Thursday, March 29, 2007
Conversations with Dad 7: The Other Payback
Mom hands Dad the phone.
Dad: Happy Birthday!
Ces: Thanks, Da…
Dad (Singing): Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Ceeeeeeessssccoooooooooo! Happy Birthday toooooooooooooo yooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
Dad: Tooooooooooooooooo yooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!
Ces: Thank you.
Dad: I remembered!
Ces: You did.
Dad: Your mother thought I would forget.
Ces: She said that?
Dad: Well, not outright. But I could tell. She kept reminding me about it every day for the past week.
Ces: But still you remembered.
Dad: Anyone else besides your father remember?
Ces: A lot of people. Friends. Family. And of course Mom…before she handed the phone to you.
Dad: Boy, your Mom can sure talk, huh?
Ces: Oh, that reminds me! Two good friends made a short film for my 35th birthday!
Dad: Wait, which movie did they buy you?
Ces: No, they made me a movie. All about zombies attacking while they try to call me to wish me a happy birthday. Isn’t that wild?!
Dad: I also called you to wish you a happy birthday.
Ces: That's...that's not the...
Dad: Remember how I always wanted to make movies, Ces?
Dad: You were supposed to write me a movie. Remember, Ces? You were going to sell it to the studios under the condition that I would star. Remember?
Ces: But what you really wanted to do was direct.
Dad: What about that great idea I gave you?
Ces: Oh yeah, that one. Fantastic!
Dad: Which one?
Ces: I…uh…I don’t know. I was trying something new.
Dad: How could you forget? It’s the one about the guy who decides to finally go back to his old childhood stomping grounds after fifty years and kill all the dirty rat fucks who used to tease him as a kid.
Ces: You…you want me to write a movie about a guy who returns home and systematically murders a bunch of seventysomethings who for some strange reason all still live in their parents’ houses?
Dad: We can call it Payback!
Ces: There’s already was a film called Payback.
Dad: This one’s better.
Ces: But what happens after he kills everybody?
Dad: What do you mean?
Ces: Y’know, after the…uh…serial killings…
Dad: He leaves.
Ces: Don’t the cops or the feds track him down?
Dad: Why would they be looking for him? He’s not the one who did anything wrong.
Ces: So you’re saying that this is your classic "Guy returns to hometown, Guy methodically slaughters an entire community of retirees, Guy catches the next train out."
Dad: See? Payback!
Ces: Well it does have three acts.
Dad: So what do you say?
Ces: Maybe something else.
Dad: Something else? Why something else? This is great!
Ces: It’s sad, Dad. It’s…it’s just really sad…
Dad: What's so sad about it? He kills all of them!
Ces: Just for teasing him when they were kids?
Dad:They also threw things. Sharp stuff. Ask your grandmother.
Ces: Maybe you should write it. You probably have a better handle on the characters.
Dad: Then what about that Four Musketeers cartoon I came up with a while ago?
Ces: You still remember that one, huh?
Dad: Now that would have been a hit! The old rabbi was the leader, the Italian guy wore a pasta-smeared tank top and carried a shiv, the black guy was in a basketball uniform and the homosexual dueled with one hand while redecorating wherever he was with the other. Remember?
Dad: What’s wrong now? It doesn’t just make fun of one ethnic or racial group.
Ces: Dad, you had the other musketeers meet the black character when he tries to jack their carriage!
Dad: I also had the Italian guy brought up on racketeering charges! Plus I made the Jewish character the smart one! He even wouldn’t fight on Saturdays.
Ces: And what about the gay character, Dad?
Dad: It’s perfect timing! Look at that show on HBO! The one about the gay funeral home.
Ces: It’s not about a gay funeral home.
Dad: Sure it is. And that’s prejudice. Not like our show.
Ces: "Our show"? I…wait, are you saying the HBO program is about a gay-run funeral home or a funeral home that only admits gays?
Dad: I don’t know. You watch the show.
Ces: It’s about neither. Some of the characters are gay, some are not. That’s it.
Dad: Just like our show!
Ces: I don’t know, Dad…
Dad: Just write it for me. After all, I’ve been asking you to do this since you were in junior high school.
Ces: Well, if ever there were material that should be put in the hands of a thirteen-year-old…
Dad: You can consider it my birthday present.
Ces: Your birthday was six months ago, Dad.
Dad: Then you can consider it my late birthday present.
Ces: But I bought you a birthday present!
Dad: You did?
Ces:The DVDs? Spartacus and Doctor Zhivago?
Dad: Yeah, but your mother always makes me watch Inspector Morse on PBS instead.