Friday, February 6, 2009

Spelling Bee

(A spelling bee. A banner stretches over the stage reading “The Rolaids Regional Spelling Bee.” Below it, several kids with numbers on their chests sit in folding chairs. One kid, SUSIE, stands at the microphone, her face clenched in concentration. An AUDITOR sits at a nearby table, waiting to hear her speak.)

SUSIE
May I have the company of origin?

AUDITOR
It comes from The Olive Garden.

(pause)

SUSIE
May I hear it in a sentence?

AUDITOR
“The free breadsticks with my entrée were just one example of the Hospitaliano I have come to expect from The Olive Garden.”

SUSIE
Hospitaliano. H-O-S-P-I-T-A-L-I-A-N-O. Hospitaliano.

(PING! A bell rings, signifying that this is the correct answer. A smattering of applause. SUSIE sits down. TIMMY approaches the microphone.)

AUDITOR
Your word is, “Slickery.”

TIMMY
May I hear it in a sentence?

AUDITOR
“With cold and flu season upon us, my family’s comfort is more important than ever. That is why I rely on N’ice brand throat lozenges to make my family’s throats feel Slickery.”

BILLY
Slickery. S-L-I-C-K-E-R-Y.

(PING! A smattering of applause. TIMMY sits down. AMBER approaches the microphone.)

AUDITOR
Your word is, “Noid.”

AMBER
May I hear it in the form of a sentence?

AUDITOR
“The Noid has one nefarious desire: to make pizzas cold and unpalatable.”

(BILL PULLMAN enters and speaks directly to us.)

BILL PULLMAN
Is this the kind of world you want to live in? Hello, I’m Bill Pullman. And what you see behind me is part of a future that is all too possible. With plummeting funding for our nation’s schools, and corporate interests taking over every aspect of our lives, our children may soon no skills outside of mindless consuming. And that will allow the Chinese to come over here and crack us open like a walnut.
(He smiles.)
W-A-L-N-U-T. Walnut.

(BILL PAXTON enters and speaks directly to us.)

BILL PAXTON
A commercial telling you not to listen to commercials?
(Looks to BILL PULLMAN.)
Nice logic, spaz.
(Back to us.)
Do you want to live in a world of condescending, pedantic PSAs? Neither do I. I’m Bill Paxton, and I’m here on behalf of the Advertisers of America. Sure, you could stop paying attention to us. If you don’t mind the collapse of brand loyalty. If you don’t mind giving up your dreams of luxury and status. If you don’t mind Americans losing their standing as the best damn consumers in the world.

(BILL PULLMAN steps forth and claps BILL PAXTON on the shoulder.)

BILL PULLMAN
Advertising is the Castrol motor oil that keeps the world turning. The Scharffen Berger chocolate bar we dangle in front of the donkey of industry.

BILL PAXTON
If we maintain the strength of our desires, we needn’t worry about the weakness of the economy.

BILL PULLMAN
And together, we can crack the Chinese open like a delicious Emerald walnut.
(winks)
E-M-E-R-A-L-D.

(BLACKOUT. CAPTION: “Three Minutes Earlier.”)

(Lights come back up. BILLS PULLMAN and PAXTON are gone. JOHNNY stands at the microphone on stage.)

AUDITOR
Your word is, “Advertising.”

JOHNNY
May I have a definition?

AUDITOR
Advertising: the action of bringing something to the attention of the public, usually through paid announcements.

JOHNNY
May I hear it in the form of an unwieldy, self-reflexive piece of sketch comedy?

5 comments:

R.A. Porter said...

Okay, I thought that was cute. Right up to the very end.

Then? Let's just say I'm happy I wasn't drinking anything.

Killer tag, dude. Killer.

Michael Brownlee said...

Welcome back to the fray Mr. Stinton.

And well played.

Daisy said...

Love the last line! I'm an elementary teacher (e-l-e-m-e-n-t-a-r-y), and we just got the announcement that we are 80% through our paper budget for the year.
Second semester just started. Any sponsors out there? I'll sell you some space on my weekly spelling lists.

i am feathermaye said...

Who doesn't love the word slickery??

Loved this for a slew of reasons. S-L-E-W.

cjw666 said...

Advertising encourages lateral thinking. Your word is need.

Need. W-A-N-T. Need.