Picnic vs. Paintball

Credits

Erin Lillis – Allison Baxter
Coral Baxter-Ellis – Tal Minear
Carl G. Brooks – Paul Ellis

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


DECONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM – PICNIC VS. PAINTBALL

ALLISON

I’m mortified that you’d actually put that on the air, Coral!

CORAL

On the air? It’s a podcast, not a radio show.

ALLISON

You know what I mean. I can’t believe you put our business out for the world to listen to!

CORAL

Hey, you both agreed that whatever I recorded was fair game!

ALLISON

I know, but I figured you would use some discretion in what you put out there.

CORAL

I figured you two would use some discretion in what you talk about. Especially in front of your kid.

ALLISON

Do I dare even ask what the vote was on?

CORAL

Um, no. There was nothing for the listeners to vote on.

ALLISON

Sure there was, like who do they think finished first, me or your dad?

CORAL

Mom! No! Can we not do this again?

ALLISON

I think they could easily guess who-

CORAL

Mom, I’m begging you…

ALLISON

I keep saying, ‘It’s not a race, Paul. If it is, you can go ahead and pass me my baton’.

CORAL

MOM! Why on earth would you think I’d be okay with hearing this?

ALLISON

Hey, look… I try not to treat you like a child. I know what you’re exposed to with social media and all so I’m not going to handle you with kid gloves. For god’s sake, you’re fifteen. You’re practically an adult.

CORAL

Sixteen.

ALLISON

Well, yeah. Sixteen. I mean it takes getting used to when you turn a new age.

CORAL

My birthday was last summer.

ALLISON

Anyway, I suspect you’re avoiding becoming an adult. This whole ND thing-

CORAL

NB…

ALLISON

-is you being scared to get into the dating scene.

CORAL

It’s NB. Non-binary. You’re confusing gender identity with sexual orientation.

ALLISON

I think you’re the one who’s confused, dear. If you just got out there, went on a nice date with someone, boy or girl, you’d find out not only how much fun you’d have, but which side of the fence you want to paint.

CORAL

I’ve told you, mom… I’m ace. I’m not interested in dating. Can we just accept that?

ALLISON

Well, you’re young, I suppose, just fifteen. Sixteen. Just turned… last summer. Sixteen. You’ll figure it out. That’s what college is for after all, right?

CORAL

Who knows what the future holds? But today, this is who I am. Plus, it gives me a chance to focus on my own shit. Maybe if more people did that, there would be a lot more happy marria- er, relationships?

Pause

CORAL

Sooo…. what’s the topic for the show today? Please let’s not revisit last episode’s topic.

ALLISON

The pillows? No, they suck. Clearly it wasn’t the pillows that made us sleep so well. I think you can infer by that that we’re-

CORAL

Say no more. Please.

ALLISON

Yeah. We need to get that fire back. Basically we lit a match in a monsoon. I don’t know how we can replicate whatever ignited that spark.

CORAL

You mean the formula of staying at grandma’s before her colonoscopy? Good luck getting grams to agree to that.

ALLISON

Yeah. I think we need to get back to basics. Maybe have a date night?

CORAL

Ugh. Spare yourselves the aggravation. You both overthink it, disagree, and end up arguing, thus creating the opposite effect.

ALLISON

I know! We’ll have the listeners vote on where we should go! We’ll come up with ideas on the fly and let them vote!

CORAL

Actually, that’s not a bad idea!

ALLISON

I know, right? Let’s do this. Where’s your father?

(yelling))

Hurry up, or I’m starting without you!

PAUL

I’m here, I’m here. Wait. Where’s the cereal?

ALLISON

No cereal.

PAUL

I thought we were doing Life versus Fruit Loops?

ALLISON

I already did that. Fruit Loops won.

PAUL

When did you do that? I thought we were going to do it together?

ALLISON

I was making a joke about our actual lives. Never mind. Too subtle, obviously.

