A Meal of Their Own

Credits

Carl G. Brooks – Paul
Erin B. Lillis – Allison
Tal Minear – Cor

Written by David S. Dear
Opening music “Coffee” by Cambo
Closing music “Life Illusion” by Ketsa


IN THE PODCASTING “STUDIO”, BAXTER-ELLIS HOME

PAUL

Bobby was never a hockey player!

ALLISON

He was too! Do you not pay attention to anything I say?

PAUL

I paid attention when you said he played hockey and I ignored it because it’s simply not true! Bobby never played hockey!

COR

Parents… I called this meeting because-

ALLISON

I’m telling you, I watched him play hockey!

PAUL

Okay, then what position did he play?

COR

Guys, can we get to this episode? There’s something very important we need to-

ALLISON

I don’t know, shortstop?

PAUL

See, you don’t know because you never saw him play. You were watching some other kid.

ALLISON

No, I don’t know because I don’t know hockey. I don’t even like hockey.

PAUL

Then why did you even go to a hockey game?

COR

Okay, time out! We have a show to do! So you can argue about whether or not Sarah’s kid ever played hockey some other time. I’d say I can’t believe you’d argue about that, but then again you’d argue about the sun.

PAUL

What specifically about the sun?

ALLISON

There are plenty of legitimate things that could be argued about the sun.

COR

NONE OF WHICH WE WILL BE GOING INTO! We have a far more important matter to discuss.

PAUL

Alright, alright. Don’t get your CrackerJacks in the curry.

COR

What?

ALLISON

What’s that supposed to mean?

PAUL

I’m… trying out some new expressions.

ALLISON

I think you might want to try again.

COR

Parents…

PAUL

Oh, right. The thing you wanted to talk to us about.

ALLISON

Oh! The voting results! So you want to tell us that the voters have found Paul guilty of douchbaggery and sentenced him to sleeping on the couch.

PAUL

Nope. You’d better get ready to hang ten because you’re the one who’s about to be surfing the couch.

COR

I don’t think you understand what that means.

PAUL

Go ahead. Break the bad news to your mother.

COR

Well, this isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about, but we should go over that anyway. The voters decided that Dad should sleep on the couch.

PAUL

Whyyyyyy?

ALLISON

I believe that you deserve that and I could pretend to feel sorry for you, but…

PAUL

I have a request, if this is to be my sentence.

ALLISON

Just remember you agreed to whatever the voters said.

PAUL

No, I will honor it. I just have certain request due to how achy I get when I get up at night.

ALLISON

I’m not rubbing that shit on you again. It smells so bad and the couch still smells like it.

PAUL

Okay, so I have to shampoo the–

ALLISON

You have to shampoo your back hair.

COR

Are you guys done?  How about we get to what I really need to talk to you two about now?

ALLISON

Only if it isn’t boring teenage stuff. Otherwise, save it for the lockers in the hall outside of room 413A at 10:30 before P.E.

COR

Wow, that was oddly specific.

PAUL

Is this something we need to discuss on the show?

COR

I’m trying to capture all of our important discussions on the show. And this one is particularly important.

PAUL

Okay, so what is it?

COR

You guys… I’m really really hungry.

Pause

ALLISON

So go get something to eat then we’ll do this later.

COR

No, that’s what I want to discuss. The fact that I’m starving.

PAUL

Yeah, well I’m pretty tired but I don’t know that we could make a whole episode based on that.

ALLISON

You being tired explains your curry joke.

PAUL

It was not a joke. It was an expression. You just watch… it’ll catch on.

ALLISON

Where, at baseball games in Bangladesh?

COR

Listen… I’m really hungry because you two haven’t been making me any meals!  You’re not going to win any awards as parents at this rate.

ALLISON

What do you mean we don’t make you meals? Your father is the primary cook in the house. He should be making you dinner.

