Bobby and the Banana – A Time Travel Sketch

A couple weeks ago, a couple of friends and I were talking, for some reason, about the repurcussions of time travel. I had mentioned that years ago I wrote a sketch about that very thing, for Sketch22. (Season Five, to be specific. Dennis Trainor played Andy, Andrew Sprague played Bobby, and Lennie MacPherson played Charlie.)

I thought I’d post it here, as I quite like it, and maybe someone would want to read it.

This isn’t the version of the sketch that made it to the stage that season. This was an earlier draft. For some reason I can no longer remember, we changed the banana peel to a Crocodile Mile slip-n-slide. We called the sketch “Crocodile Mile” as well. I guess the change was to add to the absurdity of the situation, and maybe as a bigger visual gag? I don’t know, but I think I like the subtlety (and classic gag aspect) of a banana peel.

Time Travel Sketch

An apartment. Andy and Bobby enter. Bobby is peeling a banana.

Andy: I can’t wait to see it! I tell you what. I’ll even buy your ticket!

Bobby: Cool!

Andy: ‘Kay, call me later. So I’ll see you tonight at the movies, then.

Bobby: Yeah, see ya.

Bobby exits.

Andy walks to a chair. Just as he sits, Future Bobby bursts into the room. He looks exactly like Bobby, just more mature.

Future Bobby: Andy!!

Andy: Oh, hey man. Forget something?

Future Bobby (panicked): Where am I? Did I leave?

Andy: What?

Future Bobby races to the couch, searches in the cushions.

Future Bobby: Did I get the phone already? (pulls cellphone out of cushions, looks at it, puts it back in cushions) Good! I’m not too late!

Andy: Huh?

Fruit store! Maybe I can still catch myself!!

Future Bobby runs out. Andy, puzzled, sits down and picks up a book. Future Charlie runs in, scaring Andy.

Future Charlie: Dad!

Andy: Jesus!

Future Charlie runs to Andy and gives him a big hug. In his shock, Andy allows it.

Future Charlie: Dad, oh my god! It’s so good to get to meet you!

Andy: Who the hell are you? What are you doing?

Future Charlie: I can’t really explain, Dad! But I just had to see you as you before it happened.

Andy: Before what happened? Why do you keep calling me Dad?

Future Charlie: I shouldn’t tell you, Dad, but… I’m your son. Charlie!

Andy: What? I don’t have a son.

Future Charlie: Yeah, well… not yet. You’re so… alive!!

Andy: Get out of my apartment.

Future Charlie: Yeah, good idea. (getting emotional) I just wanted to see you just once as the man you were and not just a lump slowly dying on a bed. And now that I have, I’ll go. Goodbye, Dad.

Future Bobby (from off stage): Well, I”m not at the fruit store!

Future Charlie, hearing Future Bobby, tries in vain to hide.

Future Bobby (entering): I was just there and I think I was just there, but now I’m gone somewhere else.

Future Bobby sees Future Charlie.

Future Bobby: Holy shit! Charlie!?! How’d you get here?

Future Charlie: Bobby, what are you doing here?

Future Bobby takes Future Charlie aside.

Future Bobby: I’m here to make sure that accident doesn’t happen, that’s what I’m doing here!

Future Charlie: What!? No way! The accident HAS to happen!

Andy: What accident? What the hell is going on? Bobby, you know this guy?

Future Charlie (to Future Bobby): Don’t tell him anything!

Future Bobby: Andy. I’m me. Bobby. From the future.

Future Charlie: Shut up about it!

Future Bobby: Today I cause you to have a terrible accident.

Future Charlie: Bobby, shut up!!

Future Bobby: But I’m trying to find myself and make sure it doesn’t happen. Maybe I’m at the bus stop!

Future Bobby exits.

Future Charlie: Bobby, the accident has to happen! Dad, that stupid idiot friend of yours is gonna ruin everything!!

Future Charlie runs out. Andy just stand there, in a bit of a shock. After a beat, Farther Future Bobby enters. He looks older than Future Bobby.

Farther Future Bobby: Andy! Hey! Listen, this’ll sound weird, maybe, but was be from the future just here?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: Was me from the future just here?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: Dammit Andy!! Was I just here?

Andy: Yeah?

Farther Future Bobby: Did I say it was me from the future?

Andy: I think you did.

