Sickness vs. Sandwich

Credits

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

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


ALLISON

…and in this internet age you need to be extra careful out there, Coral. I watched this documentary the other day about people pretending to be other people on line just to try to, you know, lure them. Get them to buy them cars or send them traveler’s cheques or-

CORAL

What’s a traveler’s cheque?

ALLISON

It’s money you take with you when you travel abroad so you don’t risk having your whole life and identity stolen if you lose it in, say France, or Cameroon.

CORAL

Then why would they want you to send them traveler’s cheques?

ALLISON

I don’t know. They just do. Anyway, they use pictures of models, like models that work for Instagram and stuff then they go fishing for victims.

CORAL

Wait, are you talking about catfishing?

ALLISON

Yes! That’s the name of the documentary I watched.

CORAL

Okay, Mom… that’s not a documentary. It’s like an MTV thing.

ALLISON

No, I didn’t watch a video by the band Catfish. I’m telling you. This is a real thing and you need to be careful. Doesn’t she, Paul?

PAUL

Uh huh. Be careful out there.

ALLISON

I’m just worried about you, that’s all. If you’re out there looking for a boyfriend… or a girlfriend, I don’t want to be presumptuous here as you don’t choose sides, but I don’t want you to fall prey to someone on TikTok who’s pretending to be someone they’re not.

CORAL

Okay, there’s so many problems with that. That’s really insensitive to think being non-binary is about “choosing” my gender identity. Not to mention you’re conflating being enby with being ace. I’ve told you this…

ALLISON

Yes, I remember. You said you don’t care who you date-

CORAL

No, no… I don’t care to date at all. I don’t have any interest in hooking up with anyone so don’t worry about that. But what I really don’t have the energy for is to explain to you what TikTok is.

ALLISON

Okay, well, if you aren’t dating right now then I’ll keep my concern for your safety and welfare to myself. Apparently a mother can love too much.

CORAL

When you find one that does, will you point her out to me?

ALLISON

What was that?

CORAL

I… uh… I was just reminding you our votes are in.

ALLISON

Good. I can’t wait to get rid of those bidets and go back to good ol’ fashioned front-to-back. I’m sure you agree Paul.

PAUL

What was the vote on?

ALLISON

Didn’t you hear what I just said? The bath tissue thing.

PAUL

Bath tissue?

CORAL

She means toilet paper. She’s trying to sound fancy.

PAUL

Oh yeah.

ALLISON

So what did they say?

CORAL

They voted two-to-one that we should keep the bidets.

Groans and protests from ALLISON and PAUL

PAUL

I don’t like the bidet. I don’t care. I’m not going to use it.

CORAL

It just takes a bit of getting used to, that’s all.

PAUL

No. It feels like I’m being waterboarded. Now I know why waterboarding is a war crime.

ALLISON

Waterboarded? First of all, is it in the Geneva convention that lavaging a prisoner’s ass is considered torture? Maybe the way you’re doing it is totally upside-down. What I personally don’t like is that it doesn’t save on bath tissue. I’m completely drenched after using the bidet so I have to dry up with something.

CORAL

That’s why people keep a bidet towel nearby, just for that purpose.

ALLISON

Eww, really? That sounds gross. Plus I don’t think your father will want to put that on his face based on the way he uses the bidet.

PAUL

What are you talking about?

CORAL

But you should already be clean, so using a towel is no big deal, right? Unless you’re washing your butt the same way you wash your hands. I’ve watched both of you use the abracadabra method of washing your hands, you know. You turn on the water, wave your hands under it, and they’re magically clean.

ALLISON

(sighs)

Well, I suppose we agreed to this whole process, so I’ll keep working on getting the hang of it. And Paul will just have to learn not to breathe through his butt so it doesn’t feel like waterboarding to him.

PAUL

I promise.

CORAL

Oookaaayyy… I suppose in a twisted way this leads us to today’s topic. At least as far as I’m concerned.

ALLISON

Well you’re just the producer, remember? So your opinion doesn’t count in this one. Okay, here we go…

Hello, and welcome to Deconstructive Criticism, the show where we review all the things you do and don’t need in your life. I’m Allison…

(pause)

I’m Allison…

(pause)

Paul-

PAUL

Uh, yeah. And I’m Paul.

ALLISON

Nice of you to join us, Paul. So what are we going to review today?

PAUL

So today we’re reviewing Colin’s Sandwich Stop.

ALLISON

That’s right, Paul. As I understand it, there are Colin’s Sandwich Stop franchises cropping up in several states, but they’re still growing so there might not be a location where you live yet, listeners. But if you get one near you after listening to this episode, hopefully you’ll already know what to expect.

