Sharon walks up to the doorway.
Sharon: It's almost seven-thirty. Your little friends will be here soon.
Stan: Okay, Mom.
Charlie: I'm gonna go get in my pajamas. Thanks for letting me hang out with you guys at your sleepover.
Stan: No problem. Just promise you won't do any girly stuff, okay?
She walks out of the room.
Stan (shouting): That includes pillow fights!
Charlie (from other room): Damn it!
Stan hums to himself as he dumps a bag of Cheesy Poofs into a large bowl. The doorbell rings.
Stan: I'll get it!
Stan runs to the door and opens it. Kenny, Kyle, and Cartman are outside in their pajamas (Kenny's still just in his parka) with duffles and sleeping bags.
Cartman (sifting through his duffle bag): I brought my Star Wars video games, and Clyde Frog, and Free Willy…
Stan leads them upstairs. Charlie meets them in front of Stan's room.
Charlie: Hi, guys.
Cartman: Damn it! Stan, what is she doing here?
Charlie: I live here.
Stan: She's gonna hang out with us tonight.
Kenny: WOOHOO! (This is fucking awesome!)
Charlie: Don't worry. I'm still sleeping in Shelley's room.
Suddenly, from Shelley's room comes the horrific sound of… Taylor Swift. She's singing "Teardrops on my Guitar". The guys (except Kenny) and Charlie cover their ears.
Charlie: Jesus Christ, what is that?
Stan: I dunno, but… God! It's awful!
They go into Stan's room. The three visitors unroll their sleeping bags.
Kyle: Hey guys, guess what I brought? Some of that Red Bull stuff that's supposed to give you tons of energy. It's got enough caffeine and sugar to keep you awake all night.
Stan: Dude, where'd you get that? Your mom would never let you buy that stuff.
Kyle: I know a guy.
He passes them out. All five of them open them up and start to drink.
Charlie: I dunno, Kyle. I don't really feel any different.
Three hours later…
Stan and Kyle are jumping on Stan's bed and hollering. Cartman is spinning in circles making buzzing sounds. Kenny and Charlie are jumping around, playing the air guitar and making guitar sounds.
Stan and Kyle (singing): Sixty-seven bottles of beer on the wall! Sixty-seven bottles of beer!
They keep singing in the background.
Cartman: I! Am! Your! Lord! And! Master! AAHHH!
Kenny and Charlie (Batman theme song; Kenny is muffled): Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!
Kyle: This is the best sleepover EVER!
Cartman: HEY! YOU SPEAK WHEN SPOKEN TO! I AM YOUR LORD AND MASTER! RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!
Kenny does a handstand, then gets back up.
Kenny to Charlie: (You try!)
Charlie starts to do a handstand but her shirt starts falling back so she falls down. Kenny starts laughing hysterically and pointing at her.
Charlie: YOU DID THAT ON PURPOSE!
Kenny, still pointing and laughing, nods. Charlie lunges at him and they start rolling around. They knock over Cartman, who falls on top of them.
Charlie: HELP! ELEPHANT ATTACK!
Kyle, still jumping on the bed, starts shooting at Cartman with imaginary guns. Stan does a Tarzan shout and jumps on top of the pile.
Kenny (angrily): (Ouch! Jesus Christ, that hurt!)
Cartman stands up. Stan falls on the ground.
Cartman: I AM KLINGON! HEAR ME ROAR!
Cartman runs into the wall and falls over.
Kyle: WHO WANTS MORE RED BULL?
They all run up and start drinking it like animals.
Charlie: LET'S PLAY RING-AROUND-THE-ROSIE!
Cartman: Holy SHIT; I LOVE that game!
Just then, Sharon pokes her head in.
Stan turns to face her. The others start playing Ring-Around-The-Rosie.
Sharon: Stanley, you guys need to keep it down in here. Shelley is trying to sleep.
Stan: SILENCE! You cannot control me! I obey no man! Ha-ha-ha!
He runs and jumps onto his bed and keeps jumping.
Other four: ASHES! ASHES! WE ALL FALL DOWN!
Four hours later…
Stan is sprawled sideways on his bed, his arms and head dangling over the side. Kyle and Charlie sit on the floor, leaning on the side of the bed. Kenny lies on his back on the floor. Cartman lies on his side on the floor, hugging his knees and trembling. They all have dead expressions on their faces. Kyle burps. No one says anything for a few seconds.
