#1 THE PARTY GAME
We begin shortly after my Mom has handed the phone over to my Dad, who wishes to ask me something.
Dad: Boy, your Mom sure can talk, huh?
Me: She was telling me her doctor thinks she might have mono.
Dad: Mono? What’s that?
Me: It’s…wait, didn’t you drive her to the doctor’s office today?
Dad: You wouldn’t believe the traffic on the L.I.E., Ces.
Me: No, I mean wouldn’t you know Mom has mono?
Dad: I was in the waiting room, Ces. The doctor’s not gonna have both of us come in and hop up on the table.
Me: But didn’t you ask what…
Dad: Jesus, Ces, you should have seen the people I had to deal with in there. This old fuck kept sneezing on me. It made me sick. I mean, what the fuck was he doing outside anyway if he’s sneezing like that?
Me: Going to the doctor’s office?
Dad: What? Right, so we had to go to the doctor’s office. Ces, you should have seen the traffic on the expressway. All old people driving…
Me: Uh, Dad?
Me: Mom said you wanted to ask me something?
Dad: Ask you what?
Dad: Oh, yeah. I found this great game I created a few years ago when I was looking through the basement. By the way, we still have a lot of your junk in there and the house is crowded enough. Maybe you can keep all the stuff at your apartment?
Me: What kind of junk is it?
Dad: Your old tests. Some notebooks from elementary school. Your diorama of the Shays Rebellion. What should I do with all this stuff?
Me: Uh, toss it?
Dad: You don’t want any of it?
Me: I don’t need any of it.
Dad: But what about me? You know how much I like to keep all your things!
Me: Just at my apartment.
Dad: Could you?
Dad: Okay, but don’t be upset if your mother throws it all out.
Me: But that’s what I…um, so you said you found a game?
Dad: One I created a few years ago. It would be huge now.
Me: What kind of game is it?
Dad: I think it would be perfect for orgies.
Me: I’m sorry. What?
Dad: Y’know, orgies. Sex parties. Like that T-shirt design I did back in…
Me: I know what an orgy is, Dad!
Dad: Do you know how many times some thieving bastard stole that T-shirt idea? You know how rich I could be right now?
Dad: Sometimes I just want to punch someone right in the fucking…
Me: Dad? The game?
Dad: Oh, you’ll love it! Right now the working title is “Pick a Dick.”
Me: Oh, Dad…
Dad: You see, each player gets one big tile card shaped like an erect dick…
Me: Jesus, Dad…
Dad: And each turn they get to pick a connecting piece from the pile. Big cards that you attach to the dick like a jigsaw puzzle…
Me: Jigsaw puzzle. Right.
Dad: Some of the connecting pieces show an ass. Others show a mouth. There’s a whole bunch of different cards. And whatever card you attach to your “dick” the person has to do.
Me: Let me get…never mind. So it’s a game for two players?
Dad: No, it’s for an orgy party. I’m thinking between six to eight people.
Me: Wait, so the women even get, uh, “dick cards”?
Dad: Why would a woman have a dick? Just the guys. Six to eight guys. Maybe ten. Depends on whether or not I get around to making more cards.
Me: Oh, so the game is targeted to the gay market?
Dad: Gay?! What on earth made you say that?!
Me: It’s just that you said only guys get to play.
Dad: No, there would be a woman with them.
Me: Oh for Christsakes, Dad!
Dad: Now you get it? Whatever pieces the guy puts together, the woman…
Me: No, Dad. Don’t…just…just don’t…
Dad: What? I thought it would be great for the “tweener” market.
Dad: Y’know, people in their twenties.
Me: That’s the twentysomething market.
Dad: Wait, how old are tweeners?
Me: Ten to twelve.
Dad: No, no…that wouldn’t be right.
Me: Listen, Dad, it’s just that…where do I begin? Well, when did you come up with this game?
Dad: A little while ago.
Me: How long ago? Were Marcello and I still kids?
Dad: You were…younger…
Me: Okay, who was president at the time?
Dad: I know this…it was…hmm…Nixon!
Dad: Y’know, Ces, he hated Italians.
Me: Maybe…maybe the game is more a product of its time then for today, Dad.
Dad: He constantly insulted the Italians on the tapes.