PAUL

Or… not funny. So if we’re not doing cereal, what are we doing?

ALLISON

Date night.

PAUL

Huh?

ALLISON

Date night. You know how we always try to have date night but then we start arguing about what we’re going to do and then we get mad at each other and end up not doing anything at all?

PAUL

Sounds vaguely familiar…

ALLISON

Well, I thought we’d try speed date night.

PAUL

You’re gonna have to explain that one.

ALLISON

We each get a minute to pitch our date night idea, and the audience gets to vote what we do on our next night out. No arguments, no sulking, just trusting to our listeners to guide us.

PAUL

And you didn’t think to warn me in advance?

ALLISON

You’re good off the cuff. Coral, we about ready?

CORAL

Been recording for a couple of minutes, mom.

ALLISON

Good gir- person. Good person. Shall we begin?

PAUL

Fine. You have to start, though, as I have no idea what we’re doing.

ALLISON

Happy to, but shall we do the intro first?

PAUL

Hello, listeners, and welcome to this week’s episode of Deconstructive Criticism! I’m Paul…

ALLISON

And I’m Allison, and each week, we review something in hopes that we educate and entertain and maybe make one decision in your life easier. This week, we’re doing something a little different. Paul?

PAUL

“Paul” what? This is your idea, you explain it!

ALLISON

Will do! So, like many couples who have been together for a long time, we realized we’d started to take our relationship and each other a bit for granted. We tried to institute “date night,” but found ourselves at odds about what to do.

PAUL

That’s right. We’d frequently argue over mini golf versus a fancy restaurant.

ALLISON

Or the opera versus the ballet.

PAUL

When did we EVER argue over those two things? We hate them both!

ALLISON

Ha ha, not at all, PAUL. Anyway, we decided we’d do a form of “speed dating” where we each pitch our ideas for the perfect night out, and you choose our date for us!

PAUL

I’d like to go on record that I only just now heard about this, so please bear that in mind when judging our pitches.

ALLISON

Or don’t! Hey, if he can’t be impassioned on short notice, maybe it’s because his heart isn’t really in it?

PAUL

Says the woman who’s known about this for how long?

ALLISON

Hush. I’ll start. So, idea number one: the classic — dinner and a movie! Quit rolling your eyes, Paul.

CORAL

Clock’s ticking…

ALLISON

Right. There’s a reason this is a classic. You can dress up for the dinner, which is fun, since there are so few occasions for dress up anymore, but you don’t have to, since the cinema doesn’t care. You can have dinner before, which means MOVIE CANDY for dessert, or go for popcorn during the show and a nice meal after. Because there are lots of movie times, you have great flexibility, and because so many cinemas have multiple screens you can-

buzzer sounds

PAUL

Go to different movies? Is that what you were going to say?

ALLISON

Of course not! I was going to say-

buzzer sounds

CORAL

Sorry, Mom, time’s up.

ALLISON

But I didn’t get to finish-

CORAL

Get his phone number and move on. This is speed date nighting, remember? Dad? Your time starts… now!

PAUL

Wait, now? I’m not ready!

CORAL

Clock’s ticking, Dad….

PAUL

Ingrate. OK, uhhhh… Netflix and chill! This is my favorite date night-

ALLISON

Wait, that’s not-

CORAL

It’s whatever he wants to offer, Mom. Penalty, Mom: five extra seconds to Dad.

ALLISON

What?

CORAL

I don’t make the rules.

ALLISON

You just did!

CORAL

Five more seconds to Dad. Want to make it a full minute?

(pause)

Right. Go, Dad.

