Van Warren


ACT 1: The Oil Reserves


Our hero, Fred Smirch has taken lunch hour at his favorite Chinese place and finds himself stuck in busy traffic listening to the radio on another hot and sunny day. His gas needle is nearing 'E' and he has just turned off his air conditioner to conserve fuel.  A dial-in talk show is on, and the caller is saying:



The United States only has two single points of strategic failure: the mail and oil. If either one of those is attacked, its game over…



Yes, but that is extremely unlikely blah, blah blah. How could the US be attacked by mail or oil? Would you put mail in the oil, or oil on the mail? That's a crazy combination, right Moderator Bill?



Crazy indeed Moderator Dave, but that's what this heat is doing to people, heating them to the boiling point. Sorry caller, it's game over for you pal. *Click* Next caller please… Moderator Dave, would you mind if I just called you Dave?


No problem, Moderator Bill.


Dave if you think about it we ought to just make hydrogen out of electricity and that would be the end of our energy problems.


Bill, you’ve got that right, wait here’s our next caller.


Where would you get the electricity to make the hydrogen?



Moderator Bill, can you believe the callers today… I lament for the state of American education… Shall I let you take that one?


No problem Dave. Now you caller, do we have to draw you a picture? How about I make it simple. “Where would we get the electricity…” out of the wall you idiot. (the moderators laugh at the idiocy of the caller)


I give up. *click* dial tone…


At that very moment a special announcement interrupts the radio show:


Special announcer

It has just been announced the Shell Oil and BP Phillips, who jointly control half of the world's oil, have been lying in their disclosures of the capacity of known oil reserves. In a debacle sure to rival the collapse of Enron, it has been discovered that instead of 30 years of remaining oil, it is forecasted that only 5 years of oil remain. Government officials are in emergency session discussing quarantines of the remaining oil. If approved you won’t be seeing much more gasoline. the only oil will go into the strategic oil reserves, and keeping Washington D.C. warm in the winter.


In a last gasp, our hero Fred turns the air conditioner back on to cool the perspiration streaming down his face. Then suddenly the engine stops and Fred tries to restart it. He gets some help and pushes his car to the side of the road and starts walking. He takes one last look at this urban dinosaur and sighs.



So snap your fingers, just like that, our hero and everybody else is out of oil. Right in middle of traffic.



The usual chaos ensued. It was a good thing this didn’t start in winter…(sound of honking horns) Gas lines, cabbage patch fights over loaves of bread. Talk about used cars… you couldn’t give cars away. (time passes) But these were a hardy people. Eventually everyone settled down and started using their bicycle, or walking. A few trucks running on propane kept operating to bring food in. But there was an up side. You could order a big mac with extra fries and don’t have to worry about a few pounds.

We see Fred in a jogging suit in line at MacDonald’s ordering a big Mac and extra fries. He is taking his pulse while jogging in place and looking at a watch on his wrist.


ACT 2: The Solar Panels



Pretty soon someone suggested putting all the plutonium in the US nuclear arsenal to good use. It was just sitting around decaying in warheads anyway. So the plutonium was pulled out and hammered into fuel rods. The rods were delivered to what remains of the aging fleet of nuclear reactors. Those still running were held together by duct tape and chewing gum. The reactors have been operating past capacity for too long. Their cores shake like a washing machine out of balance. Something’s got to give.


Then a computer chip maker, INTEL announces it has found out a cheap and efficient way to make solar cells after all. They start putting out wafers by the acre, which are turned into solar cells that cover the desert as far as the eye can see. Former wastelands are converted into glistening energy producing "fields of progress". Hydrogen becomes plentiful and cheap, less than ten cents a cubic yard. A cubic yard will take your car about 10 miles. Canadians sold it by the cubic meter, which matched the exchange rate perfectly.


Someone figured out a kit that converted used cars to burn on welding tanks full of hydrogen. That sure made the cigar smoking inventor some money. The converted cars only went about 30 miles, but it sure was better than walking to work and school. Even Mom learned how to spin a new tank into the trunk and still get Sally and Sue off to daycare on time. Watch out for the neck of those tanks… they can sure get away from you. New cars were of course worthless, and were chopped up for scrap metal to build the edges and frames of new solar panels.


Pretty soon everyone was getting into the act, and beautiful solar panels were showing up on the roofs of houses, office buildings and even freeway overpasses. Everyone was making hydrogen from the sun… Free and easy.



Act 3: The Hydrogen House



Which brings us back to our hero Fred, who you may ask,

(Person in audience stands up)


Why is Fred our hero?


The reason Fred is our hero, is that he did what this movie is all about, what America is all about and what patriotism is all about. He took a good idea and made it better on his own time and with his own money. (boom – we hear an explosion)

Fred is somewhat blackened and looks at us from his crouched position where the water heater used to be. The side of the house is missing, but he's none the worse for wear. He is holding a kitchen match, but it is no longer burning.


Gosh Darnit… That stupid leak is impossible to find down here without a match.


The first thing Fred did was scratch himself and say … if we’re making all this hydrogen, why not put it to good use in our stoves, our water heaters, our air conditioners and our furnaces?


(scratching himself)

…if we’re making all this hydrogen, why not put it to good use in our stoves, our water heaters, our air conditioners and our furnaces?


And so the hydrogen house was born… this is the story of Fred and his Hydrogen House. (boom)


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