Farther Future Bobby: Dammit! We arrived too late to stop me from telling you about the accident!

Farther Future Charlie enters. He is somewhat disfigured, hobbled, and speaks with a mild speech impediment.

Farther Future Charlie: And you just mentioned the accident again, Bobby! You’re such an idiot!

Farther Future Bobby: I know! Listen, Andy, forget anything I told you about today. Any of me. Turns out, you knowing even a little bit about the accident changes the future. We’re not sure how, but since you found out about the accident, Charlie’s turned into a freak!

Farther Future Charlie: Shut up, Bobby! Stop mentioning the accident!

Andy: Why do you all keep talking about an accident?

Farther Future Charlie: Can’t tell you, Dad!!

Farther Future Bobby: Look, he already knows there’s an accident. We might as well tell him.

Farther Future Charlie: Oh, go ahead then! But be careful what you say.

Farther Future Bobby: Andy, there’s an accident that’s going to happen to you today. It’s my fault. It screws up both our lives.

Farther Future Charlie: Bobby from your future but our past is trying to stop it from happening.

Farther Future Bobby: Right. But the problem is, if the accident doesn’t happen, Charlie here doesn’t get born.

Farther Future Charlie: If you don’t have the accident, Dad, then I cease to exist.

Andy: And you are….?

Farther Future Charlie (a bit hurt): Your currently un-born son. Charlie!

There is a pause.

Andy: Okay. So what happens now?

Farther Future Charlie: We have to find Bobby from the future.

Andy (to Farther Future Bobby): But I thought you were Bobby from the future.

Farther Future Bobby: I am. But I’m from a later future.

Farther Future Charlie: We want to stop the Bobby from the future who’s trying to stop the accident from happening.

Farther Future Bobby: Right. I want the accident to happen. But I don’t. So, where did I go?

Andy: Huh?

Farther Future Bobby: C’mon Andy, keep up! Where’d I go? And where did I go?

Farther Future Charlie: And what about me? Where did I get up to?

Andy: I think one of you mentioned the bus stop.

Farther Future Charlie: Bus stop! Right! Let’s go!

Farther Future Charlie exits.

Farther Future Bobby (to Andy): We’re going to the bus stop to search for me. Both of me. Hopefully I’ll be there. If not me, then maybe at least I’ll be there. Listen, if I come back here, just keep me here.

Farther Future Bobby starts to exit. Stops.

Farther Future Bobby: Make sure it’s me, though. Not me, but me. I’m me me. Keep me here, but wait for me me.

Andy: Okay.

Farther Future Bobby starts to exit again. Stops.

Farther Future Bobby: If I don’t return, then for god’s sake, make sure you slip on that banana.

Farther Future Bobby exits.

Andy (yelling after him): Banana? Bobby, what happens to me?

Future Bobby enters.

Future Bobby: I can’t find me anywhere!!

Andy: Bobby, why should I slip on the banana?

Future Bobby: You know about the banana?

Andy: You just told me.

Future Bobby: No I didn’t.

Andy: You told me to slip on the banana.

Future Bobby: Um, no. I DON’T want you to slip on the banana. If you slip on the banana, you crack your skull and go into a 20 year coma and then die. I get sued by your family for every penny I have and live a miserable life of destitution.

Farthest Future Charlie enters. He is even more disfigured and hobbled and speech-impeded than before.

Farthest Future Charlie: You had to tell him about the coma, didn’t you Bobby! Jesus, now I’m more deformed than ever!

Future Bobby: Charlie?

Farthest Future Charlie: Might as well spill the beans! Can’t get much worse than this. Dad, while you were in your coma, your sister Beverly sold some of your semen to a sperm bank. I was born from that batch of sperm.

Andy: What the hell is going on here!

Future Bobby: Jeez, Andy. It’s not that complicated. Later today, I’m going to cause you to have an accident. Any second, I’m going to arrive and tell you I can’t go to the movies tonight. I’ll be eating a banana and drop the peel on the floor. You slip on the peel, hit your head on the floor, and go into a coma. And I get sued.

Farthest Future Charlie: And I get born!

Andy: So, why don’t I just NOT slip on the banana?

Farthest Future Charlie: But you DO slip on the banana!! You have to! Or else I don’t get born!

Andy: Well, is that such a bad thing? I hardly know you.

