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Tiny Play #2/100 (Another Play About Breakfast)

January 12, 2010

SOME PRELIMINARY NOTES:

  1. Not all of these plays will be about breakfast, I swear.  (But this probably won’t be the last one that is.)
  2. The Dad in this isn’t even remotely my Dad, even though at dinner the other night I did kind of threaten to put him in a play (as retaliation for his threat to blog about something I said), and he did mistake a mug Santa for the other kind of mystical bearded dude a few weeks back.
  3. This one definitely falls under my ‘not so good’ rights, so proceed at your own risk.

SETTING: The eating part of a kitchen.  Simple furnishings: one table, two chairs.

AT RISE: SON is sitting, eating a bowl of cold cereal.  There is a brown paper bag lunch on the table, as well as a lot of not-food things: opened books and magazines and an unlit candle in a wax-drip covered wine bottle and a giant box of crayons and whatever else seems likely without being quite proper.  DAD is standing, one hand leaning on the back of his chair, the other cradling a Santa mug.  It is fairly early in the morning, but DAD has been awake for a while — it feels almost like noon to him, or some other definite part of a day that should maybe have a name, but doesn’t, and is therefore a little bit dodgy.

DAD: I think I have a problem with the whole continuity thing in life.  Like it kind of blows my mind when I wake up in the morning and I’m like, ‘oh, I’m still like, this guy; I guess I better go deal with whatever messes he made yesterday.’  I mean I don’t think I’m lazy per se.  I like messes, actually.  I think messes can be really…cathartic or…well, like other people’s messes can be so interesting and mysterious…

SON: Well, leave it long enough and it’s like somebody else’s mess, right Dad?

DAD: Haha!  Right — that’s my excuse for the state of this house: to forget what’s at the bottom of the piles.  Discover it later — new life!!

Beat.

But it is strange, you know, that we spend our whole lives being one person?  When I was your age I was in this after school club, this drama troupe thing where we did Shakespeare with a rotating cast — like you’d be Oberon and then the next day you’d be some underling slave fairy.  Maybe it hit me at a formative stage or something.  I walk around all confused waiting for my time to be…a neighbour or your Mom or…Nicole Kidman or a rattlesnake, or you….You know what I mean?

Beat.

SON: No.

DAD: I shouldn’t be the one who starts breakfast conversations in this household, should I?  Um, I made you egg salad.  Sandwiches.  For lunch.  Is that okay?

SON: Yeah.

DAD: I was like, making the sandwiches, like past the point of no return and I suddenly had this flashback of my mother making me an egg salad sandwich every single day of fifth grade, like she was on this horrendous interminable egg-salad-sandwich-making jag, like a time loop or something.  By the end of the year I was too terrified to even open my lunchbox because an egg salad sandwich was like social suicide.  I mean I like egg salad; I’ve always liked it, actually, but it just was not cool, and I wasn’t one of those kids who was going to like, redefine cool to make it about me.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it makes sense for…survival, if we need cool to survive…or thrive or….But I think it’s equally valid, if you think egg salad is too embarrassing; I could make you something else.

SON: You don’t need to make lunch for me, Dad.  I’m not in grade five.

DAD: I know.  I just woke up kind of early this morning and I figured, might as well make myself useful, since you usually run late.

SON: But I have a job now.  I can buy my lunch.

DAD: Okay.  Sorry.

SON: No, I mean, I like egg salad.  So I’ll have that.  It’s just, you didn’t have to.

DAD: I thought you did when I started making it.  Before I got all flashed out.

Beat.

Did you brush your teeth?

SON: I thought I’d finish eating breakfast first.

DAD: Of course.  Right.  Sorry.  Continuity thing, again.  It’s like I’m always reaching for six different minds at once, like other possible moments that don’t happen because I’m…um.  It’s probably kind of creepy when i start talking about things that make no sense, isn’t it?

SON: I’m used to it.

DAD: I guess so.  Maybe you can give me a tutorial.  I’m pretty terrible with my Mom.  It’s like, when I was growing up I was always looking for this secret chamber I had dreams about in that house.  And now it’s like, she found it one day by herself and it spilled all its weird other-realm-ness into the rest of the house so that’s where she lives now.  And I go in and she’s there and sometimes I’m there too, but I have a different name or I’m married to my cousin or, you know, it’s all done up in some kind of dream logic way.  Which you’d think I’d be good at, but it’s like she totally hijacked my dream and I get all baffled.

Beat.

SON: I just respond to the stuff I follow and let slide the stuff I don’t.

DAD: Yeah, I could never really do that.  That stoic thing.  It totally makes sense that you can make egg salad sandwiches cool.

