I've decided to try my hand at something different with a one shot for one of my favorite musicals. I don't own Urinetown. I'm not making any money off of this, I'm merely playing with an idea that popped into my head. I understand if people think it is a little too sappy. This probably won't get many views though, as unfortunately this Musical isn't that well known, nor is it noticed as much on Fanfiction. Please review.
A happy ending.
That was all she really wanted. That was how musicals were supposed to end, wasn't it?
If you were good and tried hard enough you were supposed to be rewarded. You would sing and dance and fight, but eventually the bad guys would fall and the good guys would triumph. Everything would be okay.
The plot was supposed to be all wrapped up into one happy bow by the end with the good guys managing to earn their happily ever after.
That was what musicals were supposed to be. They were supposed to have happy endings.
Why was she here then?
Where had it all gone so wrong?
The wind whipped at her dress and sent a chill down her spine. It was a hard February morning, and despite the chill Little Sally pressed on down the road towards her destination with nothing but her little teddy bear and the howling wind as her companions. She had a duty to perform, and she would perform it to the best of her abilities.
The sky was grey this morning, grey and thick with clouds. Little Sally had always hated it when it got cloudy outside. Clouds brought hope, and later disappointment. Every time the people of her town had seen a grey cloud they had hoped and prayed that it would bring rain.
Not a single drop fell.
She had heard of rain. She had seen pictures and videos of it, and heard stories from travelers passing through town. She had heard of it from the oldtimers who had been around before the Stink Years, before the water table had fallen.
She pushed the image of that wretched man from her mind and kept walking. If she thought of him she would begin to think of everything else. Now wasn't the time for that.
Before the Revolution water had been imported from other places. It had come from desalination plants by the ocean, from lakes and rivers that hadn't dried up and from places where it still rained.
"As cruel as Caldwell B. Cladwell was his policies had effectively regulated water consumption, sparing the town the fate of the phantom Urinetown."
Little Sally scowled to herself as the words of Officer Lockstock came unbidden to her mind. It wasn't fair. Cladwell had been an evil man. Evil men shouldn't be right about anything, especially not in musicals. Even in the most depressing of musicals bad guys were at the very least wrong. So what made our situation so different, she asked?
None of it was right, not in her mind. None of it was fair. There was no uplifting message at the end, there was no justice. There was only a moral. Everyone had suffered; good and bad alike.
Ahead of her the creaking sound of a rusting gate swinging on its hinges could be heard. This was her ultimate destination. With a free hand Little Sally pushed open the gate and continued on her journey down the path, leaving only a cloud of dirt in her wake and the creaking of the gate as a sign of her presence.
Around her everything was grey and dead, all befitting attributes for a cemetery to possess. The headstones about her were cracked and covered in moss, the names written upon them offering a tantalizing clue as to the story behind them.
Julie Cassidy RIP
Here lies Jacob Rosenblum
She had heard those names before, whispered in fear by the adults when they thought she wasn't listening. They were some of the great martyrs of the Revolution, victims of Mr. Cladwell's tyranny. During his regime they had been nobodies, faceless victims spoken of only when the town was low on gossip and wished to relive the old horror stories for shock value. Speaking about the deceased and their supposed crimes had been dangerous, but the risk had occasionally been worth it.
But when the rebellion had begun Bobby had transformed them into heroes, innocent freedom loving people who had been cut down in order to satiate the UGC's lust for cash. Their receding memory had been used to stoke the flames of revolt, but once Cladwell had been overthrown they had once more faded from memory.
How quickly things fall apart, she thought. But she was not here to pay her respects to some faceless background characters. Her eyes wandered, and inevitably she found what she had been looking for. At the far end of the cemetery upon a hill there lay a row of graves, their headstones unsullied by moss or time. They were still shiny and new, hinting that the occupants had been buried only recently.
Had it only been fairly recently? Little Sally held her arm to her mouth as she was overcome by a fit of hacking coughs which racked her body. Whenever she remembered these things it only reminded her of how thirsty she normally was and how dry her throat was. She was still fighting off a lingering fever. The winter hadn't been kind to her.