PAUL

It’s free, since we already pay for Netflix, and what’s a movie these days? Fifteen bucks for one adult? A large popcorn and two drinks will set you back another 20, so the evening’s already cost 50 bucks before you even set foot in the restaurant! Plus, I gotta get all dressed up to go sit in the dark for two hours, when I can sit in the dark at home for nothing AND I don’t have to wear pants. There’s great food in my fridge or we can really splurge and order a pizza or Thai food, and eat it on our comfy, paid-for, lice-free couch, and if we don’t like the movie, we didn’t just blow thirty bucks plus tax, we just stop it and — and this is the real glory of Netflix — we find another one! And the crowd goes wild! Cheap, comfortable, private, and if my date decides to put out, the bedroom is just a few feet away. Ta da!

ALLISON

“Put out”?

PAUL

Ok, that was maybe a step too far, but come on, you gotta admit, there’s no beating it for convenience and comfort.

ALLISON

You have no soul.

PAUL

Last night, you put on possibly the world’s ugliest pair of sweat pants, a tee shirt so stretched at the neck you had a whole Flashdance thing going on, your hair in a ponytail, and what did you say? Hmmm? “Ahhhhhhhhhhh…..”

CORAL

You are going off script. Next round, Mom, your time starts… now!

ALLISON

How did we raise such an unforgiving daught- child?

CORAL

You have no idea how forgiving I am, Mom. Go.

ALLISON

Picnic on the beach! Or anywhere, really. We both like sandwiches, we like sunshine. I have that beautiful antique picnic basket from Italy that we bought on our honeymoon, remember? We’ve never even used it, but it’s got nice silverware, glassware built into the lid, we even got a lovely blanket from that outdoor market. We planned to have a picnic along the banks of the Elba in Firenze, but then it rained for the rest of our time there. But we could still have our romantic picnic on a sunny summer day with good food, the perfect wine, then dozing on that beautiful blanket in the warm, summer sun after a walk through the woods with the light filtering through the leaves-

buzzer sounds

CORAL

That sounds really nice, Mom.

PAUL

Right, until the ants come marching in, and we get food poisoning from the mayo in the sandwiches and bees are dive-bombing Mom’s famous Jello-and-Cool-Whip salad, and it’s hot and we get sunburnt, and that stupid blanket gives me hives, if you remember — they were all up and down my arm from me carrying the blanket home from the Sunday market!

CORAL

Dad, is this how you choose to spend your time, or would you like to make a bid for your date night idea?

PAUL

Fine. My turn? Curling.

ALLISON

What? No!

PAUL

I get to pitch whatever I want, and it’s up to the listeners to decide! If I were you, I wouldn’t object too much; I get the feeling a few of them aren’t too fond of you.

ALLISON

You mean your fantasy football buds? They do NOT get to vote.

CORAL

There’s really no way of stopping them, Mom, so yeah, you might not want to protest too much.

ALLISON

Curling. Sounds. Great.

PAUL

Doesn’t it? A chilly ice rink, Mom doing her favorite activity: housework. Well, sweeping, anyway. Lots of standing around while things happen really slowly. But it is a sport, isn’t it? The very precise release of the stone at just the right moment and in exactly the right direction. Perfect for your impetuous, impatient mom. It’s like shuffleboard on ice! With eight stones per end, and eight to ten ends per game, a single game can last for hours. Oh, and occasionally the game pauses so the surface can be re-pebbled. It’s a graceful, elegant sport which requires concentration, balance, and exquisite timing. Afterwards, we can adjourn to the pub with the other curlers to rehash the game and talk about All Things Curling over a pint or a cup of hot chocolate before returning home by 8 pm to catch the evening news and turn in early.

buzzer sounds

ALLISON

Why are you giving him so much more time than me?

CORAL

I’m not!

ALLISON

You are, and you know you are. If you can’t be impartial, you can’t be the judge.

CORAL

Mom, I can’t help if it his ideas are mostly to piss you off. I’m playing fair, so don’t blame me. You have one last pitch.

ALLISON

Ok, then: the ballet.

PAUL

Nooooooooo!!!

ALLISON

Careful, dear, MY friends listen too. May I?

Coral

Starting…. now.

