General Script posted January 9, 2022 Chapters: 1 -2- 3... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
It's Tough Being a Scribe

A chapter in the book Eavesdroppers Are We All

Eavesdroppers Are We All, Sc. 2

by Jay Squires

PREVIOUSLY: Cililla Queez addresses a mysterious person she calls an eavesdropper because he’s not a part of what’s going on, yet he is here. Guessing he might be a scribe (he is carrying a spiral notebook and a pen), who’d been assigned to chronicle her part in the drama, she brings him up to speed about some of the characters, and what they are doing in this diner during a blizzard. When she leaves to nose about among the characters, the eavesdropper identifies himself as Gregory. He has no idea why he is here. He had been reading a selection on FanStory and making notes on his tablet when he suddenly found himself in the diner.

CHARACTERS: (Listed and described in Author Notes)

SETTING: Interior of a Eat and Leave Happy diner. Tables with chairs scattered about, a few not occupied. A lunch counter runs from upstage to downstage right, with cushioned stools lining the outside, a few occupied. A rectangular opening behind the counter where orders are placed and steaming food-laden plates are delivered. Upstage center, an old-fashioned nickelodeon hunkers. Upstage right, exit to restrooms and the hallway leading to Jackson’s and Martha’s home. Upstage to downstage Left, a huge window offering a view of the outside blizzard.

Time: New Year’s Eve, 1968

At Rise: GREGORY sits at one of the empty tables. A small dog is at his feet, trying to get into his lap. He casually pets the dog, then crinkles his nose, sniffs his fingers, and making a horrid face, begins wiping his hand on his shirt. Alvin and the Chipmunks’ song, Christmas Don’t Be Late is playing in the background. A young man stands in shadow at the window, silhouetted against the bright snow outside.

(Pushing away the dog, then frowning down at his hand. Speaking as to himself)
Cililla failed to mention this stinky cur as one of the bit-players.
(Turning to the shadowy figure at the window)
But then, she didn’t mention that one, either. Aaaand if that’s who I think it is …

[Suddenly the young man comes into full light so that only he and GREGORY are spotlighted]

GREGORY (Continues):
(Startled, looking around)
Jesus H. Christ! Did I do that? This new job Cililla’s given me—wow! This is interesting. And yes … yes, if I’m not mistaken, that
is the one I thought it was. Harry! Harry—Harry Lowery! How could you have been so wrong, Cililla? Harry’s no bit player.

The music stops, replaced by a very loud and purposeful throat-clearing from the shadowy area behind the counter. As GREGORY turns, the counter area is illuminated, while the area in front of the window goes back into shadow]


(Covers his mouth, and glances around to see if anyone had heard him)

Ladies and Gentlemen, if I can have your attention for just a moment.

As he speaks, the entire stage goes under regular lighting, and continues on this way. He smiles at the child, Wallace, sitting with his parents]

JACKSON (Continues):
Son, sorry about your song, but after I say a few things it will play again. And again. And—

If ya didn’t want people to play it, ya shouldn’t put it on the jukebox.

Yeah, I know … Probably not my best decision. Only one person’s playing it, though. And it wasn’t played this much
before Christmas.

My boy likes it … okay?!

I’m sure he does. I’ll tell you what, young man, how ’bout I give you the record—kind of a late Christmas present, huh?

CILILLA, who had been standing by the table occupied by Bett and Jay, drops to her knees in mock prayer. Bett stares at her with disgust on her face]

Can I, Daddy? Can I?

(Nods his approval, but not happily. Then, to JACKSON)
Don't think I don't see through it, but you made the boy happy, so … so go ahead.

Thank you. Anyway, folks, Martha and I own this place.

(Putting his hand on the shoulder of the diminutive woman standing beside him)
My name’s Jackson. It's my first name. Wish you’d come here under more favorable circumstances. Like in your individual cars instead of a shuttle. To get a bite to eat before going on. I know you do, too. Now, you may recognize this other guy standing by me. Name’s Tom, and he drove the shuttle bus that brought you folks here. He’s been in constant contact with the Greyhound driver who stayed with his bus. You want to tell ’em, Tom, or should I?

I'll take it. Folks, I just got word from your driver that there was no structural damage to the bus from sliding into the snowbank. They have it righted and rarin’ to go. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, in the meantime, Interstate north and south, and all access roads, have been closed down indefinitely, owing to the blizzard. It’s a bad one.

So … Yes, I know you’re disappointed. But we’re all here together. It’s kind of a New Year’s Eve party no one planned on. I encourage you to mingle, to get to know one another. We may be here for days. Who knows? When you
do leave, I want you to keep your wallets in your pocket. 
(Smiling at his wife)
Martha and me … well, we talked it over. You’re guests in our home. We got plenty of food here. And since Martha had the foresight, years ago, to have our house attached to the diner, on account of the weather, we got extra blankets, and even a cot or two we’ll bring in when they’re needed.

