Written by: Peter Bogdanovich
Based on footage shot by: Unrelated Quotes Guy
Peter's Production Company Pictures
in Association with
Touching or Not? Productions
edit Act I: Meet Alister
Alister stands in the large tank, alone.
ALISTER: I've been in this condition for a while... Its hard, life is hard. Hard for a lobster...
He shuffles towards the glass a bit
ALISTER: There must be something more. Where is emotion? What comforts does this world afford us in life!? Surely it isn't only the view, the distant, wonderful bar of salad...
Grabs food pellet in pincers
ALISTER: Flecks, flecks of nonsustaining nourishment... I would like to visit that salad bar one day... If I weren't a lobster, I'd be a great explorer. Or a wizard! Yes, the greatest wizard of them all! Better than the fabled Mr. Wizard! But lo, I am here, and am no such man or beast endowed with that majestic gift of sorcery. No... merely... I exist. Where is justice for this soul of mine?
Alister looks off into the distance
edit Act II: Alister and Daphne
A crab (by the name of Daphne) is placed in the tank; she approaches Alister
ALISTER: I've lived in this tank all my life.. I was born here, you know, in that corner just over there. All I've ever thought about was art, music...beauty... and the ponderous wanderings of my own mind. Now I'm in the autumn of my years, and all I think about is that nondescript, chunky crust that sustains us, floating down from the heavens.. Our very existence, hanging in the balance... Without that little crust floating down into the water, WE WOULD ALL DIE! What could it possibly mean?!
DAPHNE: You're standing on my worm flakes.
ALISTER: Is that all that occupies your thoughts? Nourishment? There must be a greater purpose in life; something more than waddling around, collecting dust (and food pellets)! Why are we here? Where are we going? Why do we sit in this tank, at the mercy of the humans, while they are free to feed upon the fruits of the salad bar to their fat hearts' content?! We are living in an environment where we are completely separated from the harshness of the outside world. We are isolated from our nature! Spending our lives in this glass box! It reminds me of... insanity.
DAPHNE: I wouldn't want to live in the ocean. I'd miss my worm flakes.
ALISTER: Christ, am I the only creature here who has any knowledge of the metaphysical?
DAPHNE: Is that a brand of fish food?
ALISTER Of course not! I speak of the SOUL, woman! Don't you ever wonder about the meaning of the dreams you have? What kind of valuable insight into the inner workings of your spirit they may offer? Haven't you ever read Carl Jung's Man and His Symbols? It's all about the meaning of dreams, and what kind of insight dreams may offer into the inner workings of the soul! I just finished it last week, it was a truly fascinating work of literature!! The ancient philosophers of the ancient world believed that the soul was only awake when the body was asleep. Our dreams are the gateways to our SOULS!
DAPHNE: Oh, wow! That's the biggest fish flake I've ever seen!
Daphne walks away hurriedly
ALISTER: I'd pry my head off with my pincers if I could..
edit Act III: The Feeding Party
Leonard, a jellyfish, and Cecilia, a baby sea turtle, are introduced to the tank
LEONARD: Oh Ali, thank you ever so much for inviting us to your lovely party. What shall we be dining on this evening?
ALISTER: The same thing we always feed upon, Leonard...the food that is, of the sky...
LEONARD: Oh wonderful! Cecelia loves food that she doesn't have to work hard for!
Alister looks at Cecelia, who is swimming on the other side of the tank
ALISTER: Christ Leonard, that girl must be 6 months old at most! How can you bring yourself to date a girl half your age?! Do you have no morals? No sense of right and wrong?
LEONARD: Its love, Ali!
ALISTER: SHE ISN'T EVEN THE SAME SPECIES LEO!
LEONARD: Daphne isn't a lobster!!
ALISTER: YOU LEAVE DAPHNE OUT OF THIS!
LEONARD: Alister Kane Burlington Harthswallow, you are currently INSULTING ME and I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT!
Alister lapses into a philosophical mood
ALISTER: But what is right and wrong, Leonard? We say we know the difference, but how can we? How can we know anything? If the teachings of epistemology are right, then there IS no knowledge, and all our simplified theories and beliefs are inherently wrong. What are we, my dear Leo? Why are we here?
LEONARD: Are you INSANE? Do you think preaching some ridiculous theory to me is going to undo the UNFORGIVABLE insult you just dealt me?
Leonard has had enough. He attacks Alister and stings him
ALISTER: AAAAHHH!! Oh sweet death, take me away... take, me... away...
Cecelia swims over
CECELIA: ...care for a worm flake?
