"Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner"

Part 3. Roland Makes the World a Better Place

None of them move. Kyle glances at Charlie, who is staring nervously at the end of the hallway.

Kyle: Well… let's go then.

They start walking down the hallway. Charlie hugs herself. She looks at Kyle, and he smiles nervously. She grabs his hand and they keep walking. (Kyle looks surprised, then delighted.)

Whispering Voice: Seven years' worth of semen splattered the walls as he choked his dying breath.

Charlie (whispering/squealing, and grabbing Kyle's arm): What the fuck, man?

They all stop walking for a moment, and stare ahead at the black end of the hallway, where the voice appears to be coming from.

Whispering Voice: She put it in her will; she wanted her skin to be made into three lampshades, one for each of her children.

There's silence for a moment.

Kyle: Uh… Mr. Zevon?

Whispering voice: His underwear was stained red with the menstrual blood of his numerous lovers.

They keep walking forward.

Whispering voice: She had a head she could screw on and off. When she took it off, she could be used as a human flashlight by inserting a light bulb in her neck. [Pause as they keep walking forward.] "Come to me," she cried, "and I will gift you the dewdrops on the skin of a thousand virgins."

At last they reach the end. They can finally see, in the dim lighting, that there is nothing more than a chair with a tape recorder playing on it.

Whispering Voice: The man who eats his mother eats his lover.

Kyle: What the…?

Suddenly, the whole place lights up and a man walks in from a hidden door in the wall, laughing.

Warren Zevon: I gotcha! Ha-ha! I love the old tape-recorder-playing-cryptic phrases-in-a-dimly-lit-hallway trick. It's a classic!

The kids stare at him in puzzlement. Kenny tilts his head.

Warren Zevon: Hey kids, I'm Warren Zevon! Welcome to my humble home!

Kyle: You—you have a sick sense of humor, Mister! Come on! We're just a bunch of eight-year-olds!

Cartman: Oooh, Kyle and Charlie are holding haa-aands!

They awkwardly let go. Charlie looks embarrassed and Kyle looks angry.

Kyle: That was just because she was scared because this sick son-of-a-bitch thinks it's funny to terrify children with stuff like, "His underwear was stained with—uh, with…"

Charlie (still looking shell-shocked from the whole ordeal): His underwear was stained red with the menstrual blood of his numerous lovers.

Warren Zevon: Well, I do apologize. I didn't realize you kids were so young. Here, this hallway is just for show. Come on back with me to La Casa Zevon.

They walk through the hidden door into a luxurious lounge.

Warren Zevon: Would you children care for some refreshments?

Stan: Um, actually, Mr. Zevon—

Cartman: Ooh, could I have Cheesy Poofs and some root beer?

Warren Zevon: You can have some Cheesy Poofs, but all I have to drink is, uh… [He checks his fridge.] …hard liquor and chocolate milk.

Kenny: (I'll take a scotch on the rocks, please.)

Warren Zevon: Aren't you a little young for—

Kenny (angrily): (I said I'll take a goddamn scotch!)

Warren Zevon: Whoa, whoa, okay man, calm down.

He pours Kenny some scotch.

Warren Zevon: Alright then, let's get down to business. [He reclines into a comfy chair and kicks his feet up on a small table.] What brought you kids out to my place today?

Stan: Your song… uh, "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner".

Warren Zevon suddenly sits up straight.

Warren Zevon: What about it?

Stan: Well… it's just a song, right? You just made it up?

Warren Zevon stands up and walks over to the other side of the room, his back facing the kids.

Warren Zevon: If only, little boy. If only.

Kyle: So some of it's true?

Warren Zevon: All of it's true. I know. I was there.

{Flashback. Young Warren Zevon walks through the jungle of the Congo in an army uniform towards a base camp.}

Warren Zevon: I was a fresh-faced young man looking for adventure. I thought I'd find it in the Congo.

