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The Journal of Literary Satire | Hastily Written & Slopilly Edited
Friday, March 11, 2005

Niles from Frasier Takes Acid on an Overnight Spelunking Trip with Deebo from Friday and Reënacts Plato’s The Cave

by Brian Champlin

nilesanddeebo.gifSatiated after large helpings of their frank-and-bean dinner, Niles and Deebo sit shoulder-to-shoulder inside the cave. Behind them, next to their spelunking gear, a small fire blazes. It throws shadows onto the wall opposite them. They stare at these shadows, ruminating. Niles is feeling philosophic and—intellectually unintimidated by his friend—didactic. Deebo is sleepy and slightly annoyed by his own gassiness.

Niles: My friend, we are in a cave. A very deep and profound darkness is all we can see. I propose, however, that sometime within the next few minutes a distinct vision will appear. This vision will emerge from the darkness as something that we that might call “light,” and what that “light” consists of, exactly, will be in direct correlation to the depth of darkness that each of us has allowed ourselves to experience—as well as, of course, the psychological baggage that we have brought into this cave with us. I, for one, have brought—metaphysically, of course—a small duffle bag filled with the number zero bent into the shape of the mouth on the figure in Munch’s The Scream. As well as a few of the medium-point blue Pilot Precise pens of which I am quite fond.

Deebo: Sounds good, bitch. I’ll bring the ladies.

(In the darkness, Niles looks disconcertedly at his friend.)

Niles: Whatever makes you happy, my friend. Anyway, getting back to the point, this vision—or light, we might say—will begin to shine at any moment, and it will disrupt our respective darknesses by taking the form of something we recognize on a very deep, very personal level.

(Niles tilts his head, considering thoughtfully.)

Niles: It may be the outline of that expensive stainless-steel blender that we just spent entirely too much money on, and which, as of yet, has failed to provoke a single admiring comment at any one of a number of dinner parties.

Deebo: What, bitch?

Niles: Or it might be an outline of that unfortunate hamster, which we, at the tender age of—

Deebo: Yo, stop. Little man, you better start making—

Niles: Yes, yes—you’re right, you’re probably right. Better to let things lie. Literally. Ha. Anyway, moving along, it might also be something less concrete, a vague manifestation of an equally vague yet powerful feeling. In any case, our vision will mean something to us despite the fact that we will not completely understand or recognize it, and it will simultaneously make perfect sense to us and enlighten us. It will surprise, as the poet Yeats said, with a fine excess.

Deebo: You mean like J-Lo’s booty?

Niles: In other words, my low-brow friend, the vision that will eventually emerge from the darkness will be one that we will recognize without completely knowing why—and it will be the one thing that we need to see or experience at the exact moment it happens to appear. It might be similar, I suppose, to that rock and roll song you might know and identify with. You know: “But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need, oh, yeah …”

Deebo: That’s deep, little man.

(A moment passes.)

Deebo: You got five seconds to stop singing. One. Two.

Niles: Sorry. My friend, what can one say to the other when both one and the other have been living for some time, feeling for some time—when both one and the other are moderately intelligent and moderately perceptive, and when both one and the other have continually throughout their lives asked the question, consciously or not: “Will the world please stand up and validate my perceptions and feelings?”

Deebo: Are you hitting on me, bitch?

Niles: Soon, each of us will be captivated by our own respective visions. After that moment occurs we will then adjust our vision and search for another illumination, but we will be greeted only by darkness. Suddenly, we will feel deeply our own mediocrity—and at that point, we will begin to learn the world anew. We will realize what we have realized before, only again this time: that we do not have any thoughts that we can honestly call our own, that the process that we call “perception” is in fact only a type of darkness that Plato has already discerned for us. We will realize profoundly that there is nothing truly objective for us to discover.

(Both men reflect silently for a moment.)

Niles: I know what you might be thinking, my large friend. What then, are we able to call our own? And to that very good question, I answer simply: only the depth of our own darkness, only the shape of our own light.

Deebo: Yeah, right. And mine is shaped like J-Lo’s booty.

Niles: Ahh …

(Niles shakes his head regretfully. After a moment he begins again.)

Niles: Eventually, of course, we will give up this metaphysical nonsense and move on. In doing so, we will of course be willingly fooling ourselves into seeing the consistent, clear, normal, daytime vision we call reality. We will even fool ourselves into believing that this “reality” holds actual meaning, and we will not be at all alarmed, then, by the fact that we know that what we are seeing is false. It makes a comforting alternative, does it not, to the darkness that is never dark enough, to the light that never seems to emerge, and to the sounds that are way, way too silent.

Deebo: Silent but deadly?

Niles: No, no, you buffoon! Ugh! Push over, I’m going sleep.

Deebo: Yo, get your hand off—

Niles: Ouch!

Deebo: Well, step off then, fucker.

Niles: Fine. Good night, my innocent friend. May these cold stones seep not into your soul. May you not be tainted by their earthly cynicism.

Deebo: Thanks, bro.

(A moment passes. Deebo continues to stare at the wall.)

Deebo: What about the vision, man?

Niles: Oh, damn the infernal vision! Go to sleep, you ninny!

Deebo: I think I see J-Lo’s booty.

Niles: Sleep! Sleep, I say!

Deebo: It’s right there, bro. Look.

(Deebo reaches a big hand out and snatches up Niles.)

Niles: Alright, let go, let go!

(Niles stares at the wall.)

Niles: Oh, yes, well, oh my! That does bear a remarkable resemblance to Ms. Lopez’s posterior … .

Deebo: Word, bitch.

Brian Champlin has been told many times by barbers that his hair is abnormally thick. He has also been told many times by his parents that he's not vocal enough. So basically he's a quiet kid with a lot of hair. If you're in Boston he might serve you a plate of dead fish. That is, if he's not out snowboarding or sitting alone on his bedroom floor, tapping steadily on his laptop.