PAUL

Probably.

ALLISON

(beat)

Probably? Oh-kaaayyy… Anyway, so the deal with Colin’s Sandwich Stop is while most delis are all about the different meats and cold cuts and stuff these guys are all about breads. I mean they have all the standard meats, cheeses, veggies, and what not, but they have all these different breads like pumpernickel, marble rye, challah… gotta hollah about that challah!

(beat)

Nothing? Ha? Man, I thought you’d appreciate that.

CORAL

Yeah that was a total dad joke if I ever heard one. And you’re the father of all dad jokes, dad.

PAUL

(absently)

I like a good joke…

CORAL

No, I said a dad joke, not a good joke.

Silence

CORAL

Dad?

Silence

CORAL

Just keep going, Mom.

ALLISON

Okay, so anyway, they have onion dill, olive loaf, five different kinds of sourdough, even cinnamon raisin if you can imagine! Sounds disgusting to me to make a sandwich with cinnamon raisin but maybe someone digs it. What do you think, Paul?

PAUL

Someone digs it.

Pause

ALLISON

What’s going on with you today? You seem out of it. You want to do this later?

PAUL

No, no. I want to do this while it’s fresh in my mind.

ALLISON

Well whatever’s in your mind is past pull date. You’re barely here at all. You seem really checked out. Or something. Are you alright?

PAUL

Nothing. I mean, nothing’s up.

ALLISON

No, somethings up.

PAUL

No, it’s just… I don’t know. I don’t feel my best.

ALLISON

What, like you think you might be coming down with something?

PAUL

I don’t know. I’m really trying not to get sick.

ALLISON

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

PAUL

Yes, yes, you’re always using that Han Solo quote on me. You’re quoting Star Trek, not Wayne Dyer.

CORAL

Mom, don’t do that to him now if he’s not feeling well. He’s particularly gullible right now.

ALLISON

Alright, alright. So what do you think you’re coming down with? Swine flu? Ebola? COVID? You have COVID, don’t you? It’s mutated to COVID-20 now, you know.

PAUL

Why don’t you ever take me seriously when I say I might be getting sick?

ALLISON

I thought you were trying not to get sick.

PAUL

Yes, I’m trying not to, but I might be getting sick.

ALLISON

Then maybe we should postpone this.

CORAL

Dad, we can always do this later. Did you take your temperature?

PAUL

Yes, I did take my temperature, actually.

CORAL

With what? We haven’t had a thermometer since mom used it when she tried to make toffee.

ALLISON

Hey, the recipe said it needed to get to ‘soft crack’. And I’ll have you know I made sure it hadn’t been put in any of yours beforehand.

CORAL

Eww, Mom! Anyway, Dad, how did you take your temperature?

PAUL

With one of those Tempa-Dot strips.

CORAL

Oh, good. So did you have a fever?

PAUL

I don’t know. How many dots is a fever? I had twenty-three dots.

CORAL

Alright, let’s put this off. You need to lay down.

PAUL

No, let’s just keep rolling it. If I’m doing something normal it will take my mind off how I’m feeling then I’ll forget I’m not feeling so hot.

ALLISON

Umm… alright. Go ahead and tell the listeners what you thought of it, Paul.

PAUL

What I thought of what?

ALLISON

See? Coral’s right. We should just-

PAUL

No, no, no. We were um… we were talking about bread?

ALLISON

Well, kind of. We were talking about Colin’s.

PAUL

Right, right. Colin’s. They have a lot of bread options.

ALLISON

I already talked about that.

PAUL

Yeah, bread. They have a lot of bread options.

ALLISON

Coral…

CORAL

He says he wants to keep going so… we’re still rolling.

ALLISON

(sighs)

Fine.

Seems crazy to be offering so many bread options when people are so anti-bread these days.

PAUL

I know, right? With the kilo and Entire 30 and all that…

ALLISON

No, it’s keto and…

PAUL starts clearing his throat

ALLISON

Don’t be sensitive. I want to make sure listeners know what those diets are called.

PAUL

No, my throat feels all phlegmy.

CORAL

Did you try gargling with warm water with lemon juice and cayenne pepper?

PAUL

That’s that master class. I’m not going to do that.

ALLISON

You mean the master cleanse. And sweetheart, I don’t think that’s going to help your father if he’s not feeling well.

CORAL

If he ate at Colin’s Sandwich Stop, it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

PAUL

Yes it would hurt. Cayenne pepper hurts.

