Scene One: The conference room of Simpson/Lynch Studios on Monday, February 15th, at approximately 8:10 a.m. The Foxster sits in his usual seat at the end of the conference table, and Tara sits at hers. Both are dressed somewhat informally. The Foxster is drinking tea instead of his usual coffee. He also has a large bottle of cold & flu medication in front of him.
On the floor between the Foxster and Tara sleeps their cat, Orson. Orson has recently been discharged from the grandiosely-named Pleasantview Animal Hospital... a facility about as large as the average bachelor apartment.
Vickie enters through the open doorway.
Vickie: Good morning. (brief pause as Foxster and Tara smile and nod in greeting) I got here as quickly as I could, Mr. Foxster.
Foxster: It's okay, Vickie. I just wanted to get together ASAP to get this day out of the way as soon as possible.
Vickie: I don't understand...
Vickie walks toward her usual seat, on Tara's right.
Foxster: Oh, Vickie? Would you mind sitting in Kato's chair?
Vickie (shrugging): Okay, sure, Mr. Foxster. (Vickie bypasses her seat and Tara's as she walks toward -- and then around the back of -- the Foxster, so she can sit in Kato's usual seat. As she passes Orson, his eyes pop open and he hisses at her, although no one notices. Vicki sits.) So... What's going on, exactly? (Vicki points at a covered display board on the wall.) I'm guessing it's something big, if that's any indication. And where's Mr. Skipster?
Foxster (laughing): Patience, Vickie, all will be answered! (brief pause) But first, I'd really prefer it if you'd drop the "Mister" from our nicknames. After all, Gretchen and Tara don't use it...
Vickie: Well, no, but they're... (Vickie smiles sweetly at Tara.) involved... with you and Mr. Skipster personally, off the job, and Kato still says it...
Foxster: Well, in Kato's case, he says it's just a sign of respect, so I... (pauses while struggling for a less redundant word, which he can't find) So I respect that. (pause) Anyway, if you'll recall, Kato left this weekend for a short leave of absence, and the reason that the Skipster and Gretchen aren't here this morning is that all four of us got up at roughly four a.m. to see them off at the airport!
Tara (teasingly): Which, of course, is another reason that this meeting was called an hour earlier than our usual conferences. David figures that as long as he had to wake up early...! (The Foxster laughs.) I haven't even had time to put on my working clothes yet!
The intercom on the conference table beeps. The Foxster stands, and leans forward to answer it.
Foxster: Yes, Carla?
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): Mr. Foxster, this is Carla, from downstairs...
Foxster: Yes, Carla, I know where you are...
Carla's Voice (in a monotone):Miss Wickie is here. Shall I send her up?
Foxster: Uhhh, Carla... She's already up here.
Carla's Voice (in a monotone):Oh.
Foxster: Besides, Carla, Vickie works here, remember? She doesn't need permission to enter the building any more.
(Carla disconnects. Foxster, Tara, and Vickie shake their heads.)
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): Okay.
Vickie: So, you said you were "seeing them off" at the airport?
Foxster: That's right. After an unfortunate misunderstanding between them yesterday... (Tara lightly kicks the Foxster under the table.) Which I... umm... won't get into, the Skipster decided to take Gretchen on an extended vacation... to Hawaii!
Vickie: Wow. So we're really going to be busy while they're gone, aren't we!
The Foxster stands and walks over to the covered display board, which he uncovers. He walks back to the conference table, sits down again, and takes a sip of tea.
Right-click on this picture to see it -- and the display board
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Foxster: That's just it. We're not. The "to-do" list Tara prepared on that board is an indication of that. In fact, Vickie, once you and I tie up a few loose ends today and tomorrow, we're going to be pretty useless for a bit! Which is why, during this period -- however long it may be -- I'm actually offering to pay your weekly salary while keeping you strictly on an "on call" basis. Tara's the lucky one. Kewl Beanz! still needs her full-time.
Tara (teasingly): Yeah, lucky Tara! (All laugh.)
Foxster: So... I guess that's it, then. I have some real work to do, at least for today, and I know both of you do, too, so... Meeting adjourned, or some damned thing... (All laugh.)
Tara (rising): Good! Now I have time to change, before I have to zip over to Kewl Beanz!
Vickie (to Foxster): Is it okay if I run home and put on something I'll feel more comfortable in, too? (She stands.) I just threw this on when you called, and it really wasn't what I'd planned to wear...
Foxster: Go right ahead.
Tara and Vickie exit through the main conference room door. Foxster enters the work area adjacent to the conference room by its side entrance, and sits at his computer.
* * * * *
Scene Two: The long, first-floor hallway of Simpson/Lynch Studios, roughly an hour later. From opposite ends, Vickie and Tara enter. Both are wearing different outfits than in Scene One. Each nods in greeting to the other. The two continue walking toward each other as Vickie speaks.
Vickie (cheerfully): So... It's gonna be kinda quiet here without Gretchen and the Skipster, huh?
Tara: I guess.
Vickie: Hawaii... (sighs) How romantic. But I hope they don't... (She hesitates.)
Tara and Vickie are about five or six feet away from each other. Tara stops, her eyes narrowing slightly.
Tara: You hope they don't... what?
Vickie continues walking, and is about to pass Tara as she speaks.
Vickie: Well, you know... People get carried away sometimes, and... I just hope the Skipster doesn't want to make a baby while they're gone. I mean, that "Peeps" article implied that she might not even be able to have children...
Tara (indignantly, as she places her right hand on Vickie's right arm in a restraining fashion): I sincerely hope you wouldn't ever say something that insensitive to her!
Vickie: Give me some credit. (Vickie's cheerful tone is suddenly gone.) And get your [expletive deleted] hand off of my arm, you little bitch!
* * * * *
The work area adjacent to the conference room, moments later. The Foxster sits at his computer, working. The nearby intercom beeps.
Foxster: Yes, Carla?
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): This is Carla, from downstairs.
Foxster (rolling eyes): I know where you are, Carla! What is it?
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): Did you ever see Destry Rides Again, with Jimmy Stewart?
Foxster: Yes... Look, Carla, I'm really busy...
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): Do you remember the catfight between Marlene Dietrich and Una Merkel?
Foxster: Yes. (brief pause) Carla, get to the point!
Carla's Voice (in a monotone): I think you'd better come downstairs, Mr. Foxster.
The Foxster jumps up from his chair and exits hurriedly.
* * * * *
Scene Four: The downstairs hallway, moments later. The Foxster enters from the stairway.
Foxster: Oh, [expletive deleted]!!!