A Monotonous Succession of Jello Salads
This is one of my favorite scripts I have written for Out of the Hat and probably one of my most personal. I have way too much experience with what Amy calls "the talk." This was written for Out of the Hat 7 in June of 2006 and my prompts were:
Who: The Devil
What: A Pineapple
Where: A Church
Common Line: “But, is it contagious?”
Cast: 2 Women
A Monotonous Succession of Jello Salads
June 9, 2006
Amy – A young woman about to be ordained.
Emily – Amy’s sister, a rock singer.
Emily: Amy! Amy, what the hell are you doing here in the Sunday School room? They are lining up. Mom’s worried sick about you.
Amy: (sobbing, trying to push her tears away) I know, I know. I just… I’m not doing it, Emily. They can’t make me. I’m not going up there. (tries to compose herself)
Emily: Come again? Because I thought I just heard my little sister say that after years of school, hundreds of papers, thousands of dollars of loans, dozens of interviews, and numerous late night phone calls to her big sister, she’s not going through with ordination?
Amy: Yep, that’s pretty much it.
Emily: The fuck you say. (a beat) What gives? I mean, you’ve been working toward this all of your life.
Amy: I just realized, I don’t want to be a pastor.
Emily: Yes you do.
Amy: No I don’t.
Emily: Yes… you do.
Amy: No… I don’t.
Emily: Who administered last rites to Skippy the Hamster and gave him a burial in our back yard when she was nine?
Amy: (rolls eyes) Me.
Emily: Who baptized each and every one of our stuffed animals one Sunday afternoon when she was five?
Amy: Are you making fun of me? Because I’m not really in the mood right now. Actually, I just want to be left alone…
Emily: Ho, no no no no no. Not a chance. Okay, so, they are lining up upstairs. The service starts in… 22 minutes. The bishop is in the building. What is your big plan?
Amy: (brightening) I could go with you.
Emily: I’m about to start a three month tour next week. What are you going to do? Roadie?
Amy: Sure! Perfect! I’ll be your roadie. I could even do back up vocals like I did in high school.
Emily: Wunderbar! Pastor Amy sings back up vocals for Roxie and the Hellions on their 2006 Devil May Care tour!
Amy: Why not?!
Emily: Why not? Because you are about to receive Holy Orders and become a high holy potentate or something like that. In an hour you will be the Reverend Amy Chesterton, that’s why not.
Amy: (nervously) No. No, I’m not.
Emily: Look, it’s just cold feet. I get it sometimes before I go on stage, we can…
Amy: It’s not cold feet. It’s a moment of clarity. I was walking around downstairs and I saw all the church basement ladies smiling at me as they put out their jello salads with the shaved carrots and pineapple floating inside with dollops of mayonnaise on top and I thought to myself, this is my future. This is what I have to look forward to… for the rest… of my life. An endless stream of gelatinous food with bits of vegetable matter suspended within.
Emily: That’s grim when you put it that way. (snaps out of it) But that’s not your life. You’ll have a life out of church too. I mean, you’ll find a guy and settle down, I expect.
Amy: No. Not going to happen. Guys I’d want to date don’t date pastors… and guys who would want to date pastors… (shudders, sound of disgust)
Emily: I get your point.
Amy: It’s like the wise man said, I’d never belong to a club who would have me as a member.
Emily: But you’ve dated…
Amy: Yeah, I’ve dated. We go out once or twice, but then there is always “the talk…”
Emily: About sex?
Amy: I wish! No, about my job. You know, everyone else in the world can talk about their job as if it’s just something they do. But no! Not me! I mention what I do for a living and I get to listen to thirty minutes of ranting about all the evils the church has done over the centuries, or worse…
Emily: Worse? What’s worse?
Amy: They start spilling their guts like I’m some sort of Mother Confessor and I need to absolve (makes cross in the air) them of all their sin. Or they look at me like I’m diseased. Like I’m contagious.
Emily: But, is it contagious?
Amy: (stares daggers) Ha very ha.
Emily: (laughs) So, that’s it, you aren’t going to get ordained today because of creepy jello and a bad love life?
Amy: That’s my future. I see it writ plain as day. A monotonous succession of jello salads. And it’s not just that. I mean. What difference can I really make in this screwed up world?
Emily: Oh, don’t even go there, because I don’t cater to no pity parties.
Amy: Why do you care? I mean, I would think this would be a great “told you so” moment in the life of the lead singer of Roxie and the Hellions. Pretty funny, really.
Emily: You know, I make a living catering to the natural and well deserved rebellious nature of youth. I write songs about the hypocrisy I see around me, but none of those songs were ever about you, Amy. Because you are a decent person who actually gives a damn.
Amy: (chuckles) Nice choice of words, Em.
Emily: Look, I’ve met a lot of phony people in my life, most of them in my business actually, but you are not one of them. Kid, you are the genuine article. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and let you throw away your life’s work. Now get the hell up there, or so help me, I’m going to tell mom where you really were on prom night.
Amy: You wouldn’t dare.
Emily: Oh, I’ve been dying to tell her for ages. I think I even remember where you stashed the empties in the garage.
Amy: (lovingly) You’re a real jerk, you know that?
Emily: Takes one to know one.