Act VIII, Scene I
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murd'rous shame commits. ~ Sonnet IX
Bob awoke slowly, ascending layers of consciousness the way a deep sea diver rises from the ocean's depths. He first became aware of voices; distant at first, and echoing, but growing closer and clearer. The next thing he was aware of was a throbbing pain in his head and a warm fuzzy tingling everywhere else. His eyelids bore lead weights, and it was only with enormous effort that he managed to open them. The conscious world was a blur of color and movement. As he strained to focus, a deep, zombie-ish groan escaped his parched throat, startling himself with its loudness.
"Hey look, I think he's coming around!" said a nasally voice from somewhere above. Bob shifted his immensely heavy head toward the voice, which seemed to belong to a skinny man in suspenders.
"You all right there, buddy?" asked an African-American man, bending over him. "Here, lemme help you up."
It was hard to tell, but he seemed to be offering a hand. Bob reached toward the blur but grabbed air. After a few unsuccessful tries, the man took hold of his hand and pulled. Bob didn't budge.
"Gimme a hand, Lenny!" Carl growled, trying his best to raise his fallen supervisor.
"Can't," Lenny replied. "I got a hernia lifting Homer off the floor last time."
"I'll do it!" Moe spoke up. He hurried around the bar and knelt down on Bob's other side. Bob tried to shrink away from the trollish little man, but in his current position, he could barely move at all. Bile threatened to rise to his throat, and already he could taste the sour acid as if he'd drunk a pint of it before passing out.
The tavern spun around him as he was hoisted up, Carl on one side, Moe on the other and muttering something about lawsuits and liabilities. Far too dizzy to stand on his own, Bob leaned heavily against Carl who, with Moe's help, guided him to a bar stool. Though unable to climb onto it, Bob managed to park one buttock on the stool so that he was sitting half on, half off it, his other leg propping him up. His upper body slumped on top of the bar. He was slightly winded and shaky, and stared off into space with bleary eyes.
"Man, he looks terrible," Lenny remarked.
"Yeah, I think the blue stripe was a bad idea," said Carl, returning to his stool between Bob and Lenny.
"Nothin' a little H-two-O and an aspirin won't cure," Moe murmured as he went to fetch said items from behind the bar.
The sound of a flush preceded Homer out of the men's room.
"Hey! He's up!" With a grin, Homer walked over to Bob and slapped him on the back, making him jolt and sway. "That was a pretty impressive fall you took, and I've watched a lot of drunks hit the floor in my day. You sure know how to pass out with style."
Bob held onto the bar as if for dear life and glared at the fat bald man. "Do I (burp) do I know you?" His voice came out hoarse and wavering, and sounded surprisingly unfamiliar to himself.
"Do you ever!" Homer chuckled. "You've only tried to kill my boy about a dozen times!"
His words hardly made sense to Bob, who struggled to sit up straighter. "Kill?"
"That's right. You tried but you always failed."
Suddenly Bob felt sick. He looked around. "Where's the restroom? And... where am I exactly?"
"Jeez, that drink really did a number on him," Carl muttered, watching Bob try to stand on both feet while glancing about in confusion.
"Can's that way," Moe pointed toward the back.
Bob nodded and started walking toward it. The first few steps went smoothly, but a sudden bout of dizziness made him sway and stumble into Lenny on his stool. Homer chuckled and put an arm around him.
"I've gotcha, pal. Come on."
"No, I can d- (hic!) I can do it!" Bob tried to pull away, but Homer held on tighter. "Urgh, lemme go! Unhand me, you oaf!"
"I'm trying to help you, jerk!" Homer growled, grabbing and pulling Bob back toward him when he managed to break free a moment.
Bob shoved his hand in Homer's face, trying to push him off. He felt teeth against his fingers and yanked his hand away for fear of being bitten. The sudden movement caused the already disoriented man to stagger backward. He swung both arms out, grabbing the collar of Homer's shirt in one hand and air in the other. The empty fist swung wildly, grazing Homer's cheek. Thinking it was deliberate, Homer retaliated by grabbing a lock of Bob's hair and pulling hard. This made Bob stumble forward, saving him from falling one way while threatening to make him fall the opposite way. He collided with Homer, and suddenly both men were simultaneously pushing and pulling at each other in a desperate attempt to break free of the other's grip while trying to stay standing.
A sharp pain in Bob's foot made him howl when Homer stepped on it accidentally. The sudden loud noise startled Homer and he fell back against the bar, tearing out a fistful of Bob's hair, also an accident. Bob yelled again, incoherent curses and animal sounds pouring from his mouth nonstop. He clutched at his head, hangover and hair-ripping pain pulsing through it, causing him to see red literally for a moment.
When his vision cleared, he saw the bald man standing before him, staring in fearful awe. Several long strands of curly auburn hair hung from his fat fist.
A deep, rumbling, lionesque growl rose from Bob's throat. His eyes narrowed to slits in his pallid face, his teeth bared like the fangs of a wolf. Slowly he raised a fist and extended his index finger, pointing it at Homer's face with all the malice of a dagger.
"YOU!" he snarled, breathing raggedly and foaming at the mouth. "YOU DIE NOW!"
Without warning Bob lunged at him. Homer dashed just in time, feeling Bob's fingernails graze his backside. He bolted out the door with Bob close on his heels. Under normal circumstances, Homer would have been overtaken by the lanky man within seconds. But these were not normal circumstances. For Bob, a man who worked out regularly and rarely drank to excess, intoxication weighed him down. By contrast Homer, a man who drank daily and whose idea of exercise was leisurely following the ice cream truck down the block while finishing his fudgesicle so he could buy another one, happened to have sobriety on his side.