{Young Zevon walks up to an important looking guy in a formal outfit.}

{Young Zevon: Private Warren Zevon here, sir!}

{Man: You just get in off the boats?}

{Young Zevon: Yes, sir!}

{Man: Excellent. [Hands him a bucket and a mop.] You're on janitorial duty.}

Warren Zevon: I quickly gained the respect of high-ranking military officials, who permitted me to attend some of their most private meetings.

{There's a group of CIA agents having a meeting around a table. A secret-service style guy walks into the room and whispers something to one of the agents.}

{Agent: What? The janitor? Is he white?}

{Secret Guy: Yes, sir.}

{Agent: Then send him in.}

{Young Zevon sheepishly enters the room and starts mopping.}

Warren Zevon: I was privy to some of their plans… including that to kill a young Norwegian Thompson gunner named Roland.

{Agent 1: He's getting too good. We have to figure out some way to decrease his fighting abilities.}

{Agent 2: I say we kill the son-of-a-bitch.}

{Agent 1: All's fair in love and war, Frank, but it's not really our place to-}

{Agent 2: Why the hell not? We're the CIA, aren't we? We can do whatever the hell we want!}

{All: Yeah!}

Warren Zevon: That's all I heard about Roland for over a year, but I was always haunted by the knowledge that I had heard the plans but did nothing about it. I had left the Congo and travelled to Mombassa. One night I went to the bar for a drink when I heard a drunk man bragging about a hit he'd done for the CIA. The victim's name was Roland.

{Van Owen: And I blew that motherfucker's head straight out of existence! Sweetest $50 I ever done made, too.}

Warren Zevon: That's when it happened.

{A headless specter with a machine gun passes through the bar. The lights in the barroom go out. There's some commotion, then silence, a gunshot, and some screaming. When the lights return, the specter is gone, and Van Owen's head is on the stool where he was once sitting. End flashback.}

Warren Zevon is in tears.

Warren Zevon: All those memories haunted me until I had to get them out of my head. The voices… The voices!

Cartman: …Coooool.

Kyle: Mr. Zevon, we think it's possible that, well, if this ghost is real… he might be taking revenge on the CIA agents who planned his murder. Do the names "Frank Bianco" or "Henry Bargin" mean anything to you?

Warren Zevon: Oh no. Not again.

He puts a hand to his forehead and leans over a table.

Kyle: I noticed that it looks like Bargin's name is encrypted into the song in the line about being in a "barroom drinkinggin."

Kenny (while pouring himself more scotch): (Did somebody say "gin"?)

Kyle: Is there any other information in there that might be useful? We think that Stan's grandpa might have been one of the CIA agents behind Roland's murder. We have to find a way to make sure Roland doesn't kill Stan or his mom.

Warren Zevon: There were six agents involved in planning the murder: Ira Landon, Henry Bargin, Frank Bianco, Alan Stine, Robert Berkeley, and Mark Denison.

Stan: Mark Denison? Oh my God! It really was my grandpa!

Warren Zevon: To rid myself of my guilt, I hid each of their names in my song. As this clever lad already discovered, I hid Bargin's name in the phrase about Van Owen sitting in a "barroom drinking gin"-Bargin. The others' names are all hidden in locations mentioned in the song. Listen to this: "The deal was made in Denmark on a dark and stormy day."Den-mark.Mark Denison.

Kyle: Ohhh.

Warren Zevon: Then the next line is this: "So they set out for Biafra to join the bloody fray."Bia-fra is code for Frank Bianco. Then, in the last verse of the song, I included the line, "In Ireland, in Lebanon, in Palestine and Berkeley." The names of Ira Landon, Alan Stine, and Robert Berkeley are hidden there.

Charlie: Look, Mr. Zevon, Frank Bianco was killed yesterday and Henry Bargin's son was killed the night before. They were both beheaded and—

Warren Zevon: All that was left at the crime scenes were the heads, Thompson guns, and eerie messages. I know. Landon was killed back in '88, Berkley's daughter in '93, and Stine's head was discovered in '94. If Bargin and Bianco are dead now… then, well, it seems that Mark Denison is the only agent still unpunished for Roland's death.

