The scene is a busy, crowded street during Carnival time in New Orleans. The Krewe of Argus parade is just beginning, and the sidewalks are crowded with drunken revelers, despite the early hour. Flag bearers carry long poles with gorgeous belled streamers attached in red, purple, orange and gold. A series of bands playing jazz and Dixie pass by on floats that seem to stroll lazily, despite their wheels.
A pleasantly open-faced, pony-tailed, red-headed man wearing a blue security guard’s uniform and rectangular spectacles catches a face he can’t help but recognize amidst the crowd. Puzzled, he takes a second glance, and then wanders towards the big man he’d always considered a friend…
CHESTER: …Alec? Alec is that you?
SWAMP THING: CHESTER…IT IS GOOD…TO SEE YOU.
CHESTER: Aw, man! This is great! I can’t believe I’m running into you like this!
SWAMP THING: BUT…YOUR UNIFORM?
CHESTER: Yeah, freaky, isn’t it? Had to make some extra bread, man. Just doing some security for the businesses here, what with the extra crowds and all. Great to see you, man, really!
Chester embraces the plant elemental, and is enveloped by the sharp tang of lime that he remembers so fondly. The nearby party-goers pay scant attention.
CHESTER: So, what are you doing away from Houma? Where’s Abby?
SWAMP THING: ABBY…DID NOT COME WITH ME… CHESTER.
CHESTER: Oh, she’s staying home with Tefe?
SWAMP THING: MY LIFE…HAS CHANGED, SINCE LAST…WE MET, CHESTER. TEFE HAS…IT IS COMPLICATED…
CHESTER: It’s all right, man. It’s okay. Just take your time. What happened to Tefe?
SWAMP THING: TEFE HAS…LEFT US, CHESTER. SHE IS…CONFUSED. I CAN NO LONGER…PERCEIVE HER WITHIN THE GREEN. SHE CHOOSES…TO BE APART FROM US. I AM AFRAID SHE…KILLS HUMANS NOW.
CHESTER: Oh, man. Oh, Alec. I’m so sorry! How’s Abby holding up? Is she okay?
SWAMP THING: ABBY AND I ARE NO LONGER…HUSBAND AND WIFE, CHESTER.
CHESTER: What? But…but you guys were GREAT together! I thought you were a forever couple!
SWAMP THING: WE…WERE DRIFTING APART. SHE WAS NOT…SENSITIVE TO MY NEEDS.
CHESTER: Alec, that doesn’t sound like Abby, and this doesn’t sound like YOU, man! What HAPPENED?
SWAMP THING: …WHEN LADY JAYNE WAS NO LONGER…ABLE TO BE TEFE’S NANNY…WE HIRED A LOCAL GIRL…NAMED DEBBIE.
CHESTER: What? So? What does that have to do with anything? I can barely hear you over all these TUNES, man!
SWAMP THING: SOMETIMES I WOULD NEED TO TAKE DEBBIE HOME…WE WOULD TALK AND TALK. SHE IS AMAZING…I AM LEARNING SO MUCH.
CHESTER: “Debbie?” Oh, man, I’m getting some REAL bad vibes here. Is she the one that made you wear that GAP outfit?
SWAMP THING: SHE SAYS I FEEL OLD…BECAUSE I ACT OLD.
CHESTER: And WHAT is that thing on your HEAD, man?
SWAMP THING: IT IS…A TOUPEE.
CHESTER: Alec, for God’s sake!
SWAMP THING: I HAVE…STAPLED IT TO MY HEAD. IT KEPT…FALLING OFF.
CHESTER: So you left Abby for the BABYSITTER? Alec, how OLD is she?
SWAMP THING: SHE IS…EIGHTEEN YEARS. NOW.
CHESTER: Oh, this is SUCH a downer.
SWAMP THING: WE ARE HAVING OYSTERS….AT ANTOINE’S TONIGHT. THEN WE ARE STAYING…AT THE SLEEP-TITE INN OFF THE…INTERSTATE. IT HAS… A POOL. TOMORROW WE ARE…GOING TO A “RAVE.” “RAVES” ARE …THE BOMB.
CHESTER: I don’t know what to say, man. This is a complete bummer.
SWAMP THING: CHESTER…YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN…A GOOD FRIEND. TO YOU…ABBY AND I MAY HAVE…SEEMED PERFECTLY NORMAL. BUT INSIDE I FELT… LIKE MY ROOTS WERE…TANGLED.
CHESTER: No WAY, man! Abby LOVED you! She didn’t DESERVE this from you!
SWAMP THING: WHEN ABBY AND I FIRST…COMMUNED…SHE WOULD EAT THE PSYCHOTROPIC TUBERS….ON MY BACK…TWICE A WEEK AT LEAST. TOWARDS THE END…IF SHE ATE EVEN ONE TUBER, IT WAS A GOOD MONTH.
CHESTER: Oh, God…I’m not hearing this.