Me: He pretty much insulted every ethnic and racial group on the tapes.
Dad: Not as much as the Italians.
Me: I don’t think when he mentioned Jews he said, “Great sense of humor. Love their commitment to tradition.”
Dad: Why can’t you ever be on my side?
Me: Anyway, I’m just not sure that, uh, “Pick a Dick” would work anymore…if ever…
Dad: Of course it would! People still have sex. I even showed it to Cello and his girlfriend when they were over last week.
Me: You showed your cardboard erect penises to Brittany?!
Dad: I think she’s shy. She spent most of the weekend hanging out with your Mom.
Ces: Speaking of which, what does Mom think of all this?
Dad: I don’t know. She hasn’t even looked at it. She always looks tired. Do you think she could be sick?
#2 CLOCKWORK ORANGE JUICE
We begin mid-phone conversation.
Dad: So last night I was going through all my old advertising art portfolios…
Me: Oh, cool. Any reason?
Dad: Just so I know I had one last look. In case for some reason I die in the future.
Dad: Anyway, apparently I really came up with a lot of great shit.
Me: I know you did.
Dad: No, really. I mean terrific shit. Not like the goddamn garbage advertisers use today.
Me: Find any ad in particular that you liked?
Dad: Well, remember those commercials?
Me: What commercials?
Dad: The ones they used to show a couple of years ago?
Me: You mean in the nineties?
Dad: No, about ten years ago.
Me: Ten years ago would be the nineties.
Dad: No, you know the ones I’m talking about. What…what the hell was it called?
Me: You gotta give me a little more info, Dad.
Dad: Y’know, the…the orange juice commercial.
Me: Uh…Minute Maid?
Dad: Don’t be a fuckin’ wiseass.
Dad: What was it…Tropicana! And you’re supposed to be the smart one.
Dad: Remember how they used to show some idiots stabbing their straws into the…the…
Dad: Right, so they could get real orange juice.
Me: What about it?
Dad: Well, I was thinking about those ads yesterday.
Me: Why? They haven’t shown those commercials in like twenty years.
Dad: No, ten. Anyway, I remembered I had come up with the same exact idea way back in the sixties. So I went downstairs and found the slide I did showing a straw stuck into an orange. Do you know how long ago I did that illustration, Cello?
Me: Ten years ago?
Dad: 1964! I have the date written right next to the goddamn’ orange! 1964! Can you believe those thieving rat bastards?
Me: What bastards?
Dad: Tropicana! They stole my fuckin’ idea!
Me: What makes you say that?
Dad: Because I came up with it first!
Me: But maybe they came up with the same idea on their own.
Dad: How could they? I came up with it first!
Me: But that doesn’t mean they stole it.
Dad: Of course it does! I came up with it first! If they came up with it after me that means they swiped it.
Me: No it doesn’t, Dad. After all, there are more people than ideas in the world. Don’t you think odds are that sooner or later two people are going to come up with the same idea exclusive of each other?
Dad: But they didn’t have to come up with it because I thought if first!
Me: Dad, listen. You know how when you’re sitting next to Mom and you both have the same thought at the same time without saying a word to each other?
Dad: So what should I do?
Me: What do you mean what should you do?
Dad: Should I go down there and beat them up?
Me: Go down where? Beat up who?
Dad: Go to the advertising agency to punch out the thieving art director.
Me: Let me get this straight. You’re going to go to an agency whose name you don’t know to beat up someone you never met who worked on a television campaign back in 1982?
Dad: You want to come with me?
Me: No. No I don’t.
Dad: I’ll bring the slide.
Me: Is that what you’re going to hit them with?
Dad: No, I’m bringing a bat.
Dad: Your bat from Little League. The one you said you didn’t have room for in your apartment. You know, Ces, we have so much of your goddamn old shit just crammed in our garage that…
Me: Focus, Dad. Bat. Revenge.
Dad: Oh, right. So you in?
Dad: I could really use your help.
Me: See you in five to ten years, Dad. Less with good behavior.
Dad: Wait, I thought you were coming next week to visit.