ALLISON

An evening at the ballet would be an opportunity to support the arts and maybe mingle with people we don’t ordinarily meet. Ballet isn’t just people in tights; it’s artistry, athleticism, perfect bodies honed to a razor’s edge. It’s glorious, uplifting music, it’s storytelling through the movement of bodies. The costumes, the sets, the very ambiance of the performance space all lend themselves to an evening of grace and spectacle. It’s an opportunity to wrap ourselves in a thick cloak of culture and tradition, to witness an art form that’s been around for centuries. Yes, it involves getting dressed up and paying for a ticket, and I know Paul is reluctant to indulge in any live entertainment where you can’t buy beer in a plastic cup in the hallway on the way in, but I’d like, just once, to-

buzzer sounds

CORAL

Sorry, Mom.

ALLISON

Mmmm hmmmmm.

PAUL

Don’t give the child a hard time, Allison. They’re just doing their job.

ALLISON

Your turn.

PAUL

Yeah, OK. Uhhhh…. Paintball. Yeah….paintball! There’s a paintball park in town, actually. We get all dressed up in baggy, rented jumpsuits that have been sweated in by a horde of nerds, like putting bowling shoes on your whole body, then you get a hot, heavy helmet-and-mask-hair-smoosher thingy and head out into an obstacle course to shoot at each other with non-fatal but still painful balls of paint. We’ll probably be teamed up with a bunch of random strangers, again, sweaty nerds who rarely talk with women, so they’ll be completely unable to communicate with you, and if you’re lucky, they’ll be resentful of having a chick on their team-

ALLISON

Foul! I cry foul! He’s totally stereotyping; shouldn’t there be a penalty on the play?

CORAL

Yeah, I’m kind of with Mom on this one, Dad. No bashing total strangers. 5 seconds off the clock, so you better wrap it up.

PAUL

Really? Sheesh. Fine. We can do something hot, sweaty, painful, and awkward — or we can skip the ballet and play paintball instead! HA.

ALLISON

So there you go, listeners! Your choices, once again are, for me: Dinner and a movie, picnic, or the ballet. Paul barfed up Netflix and chill, curling, and paintball. Voting is now open on our website, dcritpodcast dot com. Voting closes in one week on [date], and we’ll go on the date of your choice the following weekend or as soon as possible. Aaaaand that’s a wrap! All good, Coral?

CORAL

Surprisingly painless, yes.

ALLISON

Fine. I’ll be in the garage.

Headphones down, she exits.

CORAL

Is she mad at me?

PAUL

Don’t worry about it, kiddo. Give me five minutes, and I’ll do something to make her mad at me. I’m going to run to the grocery store; you want to come?

@CORAL

No thanks, I need to get started on the edit. Get the chocolate mint ice cream she likes, will you?

PAUL

She’ll get over it, Coral. But I’ll get the ice cream, just in case.

Headphones down, he exits.

CORAL

So, that was speed date night. Soooo, while I’ve got a moment with you here, I’ll put in a quiet pitch for paintball. To be honest, Mom would be bored stiff at the ballet. She doesn’t like having to sit still for five minutes at a time. We have to take her out and run her around the block a few times when we want to go to a movie. She hates ants and isn’t particularly fond of sunlight, so I’m guessing the picnic would also be a bust. But the idea of mom and dad shooting each other with paint balls is pretty damn amusing, and honestly, Mom would hand Dad his ass in a bucket. She’s a crack shot and he can’t hit the giant trash can with a paperwad 6 tries out of 10, no matter how cocky he comes across. But whatever you decide, you’ll hear about it here. And I’ll hear about it for weeks, so please — make sure it’s funny, will you? It woulda been nice if they chose things they could enjoy together, rather than things they thought the other would hate, but this is where we are right now. Anyway, have fun voting, and I’ll see you back here in two weeks’ time for more Destructive Criticism or Deconstructing Marriage, or whatever this really is….

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: