Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday Excerpt; Blogapalooza Edition!

Well, nothing really exciting about this Tuesday Excerpt, other than the fact that it's been a while since one. Okay, here goes!

===

from The Office Bar and Grill September/October 2007


Lights up on center-right, where a middle-aged couple has just sat down at a table. Thelma, their hostess, is handing them menus.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
This place is so clever! Look at it, darling! So clever!

THELMA
Alright, folks, we’ll get you some water and bread and Matt should be right out to help you!

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Thank you!
(Thelma exits)
I’m so glad we came in here! It’s so clever!

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Yes, yes it is.
(looks bored)

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh, and look! The menu says “Memo” on the front! And it’s got a header and everything!
(she opens it)
Look! The dishes all have funny names, too!
(she turns it over)
And look! The drinks and dessert menu on the back say “Overtime Shifts!” So clever!
(enter Matt with two glasses of water, which he sets down on the table)

MATT
Welcome to The Office Bar and Grill, my name is Matt, I’ll be your Office Drone for the evening.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh, don’t you look so clever in your dress slacks and short sleeve shirt with a tie! Oh, I have a son who looks just like you who works in an office! But, you know, a real one, not a fun one like this!
(to husband)
Isn’t this place clever?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
I already said it is.

MATT
Could I get you something to drink to start off with?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Well...
(she consults her menu)
Tell me, young man, what is it that all of the young folks are drinking these days?

MATT
That would be the Mojito.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh!
(bad accent)
Mojito! How exotic sounding. I think I’ll have one of those. You dear?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
(considering, bad accent)
Mojito as well, then.

MATT
Okay, I’ll give you two a moment to decide what you’d like to order, I’ll get those drinks right to you.

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Actually, we’d like to order an appetizer.

MATT
Of course! What would you like?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
(peruses menu)
Hmm...

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
(peruses menu)
Oh...

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Um...

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
It all looks so good...

MATT
May I suggest the Boss’ Starter?
(the two locate it on their menus)
It comes with Outsourced Taquitos, Tech Support Hummus, our Company Picnic Onion Rings and, um, fried mozzarella sticks.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh, that sounds lovely! And clever!

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Indeed.

MATT
Okay, I’ll put that in, get your drinks, and come back to get your orders.
(walks towards bar)

SCENE 3

Lights fade on the couple and come up on the bar, where Briana and The Business man are. The business man has three empty glasses in front of him, Briana is mixing him another drink. Matt approaches.

BUSINESS MAN
Another
(bad accent)
Mojito please, Briana! Keep them coming!

MATT
I swear to God...Briana, make me two more of those, please.

BRIANA
Okay, Matt.

MATT
(to Briana, quieter)
And...what’s the deal with these things? I mean...seriously, at least fifty percent of the drinks people are ordering these days are mojitos! Oh, and they all say it like idiots! Just pronounce it correctly, you don’t need to add that stupid accent!

BUSINESS MAN
(bad accent)
Mojito!

MATT
(pointing to Business Man)
Yeah, that one.

BRIANA
You get used to these things, Matt. Like back in ninety-eight, everybody was drinking White Russians. It was always, “White Russian!” or “Another Caucasian!” they’d call. Got pretty freaking annoying after a while. But then, the craze died down and people ordered normal drinks, until somebody wrote a piece in all the Village Voice Media papers around the country about how we should all drink Manhattans, and then it was “I would like a Manhattan, if you’d be so kind?” All the time. It comes and goes, Matt.
(she hands the Business Man his drink)

BUSINESS MAN
(bad accent)
Mojito!

MATT
Yeah, well...I gotta go put this order in, I’ll be right out for those drinks.
(walks past business man)

BUSINESS MAN
(bad accent, to Matt)
Mojito!

MATT
Right, sir.
(exits)

BUSINESS MAN
Briana...Where’s the restroom? Only I have to use it pretty quick here.
(gulps)

BRIANA
(pointing offstage)
Over there. Should I call you a cab?

BUSINESS MAN
(gagging)
No thanks...a taxi should do it.
(runs off)

Briana picks up the emtpy glasses and starts washing them. Enter JEREMY.