#3 THE DENTIST
Dad: Oh God, Ces, I’ve got this fuckin’ red rash on my right cheek that’s spreading across my whole goddamn face ever since I went to that thieving bastard dentist again who makes a fuckin’ mistake every time he puts that drill in my mouth and now I have this huge abscess that won’t stop growing and it hurts every time I poke at it so fuckin’ much I can’t even put my head on the pillow so I didn’t sleep at all last night I woke up at 2 am and then 2:30 and then 3 am and 3:30 and 4 and 4:30 and then five and then 5:30 and then six and then I finally fall asleep only to have your mother wake me up to tell me she made breakfast for me and when I get out of my bed my back locks up and it’s killing me and as I’m walking down the hallway I bang my fuckin’ knee against that table I made for your mother Jesus you never felt such pain and that knee’s never been good ever since I tried to kick your brother in the ass and the son of a bitch got out of the way and I smashed my foot against the brick wall so by the time I limp to the kitchen the fuckin’ coffee’s weak because your mother already put milk in it even though I keep telling her not to but she never listens to me just like you and Marcello never fuckin’ listen to me why doesn’t anyone ever fuckin’ listen to me?
Me: Who is this?
Dad: What the fuck are you talking about?! It’s me! Your father!
Me: I know, Dad. I was just…sooo…an abscess, huh?
Dad: Oh dear God, it’s fuckin’ killing me, Ces. I should have just punched out that dirty rat fuck dentist in the face so he would know how it feels!
Me: Okay, okay. You have to relax, okay? I’m sure it hurts like hell and I’m sorry. But the first thing you need to do is have the abscess checked.
Dad: It’s fuckin’ killing me!
Me: That’s why you have to have it checked.
Dad: But what if it’s too late?
Me: “Too late”?
Dad: Y’know, what if I’m going to…die…
Me: It’s an abscess, Dad, not a gun shot wound.
Dad: I don’t want to die before everyone else!
Me: Wha…Get it checked. You’ll be fine.
Dad: I haven’t even recorded my rap songs yet!
Me: You’re not…wait, you want to record your rap songs now?
Dad: I even came up with a hippity-hop name.
Dad: I even have a hip-hop name–“F.O.G.”
Dad: “Fat Old Guinea”
Me: Oh, Dad. No…
Dad: So I can’t die now!
Me: You’re not going to die!
Dad: You don’t understand, Ces. You don’t! An abscess keeps growing! It keeps growing and growing and growing until it moves all the way up your nasal passages and attacks the brain!
Dad: It just spreads across the whole fuckin’ brain! My fuckin’ brain, Ces!
Me: I…I don’t think that’s exactly what happens, Dad.
Dad: Why don’t you ever fuckin’ believe me, Ces? Why doesn’t anyone ever fuckin’ listen to me?! I know these things!
Me: How, Dad? How do you know these things?
Dad: I just do! Just like I can always guess what ethnic group someone belongs to.
Me: You…you don’t still do that in public, do you?
Dad: Plus, a friend agreed with me about the abscess.
Me: A friend? Who?
Me: St. Augustine?
Dad: Don’t be a fuckin’ wiseass! Y’know…begins with an “M”…Morty!
Dad: Morty said an abscess goes straight into the brain if you don’t catch it in time.
Me: Morty the typographer.
Dad: It attacks all the nerves and cells. Before you know it you’re dead.
Me: Perhaps you should seek medical advice outside the defunct typesetting industry, Dad.
Dad: You gotta see how red the rash is!
Me: See a doctor, Dad.
Dad: It hurts so fuckin’ much, Ces!
Me: Have it checked, Dad!
Dad: Hurts every single time I touch it…
Me: Well then don’t tou…
Dad: I just knew this would fuckin’ happen! The moment I went back to that thieving rat fuck dentist I just knew this would happen! No good lying son of a…
Me: Dad! Dad!!! Before you start signing pre-need papers maybe you should ask yourself one thing. Just one thing. Do you really know what an abscess is?
Dad: I know it’s gonna fuckin’ kill me!
#4 DEATH AND DINING IN NEW JERSEY
Grandma: Do you ever tell your friends what a beautiful and intelligent Grandma you have, Ces?
Dad: Just tell her yes, Ces.
Ces: I…uh, I try to work it into conversation as much as possible, Grandma.
Dad: Don’t be a wiseass.
Grandma: I’ll be back. Have to go to the bathroom.
Grandma leaves table.
