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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!

On a Topical Island

This week’s assignment in the sketch writing class I’m taking over at ImprovBoston was to be topical. We were asked to read a recent headline — in a newspaper, magazine or online — interpret it in any way we liked, and make a short sketch from it. That was our task, and five of us attended yesterday with scripts in hand.

Three were about the ‘Occupy movement’. One concerned Paris Hilton. Mine featured an orphan delivery service and a running joke about a man dating his poodle.

(Is the ‘Which of These Things Doesn’t Belong?‘ jingle spontaneously running through your head now? Good, good — welcome to the party. Have some veggies and dip and find a seat. We’re just getting started.)

In the interest of giving the vaguest hint that I might actually be able to follow simple instructions, I’ll say that my piece was inspired — maybe ’caused’ or ‘mutated from’ would be more appropriate — from a headline I saw online early in the week:

Countdown to 7 Billion: Should World Adopt ‘One-Child’ Policy?

“I’m not here to judge you. I just deliver orphans.”

I don’t think the author was serious about suggesting such a thing — that is, globally applying China’s wildly controversial one-kid-per-couple mandate. But that didn’t much matter. Because I know I wasn’t serious about it. I just wanted to use it for laughs.

So I did.

The result, after a few days’ percolation, is what you see below. I’m not sure it counts as ‘topical’, in any uncomfortable stretch of the word, but I got a kick out of it. Maybe next week we’ll write haikus based on trending tweets or something. Writing class is weird.

One Child

[JACK is in a living room. CARL, with clipboard, approaches an outside door and knocks.]

JACK: Who is it?

CARL: Delivery!

[Jack opens the door.]

JACK: You’re not the pizza guy.

CARL: No sir. Package for you. Sign here, please.

JACK: Package? What is it?

CARL: Just sign here, sir. And here. And initial here.

[Jack complies. Carl steps away and rolls in a dolly, on which stands SUZY.]

CARL: And here’s your daughter.

[Suzy leaps off the dolly and hugs Jack tight.]

SUZY: Oh, Daddy! I’m ever so happy to be home!

JACK: Whoa, hold on, buddy. I don’t have a daughter. I’ve never even seen this kid.


JACK: So… what’s she doing here, and why on earth is she calling me ‘Daddy’?

(To Suzy)

Don’t call me Daddy!

SUZY: Sure thing, Pop-Pop!

CARL: Look, I’m a delivery guy. They say bring you a kid, I bring you a kid.

JACK: ‘They’? Who’s ‘they’?

CARL: The Feds. You know about this global overcrowding thing, right?

JACK: Yeah.

CARL: And that law they passed, dictating ‘one child per couple’?

JACK: Yeah. So?

CARL: So, there you go. One child.

JACK: But… wait, no. That’s a maximum of one child per couple. Not one child for EVERY couple.

CARL: Yeah, well, apparently they weren’t so careful with the wording. Now I’m making orphanage runs six times a day. We all got problems, pal.

JACK: But I’m not even a couple! It’s just me here.

CARL: (consulting his clipboard) Says here you… share the place with someone named ‘Dottie’.

JACK: That’s my dog! Dottie’s a freaking poodle!

CARL: Sir, this is Massachusetts. I’m not here to judge you. I just deliver orphans.

[Suzy releases the hug and looks for the dog.]

SUZY: Ooh, Daddy! Can I ride Mommy like a horsie?

JACK: Nobody’s riding Mommy like a horsie. And she’s not your Mommy! And stop calling me Daddy!

CARL: Sir? I can see you’ve got a lot of parenting and such to do here, so…

JACK: Look. I do not want a kid.

(To Suzy)

No offense… uh, kid.

SUZY: No sweat, Daddy!

CARL: My hands are tied, bud. She’s all yours.

(consulting clipboard)

Name’s Suzy. Likes ponies. No broccoli. C-plus on potty training. Good luck.

JACK: Hey! Wait a damned minute!

[Suzy gasps and covers her ears.]

CARL: Sir, please! Such language around your own daughter! I’m sorry. I’m gonna have to call the OTF on this.

JACK: The what?

[WENDY strides purposefully through the door and flashes a badge to no one in particular.]

WENDY: Agent Brown, Bureau of Orphans, Toddlers and Firearms. What’s the problem here?

JACK: Wait. How did you…?

WENDY: We see a lot of action, sir. We’re very proactive. Now what’s the situation?

SUZY: Daddy said a baaaaaad word!


(To Carl)

You can confirm this?

CARL: Yeah. I heard it.


(To Jack)

Sir, really? In front of your little girl?

JACK: She’s not my girl! I’m not her Daddy! And I’m not dating my poodle!


(To Carl)

He sign the sheet?

[Carl shows Wendy the clipboard.]

WENDY: Sir, I have a Form 228-Q here which indicates clearly that you are this little girl’s father. The situation with the canine – hey, this is Massachusetts. I’m not here to judge.

JACK: Oh, goddammit.

WENDY: Okay, that’s verified – cursing in the vicinity of the child. Sir, step away from your daughter. I’m removing her from the premises, for her own protection.

JACK: But… oh. All right. Sure.

[Suzy walks over to Wendy and starts to leave, then turns to address Jack.]

SUZY: I’m sorry you turned into a monster, Daddy. Maybe someday I can find it in my heart to forgive you.

[Suzy leaves. Jack is bewildered, but somewhat relieved.]

JACK: Fine. Can I get back to my life now?

WENDY: Certainly. There’s just the matter of the orphan endangerment fine. Five thousand dollars, payable to the Federal Government, ASAP. Good day, sir.

[Wendy hands Jack a citation slip and leaves with Carl. Jack looks stunned, then disgusted, and shouts out the door after them.]

JACK: Hey! Next time you want to raise taxes, just RAISE TAXES!!

Permalink  |  1 Comment

One Response to “On a Topical Island”

  1. ema says:

    You are crazy, just write a book man, I’ll read it!

    Haiku…wherethehell you get that.

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