JEREMY
Briana, how are we doing tonight?
(enter Matt with a basket of bread)

BRIANA
I’m doing just fine, Boss Man, yourself.
(Matt stands at the bar)
Oh, Matt, the drinks. Sorry.

JEREMY
No, Briana, I mean how are we doing. Not the royal we...the bar.

BRIANA
(mixing the drinks, setting them on the tray with the bread basket)
Eh. Kind of slow, but it’s Tuesday...and it’s early.

MATT
Thank you, Briana.
(waits at the counter, hesitating, not looking at Jeremy but obviously listening)

JEREMY
Well, you know...
(rocks his neck back and forth, working out kinks)
...I mean...
(looking at Matt)
I assume that tray you’ve got is supposed to go to some customers?
(lights up on the couple at the table)

MATT
(dreamy)
Yes.
(shakes his head)
Yeah, sorry, lost my head for a little bit.
(takes bread and drinks to the couple)

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Thank you! Oh! These must be those
(bad accent)
Moritas you suggested?

MATT
(bad accent)
Mojito.
(closes his eyes, look of pain and anger across his face)
Your appetizer will be right out.
(walks back to the bar)
Briana, could you get me a coke?

JEREMY
What did you do wrong?
(waits)

MATT
Excuse me?
(Jeremy raises his eyebrows and shrugs)
Well, uh...

JEREMY
(impatiently rushing past Matt to the table where the couple sits)
How is everything this evening?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
(mid sip)
Oh! My! That is quite different! Hm.
(wipes her mouth with a napkin)
I’m sorry, young man, did you say something?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
He asked how everything was.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh! Splendid! This place is so very clever!
(Matt rolls his eyes, looks exasperatedly at Briana, who shrugs and hands him a Coke)

JEREMY
Well thank you! My name is Jeremy, I’m the owner of this place.
(Matt takes a drink and cringes)

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh! Well, you know, I just can’t get over how clever everything is in here! It’s like eating in a real office!

JEREMY
Well, thank you, it was an idea I had back in college, and I finally made it happen last year.
(Briana is smiling at Matt, and holds up a bottle of cheap whiskey)

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
You mean you’ve been here for a year?
(to her husband)
You worked across the street until three months ago, you never mentioned this place!
(Matt shakes his head but smiles, chugs the rest)

MIDDLE AGED MAN
(shrugs)
Seemed kind of silly, going to a bar that was dressed up like an office, when all I wanted at the end of the day was to get out of the office I worked in.
(grabs bread, butters it up)

JEREMY
(face falling, sad grimace on his face)
Well...you folks need anything, you let me know.
(Briana is silently laughing, takes the glass back from Matt and refills it, this time visibly with more than half whiskey)
My name’s Jeremy.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Thank you very much!
(Jeremy walks back to the bar, lights down on the couple)

BRIANA
Sh.
(hides bottle, fills the rest of the glass with coke, hands it to Matt)
Here you go Matthew.

MATT
Thank you, Briana.
(takes the glass, takes a sip, turns to face Jeremy who has just walked up, disapproving)
Helps me get through the night, boss! The caffeine!

JEREMY
You’re aware of the policies here, correct?

MATT
Which ones?

JEREMY
Concerning drinking while on the clock? Bringing the bread basket with the water when you first greet your customers? Always writing down the orders?

MATT
(assumes a monotone voice)
One alcoholic beverage per shift, always bring the bread with the water, and ensure accuracy by writing down exactly what they order.

JEREMY
Okay...so where’s your ticket for these folks? Are you still winging it?

MATT
(strolling past Jeremy)
Right, sorry...the bread basket wasn’t ready, that’s my fault, and all I ordered was a soda.

JEREMY
And are you going to write the orders down?

MATT
I’ve never written the orders down, Jeremy. I just remember everything.
(exits)

BRIANA
I haven’t seen him mess up an order yet, sir.

JEREMY
That’s not the point, I have rules here for a reason and...
(trails off)

BRIANA
Everything alright?