Dad: Hey, Ces, does Grandma look out of it to you?
Ces: Kinda, I guess. But she’s not bad for 90.
Dad: What do you mean?
Ces: Well, she is getting old.
Dad: So? Marciulianos live much longer than average folks! Look at your Grandpa! He would still be alive today if he hadn’t died in that hospital.
Dad: Y’know, from that spill he took…when he had to go to the hospital. I bet if he didn’t fall he would still be around today.
Ces: At age 102?
Dad: See? That’s what I’m talking about. Marciulianos live a long time. That’s another thing you got from my side of the family. Age. Smarts. Looks. The only thing you got from your mother’s side was height.
Ces: Nice to throw her a bone, Dad.
Dad: They grow like weeds on that side. Way too gangly.
Ces: Wait, how old was Grandma’s dad when he died?
Ces: Oh…but he did have cancer…
Dad: Christ, that’s just four years older than me.
Dad: I thought I had another forty years. Christ, I hate being middle-aged.
Ces: Okay. That’s it. New subject. It was really nice of you to take Grandma out to eat, Dad.
Dad: Hey, I’m a nice guy. By the way, do you have money to pay the bill? All I brought was my Sunoco card.
Ces: You didn’t bring any money at all? How were you expecting to pay for the toll on the New Jersey Turnpike?
Dad: That reminds me–I need some money for that, too.
Ces: Wha..what if I didn’t have enough cash on me, Dad?
Dad: Why? Because you keep wasting it all?
Grandma returns from the bathroom.
Grandma: I got toilet paper!
Ces: Oh, shit.
Dad: What the hell are you doing, Ma?!
Ces: You stole toilet paper, Grandma?
Dad: Can I have a roll?
Grandma: Sure. I think there’s one or two rolls left in the men’s room.
Ces: You stole toilet paper from both restrooms?!
Dad: Are you nuts, Ma?
Ces: Please ask her to return them, Dad.
Dad: Well, that’ll actually only draw more attention. Besides, I could use a roll for sneezing in the car.
Grandma: You can take one from the men’s room. I think there’s one or two left.
Dad: I can’t have one fucking toilet paper roll?!
Ces: Dad, will you lower your voice?
Dad: Who the fuck is listening?!
Waitress: Is everything okay?
Grandma: My soda’s too warm.
Dad: That’s because you ordered it without ice, Ma.
Ces: Maybe we should get her some ice.
Dad: She doesn’t like ice. It makes her teeth hurt.
Grandma: I don’t like my soda warm, either.
Dad (To Waitress): I’m sorry, Miss. Maybe she got confused when ordering. English isn’t her first language. She’s originally from Italy.
Waitress: That’s okay. I have one just like her at home. I’ll get her another glass of soda and make sure it’s cold.
Waitress walks away with soda.
Dad: What the hell did she mean she has “one just like her at home”? Is she trying to be insulting?
Ces: I think she meant she has a mother born in another country.
Dad: No, she was making a wiseass remark. Screw her, I’m not leaving a tip.
Ces: You weren’t going to leave her anything! You don’t have any money, remember?
Grandma: I’m sorry Janice couldn’t come.
Ces: Hmm? Oh, well, Dad and Aunt Janice are having some sort of argument, I guess.
Dad: I’m not arguing. Janice is arguing. I’m just not listening.
Grandma: At least you could visit, Ces.
Ces: No problem.
Dad: Of course he could. Ces is a really sweet kid. He’d do anything for anybody.
Ces: Uh…gee, thanks, Dad. Really.
Grandma: I just don’t know why Frank and Janice have to fight. Siblings never fight.
Ces: That’s not true, Grandma. Marcello and I used to fight all the time.
Dad: That’s because you and Cello are two miserable little fucks who couldn’t give a shit about anyone.
Ces: Wait, what the fuck just happened?
Dad: Don’t curse in front of your grandmother.
Ces: I’m…I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Grandma. But what the hell just happened?
Ces: “When?” Two minutes ago you were nominating me for Son of the Century. Now you’re acting like I should get the chair.
Dad: What, you and Cello never fought?
Ces: Of course we fought! But that doesn’t have anything to do with it!
Dad: Sure it did! You think I liked dealing with that? None of the other parents’ kids fought!