Stan: So… is there any way to stop him?

Warren Zevon: I'm afraid I'm not aware of any, children. And it's not for lack of trying, I assure you. You see, I was there when the plan was made up, and I've always feared that, perhaps, he might try to exact his revenge on me as well.

Cartman: Heh, whoa, I'm sure glad my ancestors never pissed off Roland the headless Thompson gunner.

Charlie: Shit! I don't want Stan or Mrs. Marsh or Warren Zevon to die!

She hugs Stan, who looks at Warren Zevon in pure terror.

Warren Zevon: Hey there, don't get down, now. Here, kids, let me sing you a little song that might cheer you all up.

Warren Zevon goes over to a piano and starts playing.

Warren Zevon (singing the song "Excitable Boy"): Well, he went down to dinner in his Sunday best. Excitable boy, they all said. And he rubbed the pot roast all over his chest. Excitable boy, they all said. Well, he's just an excitable boy.

The kids have started grinning and dancing. Kenny is drinking scotch directly out of the bottle.

Warren Zevon (singing): He took in the four A.M. show at the Clark. Excitable boy, they all said. And he bit the usherette's leg in the dark. Excitable boy, they all said.

Stan (still dancing, but looking a little bewildered): Wait, he bit what now?

Warren Zevon (singing): Well, he's just an excitable boy. He took little Suzie to the junior prom. Excitable boy, they all said. And he raped her and killed her and brought her home.

They all stop dancing and stare at him, confused.

Warren Zevon (singing): Excitable boy, they all said. Well he's just an excitable boy. [Speaking] Piano solo!

He plays a bit of a piano solo.

Warren Zevon: Saxophone solo!

A black man in sunglasses playing the saxophone comes out of nowhere and plays a solo, then leaves.

Warren Zevon (singing): After ten long years, they let him out of the home. Excitable boy, they all said. And he dug up a grave and built a cage with her bones. Excitable boy, they all said. Well, he's just an excitable boy!

He stops playing and turns around to face the kids. They're all standing there, staring at him with expressions of shock and confusion.

Warren Zevon: Do you feel better now, kids?

Kyle: Dude, you're worse than Chef!

Stan: What's "rape" mean?

Just then, the lights start to flicker and a gust of wind blows into the room.

Cartman: Jesus, I'm freezing my balls off all of sudden.

Kenny hiccups and vomits. His eyes are glazed over and he's clearly intoxicated.

Cartman: Goddamn it, Kenny, not on the carpet!

Warren Zevon: Oh, crap, the little orange-coat boy is drunk.

The wind picks up again and an unearthly groaning sound reverberates off the walls.

Charlie: What's going on?

Just then, a large, headless ghost carrying a machine gun appears in the room.

Warren Zevon: It's him! It's Roland the headless—

Roland aims his gun at Warren Zevon and shoots. His body splatters against the wall and his head falls to the ground.

Stan: Oh my God! Roland the headless Thompson gunner killed Warren Zevon!

Kenny: (You bastard!)

Roland floats over to where the body is. It soaks into Roland's body and disappears. Screaming, the kids start to run away towards the elevator.

Kyle to Charlie: Are you scared?

Charlie: Yes!

Kyle: Hold my hand again, you'll feel better!

She grabs his hand.

Charlie: I don't feel any different!

Kyle: Uh, just wait! It'll kick in eventually!

They get to the elevator. Kenny, drunk, has fallen behind, and Roland is getting closer to him.

Stan: Oh my God! Roland is gonna kill Kenny!

Charlie: Don't just stand there!

She runs over to Kenny and puts his arm over her shoulder. They run back to the elevator, which closes behind them. She glares at the other three.

Cartman: Um, hooray! Charlie saved Kenny.

