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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Cafeterial Obligations

Hey hey!

So, the word on the street is that Deli Juices may be getting the band back together for another run.

(To be fair, we’re not literally a band. Which is probably a good thing. We’d be all off-key polkas and theremins, probably. And without a ‘groove thang’ between us to shake.)

In preparation for our imminent sketch team reconvenement, there’s new material to write. Which means there’s more first-draft material to plop down here, call it a post, and go back to watching basketball. You down with that? Good. Let’s rock.

Imagine, if you will, a sleepy suburban living room. PETE sits on a couch, flipping TV channels. ALICE enters, looking worried, along with THOMAS, upbeat and grinning.

PETE: (without taking his eyes off the screen) Who was at the door, hon?

ALICE: Um, Pete…sweetie? We need to talk.

PETE: Sure, I- who’s this?

ALICE: This is Tommy Goodwin.

THOMAS: Actually, I go by Thomas these days. It’s great to meet you…?

PETE: Pete.

THOMAS: Pete! Of course! Alice has told me so much about you!

PETE: Um, when?

THOMAS: Just now. In the hallway. Hey, I’m sure we’ll be best buds when all this is sorted out.

PETE: All what? Alice?

ALICE: Honey, Tommy — sorry, Thomas — and I were in school together years ago. Years and YEARS ago, Tommy.

THOMAS: Yeah, we were quite the couple. Sharing lunches, swapping gum, tying each others’ shoelaces. It was hot.

ALICE: We were eight years old!

THOMAS: May be. But we held hands on a fifth-grade level.

PETE: I’m sorry. What does any of this have to do with-

ALICE: Well, sweetie… you know those silly promises kids make sometimes?

PETE: Yeah? So?

ALICE: Well, one day in the cafeteria, Tommy said we should get married. Of course, I said no, but he just wouldn’t let it go.

THOMAS: I’m quite persistent. It’s my fourth-best quality!

ALICE: Anyway, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so finally I said-

THOMAS: She said, and I quote: “If neither of us is married when we’re thirty, we’ll get married then.”

PETE: And?

THOMAS: I just hit the big 3-0, baby. And neither of us is married, so…

PETE: You’ve got to be kidding.

THOMAS: Sorry, sport. Rules is rules.

PETE: Look, we’re engaged. Here, in the real world. The wedding is next week!

THOMAS: Well, you should have pulled the trigger when you had the chance. But no hard feelings, kid. You’re totally invited to the reception.

PETE: Is this guy completely insane?

ALICE: I don’t know. I remember some of his fingerpaintings were a little off-kilter, but — I just don’t know!

PETE: All right, look. This is nuts. First of all, a verbal promise means nothing. Especially from an eight-year-old.

ALICE: Well…

THOMAS: See, that’s what I thought at the time. So I had this contract drawn up.

[Thomas produces a cafeteria tray liner, scribbled on in crayon.]

THOMAS: See, we signed it here and here. Initialed here, witnessed by the lunch lady here, and notarized by the assistant principal.

PETE: Why on earth would an assistant principal do that?

THOMAS: My family’s big in the cafeteria food supply business. It was a “tit-for-tots” kind of thing.

PETE: I see. Wow. That does seem pretty airtight. Hey, wait a minute. This only kicks in when you’re both thirty, right?

THOMAS: That’s right. I just turned, and she’s six months ahead of me.

PETE: Alice. You told me you were twenty-seven.

ALICE: Well… I mean… a girl’s got to have her secrets, right?

PETE: First this, and now your age? What else have you lied about? Our whole relationship is a sham! I’m leaving! Goodbye!

[Pete exits.]

THOMAS: That is low, Alice. If that’s the person you’ve become, I don’t think I can be with you, either. I’m sorry.

[Thomas rips the paper in half and exits. Alice looks after the men, then shrugs and pulls out a phone and dials.]

ALICE: Hi, is this Billy Anderson? Yeah, okay, “William”, whatever. This is Alice Kemp. From junior high school. Yeah. You remember that pinkie swear we made in eighth grade? Well, get your butt over here, hot stuff. You’re up!

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