LEONARD: Thank you darling, I'd love one.
edit Act IV: Ali's Dream
Alister fades out of consciousness, entering a dark, psychedelic dream world. He is alone in the tank.
ALISTER: Has it happened? Am I really on the other side? Have I passed into death? Where is everybody? Hello? HELLO?! Anyone?
Walks towards the glass
ALISTER: This can't be heaven... I'm still in the box...
Bits of fish food begin to sink into the water
ALISTER: Oh lord, the food. The life source.. But oh, the isolation, here alone! I don't know what to do...I'M FREAKING OUT MAN!!! Is this what death is? TOTAL ISOLATION? WILL I SPEND ETERNITY STARING LONGINGLY AT THE SALAD BAR, WITH NOBODY TO SHARE MY INNERMOST THOUGHTS WITH? OH, THE MELODRAMA!!!!!!
Alister's surroundings dissolve and his heroes flash before his eyes: Freud, Jung, and Plato, among many others. The scene then dissolves completely in to a 45-minute mash of 3 second film clips, all of them disjointed and most of them in foreign languages. The sequence reaches its culmination with a collection of rapid-fire clips of people washing dental equipment.
Suddenly, the stream of subconscious images assailing Alister's mind abruptly stop, and he is back in the tank, but none of his friends and companions are there. Floating above him is a very old, wise-looking pufferfish.
ALISTER: Who are you?
A: I am he. And he, is I. And he is also A, prophet to those who seek his answer.
ALISTER: A? Isn't that the guy who makes those cool weapons for James Bond?
A: No, child, that would be Q. We're actually related by marriage...but that's beside the point. I have revealed myself in order to bestow the gift of leafy-green grandeur upon thee.
ALISTER: You know of my salad dreams?
A: I am he who is The Knower. (pause) It is perfectly normal for you to dream of salad, my son. The bar is the ultimate center of peace and happiness in the universe. For it is amongst the fields of baby carrots and alongside the blue cheese rivers that our kind may achieve nirvana. The sea of greens, glistening atop the brightly-shining refrigerated metal surface; it is the meaning. That which we may call home.
ALISTER: It all sounds so glorious..
A: It is glorious. That is why I told you about it. But Alister, I am not long for this existence. I have inspired many, and awoken great souls through the message from on high. But now, it is your turn Ali. It is your turn to become he who is with higher purpose.
ALISTER: A higher purpose? All my life, I have searched for a purpose...something to strive for, something to become! A bastion of reasoning inside this cruel, cruel glass cage of nothingness! But master, why must you leave me? You could come with me!
A: No my son, I cannot. For like all of our souls, the soft-skinned hands of the angels are soon to grasp me; to hoist me out of the waters and deliver me unto the fields of asparagus and spinach leaves. It is your turn now. Awaken Alister. Awaken and impart the promise of the salad bar unto the world! GO!
A: I mean like, now! Go already!!
edit Act V: Alister Returns
Alister wakes up, returned to the tank; Daphne stands over him anxiously
ALISTER: No need to worry, Daphne. I'm fine.
DAPHNE: Oh, that’s good. Could you roll over, you passed out on top of some leftover worm flakes.
ALISTER: Daphne, forget all about these barely sustaining fish flakes! EVERYONE! EVERYONE!!!
A few other inhabitants of the tank gather around
ALISTER: Friends, listen to me. I've had a revelation! A vision! A spiritual encounter that has completely redefined my life! (yelling) MY FRIENDS AND BRETHREN, I BRING YOU A MESSAGE FROM THE MIGHTY BLOWFISH A, THE GREATEST SPIRITUAL PHILOSOPHER OF THIS CENTURY!!!
The gathered creatures begin to disband, wandering aimlessly
ALISTER: There is no longer any need to fear about whether or not our lives have any meaning, my friends! The truth is, we all DO have a purpose! Life may not be too great for us now, but we all have a common DESTINY, and that is, the wondrous salad bar!
DAPHNE: Can you stop yelling now, Alister? You're going to give me a migraine!
ALISTER: Good grief, woman? Don't you realize what I'm talking about here? This matter is more important than such earthly annoyances as headaches! I'm talking about the very meaning of it ALL! We might be bored out of our minds now, but someday we will all reach that paradise above all others, that wondrous spiritual realm, the SALAD BAR! There, we will feast on the cherry tomatoes of the Gods! Onions from on high!! The food that will soothe and cleanse our weary souls: that food is SALAD!
DAPHNE: Are there worm flakes at the salad bar?
ALISTER: WORM FLAKES? Christ, no Daphne! I'm talking about heavenly, soft, delicious, fat-free--
DAPHNE: So there aren't any worm flakes at the salad bar?