Charlie lets go of Kenny. He falls down to the floor of the elevator.

Charlie: You guys were just gonna let Roland kill Kenny! You assholes!

Stan: Uh, oops.

Kenny throws up again.

Cartman: Dudes, Kenny's, like, sooo wasted right now.

The elevator doors open. The boys walk out and Charlie drags Kenny out by the arm. Lionel, the butler, is sitting in a chair reading a newspaper. He stands up and bows.

Lionel: Are you gentlemen and lady in need of anything else this afternoon?

Stan: Dude, Warren Zevon just got killed by Roland the headless Thompson gunner.

Lionel: I'm dreadfully sorry you had to see that, children. I believe your Chef is waiting in his car in the drive. Please do visit again.

The boys walk out.

Charlie: Could I get a little help here? [The boys ignore her.] Sons of bitches…

She drags Kenny out of the house and across the gravel up to the car. He flops into the backseat, then Charlie follows.

Chef: How was your visit with Warren Zevon, children?

Stan: It pretty much sucked ass.

Cartman: Warren Zevon got beheaded by Roland the headless Thompson gunner and Kenny got wasted.

Charlie: We're pretty much worse off than before, because now we know for sure that Roland is real, Roland can kill people, and Roland's gonna want to get revenge on Stan's grandpa, but there's nothing we can do about it.

Cartman: Yeah, Stan is totally screwed.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Chef stops the car in front of Stan's house. The kids get out (Charlie again holding onto Kenny's hand and dragging him) and Chef rolls down the window.

Kids: Thanks, Chef.

Chef: You kids watch out for that evil ghost now.

Kyle: Okay, Chef.

Chef drives away. They start to walk in the house.

Kyle: So now what do we do?

He, Stan, and Cartman enter the house. Charlie is dragging Kenny up the stairs.

Charlie: C'mon… Help me out, here, Kenny…

Kenny: (Ugh…)

He vomits.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Inside, Kyle tries to comfort Stan.

Kyle: Don't worry, dude, we'll figure out something.

Stan: No we won't. I'm doomed. And my mom's doomed.

Charlie, breathing heavily, drags Kenny into the house.

Charlie: You guys suck.

Just then, Shelley comes down the stairs. She's playing Taylor Swift loudly on her iPod speakers. The kids cover their ears and groan.

Cartman: Gah! Make it stop!

Charlie: It's so awful! It's so unforgivably awful!

Kyle: That's it!

Charlie: What's it?

Kyle: Taylor Swift! Her music is so horrible we might be able to use it to keep Roland away!

Stan: How?

Kyle: Well, first off, me and Kenny and Cartman have to go home and get all our speakers and bring them back.

Kenny moans on the floor.

Kyle: Or just me and Cartman. While we're gone, you guys should look for as many different speakers and music players around your house as you can find. We'll meet back here in half an hour.

Everyone but Kenny, who is still lying on the floor, scratched up from being dragged around, runs away.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

The five stand together in Stan's living room. There are radios, iPods, speakers, etc. set up all over.

Stan: …And it turns out my sister even had a DVD of her live in concert!

Kyle: Okay, once everyone has their earplugs in, you know what to do. Ready?

The others nod. They push plugs into their ears (Charlie also puts on earmuffs) and start turning on the devices. Different Taylor Swift songs start playing at maximum volume. Randy, Sharon, and Shelley all enter the room. Randy and Sharon cover their ears.

Sharon: What on earth?

Stan walks up to his parents and offers them each a pair of earplugs. Randy and Sharon look at each other, confused, before putting them in. Meanwhile, Stan goes over to the TV and puts in the DVD of Taylor Swift live in concert. Just then, out of nowhere, it gets windy. The kids all start to look around the room nervously. The lights start to flicker. Kyle, Kenny, Charlie, and Cartman all huddle together. Randy, Sharon, and Shelley look confused. Stan hurries to get the DVD playing.