Ces: Of course they did!
Dad: Well I didn’t have to deal with them.
Waitress returns with new glass of soda and a plate of bruschetta for Grandma.
Grandma: I didn’t order this.
Waitress: The chef heard you were from Italy so he made you a plate on the house.
Grandma: I’m not paying for this.
Ces: Funny, neither is Dad.
Dad: Ma, they’re giving it to you for free.
Grandma: Did you order this?
Dad: For free, Ma! They made it for you for free!
Grandma: But I didn’t order this.
Dad: It’s free! Free! They’re being nice! Eat it! (To waitress) Thank you very much. That was very thoughtful of you.
Waitress: You’re welcome.
Waitress walks away.
Ces: Now can I leave her a tip, Dad?
Dad: Ma, can I have one of those?
Grandma: They made them for me.
Dad: But you didn’t even want them.
Ces: We should probably get going soon.
Dad: Just a bite. One lousy bite!
Grandma: There’s only three.
Dad: Why can’t I have one fucking piece of bruschetta?!
Ces: How does a 40% tip sound?
Dad: Wha…why are you wrapping the other two up?
Grandma: I’m not hungry anymore. I’ll eat them later.
Ces: Where did you park the car, Dad? I think I’ll wait in there.
Dad: If you’re not hungry now why can’t I have one?!
Grandma: And what am I supposed to eat for later?
Dad: THE OTHER ONE!
Ces: I’m leaving.
Three get up from table and start to head out. Ces turns to get his umbrella only to see Grandma taking tip from table.
Ces: Wha…what are you doing, Grandma?
Grandma: You accidentally left some money on the table.
Ces: It’s the tip, Grandma.
Grandma: Someone could have taken it.
Ces: Yes, Grandma. The waitress.
Grandma: But you already gave her the money for the bill.
Ces: And that was the money for her.
Grandma: What is she going to do with all that money? I didn’t want you to lose any more.
Ces: Then why were you putting my money in your purse?
Grandma: Would you like a bruschetta, Ces?
Grandma: I’ve got two left and I can’t eat that many.
Ces: I just want to leave a tip!
Dad (Whispering): Don’t worry, Ces. I’ll get the money out of her purse when she’s not looking.
Ces: Um…uh…thanks, Dad.
Dad: That way we can pay the tolls…and I can have some bruschetta.
#5 THE OTHER PAYBACK
Dad: Happy Birthday!
Ces: Thanks, Da…
Dad (Singing): Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Ceeeeeeessssccoooooooooo! Happy Birthday toooooooooooooo yooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
Ces: That’s really…
Dad: Tooooooooooooooooo yooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
Ces: Thank you.
Dad: I remembered!
Ces: You did.
Dad: Your mother thought I would forget.
Ces: She said that?
Dad: Well, not outright. But I could tell. She kept reminding me about it every day for the past week.
Ces: But still you remembered.
Dad: Anyone else besides your father remember?
Ces: A lot of people. Friends. Family. And of course Mom…before she handed the phone to you.
Dad: Boy, your Mom can sure talk, huh?
Ces: Oh, that reminds me! Some friends made a short film for my birthday!
Dad: Wait, which movie did they buy you?
Ces: No, they made me a movie. All about zombies attacking while they try to call me to wish me a happy birthday. Isn’t that wild?!
Dad: I also called you to wish you a happy birthday.
Ces: That’s…that’s not the…
Dad: Remember how I always wanted to make movies, Ces?
Dad: You were supposed to write me a movie. Remember, Ces? You were going to sell it to the studios under the condition that I would star. Remember?
Ces: But what you really wanted to do was direct.
Dad: What about that great idea I gave you?
Ces: Oh yeah, that one. Fantastic!
Dad: Which one?
Ces: I…uh…I don’t know. I was trying something new.
Dad: How could you forget? It’s the one about the guy who decides to finally go back to his old childhood stomping grounds after fifty years and kill all the dirty rat fucks who used to tease him as a kid.
Ces: You…you want me to write a movie about a guy who returns home and systematically murders a bunch of seventysomethings who for some strange reason all still live in their parents’ houses?
Dad: We can call it “Payback”!
Ces: There’s already was a film called “Payback”.
Dad: This one’s better.
Ces: But what happens after he kills everybody?