COR

He was making dinner for the whole family until this stupid trial separation of yours. Now since you’re only buying and making your own meals I seem to have been forgotten in this whole thing.

ALLISON

That’s on you, Paul. Why haven’t you been making them anything to eat?

PAUL

Because they won’t eat anything I make so why bother?

ALLISON

Is that true, Coral? Are you not eating the food your father makes you?

COR

Yes, that’s true because COR is vegan. Remember how Dad is trying to train for that marathon? Well he eats lean meat and eggs and stuff, which I don’t eat.

PAUL

Hey, I‘ve added more fruits and vegetables to my diet. I need to up the nutrition value in my food so I’ve been taking a healthy approach to eating.

ALLISON

Wait a minute? You’re eating fruits and veggies? You hate fruits and vegetables.

PAUL

As a matter of fact, I am now.

ALLISON

Boy, I try to get you to eat better for a couple of years and now you want to get in shape now that we’re separated. I think we all know why.

PAUL

It’s never too late to start, that’s why. And I buy plenty of extra for you, Cor. I don’t know why you‘re not eating it.

COR

Because you clearly don’t know how to shop for veggies. I don’t know what was wrong with the lettuce you bought but it tasted all sorts of wrong. Why can’t you buy normal lettuce instead of that chow boy lettuce? It’s awful!

ALLISON

Are you talking about bok choy?

COR

Yes! That stuff!

PAUL

It’s supposed to be chock full of nutrition, that’s why I bought it.

ALLISON

Bugs are supposed to be full of nutrition, so why don’t you buy those?

PAUL

That would be pointless. Cor won’t eat them because they’re vegan.

COR

You know, in this case, that’s not the primary reason I won’t eat a bug, but at least you’re trying to look out for me, Dad.

PAUL

Look, I know the bok choy might be a bit challenging to get down, but if you put enough dressing on it…

COR

Which you don’t even buy anymore since you started making your own dressing. I’m not using that furniture polish you put on your salads.

PAUL

It’s not furniture polish. It’s vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice. It wouldn’t matter if I bought a dressing you like because you still wouldn’t eat it.

ALLISON

He’s right, you know. Your father isn’t the only one who hates vegetables.

COR

That’s… not true. I eat vegetables.

ALLISON

Really? So what vegetables do you eat?

COR

Umm… corn?

ALLISON

Fritos doesn’t count.

PAUL

Besides, corn’s a grain.

COR

Okay… wheat.

PAUL

Also a grain.

ALLISON

Didn’t they ever teach you the food pyramid in school?

COR

Yes, they taught us the food pyramid in school. In fact, I would say I follow it pretty well.

ALLISON

You pretty much eat pizza and spaghetti and chips.

COR

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta. All at the bottom of the pyramid, which is the biggest part so it makes up the largest percentage of the food groups.

ALLISON

Pyramids? Are they combining history, geometry, and health now? You must go to a really lazy school.

PAUL

So you’re a vegan that doesn’t eat veggies. What exactly do you eat, now?

COR

I eat dairy-free pizza and vegan spaghetti with no meat sauce. And there are plenty of chips that are vegan. I can eat fries that are cooked in vegetable oil. And of course, Pop Tarts.

PAUL

So what do they call people who subscribe to your specific diet?

ALLISON

They’re called teenagers.

COR

Okay, we’re getting way off topic here. The point is if you cooked the types of food I eat like you used to, your kid wouldn’t be wasting away from starvation and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

PAUL

I’m sorry, but I’m treating my body like a temple.

ALLISON

Like the Temple of Doom.

PAUL

I can’t be cooking Trader Joe’s and Amy’s frozen foods if I expect to be in great shape.

(beat)

In great marathon shape. Wouldn’t it be great if you saw your old man on a Wheaties box like Simone Biles?

ALLISON

Is that the shape you’re going for?

COR

Besides, isn’t she a gymnast?

ALLISON

I heard Simone Biles can bench press Sha’Carri Richardson.

