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Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Song Remembers When: A One Scene Play.

NPR's "A Life Story In 6 Songs" (http://www.npr.org/blogs/theprotojournalist/2014/02/22/263352268/a-life-story-in-6-songs-part-1) reminded me of this short drama I wrote for my creative writing class in college.


Business Man, a 90's businessman. He carries a cell phone and briefcase. He wears an expensive suit (that still doesn't quite fit him right).
Waitress, She suits her surroundings. Dressed in a waitress outfit, hairstyle, and make-up that matches the era of the diner itself. She is very plain-Jane but charming none the less.
Future Man, he is approximately 50 years old and he looks a lot like Business Man but his clothes do not match any recognizable nation or time period. He lives some time in the future.
The entire stage will be decorated to resemble a diner. The decor should be from the late 1950's /early 1960's. Stage right, almost parallel to the front of the stage is a counter with stools bolted to the ground in front of it. Behind the counter is a wall with a serving window. A wheel hangs from one side of the opening with green order slips clipped to it. The middle of the stage contain six tables with chairs. Stage left there is a jukebox.
[The Curtain opens. The scene is dark and everybody is freeze-framed. Business Man is sitting at the counter on the middle stool. Waitress is caught in mid motion as she wipes tables up stage. Future Man is sitting at one of the tables down stage. A spotlight focuses on the jukebox and its lights turn on. Music comes up in the background--"R-E-S-P-E-C-T"---and a spotlight comes up on gentleman. The spotlight dims on the jukebox. Music fades but continues to play as Business Man talks. We also hear the chatter and clatter of other diners but we do not see them (these sounds will be present only when the Business Man is in the spot light alone). The spotlight comes up on Business Man and everyone else remains frozen as he speaks.]
Business Man
[Talking into a cell phone]
... what...What! Quit bringing all these bogus investments to me. I'm sick of you throwing my money around. Wait a minute, I'll have to call you from a pay phone I think my battery is going dead.
[He stuffs the phone into an inside pocket. He picks up a menu and looks at it a second, he then turns to his left and says]
Hey, Jim, have you ever tried the meat loaf platter? [He listens for a moment.]
No, I haven't been brave enough to either. I guess I'll go with my usual. [A bell rings indicating that someone has entered the diner. Business Man turns to his left to see who it is but he stops and seems to focus his attention on Waitress instead.]
Business Man
[Not looking back]
Sam, why did you take down my grandmother's picture from the corner over there. I know you don't like the fact that your grandfater chose her to marry after your grandmother's death bothers you but come on, what would the old man say? John was a good man. And she was a good woman. Don't disrespect them.
[Waitress, while still motionless and in darkness, and Business Man seem to be looking into each other's eyes. The light on Business Man fades and Waitress is now in a spotlight. Business Man freezes with hand on counter. The jukebox lights flash and Elvis is now heard singing "Love me Tender"]
Love me tender. Love me true... [Stops singing and listens for a moment]
Very funny John. I don't plan on quitting my day job. [She hums along to a few more lines.]
No, he was simply an animal. The first date; and he expected... Well, he certainly wasn't worth that. [Listens for a moment.]
No, I've given up trying. There might be more fish in the sea but they all stink. [Listens, thinks, laughs briefly. As she finishes wiping the table most upstage she sets the chairs upside down on the table. She moves to a space where there is no table and acts as if she is wiping a table, putting up chairs...]
Yeah, Gerald was the only man I ever thought was worth anything. You know that I kept his name. I tell everybody it is for little Gerald's sake but it is really for me. [Listens...]
I keep thinking...Well that is why I still wear the ring. [By this time she has reached the table that Future Man is sitting at. She continues to wipe and set chairs on the table. She pulls the chair right out from under Future Man; he remains sitting and motionless.]
I know...I know. I should really think about moving on. It has been five years. But...I still wonder some times. And to be honest John, you've been the only one who seems to understand. [She stops wiping a minute and brushes her face as if to wipe away a tear but there is no tear on her cheek. She sighs, takes the towel she was wiping the table with and walks over to the counter and begins wiping. Singing all the way to cover the pain. She starts as far upstage as possible and quickly works her way to the middle of the counter. Her hand rests on Gent's hand and the spotlight fades. Jukebox lights flash again and "Love Me Tender" starts over.]