Dad: What do you mean?
Ces: Y’know, after the…uh…serial killings…
Dad: He leaves.
Ces: Don’t the cops or the feds track him down?
Dad: Why would they be looking for him? He’s not the one who did anything wrong.
Ces: So you’re saying that this is your classic “Guy returns to hometown, Guy methodically slaughters an entire community of retirees, Guy catches the next train out.”
Dad: See? “Payback”!
Ces: Well it does have three acts.
Dad: So what do you say?
Ces: Maybe something else.
Dad: Something else? Why something else? This is great!
Ces: It’s sad, Dad. It’s…it’s just really sad…
Dad: What’s so sad about it? He kills all of them!
Ces: Just for teasing him when they were kids?
Dad: They also threw things. Sharp stuff. Ask your grandmother.
Ces: Maybe you should write it. You probably have a better handle on the characters.
Dad: Then what about that Four Musketeers cartoon I came up with a while ago?
Ces: You still remember that one, huh?
Dad: Now that would have been a hit! The old rabbi was the leader, the Italian guy wore a pasta-smeared tank top and carried a shiv, the black guy was in a basketball uniform and the homosexual dueled with one hand while redecorating wherever he was with the other. Remember?
Dad: What’s wrong now? It doesn’t just make fun of one ethnic or racial group.
Ces: Dad, you had the other musketeers meet the black character when he tries to jack their carriage!
Dad: I also had the Italian guy brought up on racketeering charges! Plus I made the Jewish character the smart one! He even wouldn’t fight on Saturdays.
Ces: And what about the gay character, Dad?
Dad: It’s perfect timing! Look at that show on HBO! The one about the gay funeral home.
Ces: It’s not about a gay funeral home.
Dad: Sure it is. And that’s prejudice. Not like our show.
Ces: “Our show”? I…wait, are you saying the HBO program is about a gay-run funeral home or a funeral home that only admits gays?
Dad: I don’t know. You watched the show.
Ces: It’s about neither. Some of the characters are gay, some are not. That’s it.
Dad: Just like our show!
Ces: I don’t know, Dad…
Dad: Just write it for me. After all, I’ve been asking you to do this since you were in junior high school.
Ces: Well, if ever there were material that should be put in the hands of a thirteen-year-old…
Dad: You can consider it my birthday present.
Ces: Your birthday was six months ago, Dad.
Dad: Then you can consider it my late birthday present.
Ces: But I bought you a birthday present!
Dad: You did?
Ces:The DVDs? Spartacus and Doctor Zhivago?
Dad: Yeah, but your mother always makes me watch Inspector Morse on PBS instead.
Mom: Who is it?
Mom: Who is it?
Dad: What do you mean, “Who is it?” It’s probably Ces!
Dad: We’re coming!
Mom: Hold on, we’re coming!
Dad: Be right there!
Dad: I said I was coming!
Mom: Be right there!
Dad: What does “I’m coming” mean to you, Isilda?!
Mom: Hold on!
Dad: I said I got it!
Mom: Just a sec!
A few minutes pass.
Dad: Did you get the door, Isilda?
Dad: I said, “Did you get the door, Isilda?!”
Dad: DID YOU GET THE DAMN DOOR OR NOT?!?
Mom: I thought you were getting the door!
Dad: How could I get the door?! I’m in the bedroom painting the chair!
Mom: Well, I’m in the kitchen making you your tea!
Dad: How complicated is tea-making that you can’t get the door?!
Mom: But I thought you said you were getting it!
Dad: Well, do you want the chair done today or not?!
Mom: Well, do you want your tea done today or what?!
Dad: Tea or chair, Isilda! Tea or chair!
Mom: Fine, I’ll drink your tea!
Another minute passes.
Dad: What did you say?!
Dad: What did you say about the tea?
Dad: WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT THE TEA?!?
Mom: I said I’ll drink your tea!
Dad: Are you trying to be a wiseass?!
Mom: You don’t want me to make you tea then I’ll drink it!
Dad: When the hell am I supposed to finish the chair then, Isilda?! Huh?! When?!
Mom: Just forget it!
A few more minutes pass.
Dad: What did you say?!
Dad: What did you say?! Just before!
Mom: I said, “Just forget it!”