It hadn't been kind to anyone.
Little Sally stood before the row of graves upon the hillside, and she turned back in the direction from which she had come. From the hill she could see the spires of her town.
At this point she couldn't tell the difference between her town and the graveyard where she stood. Both were gray and lifeless.
With tears in her eyes she turned back to the graves.
Here lies Joseph and Josephine Strong. May they be reunited in the next life.
She took one of the flowers from her hand and put it at the foot of the headstone. It had taken the last of her money, but she had managed to find some real, living flowers from a traveling salesman who was passing through. She felt it was only right.
Little Sally looked at the grave and sighed. The Strong's had been kind to her. Her mother had died giving birth to her and her father had been carted off to Urinetown when she had been young. She had scraped by on the streets since then. The Strong's had given her food and shelter when she had been unable to find it on her own. They would have taken her in, but times were tough on everybody, and they just didn't have the means to feed another mouth full time.
Little Sally had never minded. She had been grateful for what she had been given. A pang of loss tore through her chest. The death of Old Man Strong had been the spark that had set the Revolution off. If he hadn't been sent to Urinetown Bobby wouldn't have been inspired to start the rebellion. Perhaps they would have been better off that way.
Mrs. Strong had been the last member of her family to survive. She had lost a husband and a son to Cladwell, and she had deserved some justice, but even in death it seemed that Cladwell had managed to cheat them of a final comfort. "As cruel as Caldwell B. Cladwell was his policies had effectively regulated water consumption, sparing the town the fate of the phantom Urinetown."
She moved on to the next grave.
Here lies Robert Strong. May his vision live on in the hearts of those who remember him.
Hope had written that epitaph herself. It was fitting, but the words only served to anger her further. For the longest time she stared at his grave and remembered the young man she had known. She had loved Bobby Strong. Everyone in town had. He was the hero of the show, they had to love him.
Looking back she almost regretted siding with the rebellion. It had all been so exciting. The good guys were finally rising up to strike a blow against the bad guys. And Bobby had known just what to say and how to say it. It was all as any good musical should have been. But Urinetown wasn't any musical . Bobby had been naïve. They had all been naïve. As far as they had been concerned as long as they believed that they were in the right the rebels could do as they pleased without consequence. Everything would turn out for the best in the end so long as they wished for it to be so.
They had been in for a rude shock.
"It…it's a terrible thing to say, and I hate myself for saying it, but I'm glad you didn't live to see the Revolution through to the end Bobby." Little Sally whispered, a tear dripping down her cheek as she lay a flower by his grave. "You wouldn't have liked what happened."
She moved on to the next grave.
Here lies Hope Cladwell. Daughter of Tyranny, Mother of Liberty.
It had taken a great deal of cajoling on Little Sally's part to have a more positive epitaph written upon Hope's grave. The surviving townspeople had been more than willing to write some less than kind statements upon her tombstone. Of all the people who had suffered and died it was Hope Cladwell who had endured the most. Her entire world view had come crashing down as her father had been revealed to be the horrible crook that he was. She had been kidnapped, threatened, and had her heart torn to pieces with the death of her one true love, Bobby, on her father's orders.
She had been so overcome with guilt for her father's crimes and despair at Bobby's death that she had gone so far as to have her father assassinated.
Little Sally was convinced that Hope ordering her Father's death had been the final straw that had broken the camel's back. Hope was never entirely...sane...after that.
Little Sally had been one of Hope's staunchest supporters after the overthrow of her father. She had been sure that Hope was the one person who would be able to bring the people the happy ending that they had always been promised. She had been let down.
Hope. A fitting name. But that was all she really was. She was boundless hope. Hope for the people, hope for the Revolution, hope for the future. But her heart was bigger than her head. She had never thought of that all important question, "now what?"
