Living with Fish (2011)
An interactive, family-friendly video filmed at Prestonwood. Living with Fish is viewed by children in grades 1-6 during Bible Fellowship with the purpose of helping children apply biblical truths to their lives in an entertaining format. I helped develop the show concept and wrote two episodes.
Alan Tregoning & Jason Walter Vaile
INT. BASEMENT - DAY Close up of a GOLDFISH swimming around a SMALL FISHBOWL. PIPER (O.S.) I guess this is it little buddy. Pull back to reveal PIPER sitting on a small chair holding the fishbowl. She is surrounded by the evidence of a pending move: boxes packed, bare concrete walls, stripped down bed. PIPER But maybe I don't want to go. ANGLE ON GOLDFISH MAN'S VOICE (O.S.) Did you know that some fish species actually eat their young if they refuse to leave the nest? ANGLE ON PIPER PIPER Really? Gross. ANGLE ON GOLDFISH MAN'S VOICE (deadpan) I read it on the internet so it must be true. ANGLE ON PIPER PIPER You know what else is on the internet? ANGLE ON GOLD FISH MAN'S VOICE Man, now I'm hungry. ANGLE ON PIPER PIPER Rooms for rent. Maybe we could look one more time. ANGLE ON GOLDFISH MAN'S VOICE I could really go for some fish and chips right about now. ANGLE ON PIPER PIPER I'm serious Dad. PULL BACK TO REVEAL Piper's DAD as the source of the man's voice. He's just finished stacking a pile of boxes. DAD Don't worry, it's kinda, sorta temporary. PIPER It's kinda, sorta lame. DAD Piper. PIPER I meant moving back in with my sisters, not Grandpa Fish taking over my room. DAD (doubtful) Really? PIPER Kinda sorta. DAD You'll be fine. Piper looks down at her fish. PIPER Maybe, I mean how bad could it be right? CUT TO: INT. TWINS ROOM - DAY Kimmie snaps her fingers and gets in Piper's face. Carrie reads from a big SILVER COVERED RULE BOOK. Piper stands sheepishly holding her goldfish bowl. KIMMIE Rule twenty three. CARRIE No pets. KIMMIE Rule forty eight. CARRIE No arguing. KIMMIE Rule seventy seven. CARRIE (confused) No smelling the dirty laundry? KIMMIE Rule seventy eight. CARRIE The sister hereby known as Piper shall also be subject to any and all other rules as assigned. Kimmie grabs the rule book and shoves it towards Piper. KIMMIE Learn 'em. Love 'em. Live 'em. PIPER Well that answers that question. INSERT CREDITS INT. KITCHEN - DAY Piper is seated at the table surfing the web on her laptop. The fishbowl sits nearby. The basement door is kicked open and Piper's Dad stumbles through carrying a couple of boxes. DAD Here's the last of it. PIPER Hey Dad, can I get a forty-five thousand dollar advance on my allowance? DAD Sure. PIPER Really!?! DAD Just give me a forty-five thousand dollar down payment as collateral and we'll do business. PIPER Oh snicker doodle. DAD What do you need that kind of money for anyway? PIPER Well, instead of me moving in with Carrie and Kimmie I found this nice ocean view condo. DAD Sounds nice. PIPER Heated pool. DAD Of course. PIPER World class gym. DAD Exercise is important. PIPER Valet parking. DAD For that car you don't have. PIPER And with down payment, condominium fee and a slick new aquarium for Chum I figure forty five should just about cover it. DAD And if it doesn't? PIPER You and Mom can just spot me the difference. DAD Let me think ah no. PIPER (defeated) Snicker doodle. The front door opens and Piper's Mom drags in a large heavy suit case. Dad goes over to help. MOM Piper go help Grandpa with his bags. PIPER Yes, Mom. (under her breath) Here we go. As Piper approaches the door a hand reaches through the doorway. HALT! Piper freezes and in marches GRANDPA FISH. PIPER Hey Grandpa-- FISH Shhhh!!! Fish reaches over and plucks a hair from Piper's head. PIPER Ow. Fish pulls out a strange electronic scanning device and places the hair on the scanner. FISH (reading from scanner) Hmm, DNA match. Subject shows high levels of stress and anxiety. Has a preference for strawberry melon shampoo. You know that stuff is bad for you right? PIPER Strawberry melon shampoo is bad for you? FISH No, stress and anxiety. You know what you need to do? PIPER Move back in to my room? FISH Eat more hummus. PIPER I don't know what that is, but gross. FISH It's a dip made from mashed chick peas, lemon juice, salt and garlic. PIPER Now that I know what that is, gross. Fish pulls out a pointer and makes some notes on his scanner. FISH (to himself) Subject shows a distinct lack of adventure, humor and personality. PIPER Hey, I'm right here. FISH Hearing ability competent. So stressed out strawberry girl, which way to my room? PIPER (irritated) Follow me to MY old room. FISH Splendid just splendid. Pipers leads Fish to the basement door. He is suddenly distracted by the goldfish. FISH (excited) Carassius auratus auratus!!! PIPER His name is "Chum". FISH Can I clone him? Please please, can I