JEREMY
Briana...please keep this...I...
(sighs, leans his elbows against the bar top, head in his hands)

BRIANA
Not doing so well, huh?
(she leans down next to him)
When you’ve been in the business as long as I have...
(Matt enters, stands just outside the light, listens)
Well...look, things will pick up.

JEREMY
I...
(looks up at her)
No. I mean, unless they pick up in the next two minutes...
(Matt’s eyes widen, he steps closer)
Don’t...Briana, keep this to yourself, but...I have to close. Two weeks.

BRIANA
(nods her head, resigned)
Yeah. Well...I can always go back to Applebee’s I guess.
(The Business Man reenters, pushing past Matt)
Oh, shit, I forgot to call him his cab.

JEREMY
I’ll do it...I’ll get him out front, too.

BUSINESS MAN
(stumbling up to Jeremy)
Hey, you work here?

JEREMY
Yes, sir. I’m going to give you a hand.
(starts leading him offstage the opposite direction from the one he entered)

BUSINESS MAN
Only I just puked all over the floor in the bathroom.

JEREMY
(calling)
Themla! Thelma, could you come here a minute?

BUSINESS MAN
It was kind of green and...hey...they taste great going down but they sure are nasty coming up, huh?
(enter Thelma)

JEREMY
What’s that sir?

BUSINESS MAN
(bad accent)
Mojitos.

JEREMY
(rolling his eyes)
Thelma, could you find Matt and tell him to clean the bathroom? And cover his table for him if they need anything?
(Matt takes a step back into darkness)

THELMA
Sure, Jeremy.
(walks towards kitchen as Jeremy and Business Man continue to exit opposite)

BUSINESS MAN
You think I could get one of those
(bad accent)
Mojitos for the road?

JEREMY
I don’t think the’ll let you take it in the cab.

BUSINESS MAN
A cab? Call me a taxi.
(they both exit)

SCENE 4

Briana clears the last of the glasses left by the inebriated business man, then pours herself a glass of the cheap whiskey over ice. She downs it in two short gulps. Matt emerges from the shadows.

MATT
Hey...
(Briana looks up from pouring herself another drink)
...what’s going on?

BRIANA
Nothing, Matt.
(takes a swig)
Hey, Thelma’s going to ask you to clean the bathroom when she finds you.

MATT
Yeah, I know.
(looks over his shoulder)
Look, really, what’s going on? I overheard Jeremy saying...something.

BRIANA
He says a lot of things.

MATT
Just tell me if I need to start looking for a new job.

BRIANA
(hesitates)
It probably wouldn’t hurt. Oh, and...note this, the managers notice when you show up late. Just, you know, word of caution.

MATT
Ah, whatever, Pat’s Bar across the street is hiring servers.
(looks hard at Briana)
Briana, how long have you worked here?

BRIANA
(she shrugs)
A year. Since the place opened, I guess. Jeremy used to own an Applebee’s franchise, and I was the bartender there, so when he opened this place he called to see if I was still there, asked me to come tend bar.

MATT
How long have you been a bartender?
(squints at her)

BRIANA
Since I was twenty-two.
(squints at him)
Is this some game we’re playing? Twenty questions?

MATT
And how long ago was that?

BRIANA
(stands up straight)
A woman never reveals her age.

MATT
It’s just that I...
(shakes his head)
Never mind.
(heavy sigh)
I guess I better put my résumé together.

BRIANA
You didn’t hear anything.
(enter Thelma, carrying a tray with appetizers on it)

MATT
I should go run into Thelma.
(turns and nearly runs into Thelma)
Nicely done. Hi.
(Thelma opens her mouth to say something)
I know. Go clean the bathroom. You’ve got my table. Only, really, I’ve got this.
(takes the tray)
And I’ll take their orders, put it in, refresh their drinks, and clean the bathroom.
(turns, lights up on couple at table, her drink empty and his still full, pushed to the side, forgotten, both peruse their menus)
Who knows? If they drink enough, maybe this place can stay afloat.

THELMA
(turns to Briana)
What’s he mean by that?