ALLISON

Never mind all that. Did you take anything once you started feeling cruddy?

PAUL

I started taking that stuff… you know, that fizzy vitamin C stuff you drop in a glass of water?

CORAL

You mean Airborne or Emergen-C or EBoost, one of those?

ALLISON

Did you start taking it before you started feeling sick or right when you started feeling sick?

PAUL

I started taking it this morning.

ALLISON

Because you weren’t feeling well.

PAUL

Yeah.

ALLISON

You’re supposed to take it before you get sick.

PAUL

I never understood that. How do you know if you’re about to get sick before you get sick when you don’t feel sick?

ALLISON

Well since it seems like you’re always about to get sick it might be a safe bet for you. Personally, I think you’re a bit of a hypochondriac. Don’t you think, Coral?

CORAL

Just the producer. Keep me out of it.

ALLISON

Well take your producer hat off and tell your father he’s a hypochondriac.

CORAL

I’m not going to do that, Mom.

PAUL

I’m not a hypochondriac. I actually get sick a lot. Hypochondriacs just think they get sick a lot.

ALLISON

Well then there’s never a window for you to take that Vitamin C stuff now, is there?

PAUL

It doesn’t matter cuz I don’t think that stuff works anyway. I think it’s just a seltzer tablet someone colored with an orange highlighter. You know what? I’m starting to think that it’s just a placebo.

ALLISON

If you keep telling yourself it’s a placebo you’re going to end up believing it, you know.

PAUL

Exactly.

ALLISON

Well, phlegm-boy, why don’t we put this off until later?

PAUL

No. I’m not sick. I want to talk about the sandwiches.

ALLISON

Okay, go ahead.

PAUL

Okay. Well I had the turkey on soda bread. It had turkey, lettuce, pickles, turkey, cheese, mayo, turkey, and… what else?

ALLISON

Turkey?

PAUL

Yes. Turkey. I knew I was forgetting the most important part.

ALLISON

And what did you think?

PAUL

I don’t know. It’s hard to remember that far back…

ALLISON

We ate there two nights ago.

PAUL

A lot has happened since then.

ALLISON

Yes. I did laundry, you washed the cars, and we watched Dancing With the Stars. Empires rose and fell in that time.

PAUL

Well it seems like a long time ago. Time goes slower when you’re sick.

ALLISON

You want me to wait for you to catch up to me then?

PAUL

If you wouldn’t mind?

ALLISON

I… um… okay. Continue.

PAUL

So what was I talking about? I guess I’m not caught up to you yet.

ALLISON

Turkey.

PAUL

That’s right, turkey. You know, I wonder if that’s what got me sick…

ALLISON

The turkey sandwich?

PAUL

I’d be willing to bet.

ALLISON

So you can’t really say you liked the sandwich? Or Colin’s Sandwich Stop?

PAUL

Oh I thought the sandwich was pretty good.

ALLISON

Really? But yet you think you got sick from it.

PAUL

You never know. Probably though.

ALLISON

Well. Okay then. So there you have it. A critique of Colin’s Sandwich Stop from a sick guy who may or may not be sick even though he’s been taking seltzer tablets colored with an orange highlighter. I don’t think I have anything to add to that.

PAUL starts clearing his throat again

ALLISON

So for Deconstructive Criticism-

PAUL

Remind me… am I supposed to gargle with lemon juice?

ALLISON

I’m Allison-

PAUL

Warm lemon juice. That’s it.

ALLISON

-and that’s Paul. Thanks for listening, everybody.

Paul tries to clear his throat

ALLISON

Is that it Coral? Did you get that? What’s usable anyway…

Do you mind? Are you trying to get the mic all phlegmy?

AFTERWORD

CORAL

So this really wasn’t far off the mark as things go around here. Dad does get sick more often than the rest of us. Is he a bit of a hypochondriac? I don’t know that I can say that. I will say he does have this kind of constant low grade anxiety, though he seems pretty upbeat most of the time. I think he just stuffs it down in there, afraid of looking like the bad guy or coming across as not being as optimistic as he presents himself to be, so I bet that’s what contributes to him getting sick.

Or maybe it’s an attempt to get Mom’s attention. If that’s the case, it doesn’t work. She really isn’t the doting wife type, definitely not the mothering type. I know that much for sure.

Well, with Dad under the weather, or seemingly under the weather we have nothing for you to vote on. Unless you want to vote on whether or not you think he’s really sick?

Nah, don’t do that. Hopefully we’ll have something for you next time. Until then, this is Deconstructive Criticism. Thanks for listening.

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