please? PIPER I don't think he'd like that. FISH (to goldfish) We'll talk later. (to Piper) Now on to the laboratory. Fish marches past Piper and into the basement doorway. PIPER Laboratory? INT. KITCHEN - LATER A depressed Piper sits at the table staring at Chum. Fish is rummaging through the piles of boxes and luggage now piled in the living room. Suddenly, Carrie and Kimmie burst in from the back. CARRIE Grandpa Grandpa!! Yay Yay!! KIMMIE You're here, you're here you're finally here!! TWINS (hands out) What'd you bring me? FISH (patting his pockets) Umm...What'd you like? KIMMIE I like candy. CARRIE And ponies. KIMMIE And candy ponies. FISH Well I don't have any candy ponies, but I do have... He reaches in a box and pulls out a PULSATING ORB. FISH Nope that's not it. He digs in further and pulls out a SMALL ALABASTER BOX. He opens it to check the contents, but is startled by a gurgling rushing sound. He quickly slams the lid shut. FISH Too dangerous! Digs ever deeper and... FISH Yes!! Fish triumphantly hold up a fresh pair of socks. FISH Now that's what I'm talking about. KIMMIE You brought us old man socks? Fish quickly puts on the socks like a pair of gloves then reaches back in and carefully holds up a small penlight. CARRIE It's a flashlight. FISH It's a laser. KIMMIE Is it a candy laser? FISH No, but check this out. Fish dramatically presses the on button and....nothing. FISH Huh. Oh yeah. Fish bashes the laser on the counter a few times then-- ZZZZZZZAP. Fish struggles with the laser as it shoots across the room. The laser narrowly misses Piper as she dives for the floor. The laser instead hits the fish bowl and the entire room is briefly enveloped in a bright flash of white. Piper slowly picks herself up from the floor and to her horror discovers the fish bowl frozen solid with a very blue Chum in the center. Piper taps the ice. PIPER Chum! INT. KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER Fish is bent over a box digging through its contents. Piper taps on the frozen fish bowl. Kimmie and Carrie stare in amazement. They think its cool. PIPER Chum! Chum! Can you hear me? Think warm thoughts. CARRIE Let's put him in the oven. KIMMIE Microwave's quicker. Fish ignores them all and keeps digging. FISH It's in here somewhere! He stops digging. He pulls out another weird contraption. FISH Biggedy Bam! The girls all step back in fearful anticipation. CARRIE What is it? FISH Watch carefully! He tunes several dials. Hits switches. Suddenly, something is launched from the contraption into the air. Fish watches it fly into the air and then catches it in his mouth. FISH Ah, refreshing. My breath was horrible. Breath mint? TWINS Yay! Candy. Kimmie and Carrie line up and open their mouths like baby birds. Fish fires three shots. One into Kimmie's mouth. One into Carrie's mouth. And one into Piper's eye. PIPER Owwwww! Grandpa what about my fish? Piper rubs her eye. FISH What happened to your fish? Piper holds the frozen bowl up for him to see. FISH Why would you do that to your fish? PIPER I didn't do this. You did this! FISH Of course I did. And I'll fix it. All I need is my... He dives back down into his box which muffles out what he is looking for. FISH (muffled) Biggedy Bam! He pulls out another strange looking flashlight. CARRIE Gummy worms? KIMMIE Candy corn? Kimmie and Carrie open their mouths. FISH Transmogrifier. KIMMIE (to Carrie) What is that? CARRIE I think it's vegetable. KIMMIE Ew, gross. FISH Stand back ladies. The girls all get behind fish. He lines it up and fires at the frozen gold fish. The bowl turns bright white. Suddenly, inside the fish bowl is swimming a great white shark. Everyone screams. Including Fish. He zaps it again. Suddenly, giant octopus arms flail from the fish bowl. They scream again. Fish zaps it again. Suddenly, there is a frozen fish stick floating in the bowl. They all scream again. Piper the loudest. PIPER Grandpa, you turned Chum into a fish stick! FISH Actually I believe that's a fish finger, fish sticks have a slightly different density and-- PIPER (upset) I don't care about fish stick density. FISH Okay! Everyone stay calm. KIMMIE Rule twenty six. CARRIE No freaking out. FISH Just a few more adjustments. He tweaks the buttons a few times. FISH (CONT'D) That ought to do it. Fish fires an extra powerful shot at the bowl. It glows. Suddenly, it launches from the counter top through the roof. Sheetrock drops onto the counter. All four of them slowly walk over and look up into the gaping hole in the roof. They cannot believe what they are looking at. KIMMIE Wow! CARRIE Cool. FISH I can fix this. PIPER Chum? EXT. THE COLD VACUUM OF SPACE SFX: SATELLITE BEEPING SOUND The fish bowl with Chum still frozen in it slowly floats by. FISH (V.O.) (scratchy radio sfx) Um, Houston, we have a problem. EXT. FRONT