Monday, November 3, 2008

Brisket of Solace: Passion and Intrigue in the Dallas Airport

Dear Mouse,

Happy Election Day!

What a great weekend. I think our family has proved its ability to throw a good wedding. Congratulations to Mason & Katie! We thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather/setting/meals of our weekend in Arizona.

As you know, our cousin Mason is the producer behind the crazy-a%# hit movie Juno. Now I may be overstepping my bounds a little, but I've written a screenplay. It's based on our last 24 hours of the trip and I think I'm going to pitch it to him when he gets back. Just humor me while I practice on you here.

Ok.. so it's a James Bond-style action thriller with snacks. It takes place in the mysterious desert wilderness of the wild west... ok, the Tucson and Dallas airports. But that's its modern edge. It also combines the two beloved genres of spy thriller and food porn (what? That is SO a genre), kind of like Casino Royale meets Menupages. He'll love it.

The title? "Cousins". Wait, you'll see why.

Notes - rough draft of "Cousins", the screenplay

INT. Tigins Irish Pub , Dallas airport. The Mouse and Boo and Mouse Boyfriend have finished perfectly acceptable chicken sandwiches and soup before boarding flight to Tucson for Eating Festival, er, sorry, Cousin's Wedding.

INT. Boarding the plane to Tucson. Closeup INT shot: Boo's cell phone displaying a message from Gentleman Caller: "Remember to eat beef in the Dallas airport!" Closeup, Boo's teeth gnashing.

Time elapsed: two days, a wedding, sightings of big lizard and as-yet-unidentified gray snouted creature (Mouse), various margaritas and hairdos. Possible montage.

EXT. Sunday after the wedding. A pack of cousins including one Mouse and one Boo, plus various significant others, lounging on sunny deck of the Ventana Canyon resort hotel enjoying sumptuous farewell brunch. (Hereafter, whole crew will be referred to as "the cousins").

Farewell brunch includes: customized omelet bar with ingredients like maple sausage and green chiles, pastry cart, waffles and whipped cream, fruit, bagels and lox. Coffee, bloody marys, mimosas. Yes, some if not all of us sampled each of those things.

Time elapsed: 5 minutes.

The Boyfriend mentions brisket sandwiches that might be had in Dallas airport. Various murmurings of agreement from cousins. Someone looks up specific BBQ joint on blackberry. It is called - no joke - "Cousins BBQ". Location is scouted.

time elapsed: 30 min.

Boyfriend has continued mentioning brisket sandwiches with studied nonchalance and mounting, perceptible, panic. Murmurings grow noisier. The words "half hour layover" are mentioned. Boo scoffs. How can anyone think of eating anything right now.

EXT shot: Poolside at resort, post-heroic brunch. Enter cousins, looking to lounge while awaiting taxi. Stop short as the smell of charred meat and vinegar wafts past them. Strains of blues piano and ladies singing . Cousin 1: "How could they not tell us about this??" Camera pulls back to reveal the 'Blues and BBQ Backyard Brunch" just yards from the pool.

Closeup on The Boyfriend asking the Mouse, again, "can we just go look at it?" several times.

EXT. The Cousins make a slow, reverent processional past three microbrews on tap and cauldrons of simmering pulled pork, corn on the cob, BBQ'd everything, I can't even remember, my brain hurts.

Commitment to Airport Mission grows ever stronger.

EXT shot on 3 cousins zooming off in rented blue mustang. (It's just worth noting.)

INT shot: minivan taxi, taking Boo/Mouse/The B to Tucson airport.

Slow pan across their faces as we hear this V/O of cabdriver:

"Well, only two more days til we're a socialist country. (pause) I tell ya.. I've talked to a lotta blacks. And they say they're only votin' for Obama cos he's black. (pause) Well, I guess that's why I'm votin' for McCain, cause he's an old white man. (pause. pause.) I'm voting for McCain because he has the experience to be President."

Smash CUT to shot of all five Cousins, running toward security checkpoint with bags.

