Tom And Jane Eat Breakfast

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readMay 11, 2023

[A breakfast table in America. TOM and JANE are eating breakfast and drinking coffee. JANE is reading the news on her tablet while TOM works on a crossword puzzle.]

JANE: [Sips coffee, sighs] Another mass shooting.

TOM: [Not looking up] Mmm, yeah. Des Moines.

JANE: No, another one.

TOM: Not the one in Des Moines?

JANE: No, that was earlier this morning.

TOM: Ohh, the Chicago one you mean?

JANE: No that was yesterday, I’m talking about the one in Palm Springs.

TOM: Ohh, I think I saw something about that on Twitter. The synagogue?

JANE: No, this one’s a preschool. The synagogue was last night in Baltimore.

TOM: A preschool? Jesus. What kind of sick fuck shoots up a preschool?

JANE: One of the kids I guess. There was some dispute about snack time.

TOM: Oh man. Did they catch him?

JANE: Her. Live shoot-out with the police right now. They’re having trouble because the girl’s got some kinda machine gun and body armor. They tried to bribe her with some apple juice but the kid’s not having it.

TOM: Ah, man. Come on kid, give it up, you know they’re sending in the killbots next.

JANE: [Looks up] I highly doubt a four year-old girl knows about killbots, Tom.

TOM: Okay well hell, I don’t know what kids know these days. How the hell’s she know how to use a machine gun?

JANE: Pete was shooting the neighbors’ cats by that age.

TOM: Yeah, with a rifle! Machine guns aren’t for kids. And you gotta shoot cats, cats suck.

JANE: I like cats.

TOM: They’re stupid.

JANE: They’re not stupid.

TOM: Yeah they are, they’re idiots. Tell ’em what to do and they just stare at you like a dope. Tell a dog what to do and they hop right on it.

JANE: That means cats are smarter.

TOM: Ha! Good point.

JANE: Who’s smarter, the blindly obedient animal or the one who just ignores your commands?

TOM: Yup, yeah, you’ve got me there. [Sips coffee.] Dogs are idiots.

JANE: Dumb, obedient idiots.

TOM: Crap, I gotta get going. Gotta lay off the entire third floor today.

JANE: Huh? Why?

TOM: Dunno, boss told me to.

JANE: Oh okay.

TOM: Anything else big in the news?

JANE: Looks like the Russians are killing babies for no reason and we’re gonna have to go to war.

TOM: Killing babies for no reason?

JANE: Yep, just putting ’em in microwaves, feeding ’em to sharks, launching ’em outta catapults. Just killing them.

TOM: Is that true?

JANE: It has to be. It’s in the news.

TOM: Man. I hate Russians.

[Enter PETE, age 20, clearly miserable.]

JANE: Well look who it is.

TOM: Hey Pete, you gonna put in that application I gave you?

PETE: Nah.

TOM: What? Why not?

PETE: Don’t wanna work there.

JANE: Oh Pete.

TOM: What’s wrong? You think you’re too good to work at the fish poison factory?

PETE: Uhh… Yeah.

JANE: Oh, okay your highness.

TOM: What the hell, son? What’s your problem with the fish poison factory?

PETE: They literally manufacture fish poison.

TOM: So??

JANE: They’re an aquatic pest!

PETE: They are not, that’s just some bullshit they made up to sell fish poison.

TOM: Oh where the hell are you getting this garbage? The internet?

JANE: Alex Jones I bet.

PETE: It’s true, fish are a completely harmless animal who make up an important part of the ecosystem. They’ve just created an artificial demand for fish poison by an aggressive ad campaign and got the government to deregulate it after spending millions on corporate lobbying.

TOM: Oh bullshit! I’ve had it with these conspiracy theories, Pete! I’ve had it with your attitude! Why can’t you just go turn gears at the fish poison factory like a normal young man? You’re a goddamn embarrassment to this family.

[PETE throws up his hands and storms off.]

TOM: [Calls after him] You’re gonna feel like a real asshole when there’s a fish infestation and we all get the plague!

JANE: Such a disappointment.

TOM: Why can’t he just be normal like us?

JANE: It needed to be said.

TOM: Ah shit I gotta run.

JANE: Get going, handsome.

TOM: Third floor folks aren’t gonna fire themselves.

JANE: Grab some fish poison on your way home? We’re all out.

TOM: You got it toots.

[They kiss. Exit TOM. JANE goes back to reading the news.]

JANE: [Sips coffee.] Oh god, those poor Chinese. Glad I don’t live in a backward, crazy country like them.



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