Beat.

Um, is it tonight that you switch over to your Mom’s house?

SON: Tomorrow night.

DAD: Oh.  Okay, good.  Would you like to check in on Gran with me this afternoon?

SON: Um, actually, I have this History project.  In a group.  I was going to ask if we could work on it here, actually.

DAD: Oh.  Okay.  Sure.  What’s it on?

SON: Great Depression.

DAD: Like hobos and trains and stuff?

SON: Uh, yeah, I guess.

DAD: Cool beans.  And you got a good group?

SON: Yeah.  So good so far.

DAD: I hated group work.

SON: You just have to get the right nerd-slacker combo going.

DAD: And which are you?  A nerd or a slacker?

SON: I swing both ways.

DAD: Haha!  That’s good.

SON: Um, do you think you could get rid of the Santa mug?

DAD: We have a Santa mug?

SON: The one you’re drinking out of.

DAD examines the mug.

DAD: I thought he was some kind of red wizard.

SON: Yeah.  A red wizard named Santa.

DAD: Wow.  That makes him sound so cool.  I never liked Santa.  As an adult, I mean.  But if he’s a wizard…huh.  That changes everything.  Huh.  Where did we get a Santa mug, anyways?

SON: I don’t know.  But it’s March.

DAD: But can we really relegate him to one day a year?  I mean, I feel your out-of-season malaise, but I don’t want to piss off the red wizard.

SON: Dad…

DAD: No, it’s okay.  I’ll take him into my studio, he can hang onto my paint water.  I’ll just have to actually be careful I don’t drink any of it by mistake.  Might turn me into a toad.  Or an elf.  Oh my God.  Christmas is so sick.

SON finishes his cereal, takes his dirty bowl offstage.  Sound of water splashing.

I don’t even remember telling you about Santa.  Did I?

SON: Mom probably did.

Sound of SON pounding up stairs.

DAD: Mm.  Well, it’s probably good I didn’t figure out this red wizard business until just now.  Would have traumatized you for life.

Sound of SON pounding back down stairs.  He reappears, wearing a backpack.

SON: So, you’ll be at Gran’s when I get home?

DAD: I don’t know.  It can wait ’til after your project.  We can go together and make dinner?

SON: Sure.

DAD: I think I have some books about hobos and stuff.  I was going to do that series with chalk signals.

SON: Okay.  Well.  If you find them.

SON leaves without the lunch bag.  DAD finishes his coffee.  He holds the mug upside down and sticks out his tongue under the rim of the cup, both catching the last drop and making a nasty face at the red wizard.  He turns it back right-side up and growls.

DAD: Powerrrrrsss…

He notices the left behind lunch bag.  He looks embarrassed, as though this means he is not alone.

Oh, hey, don’t forget…

But he is.  He takes a sandwich out of the bag and begins to munch on it as he leaves the kitchen, carrying the bag and the mug with him.

If you are interested in using this script, in whole or in part, for any reason, please a) credit me (Emmet Forsythe) as the author, and b) let me know about it, including links to any video or audio recordings you may make.

Contact emilythesecond (at) gmail (dot) com if you wanna tell me somethin’ too special for comments.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Sir Keithlington the 3rd (the first 2 are imaginary - they can be whoever you want them to be!) permalink
    January 12, 2010 9:32 pm

    I was actually really fond of this one, maybe not quite as much as the last but I would never think to categorize it as ‘not-so-good’. I thought the father was really interesting and I looovvvvveeeed the first little tangent he went on.

    • ELISHA! permalink
      January 18, 2010 4:34 pm

      hey!
      ….i call you keithlington…..
      did i not make that up?
      i thought i made it up…….

  2. January 13, 2010 3:18 am

    my god. my kids are totally gonna grow up with Santa being a red wizard.

  3. ELISHA! permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:44 pm

    i really liked this.

    HOWEVER:

    why is this dad our age, but fathering a teenager?
    he talks like me.
    it’s not very veresimilitudinous.
    [i think i may have just made that word up.]

  4. rubyben permalink
    January 18, 2010 3:42 am

    1. My dad talks like a teenager, especially when he talks about my mum.
    2. I never used to like egg salad, but I like it a lot lately.
    3. I am a person on wordpress now.

    • ohmynoti permalink*
      January 18, 2010 8:51 pm

      1. it was kind of an experiment. i think i need to listen a little closer to the syntax of the guy in my head to get this right, but it is helpful to know that this is possible + indeed happens in somebody’s real life.

      • January 19, 2010 12:36 am

        Syntax is a major part of why I’m doing my version of this, I think. Pretty much every character I ever write sounds exactly like me. 😛

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