Stan: Come on… Come on…

The ghost of Roland appears. Randy, Sharon, and Shelley all hug each other and look scared. The boys (except Stan) and Charlie also hug each other.

Charlie: It didn't work! He's gonna kill Stan!

Roland approaches Stan, who finally gets the DVD started with Taylor Swift singing "You Belong with Me". Stan yelps and Roland aims his Thompson gun… but then he jabs the image of Taylor Swift on the television. Groaning sounds emit from his neck, sputtering stuff.

Stan: …Wh—Huh?

Roland clenches and shakes his fist, then jabs the image of Taylor Swift again. The Marshes, who had been closing their eyes, look at Stan and Roland. So do Charlie and the boys.

Charlie: W-what's he doing?

Roland picks up Stan by his coat collar and shakes him, pointing at the image of Taylor Swift on the screen.

Mrs. Marsh: Put down my baby!

She runs over as Roland releases Stan and hugs him. Roland is obviously frustrated, and the Taylor Swift music is driving him insane. He appears to aim his gun at Charlie and the boys. They scream and duck, and Roland shoots out the stereo playing music behind them. He then proceeds to shoot out each music player in the room except for the television. He again tries to communicate with Stan. He points to himself, then points to Taylor Swift.

Stan: I… I think he wants me to take him to Taylor Swift.

Roland jumps up and down in delight. He pats Stan on the head.

Shelley: Oh, Taylor Swift is playing a concert in Denver tonight! I wanted to go, but it sold out.

Roland poses as if cackling evilly before he shoots the image of Taylor Swift on the TV, wrecking it.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Mrs. Marsh is driving the car. Roland the headless Thompson gunner is in the passenger seat, Stan and Cartman are in the middle, and Kyle, Charlie, and Kenny are in the back. Mrs. Marsh looks more freaked out than any of the kids.

Sharon: So, uh, Roland, I hear you've been to Africa. Did you see any interesting animals? Gorillas, or elephants or anything?

Roland makes attempts at speech that just sound like gurgling coming from his neck.

Stan: Mom. He doesn't have a mouth.

Sharon: Of course, Stanley. Of course he doesn't have a mouth. Because he's a headless ghost. And if you don't have a head, you can't have a mouth, so you can't talk. Silly me. Ha-ha-ha.

Charlie: Are you all sobered up now, Kenny?

Kenny: (Yeah.)

Charlie: Good, 'cause damn it if I've got to drag you anywhere else.

Sharon: Charlotte! Language!

Charlie (covering her mouth and looking down): Sorry, Mrs. Marsh.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

They pull up to an arena. There's a guy at the gate.

Guy: You folks here for the Swift concert?

Sharon: We're being held hostage by a headless ghost with a machine gun. For God's sake, let us in.

Guy: Ma'am, we don't—

He looks in the car and sees Roland. For a few seconds he just stares at him.

Guy: Go right ahead, ma'am, enjoy the show.

They drive up to the front of the arena. Sharon stops the car and Roland and the kids get out. Nearby, a huge line of mostly teenage girls waits outside the arena. They walk up to a security guard at the front.

Stan (tugging at his pants leg to get his attention): Um, excuse me? We need to see Taylor Swift.

Guard: Well then you'll have to wait in line like everyone else.

Another Guard: Time to open up! Let's get this concert started!

Cheers erupt. Kenny gets trampled as hundreds of Taylor Swift fans run past.

Stan: Oh my God! They killed Kenny!

Kyle: You bastards!

The three boys stand and wait as the girls continue to run into the arena. Charlie stares in horror with her hands over her mouth. When the crowd finally recedes, she runs up to the bloody corpse and hugs it.

Charlie: Oh my God! Oh my God! [She starts crying.] Poor Kenny!

Cartman (in a high-pitched mocking voice): Ooh, I'm Charlie! I cry when Kenny gets trampled to death because I'm a pansy little girl!

Stan: Yeah. Don't be such a wuss, Charlie.