PORTCH - DUSK Mom is sitting on the front porch painting the sunset. A depressed Piper comes out and sits in the front porch swing. PIPER Sigh Mom paints away. PIPER SIGH Mom paints away oblivious. PIPER SIGH! MOM Is everything OK? PIPER Worst day ever! MOM Worse than the time you found out you were allergic to the fish fingers at your birthday party? INSERT Camcorder view of Piper. A cake sits on the table. Party guests surround her. Mom sets a plate of fish fingers in front of her. Piper pops one in her mouth. MOM I made fish fingers for everyone! Piper turns green in the gills. She starts to hurl on the cake. The camera is dropped. SFX: CHILDREN SCREAM AND GROSS OUT BACK TO SCENE PIPER I'm thinking serious contender. MOM Living with Grandpa Fish is not always going to be easy. Trust me. Growing up with his...oddities was-- Grandpa Fish storms out the front door. FISH Potted plants? Piper looks at her mom. Mom shrugs. PIPER Over there. FISH Thank you. He picks up the plant, pulls off a leaf and tastes it. FISH (CONT'D) This could work. He walks back into the house. MOM Like I was saying, living with Fish was always challenging. But growing up I learned a valuable lesson. PIPER To duck? MOM That was more a rule than a lesson. No, it was God makes each of us unique and different. Your Grandpa may seem a little eccentric on the outside, but deep down he's actually quite... A flustered Fish storms back out. Bits of potted plant are stuck to his hair, face and lab coat. A vine is wrapped around his waist like a leash, the other end trails inside the house. MOM ...different. FISH I need a bag of worms, some weed killer and forty seven square feet of duct tape. SFX GROWLING PLANT ROAR A vine reaches from in the house and hooks around Fish's neck and pulls him back in to the house like a shepherds crook. FISH Make that forty eight square feet. Dad walks out from the house reading over the rule book. DAD Wow, some of these rules are quite well thought out. PIPER Not helping Dad. DAD Reminds me of my Naval academy days. Only our manual didn't have an entire section devoted to hair care products. MOM I was just telling Piper here about the upside of growing up with Fish. DAD Tell that to the good folks over at Shady Acres retirement home. A loud explosion comes from inside the house. DAD Or what's left of it. Grandpa Fish nonchalantly walks out whistling the theme song and trying not to be noticed. He sidles up to Dad, yanks the rule book from his hand and smells the metallic cover. FISH Nice. Fish wanders back inside the house. MOM You just need to give him a chance. PIPER I guess so. MOM What do you think honey? Mom turns her painting towards Piper and Dad. It is a cubist version of a sunset with a square sun setting over a forest of square trees. DAD (re: picture) I like it! That's a keeper. INT. KITCHEN - DAY Fish is in the kitchen. Piper walks in. PIPER Did you find Chum? FISH Not yet. I was making waffles. Do you have any beets? PIPER Well when? I really miss my fish. FISH Just wait. Fish looks at his watch. FISH (CONT'D) Chum should be exiting Low Earth Orbit right about...... A loud sonic boom is heard. The fish tank drops though the same hole it left out of and lands on the counter top. Chum still frozen inside. FISH (CONT'D) (smug) Terrestrial reentries are so predictable. PIPER Chum! FISH OK, let me try one more thing. Fish walks over to the tank. He places the rule book behind the fish tank. He aims the laser at the rule book. It bounces off the shiny surface and reflects into the bowl. It heats the water. It glows white. Suddenly, Chum is swimming freely again. Before Fish can turn the laser off though, the rule book begins to glow red. The twins rush into the room and see their rule book glowing. KIMMIE Our rule book! CARRIE No! They rush towards the book. It explodes into a snowstorm of paper shreds. When it clears, the twins are gone. Piper rushes over and kisses the fish bowl. PIPER CHUMMY!! Fish sheepishly approaches Piper, not wanting to interrupt her tender reunion. FISH I'm sorry Piper. Maybe we could kinda sorta start over? PIPER Kinda sorta. Piper gives Fish a hug. PIPER Thank you, Grandpa Fish! Fish puts his arm around Piper. FISH (CONT'D) This was probably your worst day ever, huh? PIPER Not even close. Fish reaches over behind the fish tank and grabs the rule book. It has a huge hole burnt straight through it. Smoke waifs from the charred crater cover. FISH I think I upset your sisters. They both look up to the hole the fish bowl went through. PIPER Yeah, you probably did. FISH I can fix this. INSERT CLOSING CREDITS EXT. COLD VOID OF OUTER SPACE The twins float by. Carrie is swimming upside down. Kimmie's arms are folded and she looks none too impressed. SFX: SATELITE BEEPING SOUND KIMMIE This is so against the rules. FADE OUT.