The figure from the window meanders to GREGORY’S table, never taking his eyes off JACKSON, and sits]

(In a subdued voice)
Sorry. Am I sitting at your—

JACKSON’S words cut off the end of GREGORY’S sentence, while GREGORY stares, smiling, at the new arrival … who doesn’t acknowledge his words or his presence]

Does anyone have any questions?

Mighty white of you, Johnson.

Any of you’d do the same, I’m sure. And it’s Jackson. 

(Eyes flitting to the other tables)
Any other questions?

 Just one, Jackson.

Don't be shy, folks. Any at all. Now, we don’t have hard liquor to bring in the New Year. But, we do have beer. And for the little guy, root beer and other soft drinks.

(In full-voice, turning, looking at the other tables)
(Waving his hand in front of his table-mate’s face, which stares, unblinking)
So, you’re not being anti-social!

(From across the room, through a smile)
 Of course, he’s not! Don’t be a goofball! What did you expect? At worst you’re an eavesdropper—at best, a scribe. Assume you're the latter and do your job.
(Like a cheerleader, shaking imaginary pom-poms)
Yes! Yes! Do your job! Like butter, butter, butter on the cob!

Say, I’ve got an idea that might be fun, folks … to help us get to mingling …. Don’t feel you have to do this—it’s perfectly all right—but I thought it’d be fun if one or two from each table said a few words to introduce ourselves.

Yeeeeeees! Perfect! Like the Canterbury Tales. Maybe—

(Adding to his idea, of course, oblivious of CILILLA’S celebratory chatter)
You know, what you do for a living, and so forth.

(On top of JACKSON’S last word)
 … Maybe I’ll discover why I’m here. Nothing’s come to a head yet.
(To Gregory, loudly)
Hey, Scribe! Are you getting this all down? I may need to review your notes later.

GREGORY makes a quick little nod, glancing about anxiously]

CILILLA (Continues):
You still don’t get it, do you? Geez! You’re an eavesdropper, see? 

(Muttering to herself)
Where do the Kelly Girls get their candidates anyway?

GREGORY stands and bending, gets face-to-face with HARRY, then walks about stopping at the PIEBALD family table, makes a “face” at little WALLACE, and snaps his fingers in front of ROBERT and HENRIETTA’S faces; he returns to his table and sits]

I’m new to all this, Cililla.

You shouldn't be. When you write for that—what is it?—that FanStory place … aren’t you invisible to your characters there?

Don’t everyone speak at once. How ’bout if I start first? …

You have to think about it? Do ya, Scribe?

Well … I guess that can be a problem. Of course, I try. I know I should … Unity and all. Author intrusion. That kind of stuff.

Meanwhile, poor Jackson’s struggling to make his point and all you can do is palaver about your writing problems. I’ll bet you didn't write down the last thing Jackson said.

Martha and me … we’ve run the
Eat-n-Leave-Happy for twenty years.

Wait a minute! You brought it up, Cililla!

If it wasn’t me, it’d be you! You’re on the clock. Do your job.


(Slamming down his tablet and pen)
Like butter on—

JACKSON' S sentence stomps on GREGORY'S closing words, "the cob", and GREGORY picks up his pen again and starts writing]

We had our lean years, but through them, we hung on …





CHARACTERS (Extensive, but most you only have to refer to once)

Cililla Queez: An ageless teen. A bit of a Peter Pan, but on assignment, she is dogged in its execution. Sometimes, though, she has to ferret out what her assignment is.

Eavesdropper: Age unimportant. Name, Gregory, called into service by Cililla Queez with whom he is a bit smitten. He is chosen to be the objective recorder of everything that transpires, but he can't help chiming in occasionally with his personal aside. Like any good writer, he is invisible to the other characters, save Cililla.

Cornelius Plumb: The autistic genius, now married to Jennie.

Jennie Plumb: Married to Cornelius to whom she is thoroughly devoted and lovingly protective of his delicate emotional balance.�?????�????�???�??�?� 

Hon. Betty (aka Bett) Stabler, Retired: Age 85. Small town Judge for 40 years. She and the love of her life, Jay, had climbed a mountain in 1903, and at the precipice of that mountain that she made a decision, a decision that would alter lives for generations.

Jay III: Age 38. Grandson, and namesake, of the original Jay who asked the question whose reverberations were still being felt today. Jay III delivered the dying request of his Grandfather and accompanied Bett, then age 72, back to the precipice. Now, 13 years later, he is with her again.

Harry Lowery: Mid-twenties. To his core, he is driven his entire life by the need to find his father. His search had taken him to the farthest reaches of the world. Only recently has he been notified of his father's death.

Rudy: A scraggly, foul-breathed terrier mix. He loves everyone. The more he loves, the more others are repulsed by him.

Wallace Piebald: A ten-year-old boy who does boy things.

Robert Piebald: Wallace's Father, who's just fine in this world as long as everything goes his way.

Henrietta Piebald: Wallace's Mother, here only to help everything go Robert Piebald's way.

Jackson Forte: Owner of the Eat and Leave Happy diner. Has a story to tell, and a heart to mend.

Martha: Jackson's wife.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2023. Jay Squires All rights reserved.
Jay Squires has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.