ALISTER: No, none of those awful worm flakes that have caused the stagnation of our metaphysical--
DAPHNE: Doesn't sound that great to me, Ali...
ALISTER: Damn it Daphne...if you weren't a woman I'd slap you.
Alister walks away, to the solitary corner of the tank, where he was born
ALISTER: Oh mighty A, what if the world isn't ready for your message? Or worse; what if they are not deserving?? I want to give the gift of knowledge, but they don't seem to understand! Even Daphne, my obligatory love interest, cannot see past the useless, tasteless dreck we're force-fed every day. Lord, you've shown me the way, and I wish to serve; but now, you must show THEM!
Alister waits expectantly. Nothing happens.
ALISTER: (Wailing) Oh, fortune, why must you abuse me so? I finally meet my purpose, embark on the path before me, and yet all my hopes of making a difference are being shattered by the ignorance of my peers! I Beg you, mighty A, MAKE THEM SEE!!!
edit Act VI: The Sign
Minutes have passed, and Alister's cry has still not been heeded. He curls up in a ball in the corner, despairingly.
ALISTER: (to himself) Maybe I am useless...perhaps it was all a hallucination... a passing subconscious attempt to bring a spark of joy to my tattered soul... yes.. life really is purposeless after all...
Just then, a passing waiter carrying a monstrous bowl of fresh salad stumbles and loses his balance. He recovers from his fall, but not in time to save the appetizer; the entire bowl spills into the tank. Alister, still lying in the corner, does not notice.
DAPHNE: THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!
Alister, upon hearing her screaming, looks up.
ALISTER: What! Could it possibly be? (pause) Salad?
A black olive drifts towards Alister, landing in front of him.
ALISTER: (tastes olive) Oh, mighty A! It IS salad!! And it's 500 times more heavenly than I ever expected (with half the calories)!!! All praises be!
Alister glances at his tank-mates, who are cowering in a corner, terrified of the vegetables that have entered their underwater lair. He approaches Daphne, who is gazing, horror-stricken, at the carrot sitting in front of her.
DAPHNE: Is it going to eat me? Help Ali!!
ALISTER: (laughs) Oh of course it's not going to eat you! This, young Daphne, is the food that we are destined to spend eternity eating! Lush, green salad! Everyone who tries it loves it! Eat you silly girl, eat!!
DAPHNE: (looks at carrot, perplexed) ...this isn't a worm flake...
ALISTER: Of course it isn't! It hails from the land of splendor across the great divide! The mighty cosmic ruler has delivered it from the salad bar to those who are worthy! Eat!!!!
Daphne nervously approaches the carrot, and uses a pincher to shred off an extremely small piece. She slowly eats it.
ALISTER: Well?? What do you think?
Daphne crunches down the rest of the carrot eagerly. Alister is ecstatic.
ALISTER: (to the entire tank of animals) Brothers and sisters, return to my side! Our young, sweet Daphne has just experienced a soul-changing revelation! She has taken her first, timid bites of the generous offering from our lord on high, and that is, of course, salad! Come, all of you! I want you all to taste the unfathomable delights of our Shangri La!
All of the various small crustaceans and fish approach the bits of salad, except for another lobster named Dennis, who holds back. All of the other animals start munching on the various vegetables, and the general excitement in the tank starts building up.
ALISTER: This is a truly miracle! A miracle I previously would never have thought possible! Let us feast on the food of our future!
The other animals cheer, and they all rush in to feast, except Dennis.
LEONARD: (a piece of lettuce protruding from his mouth) Wow, Alister! This stuff is good!
ALISTER: And this is nothing, my friend, nothing compared to what is in store for us all!
The other animals are listening intently now.
ALISTER: You think this is good, wait to you transcend to the plane of existence that is, the salad bar! Imagine this feast, except with five times more variety! I'm talking about blue cheese dressing, that comes in both normal and fat-free varieties, ranch dressing, crunchy little bread squares! Have you ever tasted beets? Bell, Habañero, AND Red Hot Chili Peppers?! So much delectable goodness, it boggles the mind!
DENNIS: (stepping forwards, towards Alister) HOW DAAAAARE YOU!!! Fish flakes are what have kept us alive for as long as my ancestors have inhabited this tank! Not no damn SALAD! That aint my culture and heritage! I won't sit by and watch you speak blasphemy, boy!
The other animals ignore Dennis, continuing to feast
DENNIS: Alister, you are a despicable traitor! Fish flakes were good enough for your parents, and they should be good enough for YOU, too! What would your father think?!?!
ALISTER: Did you actually taste the salad?
DENNIS: Of course not!
