The Ghost of Jack-in-the-Box “Tom” Joad

I’ve read a few comedy skits via National Sketch Writing Month and Susan Sassi, and it’s a lonely Friday night. What is a boy to do? If he’s in the fields, it usually involves drinking cheap beer and acting like an ass. Not the Corvidae, mind you. Oh no. The night is young and I’ve got the tequila out. Reposado, of course, because I’m a classy bird.

Comedy, in general, has always been a pet project for me. It was the way I coped through 18 years of Hell, and who knew razor-tongued kids would shape such a cynical wiseass?

I’ve never intended to do stand up. I have ungodly stage fright. My acting is worse than Vin Diesel’s, but deep down, there’s the funnyman underneath all of that. While examining the Manager’s Specials at my local grocery store, I thought, “why not write a sketch”? What’s the harm in one little, teeny, tiny write up? I feel fine, because I know I’m a hack.

*********

INT.  MCDONALDS – DAY

The scene is tense. There are several employees on strike for a living wage. News teams are on the scene to get their story. REPORTER begins his wind up. PROTESTER waits in the background, impatient to tell his story.

REPORTER

Here we have a line of fast food workers protesting for better pay. Some of these folks can claim a heritage in fast food all the way back to Dick and Mack McDonald themselves. Today, they ask more from the companies they’ve made (dare I say it?) a career of. Excuse me, sir? What’s your story?

PROTESTER

I come from a long line of fry cooks. Pops was a fry cook. My grandad was a fry cook, and my great-grandad used to peel potatoes in the army. I think that’s close enough. You could say that screwing off in school, making poor financial choices, and lacking motivation runs in our blood. Why would someone want to ruin that tradition? We need to be paid a fair wage to sustain this level of mediocrity!

REPORTER

Your spirit is commendable, sir. I wish you the best of… wait… what’s that?!

From behind the news crew comes a beat up 1926 Hudson Super Six piled high with worn, worldly possessions and 20 fry guys. It sputters, coughs, and wheezes as it comes to a concerning stop. Out steps two people JACK-IN-THE-BOX “TOM” JOAD and GASTROBOY, a four-foot 300 pound, rosacea-laden sidekick.

“TOM” JOAD

Whenever a drive-thru operator can’t say “would you like fries with that,” I’ll be there! Whenever there’s a time we can’t super size. I’ll be there! Whenever…

REPORTER

Excuse me? Who are you?!

“TOM” JOAD

Me? Oh, yes. Me. I am “Tom” Joad, crusader of fast food workers everywhere! And this… this is Gastroboy! Defender of every American’s right to an extremely unhealthy diet.

GASTROBOY (with food stains on his onesie)

*Belches*

REPORTER

Say, aren’t you Jack from Jack in the Box? You’ve got the pointy nose and everything.

“TOM” JOAD

Err… No! I am “Tom” Joad, crusader…

PROTESTER

Seriously, man. You’re Jack. I… I’ve got your head on my car antenna.

“TOM” JOAD (fighting a lot of pain)

Mmm… OK! I’M JACK! I’M JACK! ALL RIGHT?! *sobbing*

PROTESTER

So, what made you start fighting for a fair wage?

JACK

It all happened five years ago. We were in heavy competition with Carl’s Jr. over a new secret sauce. Being arrogant and careless, I added too much horseradish to the batch. I should have listened to Wendy. It exploded, taking out most of the facility and leaving my skin severely irritated.

PROTESTER

How does that tie into fair wages?

JACK (pausing)

You know, I may not have thought the whole vigilante story through all the way.

Before Jack could continue, DUCAT GOLDENBANKS shows up on the scene. He is garishly decorated with a golden three-piece suit and money bursting from every pocket.

DUCAT

(Hissing) Your plan will never work, people! I have enough money to buy your family trees. All this does is interrupt my Skype session to order more gold-plated toilets. AHAHAHAAA! What? Who’s this clown? I don’t have any Jack in the Box franchises!

JACK

The name’s “Tom.”  Would you like to try a couple quarter pounders?

A bizarre, oafish, comical fist fight breaks out between the two characters. It’s slightly reminiscent of Batman the TV series starring Adam West. JACK blinds DUCAT GOLDENBANKS with cinnamon twists and pins him down with GASTROBOY.

DUCAT

Oh my God! I can’t breath! And when I can, it smells like cheese.

JACK

It’s funny you should mention that. GASTROBOY here is lactose intolerant, and I just fed him a shamrock shake. He’s about ready to reenact the battle of the Somme.  That is unless, of course, you give these protesters the money they need to perpetuate their meaningless existence.

DUCAT

OK! OK! You win this time JACK! or “TOM”! Or whoever you are! But you’ll pay dearly for this! DEARLY!

The protesters cheer wildly and start planning on how to spend their new income which include lottery tickets, liquor, and trips to the dollar store.

JACK

Did you hear that GASTROBOY? Our job is done here. It’s lunchtime!

GASTROBOY (curls up his pudgy face into a smile)

*Farts*

And so the two heroes ride off into the distance in their ’26 Hudson with 20 fry guys. The scene cuts back to the REPORTER and PROTESTER  trying to take in all that just happened.

REPORTER

Do you think we’ll ever see him again?

PROTESTER

Maybe, if customs doesn’t arrest him at the border.

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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9 thoughts on “The Ghost of Jack-in-the-Box “Tom” Joad

  1. That reposado certainly took you to a crazy place:)

  2. kerbey says:

    Bravo. I was waiting for Jack to swing a curly fry like a lasso…

  3. Susan Sassi says:

    Hooray!! Nicely done!

  4. RepoComedy says:

    Congrats and nicely done! Obviously we are all big fans of Susan Sassi at Repo Comedy. 🙂

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