Dad: You know I don’t forget stuff, Isilda!
Mom: You forgot to answer the door!
Dad: You still haven’t let Ces in yet?!
Mom: I was making tea!
Dad: I was painting the chair!
Mom: Fine, I’ll get the door!
Dad:No, I’ll get it!
Mom: I’m getting it!
Dad: I said I’m getting it!
Mom: I’m almost there!
Dad: I said I’m getting it, Isilda!
Mom: I don’t need you to get it!
Dad: Oh, I’m getting it!
Mom: Then open the door!
Dad: Fine! I guess I’ll have to get it!
Hear footsteps approaching. Hear doorknob being jiggled. Pause.
Dad: Where did you put the keys, Isilda?!
Dad: WHERE DID YOU PUT THE KEYS, ISILDA?!
Mom: Tea’s done!
Mom: Sorry I didn’t make dinner yet. I didn’t know when you were finally going to show up.
Ces: But I’m early.
Dad: For once.
Mom: Plus, now Marcello’s not coming tonight.
Ces: Marcello’s not here?
Dad: Oh, you won’t believe what that worthless bastard of a brother of yours did.
Ces: What happened?
Mom: I don’t want to talk about it.
Dad: Then let me tell them.
Mom: He called five minutes ago to say he’s coming tomorrow instead.
Dad: He called five minutes ago to say he’s coming tomorrow instead.
Mom: I don’t want to talk about it.
Dad: Then why didn’t you let me tell them?
Mom: What’s there to say?
Dad: Apparently nothing now!
Suddenly a loud chirp comes from the kitchen.
Ces: Um, what the hell was that?!
Dad (Brightly): Oh! You heard it!
Ces: Did you guys get a pet bird?
Mom: Oh no. Not after we lost our poor canary Winter.
Dad: Stuck its own fingernail right through its eye. Died like that.
Mom: So sad.
Dad: It’s own eye!
Mom: I don’t want to talk about it.
Dad: Well, you’re not the one who had to bury him.
Mom: Anyway, that’s why we only keep fake birds in the bird cage now.
Ces: Sooo…the chirping?
Dad: What? Oh, that’s our new clock!
Mom: Doesn’t it sound beautiful?
Dad: It has a different bird call for each hour.
Dad: Blue Jay.
Dad: Oriole…Hey, Ces! Remember when I coached your Little League team The Orioles. What year was that again?
Ces: Wait, the clock chirps every hour?
Dad: Every hour! You should hear it!
Ces: Even in the middle of the night?
Mom: All night! That last one was a mourning dove.
Dad: I love mourning doves.
Ces: You said every hour. But it’s 7:10.
Mom: Well, the clock hasn’t been working properly.
Dad: And whose fault is that?
Mom: The clock’s?
Dad: And who dropped the clock?
Mom: You did.
Dad: I mean the second time, the time it probably broke.
Mom: You dropped it three times, Frank.
Dad: Wait, when did you touch it again?
Ces: Is there anyway to shut it off at night?
Dad: Might have been. But then Isilda dropped it.
Mom: I never touched it!
Dad: Well, you dropped something!
Mom: I dropped the coffee machine.
Dad: Oh…Well, I hope you weren’t expecting any coffee, Ces, because thanks to your mother here you’re not getting any.
Ces: Wait, how often do you guys drop things now?
Dad: Well, you kids are never around to help us lift stuff.
Ces: How heavy was that coffee pot?!
Dad: Ask your mother. She’s the one who dropped it.
Mom: This coming from the man who dropped all those wine glasses!
Dad: That’s because you didn’t dry them properly!
Ces: Guys, guys…about the clock…
Dad: It has a different bird call for each hour.
Ces: Yes…I know…Can we, maybe, unplug the clock before we go to bed? Y’know, so it doesn’t chirp all night.
Mom: I think it runs on batteries, dear.
Ces: Then can we just take the batteries out?
Mom: But then we won’t be able to hear the lovely clock.
Another loud chirp comes from the kitchen.
Ces: Wait, it’s only 7:15.
Dad: Hasn’t been working right since one of us dropped it.
Ces: It chirps every five minutes?!
Dad: I love to hear the birds chirp.
Mom: That one was the robin! Didn’t it sound gorgeous?