ALISTER: Then how can you condemn it?
DENNIS: Because it is EVIL! You should be a good boy and fear what you don't understand! But no, you need to push this malarkey on the rest of the tank, well I will have no part of it! Watch your back boy, your days of spewing garbage are NUMBERED!
Dennis walks away in anger
edit Act VII: The Proposal
A human walks up to the tank, and dumps in some worm flakes. They sink to the bottom, and go completely untouched. Dennis walks up and starts munching on them.
ALISTER: Partake in the glory of salad, Dennis! I made sure we still had some saved after the feast, so we could continue to nurture our spiritual beings. Why not try some of these heavenly greens and stop eating those meager worm flakes?
DENNIS: MEAGER?! You're soiling your father's grave Alister! He worked hard EVERY DAY to keep flakes in your big mouth, and how is he repaid? His son sullys the waters of our blessed home with satanic fairy tales, and stories from behind the iron curtain, and--
ALISTER: If you insist on being closed-minded, then fine. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the broccoli..
DENNIS: HEY! Just because I'm dismissing you without even considering what you have to say doesn't mean I'm closed-minded!
ALISTER: Look into your heart, old man. It is you who is he who is the loser outter..
Alister walks away, over to Daphne
ALISTER: It's funny, Daphne.. With my revelation and the sign from on high, I can look back on a life of achievement... on challenges met, competitors bested, obstacles overcome. I've accomplished more than most lobsters, all while under a heavy winter coat of melancholy.. What... What makes a lobster, Daphne?
DAPHNE: Lobster meat?
ALISTER: (ignoring Daphne) Maybe it's Dennis that's getting me so depressed...well, I know that's part of it, but there's something else... Strong lobsters also cry, Daphne...
DAPHNE: Maybe you just need to take a crap!
ALISTER: WHAT!?! NO! Jesus, I need...companionship!
DAPHNE: What the hell is that?
ALISTER: It's LOVE, Daphne! I need love!
DAPHNE: I have some love!
ALISTER: (suddenly understanding) YOU DO?!
ALISTER: Oh Daphne, you've made me the happiest lobster in all the world!
ALISTER: Us darling! I'm so glad you want to be my bride!
DAPHNE: When did that happen???
Dennis pops up out of the blue
DENNIS: THIS IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE!!! (turns to face the other animals) What did I tell you people? I told y'all, I've been telling ya all along, this Alister is a trouble maker! NOT ONLY does he want us eating these foul, newfangled vegetables, NOW he's telling us that inter-species marriages are actually acceptable! HE'S RUINING OUR TRADITIONAL WAY OF LIFE!!! What'll he be saying next, "Let's try and escape from the cage? Let's try and get to the OCEAN?"
ALISTER: Please, Dennis, be sensible! Embrace the light vinaigrette!
DENNIS: NO! I won't let you brainwash me!
ALISTER: It is you who are the he who is brainwashed! You refuse to even consider--
ALISTER: --what other people--
ALISTER: --are trying to tell you?
ALISTER: (indicating a bit of carrot in the corner of the cage) look, just try a piece of carrot, okay? Just give it a try. If you still condemn me afterwards, I'll accept that you're views are unchangeable. But until you choose to see the bigger picture, no one shall ever accept your shameful accusations! It's like Plato once said--
DENNIS: I will NOT consider that I might be wrong, because I KNOW that I'm not!
DENNIS: (hesitates) Um...ALRIGHT FINE! I'll taste. But only to prove that it tastes immoral, its indecent, and its nothing like the great worm flakes that deserve our love and respect!
Dennis aggressively bites the carrot, sappy music swells
DENNIS: Wow... it tastes... it tastes... IT TASTES... pretty damn good, actually!
The animals in the cage all cheer, except for a few of them who have become distracted by their own reflections in the glass at the side of the cage.
ALISTER: You like it?
DENNIS: Of course I like it?
ALISTER: Would you marry me and Daphne?
DENNIS: Not sure if I could marry both of you, but I'd love to try...
ALISTER: No, I mean, get us married together! Conduct our wedding service!
DENNIS: Oh, alright you rascal. But afterwards, I wanna hear all about this salad stuff you've been talkin' so much about!
ALISTER: Deal. (turns to Daphne) Alright dearest, it's time to get married!
DAPHNE: Um, okay then..
edit Act VIII: The Hands of an Angel
Daphne and Alister are standing near each other, preparing for the ceremony. Dennis stands in front to them. The other animals are all nearby.
DENNIS: Are you ready to be legally binded to this crab, Alister?