Home was only a few blocks down the street, but to Homer it felt like a hundred miles. Panting heavily, he reached the front door and was about to burst through it when it opened. Marge blocked the doorway.
"I just steam-cleaned the carpets!" she told him. "You're not coming inside with those dirty shoes on!"
"But Marge - !"
"No buts! Take them off!"
"I'M GOING TO KILL YOU!"
Bob was on the front lawn, lumbering toward him with his arms outstretched, nearly within strangling distance. Homer shrieked.
"AAAH! No time!"
He ran around the house toward the backyard with Bob in hot pursuit. Out of nowhere the garden hose tripped him up. Homer landed on his hands and knees and scrambled for the doghouse. Bob lunged at him, eyes gleaming like knife blades.
A loud piercing THWACK rang out through the neighborhood. Bob staggered backwards from the impact of the rake handle to his face. He backed into a trellis and became entangled in the rosebush growing on it. He yelped at the thorns and struggled to break free, only to collide with a hanging bird feeder and wind chimes. Swaying to sidestep these, he stepped on a skateboard on the patio. It rolled forward suddenly, pitching him face-first into the trunk of a large tree. Staggering back from this, he glanced upward just in time to see a metal bucket on a rope come falling from the treehouse above. It hit him square in the face and he tripped backward over a tricycle before hitting the ground, unconscious.
An unsettling silence filled the air. Homer backed out of the doghouse and stood up, staring in shock at the body on the lawn. Bart climbed down from the tree. Marge opened the back door, gasped, and rushed outside, Maggie and Lisa following.
"Homer! What's Sideshow Bob doing in our backyard?"
Lisa cautiously approached the unconscious man. "He's hurt! What did you do to him, Bart?"
"Nothing!" Bart replied, coming to stand beside her. Lisa glared at him. "Fine, I dropped a bucket on his head. The rest he did to himself."
Santa's Little Helper wandered over and started sniffing Bob's shoes. He seemed to follow a trail up his leg that ended at his crotch, where he paused to sniff extensively. Bart picked up a stick fallen from the tree and poked Bob's lifeless face with it.
Meanwhile Homer was explaining the day's events to Marge, who finally looked over and saw what was happening. "Shoo! You know you're not allowed to sniff the no-no zone! And Bart, stop poking him! He's already badly injured."
The family gathered closer, looking down at their archenemy. Daylight had left the backyard, making room for the shadow of early evening. The gloomy light did little for the unconscious man's pale complexion or the bruises already darkening on his face. Blood trickled from his nose and mouth. There were raw abrasions here and there as well.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!" Homer panicked. "He's dead, he's dead, he's dead! What do we do, what do we do, what do we do?"
"Calm down!" Marge ordered. "Let's be rational about this."
Homer grinned. "You're right! Quick, Bart, grab a shovel and a tarp! I'll bring the car around and we'll load the body into the trunk, then -"
"Dad!" Lisa spoke up. "He's not dead!" She felt Bob's wrist for a pulse. "But he does need medical care."
"I'll call for an ambulance," Marge announced. Homer grabbed her by the arm to stop her.
"No, Marge! Don't you see? He got hurt on OUR property, which means he could sue us!"
"But we can't just leave him out here like this!"
"Then let's just load him into the car, take him for a little drive, and find a nice remote spot to abandon him in. Out of sight, out of mind!"
"That's inhumane!" Lisa shouted.
"You're inhumane!" Bart argued childishly.
"I am not!" Lisa snapped. "I'm a charter member of both PETA and the ASPCA!"
"Don't get all huffy with me! I'm a PETA member too!"
Lisa blinked. "Since when?"
"Since I joined the awesome society of People Eating Tasty Animals," Bart answered with a smirk.
"Barbarian!" Lisa growled and shoved him. Bart shoved back.
Suddenly there were two fights taking place over Bob's unconscious form, one between spouses and one between siblings.
"Ahem! Hi-diddly-ho there, neighborinos!"
Everyone fell silent and looked over at the house next door. Ned Flanders was standing behind the fence that separated their yards, looking calm despite the commotion.
"Now I hate to be a Prying Penelope, but I couldn't help noticing you've got a corpse-diddly-orpse on your lawn."
"He's not dead!" Lisa repeated, a tad angry this time.
"Yeah, see?" Bart poked Bob's blackened eye with the stick, causing the would-be corpse to moan.
Marge swiped the stick from him. "Bart! Stop that! It was a freak accident, Ned."
Flanders nodded, shoving his glasses up his nose. "I know. I saw the whole thing."
Homer stepped forward menacingly. "Oh you did, did you?"
"Well, yes, but I'm not the only witness. You can't hide anything from the man upstairs."
Homer shot a quick glance at the upper story of his house. Grampa was watching from the guest room window. He shook a fist at him.
"Back to bed, old man!"
Flanders chuckled. "I was talking about the man on the very top floor."
Homer blinked. "The attic?"
"He means God!" Marge whispered, elbowing him in the gut.
"That's right," said their neighbor with a smile, "and it seems to me that the Christian thing to do is to take this poor fella in and nurse him back to health." He nodded to Bob.
An awkward silence settled on the yard as the Simpsons looked down at their fallen foe.
Marge gave a skeptical grunt. "Well, I guess we have no choice..."
ACT IX: [link]