She was so determined to make the people happy in order to make up for her father's actions. Her first act after becoming CEO of Urine Good Company had been to rescind the Public Health Act and the Water Regulation Act, allowing the Townspeople to pee for free wherever they liked, whenever they liked, and with who-ever they liked.
But there was only so much water left. Little Sally hadn't cared though. The good guys had won, everything would be fine. She had enjoyed her new found freedom and had taken advantage of it.
It hadn't taken long for what little water was left to dry up. Hope had held zero experience at running her father's business, and so the imported water stopped coming. But she hadn't cared. She ignored the warning signs and deliberately avoided following in her father's practices, deciding instead to bask in the people's love for as long as it had lasted.
It hadn't lasted long. With the Public Health Act gone there had been a massive outbreak of fever during the fall and winter after the Revolution. Matters had only been exacerbated by the lack of drinking water. The public's adulation of Hope quickly turned to outrage as the number of dead began to pile up. All of this was happening on her watch after all. Little Sally remembered it to well. The people had turned on Hope quickly, spurred on by Hot Blades Harry and his thugs. Hot Blades had always been trouble. He was after all the one most adamant about having Hope strung up when she had been a political hostage.
Hope had tried her hardest to make things better. She had done everything in her power to try and help the people, everything except regulate water consumption as her father had. "As cruel as Caldwell B. Cladwell was his policies had effectively regulated water consumption, sparing the town the fate of the phantom Urinetown."
Little Sally angrily shook her head, as if to shake those words from her mind. Why did she keep thinking about those words?
Hope had been so terrified that she would end up like Mr. Cladwell. She had told Little Sally as much the night before her death. The fact that they only referred to her as Cladwell, not as Hope as they had used to, only cemented in her mind that she had become like her father.
It had been late December when it had happened. Mrs. Strong had finally lost her battle with the fever. With her passing went the last major support beam of the ideals upon which the Revolution was founded. Without the ideals that Bobby had held in his heart and without his and Mrs. Strong's personalities to hold them together, the members of the rebellion were little more than a wild mob.
It had been little surprise to anyone that Hot Blades Harry had led the charge. When the chips were down and there was no one else around leadership effectively fell to him. No one knew why. No one really cared by that point. Their dreams hadn't come true. Matters had only been made worse. Someone was responsible, and someone would pay.
At this point it didn't matter who.
Little Sally had managed to head the mob off and get to Hope in time before the end. She was only a shell of her former self when Little Sally had found her holed up in Cladwell's old office. She was practically catatonic at the recognition of her own failure.
She had tried so hard to convince Hope to flee the country, but the will to fight had gone out of her.
"I just wanted to make the people happy." She had whispered as Little Sally had pleaded with her. The mob began pounding on the door, trying to break their way in. Little Sally would remember what she had seen there for the rest of her days. Hope had turned to her, a sad smile on her face, and whispered, "Maybe this will make them happy. Run!"
Little Sally had ran. She had ran and ran until her legs couldn't hold her up anymore.
As she found herself running down the street she had heard the shouts of the mob temporarily drowned out by a single, terrible noise.
A gunshot rang out.
The crowd cheered.
Little Sally kept running.
The memory caused her legs to weaken. She felt ashamed of herself. She should have tried to save Hope, she should have done something. She fell to her knees before Hope's grave and wept.
She was only a little girl, and for whatever reason the writers had placed her into this position. To them it was merely theater, a twisted piece of entertainment, but it was more than that to her.
It was her life, and as fictional as it might seem to the rest of the world, it was real to her.
Where was her happy ending?
She turned to the last gravestone, her eyes bloodshot and her cheeks stained with her tears. She hugged her bear closer to herself, one of the only consistent companions she had left in this world. She glared at the grave and all that it represented.
Here lie the bodies of Caldwell B. Cladwell and Penelope Pennywise...good riddance.
After Hope had died the Revolution had collapsed into an all out witch hunt. Ms. Pennywise had been one of the first to get the rope. She had after all been Cladwell's lover and one of his henchmen, why shouldn't she suffer as well? In the eyes of the mob it had been poetic justice that the two be buried together.