INT: Silent snacks in Tucson airport to quell the suspense: jalapeno potato chips, various kinds of jerky.

Cut to INT, Dallas airport. Cousins burst from plane and run in various directions with military precision according to plan worked out on plane. Will they make it? The flight to LGA leaves in 20 minutes, at a terminal far, far away from where they will begin their journey.

The Boo runs to bathroom, The Boyfriend waits with suitcases. The Mouse and three cousins run to Cousins to place sandwich orders. One member of the party goes rogue and heads elsewhere for (gasp!) a burger and fries. (Unexpected plot twist!) Boo emerges from bathroom and makes a beeline with the B to where they think the barbecue place is located. They cannot find it, and make several panicked phone calls to Mouse that go unanswered. Finally they spot her, pulling a wheelie suitcase and holding aloft the victorious sandwich bag!

All cousins reconvene at the escalators. 10 minutes to go. Wait -they're down one member, the rogue! She ordered her burger medium rare! It's being cooked. We can't wait for her; she'll meet us at the gate. Three terminals to go.Chase sequence, or, Monorail of Suspense:

Closeup: A text message reveals that Rogue is following close behind on second monorail.

EXT: The moon rises over Dallas.

INT shot: The gate!! No one waiting. A small line of folks, moving rapidly onto the plane.

Inexplicably, this is where our well-oiled machine breaks down. Mouse goes to bathroom. Boyfriend goes to buy a bottle of water. What???

Still no sign of Rogue! Final FINAL boarding call. No one else in line.

Closeup: Boo's face, contorted in panic and holding three suitcases.

Then - music swells!! Long EXT shot of Rogue, running toward us with fries and burger unscathed! The B and Mouse return. We are literally the last people on the plane.

INT: Seated. The third guy in E-F-G tires of passing napkins and pickles between Mouse and Boo (A) while on the runway and offers to switch seats. A shout-out to Switch Seats guy.

INT shot, from above: 7 dark heads bent over, attempting to unwrap sauce-filled white paper casually. The quiet sound of munching.

Time elapsed: 30 seconds.

Slow pan from "Cousins" bag to sauce-covered Cousins waiting in seats on runway as plane is delayed.

Closeup on The Boo who says (with apologies to everyone from, say, Kansas City, reading this, with the reminder that she is from New Jersey and was hungry)

"That was the best BBQ sandwich I have ever had."

The End (roll credits)

Seriously best BBW sandwich I have had ever. Brisket, not-sweet sauce, smoky charred flavor, don't care if it was fake, white soft bun, sliced fast food style high sodium pickles.

Yes, it was airport food, people. I still stand by it. That's how good it is out there. Don't mess with Texas. (Also Arizona: not too shabby. But we didn't eat barbecue there or engage in a high speed chase.)

God bless "Cousins", and cousins.

Alternate titles for this film: Her Majesty's Secret Sauce (The GC), A View to a 'Q, Quantum of Sandwich.


The Boo


Anonymous said...

speaking as the only person from kansas city that yet reads this blog (territory yet to be conquered), there is absolutely no offense taken, since sandwiches are sneered upon as bbq in kansas city. sandwiches are for texans and southerners. people in kansas city know that bbq=ribs. and that's the truth. i think this screenplay's got legs, however. wish i'd been there!!

(ps, i have to type in a verification word to get this comment published. the word today is: rebacti. i like it)

Unknown said...

omigod i read this outloud and saw this Chaplinesque sped up rock and roll adventure and found the whole thing totally satisfying - and this came after all the hooting nd hollering and dancing of this magnificent, amazing, awesome and totally satisfying night to remember forever and ever and ever...
WHAT A GREAT ENTRY! What a wonderful confluence of memories

Unknown said...


My verification word is "chewe" (!)


Unknown said...

Sandwich was great - considering this is an airport in the USA and not Italy, ya know? Are you sending the script to the cousin?
...btw, who was the rogue?

The Mouse said...

christina :)