PAUL

The point is, my goal is to get in top running shape, enter the Seattle Marathon, come in first place, and be featured on the cover of a Wheaties box.

ALLISON

Well there goes my appetite for Wheaties.

PAUL

You know, kiddo… you could have the rest of the Wheaties, how about that? They have corn syrup in them so I don’t eat them anymore. Wait… Wheaties are vegan, right?

COR

Ew, no thanks.

PAUL

You don’t have to eat them dry. I have hemp milk so you won’t have to use your mom’s udder milk.

COR

That’s not making it any more tempting. Thanks for the offer, Dad, but it looks like you’re no help in this situation. So let’s go to you, Mom. You eat plenty of the same foods I’ll eat. Until you put cheese on it, which you do with everything, which of course I won’t eat. How come when you make yourself a meal you can’t just make me one too?

ALLISON

Well… because… it would take twice as long to make us both dinner. By the time your father is done juicing or steaming or whatever he does with his avocados there’s hardly any time left in the evening for me to cook.

PAUL

What I do with my avocados is my business. Besides, everything you make takes less than five minutes as you don’t eat anything that can’t be nuked or dipped or drowned in milk.

COR

Yeah, Mom. Why can’t you buy two of whatever you’re eating, throw them both in the microwave and just set it for twice the time?

ALLISON

Because… because it doesn’t heat right. It gets cold spots if you put too much food in at once.

PAUL

Cor, you’re a pre-adult. Why don’t you just grab one of your mom’s and toss it in after hers is done?

COR

You wanna know why? Because there are never any extra meals in the freezer.

PAUL

What do you mean?

COR

She only buys enough for one night.

PAUL

Wait… you stop at the store every day and buy just one frozen meal? Why don’t you just stock up and save yourself a bunch of extra trips?

ALLISON

Well… because I never know what I’m going to want for dinner on a given day. I don’t want to buy a bunch of meals I won’t be in the mood for the next day or later in the week.

COR

Then why don’t you just buy a variety of foods, that way you can choose something different the next day?

ALLISON

What if I want something specific that I didn’t stock up on? Then I’d have to stop at the store anyway. Besides, I never know what I’m in the mood for until I get there.

COR

Yeah. You wouldn’t want to inconvenience yourself by stocking up on food for the week so your kid has something to eat.

ALLISON

You know what? You’re an adult. Since you have such discriminating tastes why don’t you buy your own food? That would make things easier for everyone. You’ve been buying your own Pop Tarts, right?

COR

For awhile I was. But since you two barely talk to each other anymore the swear jar’s been pretty much empty, so my Pop Tart fund dried up.

ALLISON

Why don’t you use some of your babysitting money?

COR

Seriously? I haven’t babysat since I was twelve.

ALLISON

You couldn’t have burned through it that fast.

COR

Mom, it’s been almost five years since I was twelve.

ALLISON

Don’t worry, it will all come back to you pretty quickly. It’s like riding a bike. Actually it would be more like babysitting a bike, which I imagine would be a lot easier.

PAUL

You can make extra money being a Lyft driver.

COR

I think you have to be twenty-one to be a Lyft driver.

ALLISON

How about DoorDash? You only have to be eighteen. Plus you’d be delivering food so you’ll always have something to eat available to you.

COR

Yeah. I have to be eighteen.

ALLISON

I see the problem with that now.

COR

They apparently didn’t teach math in your health class.

ALLISON

Unless people ordered vegan, you wouldn’t be able to sample off their orders.

COR

Yeah, that’s the problem with that. Other than the fact that I’m not yet eighteen you’re overlooking the biggest problem of all. I don’t have a car.

PAUL

You could always use your mom’s car.

ALLISON

You’re seriously offering up my car? Let them use your car!

PAUL

If they used my car they’d have to put gas in it. Which they can’t afford to do because they don’t have a job, so…

ALLISON

But they could get a job driving if they had a car, then they could gas up your car with the money they make from their job.

