"Close, Sesame"

"We can learn from the experiences of other countries when it comes to a good program to prevent the spread of AIDS, like the nation of Uganda. They've started what they call the A.B.C. approach to prevention of this deadly disease. That stands for: Abstain, Be faithful in marriage, and, when appropriate, use Condoms." – George W. Bush, June 23, 2004

FADE IN ON: A TV soundstage decorated to resemble a funky, condom-strewn city street. Off camera, a kids' choir begins to sing:

Horny day
Can't risk an easy lay
On my way to where the lambskins meet
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to STD Street?

FEMALE VOICEOVER: Today's episode of STD Street is brought to you by the letters A, B, and C, and by the number sixty-ni ...

MONSTER'S VOICE: Hey, everybodeeeee!

(A fuzzy blue monster puppet enters.)

MONSTER: It is me again – lovable, furry old Groper. Your pal Groper is so happy you could join him today on STD Street! If Groper were any happier, he would come right on over and dance on your leg. But I won't. Why not? Glad you asked. It's what our first lesson is all about.

(Behind GROPER, a trash-can lid pops up. Out comes a monster as green and ornery-looking as GROPER is blue and adorable.)

MONSTER #2: Hey, stupid! Knock off the racket, will ya?

GROPER: Boys and girls, say hello to our friend and neighbor, Oswald the Celibate Grouch!

OSWALD: Buzz off!

GROPER: Oswald, your pal Groper was about to tell the boys and girls about celibacy. (To camera.) "Celibacy," boys and girls, is when you force your lips to say "no" when every other part of your body is screaming, "Yes, and make it quick!" And Oswald here is a monster who knows how to say "no." (To Oswald) Tell us, dear Oswald, how long has it been since you had a lady grouch in that can with you, anyway?

OSWALD: Bite me!

GROPER: Six months, maybe?

OSWALD: Eat a bowl of filth!

GROPER: Eight months?

OSWALD: Drop dead twice!

GROPER: A whole year?

OSWALD: Screw you and anyone who looks like you, you moth-eaten sweat sock!

(OSWALD disappears from sight and angrily slams the lid on his garbage can – but not before a good whiff of its peculiar "ambience" wafts in GROPER's direction.)

GROPER: Pee-yoo! There is another lesson for you, little ones: If you are trying to avoid temptation, it helps if your house smells like week-old salmon! Oh, well. On to lesson two. You know, being in a committed relationship is one of the best ways to keep your body free of disease. Here to tell us all about it is STD Street's happiest couple, Arnie and Bart!

(Two humanoid puppets enter from stage left, bickering amongst themselves. ARNIE is short and squat, his skin the color of refried beans; BART is jaundice-yellow, with a long and cylindrical head that could give Sigmund Freud nightmares.)

BART: ... and if all I heard was you eating cookies in bed, Arnie, how come I had to get a shot this morning?

ARNIE (flippant): Oh, calm down, buddy Bart! You know I'm not dropping trou' for anybody but my Rubber Cluckie! (He emits a quick, staccato chuckle, like the firing of a machine gun.)

GROPER: Hold on, you two. You have always been the most blissful lovebirds on STD Street – especially since you took that day trip to Massachusetts. So what on Earth are you fighting about?

BART: "Lovebirds," my bottle-cap collection! I thought so, too, until our next-door neighbor the Nookie Monster had to go and open his big fat mouth. It seems Arnie has been sneaking a bimbo into our apartment behind my back. At first, I thought it was that skank Maria, who's always lapsing into Spanish. God knows what plans the two of them could be making with me right there in the room. But then I got the straight skinny from a certain loose-lipped crack whore named Prairie Dawn. Arnie here is throwing down with that deaf interpreter lady who's always translating everything we say into sign language!

ARNIE (to camera): What can I say, kids? She's great with her hands! (Another chuckle.)

(BART lets loose a cry of humiliated anguish and chases after ARNIE, who continues to snicker his head off as they exit the frame.)

GROPER: Oh, my. That is not good. I think we should move along to the final part of our lesson. Are you ready to play a fun game?

(As if in answer, an unseen male vocalist begins to croon.)

One of these things is not like the other
One of these things just doesn't belong
Can you tell which thing looks a lot like a rubber
But you shouldn't put on your schlong?

(The screen is divided into quarters, each containing its own image of an easily recognized household object. Pictures one, two and four are prophylactics of various colors. Three is a length of Cling Wrap.)

GROPER: I know. It is a tough one. (The ticking of a stopwatch is heard.)

GROPER: Do you have it figured out yet? (The ticking abruptly stops. We see GROPER again.)

GROPER: Time's up! The thing that does not belong is number four, the red condom. It is made with Red Dye No. 2, which was outlawed as highly toxic all the way back when your Mom and Dad were your age.

(The frame begins to soften around the edges, denoting the end of another episode.)

GROPER: That is all the time we have today, boys and girls. And even though we have not totally wiped the scourge of high-risk intimacy from STD Street, your pal Groper still thinks this was one of our most important visits ever. As important as the time Bigger Bird taught us all about Viagra. Or even the time we had to break it to you gently that Mr. Hooper had died of the syph. So while we think back to those good times, let's bring in Cervix the Frog to sing us out.

(A green puppet wielding a banjo thrusts itself into the center of the frame.)

CERVIX (sings): It's not that easy peein' green
Havin' to start each day a-burnin' like the leaves

GROPER: Good-bye, everybodeeee! (He waves madly.)

FEMALE VOICEOVER: STD Street is a production of the Ugandan Television Workshop.