Future Man
[Spot light comes up on man sitting at table]
Fan, extra fan. You fixed it. I know isn't this place simply fan. [Talking toward the corner where the jukebox sits.]
The decor is authentic 50's. [Listens.]
Even the music in the jukebox is vintage. Of course I'm going to have all the music in it transfered onto a mem disk but the cost is worth it. [Listens.]
Well, when the deal is finalized I was considering calling it "Gerald Morgan the Eighth's Eats and Treats." [He winks when he says the word "Treats"...Listens.]
Yeah, I ruled it out because that sounds like something from the middle ages. And it is too long. I decided to shorten it to "Ger's." [Listens. Stands and walks to the counter. He walks from upstage to where Business Man and Waitress are sitting and his had lands on top of Waitress'. He is standing behind Waitress but is considerably taller and can easily look over her and reach the spot where her hand rests on Business Man's hand.
Business Man
[Spotlight focuses back on Business Man. He slips his hand out from under Waitress' and Future Man's. He pulls out his cell phone and begins to dial, he stops, looks to his right, listens for a moment and then says]
No, no. I was just sick of talking to that bastard. [He finishes dialing and places the phone to his ear, he listens for a second and then says in a very sappy yet sincere, lovey-dovey voice]
Hi sweety [pause] Yeah I stopped off to get something; I figured you'd be busy tonight. [pause] We are still on for tomorrow right. Okay dear [makes a lip-smacking sound into the phone] that will have to do for now. [He shuts the phone and sighs. He looks to his left and in an agitated voice says]
She is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. All the money in the world wouldn't replace her. I know now why Dad sacrificed his career as a doctor to marry Mom and have a family. So why is it wrong to show my affection for her? [cocks his head to the side to listen]
That's right smart ass you are just jealous. Jim you couldn't get a woman if you were the last man on the earth and the survival of the human species depended on it. [He pulls out the phone and dials another number. He violently slams the phone shut. He looks around without shame but offers an explanation]
Like I'm going to leave a message for that jerk. If he can't be there to answer my call then I guess I'll take my business elsewhere. I've been looking for a reason to dump that brokerage for a while now. [He dials another number on his phone.]
Yes, Janet, find me another brokerage. Tell them the account will be for Gerald Morgan the Third and that I demand the best. If they cannot give me the best, tell them good-bye and call the next one. [He flips the phone shut confidently and slips it back into his pocket. And he stands, pulls out his wallet and takes a few bills from it, tosses the bills on the counter and turns to his left, takes a step and is standing face to face with Waitress. The spotlight now follows both of them but they make no acknowledgment of the each other. Jukebox lights flash and Ricky Martin "I am Made of You" can be heard. The music stays the same throughout the rest of the scene.]
[She looks toward the wall behind the counter]
Well, I think I'm done. See ya tomorrow. [She turns toward the wall and waves with her right hand at the same time]
Business Man
See you losers tomorrow. [He also turns toward the wall and waves. However, he waves with his left hand and as he does so his and Wait's hand touch.]
Future Man
Well, I can't do anything here until the deal comes through. [As he motions for someone to follow him his Hand touches the other two.]
[She turns toward the door as Business Man swings his briefcase up behind her with his right hand, it looks like he touches her back. She turns back toward the counter and says]
No, just keep it there. I'll cash it on my break tomorrow. [While at the same time]
Business Man
[He turns back toward the counter and winds up with his body parallel to Wait's.]
No, the extra is your tip. Your crap wasn't as crappy tonight. [They both turn back and continue walking toward the door.]
Future Man
Come on. Let's fly Jims. We'll come back tomorrow. [He walks most upstage right along side Business Man who is upstage of Waitress. As the music gets louder all three walk almost touching hands toward the left side of the stage. About 5 feet before the side curtains Business Man stops to answer a call on his phone and the music stops at the same time. Waitress looks back and says]
I forgot to tell you thank you for Gerald Junior's birthday present. You really shouldn't have. He does love that toy medicine bag though. He wants to be a doctor now.
[Business Man is standing in the middle of the stage, the phone pressed to his ear. He hangs up the phone and he drops to his knees while screaming "NOOOOOO". When his knees hit the floor Future Man disappears.]
No, thanks I think I better walk off the ice cream I had today. See you tomorrow. [She walks off stage we hear the ring of the bells on the door, and we hear the sound of a car crash a few moments later. Then we hear her screaming. When her screaming stops Business Man disappears. The curtain closes.]
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