They walk into the arena with Roland. Charlie gets up, still sniffling. She's covered in blood.

Charlie: (Sniffle) You guys are assholes. (Sniffle)

In the arena, fans are in their seats, cheering, as the announcer welcomes Taylor Swift.

Announcer: Now here she is, the little princess of country music: Taylooooor Swift!

They all keep walking towards the stage. The crowd is going nuts.

Taylor: Hey, everybody! It's so nice of you to all come join me here! I'm gonna start out with a little song I wrote about a boy I once knew. [She starts playing guitar and singing.] Drew looks at me/I fake a smile so he won't see…

The lights go out suddenly. There are screams in the audience and a gunshot goes off. When the lights are back on, Roland is gone, and all that remains of Taylor Swift is her head. A Thompson gun has been smashed through her guitar. All hell breaks loose in the arena.

Stan: Oh my God! Roland the headless Thompson gunner killed Taylor Swift!

Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Charlie: Hooray!

Kyle notices a note stuck to the back of Stan's coat.

Kyle: Hey, what's this?

Stan: Huh?

Kyle tears the note off of Stan's coat.

Kyle (reading): Dear Children, I thank you for leading me to the home of the Princess of Country. She has been disposed of. Her death has brought me more solace than any of my murders of revenge. I feel that now, I can finally rest in peace. Yours faithfully, Roland the headless Thompson gunner.

Charlie: Wow. I guess, even after all those years of looking for revenge, Roland finally decided to do something to just make the world a better place.

Cartman: And it meant more than all the revenge in the world. How quaint, you guys.

Kyle: P.S.: Seriously, that bitch sucked. I mean, Jesus Christ. Why, God, why?

Charlie: This is great, Stan! Now he isn't going to kill you or your mom! It's almost perfect.

Stan: Why isn't it perfect? What's wrong?

Charlie: I… I just wish Kenny didn't have to die.

Cartman: [Sighs.] My God, are you still thinking about that? My God, you are such a pussy.

Charlie: But… but look! There are rats eating his corpse and everything!

Rats drag away Kenny's body. Charlie starts crying again.

Kyle: Don't be sad. Just think about all the little rat babies that will get to eat tonight thanks to Kenny.

Charlie pauses as if contemplating this. Then she vomits.

Cartman: No! No! Don't puke! That'll make Stan puke!

Stan vomits. Charlie vomits again. Stan vomits again. Kyle vomits. Cartman cracks up.

Cartman: I love you guys.

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The kids sit in front of the TV at Cartman's house. They're watching a news story. Charlie is dressed in a black shirt instead of her normal bluish jacket.

Newscaster: Yesterday was a tragic day for the music industry as it saw the deaths of both Taylor Swift and Warren Zevon. Both were ghoulishly murdered, and detectives have no leads. Investigators declined to say whether they believed the two murders were related. Friends of Swift and Zevon in the music industry have already begun planning a memorial album for the talented pair, which is expected to feature such talents as the Jonas Brothers, Tom Petty, Carrie Underwood, R.E.M., and Miley Cyrus.

Cartman to Charlie: Dude, why are you wearing black all of a sudden? Are you going goth? Because that is so not cool.

Charlie: Kenny and Warren Zevon died yesterday. I'm showing respect for the dead, asshole.

Cartman: You should really try a little harder to respect color coordination.

Newscaster: In other news, the skeletal remains of an eight-year-old boy were discovered in Denver, along with several happy and well-nourished families of Denver rats. It appears that, in death, this young lad gave the gift of his mortal shell to these critters, allowing them to live happy and strong. When reached for comment, one father rat said, "Squeaky squeak squeaker." Now over to Jim Flannigan with the weather.

They stare at the TV in shock. Charlie, Stan, and Kyle all vomit.

Cartman: Seriously, NOT COOL, guys. Someone's gonna have to clean this up.

Pause.

Cartman: MOO-OOM!

The End