The conference room of Simpson/Lynch Studios. It is approximately 8 a.m. The Skipster sits alone, in his usual seat at the head of the table. The Foxster enters, yawning.
Skipster: Close the door, will you, please?
Foxster (closing door): Where's everyone else?
Skipster: Working! They've all got a ton of stuff to do already. (brief pause) No, this meeting's just for the two of us.
Foxster (jokingly): Uh-oh, what did I do now? (The Skipster smiles, but doesn't reply. The Foxster begins walking toward the coffee machine, but stops short.) No coffee? Umm... Want me to brew us a pot?
Skipster: Actually... Have you oh-so-characteristically hidden any beer in the mini-fridge?
Foxster (feigning innocence): Skip! In the conference room? And at this hour? For shame! (Suppressing a grin, the Skipster glares pointedly at the Foxster.) Okay, okay. Two breakfast brews, coming up. (The Foxster opens the small refrigerator, moves a few items, and pulls out the two bottles of Molson Golden which were hidden in the rear. He opens both while walking to his customary seat at the opposite end of the table from the Skipster. When the Foxster arrives at his chair, he slides the Skipster's open Molson along the length of the table with an expert flick of the wrist. The open beer stops scant inches away from the Skipster. The Foxster and the Skipster smile, as the Foxster sits.)
Skipster: Okay, I'll get right to the point. First of all, I should tell you that during the past few days, I've been able to recall virtually everything that happened during that embarassing "beatnik phase" of mine... and I really appreciate all the support you and the other three gave me while I wasn't quite "with it."
Foxster: No problem. Are you going to tell the others that, too?
Skipster (pausing): I... Well, you know how I am... (Foxster grins and nods) Look, David... (Foxster's eyebrows rise slightly at the Skipster's use of "David.") I'm usually in control of my emotions. But right now, I need some personal advice. (pause) Actually, I have sort of a confession to make. (The Foxster folds a white napkin, neatly placing it onto the front of his black turtleneck sweater, at the neck; it looks eerily like a clerical collar.)
Skipster (smiling wryly): Real cute... "Father Fox." (The Foxster removes the napkin and leans back in his chair, lighting a cigarette. He produces an ashtray, seemingly out of nowhere, as the Skipster lights a cigarette of his own. The Skipster looks up at Gretchen's portrait on the wall, then looks back at the Foxster.) Y'know, I envy you and Tara. Even though she's an employee, you always keep it professional during working hours. (long pause) Did I ever tell you about my childhood?
Foxster: Not in any great detail, no.
Skipster: My mother was what you would call a taskmaster. She demanded the utmost in perfection from me, and I had to keep my emotions in check. My father just went along with whatever she said. As I grew into adulthood, I had several brief romances, but whenever things started getting serious, I'd make up some lame excuse to bail. (pause) Am I rambling? (Foxster smiles and nods vigorously, while the Skipster pauses again.) Then... I enlisted in the Army.
Foxster: Oh, good, finally something I did know.
Skipster: Well, I was sick of taking orders, so I applied for OCS... one of those "ninety day wonders." (sipping his beer) Then I got assigned to... well, that doesn't matter. Anyway, all my life, I've had to act a certain way. I demand professionalism from our staff. I demand the best from you... and vice versa, of course.
Foxster: Is this really what you call "getting to the point?"
Skipster (smirking and shaking his head): You're the emotional one, while I'm the never-say-die businessman. I'm the master with plotlines, and you're the master with dialogue...
Foxster: And comma deletion...
Skipster (smiling, but otherwise ignoring the Foxster's wisecrack): I'm content to sit and make business deals, while you take personal chances with your frequent flings. And finally, you find love with Tara, while I find...
Foxster: You "find" that you're in love with Gretchen.
Skipster (after a long pause): Yes, I am. She's a wonderful woman. (Foxster nods matter-of-factly) I wonder if she feels the same way about me?
The Foxster laughs, and the Skipster stares at him quizzically.
Foxster: You're kidding, right? Of course she does!
Skipster: Are you sure?
Foxster (uncharacteristically serious, albeit briefly): Anyone with eyes can see it, my friend. (pause) Anyone but a "never-say-die businessman," evidently... (long pause) So, are you going to be smart, and take the first step? Or are you already getting ready to "bail," as you put it, before you even get the ball rolling?
Skipster: Hm? Oh, no... Not this time! I just wanted your advice on how to handle this. (long pause) Do you really think she loves me?
Foxster: With all her heart. (smiles) I have no idea why.
Skipster (smirking): Yeah, neither do I. Neither do I.
Foxster (finishing his beer): Okay, then! My advice is this: Start out slowly. Slowly. Ask her out on a "real date" and see where it goes from there. (seriously) No one here at SnL would think anything would be affected professionally between you two! If Tara and I can manage that, you certainly can!
Skipster suddenly changes his body language, leans back in his chair, and finishes his beer.
Skipster: Okay, about tomorrow's party...
Foxster (softly, and strangely serenely): Ahhh, back to normal.
Skipster: Has anyone other than Lizzie asked for a pick-up by the SnL One?
Foxster: Not yet...
Skipster: Well, if... Aww, shoot! I forgot to send my flight uniform to the dry cleaners!
Foxster: Gretchen already took care of that. (brief pause) She sent Kato's, too.
Skipster: She did?
Foxster: Of course she did. She's already worked out our entire schedule. (pause) What did you expect? That 'Director of Operations' title is pretty all-encompassing. (pause) And I know you. You only suggested that promotion because you knew she could handle it. (brief pause) And naturally, I agree. (The Foxster gets up and walks toward the door. As he passes the Skipster, he points back toward the ashtray, and the empty beer bottle he left on the table.) You get to clean up. (Foxster opens the door to exit, but turns back to look at the still-seated Skipster.) Now, don't forget my advice, which you asked me for! Take things slowly! (The Foxster exits the conference room.)
Skipster (nodding): Slowly. Slowly.
To Be Continued, Early Tomorrow Morning...
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