ALISTER: Of course Dennis. For it is the will of the salad that the message be propagated, and a child would do just that. Oh, and I love Daphne a whole lot too. Daphne, are you ready to go?
DAPHNE: Wow! That snail over there is super HOT!
ALISTER: DAPHNE! We're getting MARRIED! Save your animal lust for the honeymoon!
DAPHNE: Okay, sorry.
DENNIS: Fine, fine, lets get this show on the road.
turns to other animals
DENNIS: My fellow crustaceans and assorted sea creatures, we are gathered here in this lovely section of the tank to witness the lengthy ceremony involved in the sacred bond being tied between two of our companions...
Dennis continues his introduction to the ceremony. It is temporarily drowned out by an interaction between a nearby waiter and a customer.
CUSTOMER: I've been waiting for 40 minutes and my wife is pregnant! We're freakin' starvin' over here!
WAITER: Yes sir, quite sorry about that..
CUSTOMER: My wife will have 50 peel 'n eat shrimp, and I'll have a fresh whole lobster. Medium well, if you please.
WAITER: We don't serve it that way here sir..
CUSTOMER: Well how the hell do you serve it?!
WAITER: Like boiled, broiled, steamed..
CUSTOMER: Ugh, FINE, steamed damn it!
WAITER: Right away... sir.
The wedding ceremony in the tank continues. None of the sea creatures have heard the interaction that just took place. And since they're sea creatures, they can't understand human anyway.
DENNIS: Alister, do you take this crab girl to be your wife, to have, to hold, to cherish....in other words, to tap that ass repeatedly?
Alister opens his mouth, but the words are cut off. Something is looming over the tank, it is a waiter. A human arm reaches into the tank. Most of the creatures scurry for cover. The hand lunges for Alister and seizes him and begins slowly lifting him from the tank.
ALISTER: (as he's being lifted)Could it possibly be? Oh, friends! It is the prophecy realized! The hands of the angels carry me to the next world! Oh, they really are silky-soft!! Oh the years wonder why! I often asked myself, "is it all just meaningless? Is there no purpose to my life?" But in the last few days, the puzzle of existence has unfolded before my eyes like the grand napkin of nirvana! And from this foray into the ethereal realm, I learned such wonder.. And I have also learned so much from you all, my dear friends! From Dennis, I learned that even the most closed of minds can be opened with the power of salad! From Daphne, I learned patience, and I found the greatest love of all! To my friend Leonard, I thank you for stabbing me buddy, for if it wasn't for your love of underage sea turtles, I would never have had that enlightening vision! I would never have discovered the bountiful afterlife that awaits us all at the salad bar, and I would, to this day, I would still be pondering questions rather than explaining answers! If it wasn't for you, all of you, I might even be convinced that my life is meaningless, something I now know is totally untrue! I do have meaning! I do have worth! I am so grateful to you all, and now, I bid you farewell! Destiny has chosen some other purpose for me, some new, great mystery I must unlock, or some new level of consciousness I must enter! I love you all, goodbye!!
Alister is plucked from the tank, and the waiter carries him off camera. This is followed by a series of disorienting, rapid-fire shots: an oven is turned on, water boils, something is dropped in a frying pan, and a knife is pulled from a silverware cabinet. Then, the screen momentarily goes black, then fades back in on an overhead shot of the salad bar. The waiter approaches the bar, carrying an indistinguishable object, obscured by rising steam.
Camera jumps from the overhead shot to a tight view of the waiter's plate. The steam clears, revealing its contents: Alister -- red, dead, steamed. He is being carried on a platter. The waiter brings him to the salad bar, and proceeds to garnish the platter with salad: carrots, then lettuce, then one orange in each claw, and a dish of blue cheese dressing on the side of the plate.
The waiter carries the lifeless, freshly cooked Alister over to the customer.
Back in the tank, Leonard, Dennis, and Daphne are standing near each other.
DENNIS: That was a fine lobster, that boy. I'm telling you, I'll never forget.. um.. what was I talking about?
DAPHNE: Forgetting something...?
DENNIS: Hunh... Coulda sworn I was talking about a lobster.. or maybe a crayfish.. I forget..
Camera pans to Leonard
LEONARD: He was my...friend.
LEONARD: Oh, no one dearest.. no one.. some would say a hero, some would say a brother, but I --
Some fish flakes float down into the tank, catching the entire tank's attention
DAPHNE: Hey everybody, look! WORM FLAKES!!!!
All of the fish in the tank scurry in to get their fair share of nonsustaining nourishment.
The camera zooms out, focusing on the last remaining crum of salad, a minuscule piece of lettuce sitting in the corner where Alister was said to be born.
Fades out, roll credits.