BRIANA
(flustered)
Hm? Oh, um...nothing. Nothing. Um...go ahead and, uh, go back up front.
(Thelma nods, walks towards and then past Matt as she exits)
(lights down on bar)

SCENE 5

Matt sets down the appetizer plate and two smaller plates on the table.

MATT
Alright, have you had a chance to look over the memo?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
(folds her menu)
Oh, yes! I would like the, um...
(reopens her menu)
Office Barbecue Burger.
(Matt nods, she folds her menu again)
And could I get that with a side salad instead of the fries?

MATT
Absolutely. How would you like your burger cooked?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh...
(opens her menu)
Well done. And could I have the light ranch on the side?

MATT
Sure thing.
(she folds her menu again)
And for you sir?
(the man looks over the top of his menu at his wife)

MIDDLE AGED MAN
What did you get, dear?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
The barbecue burger.

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Ah.
(pause)
How’s the filet mingon?

MATT
(eyes wide in surprise)
Actually, that’s one I haven’t tried yet.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
(reopens her menu)
You know, I didn’t even see that!

MIDDLE AGED MAN
It’s on the Important Client Menu, last page.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh!
(giggles)
I was on the Casual Friday menu!

MIDDLE AGED MAN
I’ll go ahead and get that, with a baked potato and a mixed greens salad.

MATT
Alright, how would you like that cooked.

MIDDLE AGED MAN
(holds his fingers apart a small amount)
Just a bit of pink in the middle. And do you have an Italian dressing?

MATT
Original or creamy?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Original.
(folds menu)
No. Creamy.
(hands menu to Matt)

MATT
Okay, I’ll have that right up for you.
(takes menu from woman)
Do you need another drink, ma’am?

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
Oh! Yes! This is very good. What is it called again?

MATT
Mojito.

MIDDLE AGED WOMAN
(bad accent)
Mojito!

MATT
(rolls his eyes, but they don’t see, grabs her glass)
Okay, and for you sir? Something different?

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Yes, please...Miller light, if you’ve got it on tap.

MATT
Just in bottles.

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Bud Light on tap?

MATT
(counting them off on his fingers, looking at the ceiling)
We have Fat Tire, Bud, Bud Select, and Miller on tap. We’ve got Bud, Bud light, Miller, Miller light and Michelob, and...Michelob light, and...I’m forgetting a couple, in bottles.

MIDDLE AGED MAN
Give me a Bud Light, I guess.

MATT
Okay, be right back with that.
(turns to go, woman grabs the man’s abandoned mojito as lights go down on the couple)

SCENE 6

Lights up on the bar. Somebody is making noise behind the bar unseen as Matt approaches.

MATT
Another one of these things...
(walks right up to the bar, shakes the empty glass)
...and a Bud Light. And, what the hell, you’re not doing anything, just take it to that table while I clean up that drunk ass’ mojito puke. Or maybe if I don’t do it, Jeremy will actually do some work himself and get it done.

JEREMY
(rising up from behind the bar, looking at Matt, takes the empty glass from his hand)
Do what?
(a look of anger crosses his face)

MATT
(quick recovery)
Oh, fuck, Jeremy, I knew that was you, I was kidding.
(continues past the bar, his face pale, eyes wide in fear)

JEREMY
(firm)
Matt! Get over here!
(Matt stops, turns, looks at Jeremy)
Here!
(points)
Now.
(Matt walks back to the bar)
I assume you work here because you need this job, right?

MATT
Yes, sir.

JEREMY
I knew it had to be something like that. Thanks for clearing that up.
(pause in which Jeremy begins mixing a mojito, not looking up until)
Well? Carry on, go clean up the mess.
(Matt turns around and nearly knocks over Briana, who has just entered from the kitchen with a case of beer, stopping Matt in his tracks)
Don’t forget to put in the order you didn’t write down, Matt.
(Matt takes a deep breath, standing still as Briana walks past him, keeping her eyes on him, and he exits)
Thanks, Matt.
(to Briana)
Cover his table, will ya?

===

Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible. -Leo Tolstoy

1 comment:

Becca said...

Why must you dis the Mojito? Seriously, I haven't had a Mojito in (i'd say) a year - I'd probably kill for one right now...