Cartman: Kyle… I fucking hate you…
Shelley walks into the room. She goes up to each of them and slaps them.
Shelley: That's for whichever of you twerps left the toilet seat up.
Charlie: I didn't do it. I'm a girl.
Shelley goes up to Charlie and whacks her again. She then walks out of the room and closes the door. The slaps seem to have brought the group back to their senses.
Kenny: (You guys want to watch Free Willy?)
Kyle: No, that movie is retarded.
Cartman: Hey, you guys are retarded! Free Willy kicks ass!
They're all sitting in a circle in the dark. Kyle is holding a flashlight under his face.
Kyle: Her boyfriend still hadn't come back yet, but she kept hearing the scratch, scratch, scratch on the side of her car. Suddenly, a drop of blood splattered on the windshield. She leaned forward and looked up—
Cartman: And she sees the mutilated corpse of her boyfriend hanging from the tree, gettin' blood all over her nice new car!
Kyle: Hey, shut up, fat-ass! [He gets back into story mode.] Terrified, and the scratching getting louder, she shoves the keys in the ignition and speeds away. Only when she gets out of the car miles away does she realize—
Cartman: The hook hand is stuck in the car door because the escaped serial killer had killed her boyfriend and was trying to break into her car, but when she sped away, he didn't have time to detach his hook from the car door and it got ripped off of his arm. Nice story, Kyle. Very original.
Kyle: Oh, come on! Cartman, you suck ass!
Stan: Dude, we've all heard that story before. It's not that scary.
Kyle: Well, does anyone have anything better?
Charlie: I might. [She takes the flashlight from Kyle.] Have any of you ever heard the tale of… Roland, the headless Thompson gunner?
Charlie: The vengeful ghost of Roland, the headless Thompson gunner. It started out in Denmark, on a dark and stormy day.
Cartman: Oh, brother.
Charlie: Hey, you better shut up and let me tell the story! Roland was a man from Norway, born around 1940.
Kenny: (Did he have a head?)
Charlie: Yes, he had a head… when he was alive. Roland was a warrior. In 1966, he set sail for Biafra to fight the Bantu people in the Congo. Once he made it ashore, he joined a group of European fighters. He was placed in a battalion of Thompson gunners headed by a fellow named William Van Owen. He was sent out to battle immediately, and soon, everyone in his battalion realized he was the best Thompson gunner that there ever was. The blood, carnage, and human suffering didn't distract him, and his aim was always deadly. You see, Roland was a vicious psychopath, so he didn't feel remorse for killing people and he didn't feel upset when his comrades got their heads bashed in. He was a really good fighter. But there was a problem. You see, the United States didn't like the Congolese war, and Roland was one of its best fighters. So the CIA decided they wanted Roland dead.
Cartman: And when the CIA wants someone dead, they're fucking dead.
Charlie: Shut up, Cartman! …So they hired the battalion's commander, that son-of-a-bitch Van Owen, to do the job for them. One night when Roland was on guard while the rest of the battalion slept, Van Owen came up behind him and blew off Roland's head!
Kenny: (Oh no!)
Charlie: Oh yes! Van Owen escaped in a CIA-sanctioned tank before any of the other gunners knew what had happened. Roland was dead, but since he was murdered and his killer wasn't brought to justice, he couldn't rest in peace. His headless ghost wandered the continent, searching for the man who'd done him in, his Thompson gun in hand. At long last, Roland found Van Owen in Mombassa, in a barroom drinking gin. Roland's specter approached him. Van Owen was too afraid to even speak. He just started trembling like a crack-head going through withdrawal.
Stan: …Like a what?
Charlie: Never mind. He just started shaking. Roland aimed his Thompson gun. He didn't say a word. Then he blew out Van Owen's body. All they ever found of him… was his head.
Kyle: Oh, the irony!
Charlie: Roland loves irony. But even when Van Owen died, Roland couldn't rest. You see, Van Owen was paid by the CIA to kill him, so until he gets revenge against those agents, he can't rest in peace. Roland traveled to the United States, seeking revenge against those CIA agents who planned his demise. They say he's still roaming the States, searching for the agents he has yet to kill… always looking for revenge.
Charlie flickers the flashlight on and off rapidly, cackling evilly.
Stan: Hey, stop it! You're gonna burn out the bulb!
Kyle: Is…is that a true story?
Charlie: Heh, no. [She flickers the flashlight again.] Or is it…?
Stan: I'm serious, dude; stop it!