"This is all your fault Cladwell!" She screamed, unable to contain herself any longer.
"Why did you have to be so cruel? Couldn't you find another way?" She paused, as if she had expected an answer. She received only silence. "We just wanted to be happy, me and Bobby, Barrel and Lockstock, Hope and Pennywise, we all just wanted to be happy. You promised you would try to fix things, to make them better, but you never cared. And now we're suffering because of you. Even after you died we still suffered because of you!"
The grave remained silent.
"Where are the long term solutions you promised us?" Little Sally shouted. She didn't know why she was asking all of this, but the floodgates in her heart had broken, and all of her pent up rage against the injustice of the world was gushing out at once.
"Where is my happy ending?"
Nothing. Nothing but the sound of sobbing.
For a time she sat alone, miserable and abandoned. The story was over, the curtain had fallen. Urinetown the Musical had ended. And yet she was still here.
She felt a hand brush gently against her shoulder.
"I told you before Little Sally, this isn't a happy musical."
Little Sally looked up, and she saw towering over her the weary face of Officer Lockstock.
"Officer...officer Lockstock?" Asked Little Sally, as she wiped at the tears on her face. She felt slightly foolish for being caught crying by Lockstock.
He offered her a small smile. "It's alright Little Sally."
"No it isn't." she said. "Our story is over. Everyone is dead or miserable. There is nothing left for any of us."
Lockstock knelt by Little Sally so that they could look one another directly in the eye. "We told the world our message Little Sally. That is what matters. Sometimes in theater it's necessary to shock the audience in order to get the point across. And sometimes the only way for that to happen is for the characters to die."
"But everyone died, everyone except us." Little Sally said as she gestured angrily towards the graves.
Officer Lockstock looked forlornly at each tombstone. He sighed.
"They each gave their lives for a purpose which they believed in Little Sally." He said. "The true sign of a great character is not whether they lived or died, but how they lived and what they died for. Believe me when I say that no one who watched our show will forget them."
"Why are you here Officer Lockstock?" Little Sally asked.
Officer Lockstock offered the same sad smile again. "I came here for two reasons. First, to pay my respects to Mr. Barrel." He nodded to a nearby tombstone with a fresh wreath of flowers on it. "And secondly to find you. I knew you would be here to pay your respects."
"Why were you looking for me?" She asked.
"I like to think that, during the course of Urinetown you became something of an apprentice of mine in the art of narrating." Lockstock said. "You learned a lot during the course of the Revolution, and, at the risk of sounding rather cliched I always saw you as something of a...daughter figure."
"Really?" She asked.
"Well, yeah." Said Lockstock. He scratched his head, and for a moment or two they both stood in silence. "I was, uh, I was thinking about what you said, towards the end."
"About what?" Little Sally asked.
"You asked if we could do a happy musical next time. Well, now that the story of Urinetown has been told I was thinking that it would be a good time to move on to greener pastures."
Little Sally's heart leapt with joy at the thought. "Does this mean that we'll get our happy ending?"
Officer Lockstock smiled, and this time the smile had no trace of sadness in it. "Of course Little Sally. There are a million stories left to tell, and each and every one of them needs someone to tell them. That's where we come in. Please come with me."
He offered his hand to her.
She gladly took it.
"What will happen to the people of this town though Officer Lockstock?" Little Sally asked as they walked down the hill.
"Oh, they'll manage eventually." Lockstock responded. "It will be tough. But people will always revisit the tale of Urinetown, and the lessons it taught will encourage the people to live their lives in a new way and to appreciate the fact that sometimes life presents us with difficult choices."
Little Sally nodded.
"Yes Little Sally?"
"I'm...glad to have you with me. I've always wanted a father."
Officer Lockstock and Little Sally smiled at one another as they left the cemetery behind. Above them the clouds had broken and the sun was shining once more. Their's was a story without end, because for every star there is a story to be told.
That is what Narrators are for.