Greg, Scene 1

I’ll think up a proper title later, but this is the first scene of a play that I started writing on a whim last fall. I have no idea where it will go from the scene after the next one.

(A movie theater booth. It is one of those small local theaters that screen a mix of oldies and contemporary films. Currently, the theater is showing “My Fair Lady” and “The Notebook.” People are lined up to buy tickets. At the beginning of the scene progresses, the line quickly becomes shorter until it is JACK and NORAH’s turn to buy tickets. JACK and NORAH are a couple who are often too gratuitous in expressing their love, whispering silly things and laughing and kissing, even while in line, often to the annoyance of other people, as in this case. They are in each other’s arms, too interested in each other to notice that the line has disappeared, much to the annoyance of GREG. GREG is a curmudgeon. That word best suits him. He is in his late thirties/early forties, and dressed rather comfortably, for he has come to enjoy a good movie. He is a rising critic for a famous newspaper, renowned for his scathing reviews of everything, even if he liked them. GREG is standing in line behind JACK and NORAH, exasperated by what he thinks is a stupid young couple who think they’ll be in love forever, while he’s guessing it’ll last four more months. JIMMY, the young clerk/usher of the theater, is at the booth.)

(NORAH whispers something into JACK’s ear and giggles. JACK smiles, draws her closer and kisses her on the forehead.  GREG rolls his eyes and sighs disgustedly.)

GREG

Hey, you two.

(NORAH and JACK, clearly oblivious of GREG, have started kissing.)

Hey!

(NORAH and JACK halt their interest in finding each other’s tonsils, and look at GREG innocently, still embraced. GREG is glaring at them.)

Get a move on the line before I call the cops on you for indecency in public.

NORAH

Excuse me?

GREG

Yeah, you heard me. We don’t have all day here to watch you guys. Move!

JACK

All right, man, just chill out. Come on, sweetheart, lets move up.

NORAH

But darling, he’s being so rude!

JACK

Well you know, I don’t want to get in a fight with an old man and ruin our date.

(Notices that the line is gone)

Oh, it’s our turn to buy tickets now.

GREG

Damn right it’s your turn. Now buy your tickets and get out of my sight.

(NORAH and JACK look at him disapprovingly and move up to buy tickets.)

JIMMY

Hi! What’ll it be?

JACK

Hi, could we have two tickets to…

GREG

(To himself)

Please be the Notebook, please be the Notebook, please be the Notebook.

JACK

…My Fair Lady?

GREG

Damn it!

JIMMY

I see! I’m guessing you two are on a date?

JACK

Yes.

(Draws NORAH closer.)

This one’s “my fair lady”.

NORAH

(Giggles)

Oh Jack…

(Starts kissing. Again.)

GREG

(Makes retching noises)

JIMMY

(Looks over NORAH and JACK to see GREG)

Um, is the gentleman behind you okay?

JACK

(Looks up from kissing NORAH)

Hmm?

GREG

(Irritated)

I’m fine, get on with it!

JIMMY

All right, that will be 25 dollars and 72 cents, please.

(JACK rummages his wallet for money)

GREG

Get on with it.

JACK

(Looks at GREG, then hands the money to JIMMY)

Here you go.

JIMMY

Thank you.

(Takes the money, then hands JACK the tickets and change)

Here are your tickets and change. Have a good time!

JACK

Oh we will.

(Pecks NORAH on the cheek. NORAH giggles, and both exit.)

JIMMY

(Sighs)

What a nice couple.

GREG

(Comes up to the booth)

It won’t last. I’d give’em four months.

JIMMY

(Looks at GREG in recognition and awe)

Hey, you’re Greg McCarthy, the critic who writes for the Times!

GREG

(Not really interested in conversation)

Yeah kid, what about it?

JIMMY

Oh wow, I’m a big fan, Mr. McCarthy. I always read the Times at home online, and I just absolutely love the way you write! I’m an English major, you see.

GREG

(Without looking up)

Two-year community college?

JIMMY

No, Amherst.

GREG

(Shrugs)

Same thing.

JIMMY

(Desperate to make conversation with someone he worships)

I hope to go into journalism and become a writer!

GREG

(Uninterested and looking away)

Yeah kid, if you work hard enough, maybe someday you’ll be able to afford your own copy of the Times.

JIMMY

But-

GREG

Nine tickets for My Fair Lady. In a 3X3 formation, preferably in the middle.

JIMMY

Um, yes, sir.

(Pause)

Going to the movies with your friends?

GREG

(Curtly)

No. Just me.

(Pause)

JIMMY

Then why do you-

GREG

I like my privacy.

JIMMY

(Shrugs)

Okay, that’ll be 115 dollars and 74 cents. But do you really need-

GREG

Yeah.

(Hands JIMMY a credit card.)

JIMMY

Sign here, please. And could you sign-

GREG

No.

JIMMY

Here are your tickets.

(Hands GREG his tickets.)

Would you like your receipt?

GREG

No.

JIMMY

Could I keep it?

GREG

(Sighs)

Whatever floats your boat, kid.

JIMMY

Thank you so much! Have a great show!

GREG

I doubt I will.

(Exits)

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