Idea for Radio Play: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Mother
As the name suggests, this radio play is going to be entirely original. Set in a fictitious, awesome, futuristic world, where people not only have jetpacks but also jobs like “Head Beer Taster for the City of Boston,” (which come with old-fashioned “defined benefit” pension plans at a time when people are retiring at age 69 and ½ but then live to be, like, 250 years old), the story revolves around The Cook, who has built an enormously successful food empire in an awesome, futuristic Boston (either an underwater city, or a floating city, as I’m currently conceiving it).
One day, The Cook hears on the local sports radio station that a full-contact football league for bored middle-aged guys is forming, and, deciding that he’s bored with his empire, joins the league as a wide receiver and sustains a head injury from a violent helmet-to-helmet collision (much cheaper to do on the radio that in a movie!). He emerges from this experience as a fully-functioning human entity, except that he acts strangely, particularly with respect to his food empire, which he converts into a fry-only empire. Chicken Parm? Fry it! Filet mignon? Deep fry it! Baked Alaska? Try Fried Alaska!
At first, this causes a drop in patronage, as people are too worried that they’ll die before they reach 150 if they frequent his eateries. His restaurants fail and close; soon, The Cook’s lone, signature restaurant, “Duck, Duck, Goose Fat” is all that remains. However, the most respected food critic in Boston gives DDGF 5 out of 5 stars, raving like a lunatic at what a great idea frying everything is, and suddenly, you can’t get a reservation without pulling strings with descendants of the Meninos.
What we (the listener) don’t realize is that the food critic is also The Wife of a food-mobster, The Thief, whose role is to threaten distributors if they don’t get The Cook fresh food at the cheapest prices in town. The review of “Duck, Duck, Goose Fat,” it turns out, is an inside job!
As if this world isn’t cutthroat enough, The Wife discovers that Her Mother, head of the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Council, has overcharged the Cook, by about half a million dollars, for the Liquor License she procured for him, pocketing the difference. This means that, even as the restaurant is packed every night, selling wine at this huge 400% markup and requiring patrons to rent their tables out in half-hour-long increments, Duck, Duck, Goose Fat keeps racking up a financial losses in the books.
“…His Wife, Her Mother,” as this will come to be known in cult circles of the future, climaxes in a series of threats, veiled threats, non-threats, etc., to life, limb, and so forth. I really haven’t gotten that far. But the end will be either loud and bloody with lots of bang-bang sounds, or else an emotional roller-coaster, filled with characters shouting epithets at one another and culminating in tears and recrimination. (Or, ideally, all of that.)