Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

Rattlesnake Chili

January 30th, 2020

Here’s a sketch I wrote for the Lumpy & Sasquatch podcast about the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Rattlesnake Chili by John Weagly

(Lights up.  A kitchen in a farmhouse.  SCOTT sits at the table, a pot of chili in front of him.  GREG enters.)

SCOTT:  Want some rattlesnake chili?

GREG:  Yes!  Wait – what’s rattlesnake chili?  Is it extra hot?  Is it extra spicy?  Does it have weird beans?

SCOTT:  It’s chili with rattlesnake in it. 

GREG:  Where did you get a rattlesnake?

SCOTT:  He was curled up in the shed.

GREG:  Wow!

SCOTT:  He tried to bite me.  I hit him with a shovel.  Now he’s in my chili.

GREG:  Is that safe?  Chopping up a rattlesnake and throwing him in a pot of chili doesn’t seem safe.

SCOTT:  I didn’t put in the bones.  Or the rattle.  And I don’t think I put in the venom thing.

GREG:  I think I’ll pass.

SCOTT:  I’m going to have some.  (SCOTT puts a spoon into the pot and eats some of the chili.)  Mmmm.  A little tough.  A little stringy.  But that’s good diamondback!

GREG:  Maybe now something mystical will happen to you.

SCOTT:  What do you mean?

GREG:  By eating him, the spirit of the snake will transport you to another place like in some kind of fantasy movie.

SCOTT:  I think you mean some kind of science fiction movie.

GREG:  No, a fantasy movie.

SCOTT:  No.  Science fiction is based in science.  My digestive process and the way my body reacts to rattlesnake meat is understood thanks to years of systematic study through observation and experiment.  Science!

GREG:  No.

SCOTT:  Yes.

GREG:  No!  If anything were to happen to you, it would probably be because of supernatural or magical elements.  Like the snake curse of a thousand coils sends you drifting from our reality to a land where people slither on the ground like snakes and snakes drive around in cars like people.  As in a fantasy movie. 

SCOTT:  No!

GREG:  Yes!

SCOTT:  Science fiction is possible or may be possible.  If something happened to me, here in real life, it would be possible – because it’s actually happening in real life.

GREG:  Fantasy is based on magic.  Maybe the dead snake will give you dreams that are visions of the future.  That would be supernatural.

SCOTT:  Science fiction.  Like BLADE RUNNER or ROBOCOP or BRAZIL.

GREG:  There aren’t rattlesnakes in ROBOCOP.

SCOTT:  No, but Joanna Cassidy has a replicant python in BLADE RUNNER.

GREG:  Doesn’t matter.  It would be fantasy like THE PRINCESS BRIDE or FIELD OF DREAMS or CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

SCOTT:  There are R.O.U.S.’s and shrieking eels in THE PRINCESS BRIDE, but there aren’t rattlesnakes!

GREG:  No, but James Earl Jones turns into a snake in CONAN.

SCOTT:  I just think… I… ugh…  Wait.  Ugh…  Uh-Oh!  You might be right.  I think I’m about to be transported to another place, like the Emergency Room.

GREG:  What’s wrong?

SCOTT:  I don’t feel so good.  I ugh… I think I got some venom.  I need to go to the hospital.

GREG:  Nausea?  Tingling?  Lightheaded?  Aching and throbbing?  Difficulty breathing? 

SCOTT:  Uh huh.  It’s like a thousand snakes fighting in my belly.

GREG:  That’s your body reacting to the venom.  That’s science.  You win!

(Lights down.)

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