COR

Leaving me with no money left over for food. Great plan. But let me punch one more hole in this brilliant idea: I don’t even have a driver’s license.

ALLISON

Wait… you don’t have a driver’s license?

COR

Nope. But I’ll pretend to be surprised you didn’t know that.

PAUL

I could have sworn I taught you how to drive.

COR

You offered to teach me how to drive and I declined, remember? I have no interest in learning to drive, and if I did, I would have someone teach me that has an attention span longer than fifteen seconds.

PAUL

Everything happens within fifteen seconds while driving. It’s not like I’m reading a book or tying a tie or anything else that requires a long attention span.

ALLISON

How can anyone get around in Seattle without a car?

COR

I ride a bike, remember? Which is less than fun eight months of the year around here. That’s why I’m always asking one of you for a ride, which is usually met with “ask your father” or “ask your mother”. Then there’s the bus, and my friends. Which unfortunately are about as reliable as you guys.

PAUL

Okay, so a driving job is out. That’s not the only kind of job you could get. There are plenty of jobs out there that hire teenagers.

COR

Just so I understand this: You think I should get a job so I can afford to buy myself food, even though it is a minimum expectation for parents to keep their kid fed?

Pause

PAUL

It would prevent a lot of confusion.

ALLISON

You chose to be a vegan, we didn’t.

PAUL

I mean, in our defense we don’t know what vegans eat. Things that don’t wear pants, right?

ALLISON

If you ate whatever we made for you, it was pure luck.

PAUL

What I made. You don’t make anything that doesn’t involve meals by megawatts.

COR

I can’t believe I’m going to offer this but… how about you give me money for food, then I’ll do my own grocery shopping for myself?

Pause

PAUL

How much are we talking? Isn’t vegan food really expensive?

COR

You’re thinking of organics.

PAUL

Don’t vegans eat organic?

ALLISON

If that’s the case then Oreos must be very organic the way I’ve seen them put them away.

COR

No, I don’t need to eat organics so I won’t need that much for a food allowance.

ALLISON

How much is “that much”?

COR

Mmm… a hundred dollars?

ALLISON

A month? I think we can swing that. Fifty bucks a month from each of us, right, Paul?

PAUL

Fifty bucks? That’s a lot of money! Who do you think I am, Timothy Chalamet?

ALLISON

Then what would you suggest?

PAUL

I was going to offer ten dollars a week.

COR

Ten dollars a week? I can barely eat one meal for that much!

ALLISON

I think we can do better, Paul. Twenty dollars a week should do it.

COR

I need at least sixty a week.

PAUL

No. Absolutely not.

COR

Well, that would account for backpay in meals I’m owed since this separation. I wonder if I should have CPS check my math?

PAUL

The pharmacy? They check math now?

ALLISON

CPS. As in Child Protective Services.

PAUL

Ah. I see.

(beat)

I tell you what. Forty dollars a week in Chipotle gift cards. That’s our final offer.

COR

Deal!

AFTERWORD

COR

So, now the parents are giving me a fifty dollar gift card to Chipotle every week. I think they felt bad about not making me meals since this separation, or whatever you want to call it, so they bumped it up by ten bucks. It was a really sweet deal at first, and since I take after my dad I know how to stretch a buck. I stopped growing in fifth grade so I don’t need much to eat, unlike other kids my age. I mean, I love Chipotle, but having it every week, is going to get pretty tiring. At least I have Mom’s chips to fall back on. She keeps a bag hidden in her nightstand. I had to push through the first time I helped myself to some considering the other thing I found in that drawer. *shudder* It’s just that Chipotle doesn’t have Lay’s and I really miss them! Apparently mom does too based on the thing in her nightstand. See what I did there? Yeah, what I did there is just gross myself out. Okay, I’m going to go get some dinner now… the same dinner I had last night. And the night before. See ya.

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