Farthest Future Charlie: Well, from my perspective, Dad, me not being born is a pretty big deal.

Andy: I see your point. Gee, I don’t know what to do.

Future Bobby: Don’t slip on the banana and you totally change our futures for the better, buddy!

Farthest Future Charlie: Not mine! Do the right thing, Dad! Slip on that banana!

Future Bobby (looking out the window): Here I come! Charlie, we gotta hide!!

Future Bobby and Farthest Future Charlie exit.

Andy: Interesting dilemna.

Bobby enters, finishing eating a banana.

Bobby: Hey Andy, I forgot. I can’t go to the movies tonight. I have that thing I have to go to.

Andy (staring at the banana): Oh, right. Okay.

Bobby: I woulda called, but I think I left my cellphone here.

Bobby casually drops the banana peel on the floor, then digs in the cushions of the couch, pulls out cellphone. Andy can only stare at the banana.

Bobby: Yep, here it is. Anyway, I gotta go.

Andy: Yeah. There it is. Alright. See you, Bobby. Probably.

Bobby exits.

Andy stares at the banana peel, unsure of what to do. Carefully approaches the banana peel. Tentatively touches it with the toes of his foot.

Studies the situation.

Lights fade to black.

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Dids and Fritz

My brother, Kenneth Lee MacDonald, passed away a couple of weeks ago, from cancer. He was diagnosed almost a year ago, likely had it much longer than that, and wasn’t expected to see this summer. Probably not even the spring. Yet he hung on, rallied a couple times, but the cancer was too embedded in too much of him. He really wanted to, and did make it to summer, and despite the pain and discomfort, I think he managed to enjoy enough of his final year.

He was number four of five brothers. No sisters. I am number five, the baby. There is about seven years between Kenny and me, so we weren’t the closest of brothers. I wasn’t close to any of them really. We didn’t play together, or spend much time together, outside of family meals. We all got/get along well, but, because of my comparative youth, I didn’t connect with them as much as most brothers, perhaps.

Kenny had the nickname Dids. Our next brother up the chain, Johnny, is nicknamed Fritz. There is lore as to where they both acquired the names, but I don’t know how substantiated it is, so I won’t get into it here. Dids and Fritz were very close. Best friends, I’d say. Right up to the end. A month or two before Kenny died, Johnny was in the hospital too, and they’d spend time together. Such a strange coincidence.

The week that Kenny died, I had to perform a show, Meanwhile in Ward 16. It’s a show we kind of make up each week. That week, there were two new characters being introduced, a couple of Germans. I decided, as a tribute, to name them Dids and Fritz. I am glad of that.

I miss my brother. He was an extremely shy and quiet guy who seemed most comfortable when he was out of the spotlight. I think one of the hardest things for Kenny in the past year was his need to rely on other people: nurses, doctors, family, etc. He didn’t want anyone to bother, and would often obfuscate the truth of his pain levels or discomfort in order to keep people from having to do things for him. That’s the kind of kind soul he was.

Like all of us, he had his problems. Some of them he struggled with for a long time. I remember first becoming aware of one on Christmas Eve, when I was maybe 7 or so. Younger? Young enough to still believe in Santa anyway. Young enough to be so excited about Christmas that I couldn’t sleep. I came downstairs in the middle of the night, not sure what time it was, but it was late. Or early morning. It was dark anyway. I was alone, excitedly looking at my presents when I heard a rustling at the front door. “Santa?” I wondered. It turned out to be Kenny, coming home after a party or celebration of some sort. He seemed quite out of sorts. Loud and happy and unbalanced and somehow unwell. He stumbled up the stairs to bed, and that is the first time I experienced what would be a lifelong struggle for him.

I was very much surprised, in the best way possible, to receive a link recently, to a remembrance of Kenny, which is copied below. Surprised, because I knew Kenny to have lived a quiet, unassuming life, with a handful of friends who, mostly, wouldn’t be inclined to write anything about him. One never knows the impacts people can have on other people.

So, thank you Eddy Quinn, for remembering my brother, and for championing the ‘nice guy’.

Is that you Dids

I had almost limped my way to the parking lot of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital when I heard a voice behind me.

I turned to see a skeleton of a man smiling as he called my name. I looked deep into the man’s head to find where his eyes had sunken in. His grey skin was hanging off his bones, but there was a familiar spark in his eyes. Finally, I recognized the warm smile of a man I used to work with.