SWAMP THING: DEBBIE…COULD EAT…THREE TUBERS A DAY. SHE IS…FULL OF BOUNDLESS…ENERGY.
CHESTER: That’s no reason to leave your WIFE, man! What were you THINKING?
SWAMP THING: DEBBIE…OFTEN FINDS…INVENTIVE WAYS…TO PREPARE AND CONSUME THE TUBERS.
CHESTER: Aw, Jesus. Where IS this Debbie, anyway?
SWAMP THING: SHE IS…PARKING THE CAR. I AM TO…WAIT HER FOR HER HERE..
DRUNKEN PASSERBY: Pardon me, mes amis! I have many beads for you! Many MANY beads!
SWAMP THING: I DO NOT…UNDERSTAND.
DRUNKEN PASSERBY: Lift your SHIRT, monsieur! Lift your shirt, and I will give you some BEADS!
CHESTER: Move along, man. He’s not gonna lift his shirt for beads.
SWAMP THING: PERHAPS I SHOULD….DEBBIE MIGHT ENJOY…THE BEADS.
CHESTER: Alec, you are SO messed up. You’re not thinking right. Wait a minute, did you say she was parking the car? You bought a car?
SWAMP THING: IT IS…A MIATA.
CHESTER: It’s like I don’t even KNOW you any more. Maybe it’s not too late. Listen, this re-inventing yourself…it happens to lots of people. Maybe Abby will take you back if you go RIGHT NOW and apologize…?
SWAMP THING: IT HAS A…10 DISK CD CHANGER…IN THE TRUNK.
CHESTER: Yeah, that’s great, Alec. Really great. Glad you’re happy. I guess.
SWAMP THING: DEBBIE ATE MANY TUBERS AFTER I…BOUGHT THE AUTOMOBILE…FOR HER.
CHESTER: A car. You know how those things are poisoning the Earth, right? How COULD you, man? Aren’t you supposed to be like, the PROTECTOR of the environment?
SWAMP THING: …DEBBIE SAYS…THAT I NEED TO…GET MY OWN THANG STRAIGHT…BEFORE I…TAKE ON THE HEAD TRIPS…OF TURNIPS IN FRANCE. SHE IS…SO WISE. SHE IS STUDYING…TO BE AN ACTRESS. I AM HOPING…SHE WILL EAT SEVERAL…TUBERS THIS…EVENING.
CHESTER: Fine. Whatever, Alec. S’good to see you, man. I guess I should go back to my post.
SWAMP THING: IT IS…GOOD TO SEE YOU…ALSO…CHESTER. I WOULD…INVITE YOU TO STAY…WITH US…BUT THAT MIGHT…HINDER THE CONSUMPTION…OF THE TUBERS.
CHESTER: Okay, right. Hey, you know…it’s kind of ironic-did you know that “Carnival” literally means, “Farewell to the flesh?” That’s kinda funny, in your case, isn’t it?
SWAMP THING: HERE…COMES DEBBIE…CHESTER. I WANT YOU…TO MEET HER.
A petite dark-haired girl wearing khaki cargo pants and a baby-doll Backstreet Boys t-shirt comes bounding up the sidewalk, carrying shopping bags. When she nears Alec and Chester, she drops her bags and gives Alec a big kiss, throwing her arms around his neck as her feet dangle almost a foot off the ground.
DEBBIE: Hiya, honey! Lissen, I’m gonna need some more money, ’cause I don’t got a thing to wear at all, hardly!
SWAMP THING: WHAT HAPPENED…TO THE… POUCH OF GOLD DUBLOONS …I GAVE YOU…THIS MORNING?
DEBBIE: Ooooh! I bought the CUTEST li’l Cuckoo clock for my ma! It’s ADORABLE! Come on, don’t be such an old green tightwad!
SWAMP THING: …I CANNOT…SAY NO TO YOU…DEBBIE. HERE IS…ANOTHER POUCH. WHO IS YOUR…SNOOGIE WOOGUMS?
DEBBIE: YOU are, you big silly! Does ‘oo wub your li’l Debbie doodlebug?
SWAMP THING: YES. YES…I DO…WUB…MY DEBBIE…DOODLEBUG.
CHESTER: I’m going to be sick.
DEBBIE: Gweat big gween tweetie pie!
SWAMP THING: …ATTRACTIVE…YOUNG CONSUMER…OF TUBERS…
CHESTER: I’m leaving.
DEBBIE: Big stwong cuddle-bear!
SWAMP THING: UH…SWEETIE…PIE…TUBER-EATING…BABY…DOLL…HUMAN FEMALE…
DEBBIE: Debbie’s big Begonia boy!
SWAMP THING: MAMMALIAN BIPED BABY-WABEY…FLESHY HOMO-SAPIEN CUTIE PA…TOOTIE…
And so we leave the two love-birds to their festival, and their blossoming seeds of romantic…uh…orchids, or something. I don’t know much about plants. I had a ficus, but it died ’cause I watered it too much.