“Dids? Is that you?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s me alright,” he replied with a nod and a smirk.

“Jesus man, you’re desperate thin!” I blurted without thinking.

“Yeah, I got cancer,” he said without changing his facial expression. “What are you doing here?” he inquired in the next breath.

“Oh…I just got a shot in my bad ankle. Nothing too serious, Kenny.” I switched to his real name after hearing his dire news. “Are they keeping you in?” I asked when I noticed he was wearing pyjama pants and loafers.

“Yeah, I am here ‘til I get into palliative care I guess,” he said, still nodding and smiling. “I’m just out for a puff.” He held up a vaping device. “I just put my weed right in this thing, and they don’t say anything to me.” He let out an inaudible giggle that I hadn’t heard for a few years.

I loved Kenny’s laugh. It would remind you of Ernie from Sesame Street. He would, kind of, shrug his shoulders, and all you would hear was a faint and breathy letter “K” from his throat. It was the kind of laugh that would spread like wild fire through a room.

“I hadn’t heard you were sick, Kenny. Sorry about that.” I said awkwardly.

“I seen Barry and Daryl a while back, “ he gracefully ignored my obvious discomfort. “You still at Superior?”

“Oh yes. I’m a lifer, Dids. No chance of parole!” I joked. We chatted for some time in the parking lot before I had to get back to work.

No one at work could tell me where our former colleague, Kenny “Dids” MacDonald, got his nickname. He had it long before he started working as a welder for Superior Sanitation. Dids could “weld the crack of dawn”, as the saying went. Rumour had it that he made the big money “out west” for a few years, and came home with a pretty healthy bank account. Apparently between himself and some fair weather friends, the out west money got partied away.

Dids was quiet, yet friendly, as he went about his work at the old shop on Allen Street. It always seemed that he got a little less quiet, and a lot more friendly on the day after payday. I recall walking into the shop one morning to notice Dids holding a coffee cup with a Kleenex sticking out of the lid. I saw him giggle as he held the unlit acetylene torch up to the drink hole in the coffee cup lid and started to fill the cup with gas. I was about to ask what he was doing, when he motioned for me to keep quiet. He put the torch down and pulled out his cigarette lighter. When he finally lit the makeshift Kleenex wick, he threw the coffee cup under the truck where one of the mechanics was working. There was a loud boom, followed by an unholy oath sworn by the mechanic under the truck. Dids giggled as he scrambled out the shop door in an attempt to escape his colleague’s wrath.

It would have been a poor day for Occupational Heath and Safety to show up for an inspection. It would have been worse still if the boss had walked in. But it seemed to me that Dids was afforded a little leeway for the odd misstep, or unscheduled absence from work. Dids might get on the “spree” for a few days and be on the missing list during that time. But when he was straightened back out, he’d show up and do good work. And the guy was just so likable, that no one could stay mad at him. I can honestly say that Dids made me smile every time we spoke, even during our last meeting in the QEH parking lot.

Kenny “Dids” MacDonald died a few weeks after we spoke that day. He didn’t have a wife or children that I know of. He never accumulated any material wealth, in spite of the fact that he was quite a skilled tradesman. I expect that addiction likely had something to do with that. All the time I knew him, he was pretty hard on himself, and financially down on his luck. I think he had been living in a rooming house in Charlottetown before he was hospitalized. The truth is that I didn’t know much about Dids, aside from the fact that I really liked him….as did many.

We live in a time when statues of once celebrated men are being taken down in protest. Rich and accomplished men of the past are being taken to task for some of the evil crap that they did while rising to prominence. People are starting to question why their names adorn schools, parks and prominent buildings. So here’s a couple of questions of my own. What would it be like, if we renamed some of these spots for nice guys who never hurt anyone aside from themselves? “Fort Kenny” has a nice ring to it. How about “Dids School Of Welding?” Maybe being a likable guy is the thing we should be celebrating these days. And I’d like to nominate Kenny “Dids” MacDonald, as a name that is truly worthy of remembering. Then when people would walk into those buildings and wonder who they were named for, someone could answer this way.

“Who was “Dids?” Oh, he was a good guy to work with. He could weld like a bugger, and he made his friends laugh….not sure where he got the nickname though.”