Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Only a Heartbeat Away...

Scene One: A third-floor hallway in Pleasantview Community Hospital. Tara is approaching Room 313. From the Foxster's room, Vickie Wickie enters the hallway, carrying a large folder filled with paperwork. Vickie sees Tara and forces a smile.

Vickie (cheerfully): Oh, hi, Tara. The Foxster just gave me a ton of work to do! Isn't that great?

Tara (forcing a smile): Sure is! Nothing slows him down!

Vickie: See you later!

Vickie walks by Tara, and heads toward a double door which leads to a nearby elevator.

Tara (under her breath): And don't let the doors hit your ass on your way out... (Tara opens the door to the Foxster's room and calls out to him in an overly-cheerful manner.) Hi, hon! Here I am! (Tara exits the hallway and enters the Foxster's room.)

* * * * *

Scene Two: Room 313 of Pleasantview Community Hospital, late afternoon, several hours after Tara has left. From his hospital bed, the Foxster is talking with his attending physician, Dr. Jane Kildeer, who is standing next to him.

Dr. Kildeer: Have you been able to reach the Skipster yet?

Foxster: No. He's still in Hawaii with his fiancée...

Dr. Kildeer: Gretchen.

Foxster: Right. (brief pause) I've been meaning to ask. How do you know about her?

Dr. Kildeer: Are you kidding? Most of your staff have become our local celebrities! But I'd really like to meet Gretchen in particular, sometime. I have something I'd like to discuss with her. (Dr. Kildeer notices a page torn out of a magazine in the Foxster's hand.) What are you reading?

Foxster: Hmm? Oh, this! Nurse Betty dropped it by earlier. It's got real estate listings for Pleasantview, just in case I ever decide to get my own place. (pause) I've been thinking about what you said. Maybe living and working under the same roof with Skip and the others 24/7 is kinda wearing me down. It's like... if I wanted to get up in the middle of the night and have some pistachio ice cream, I'm afraid I'd trip an alarm that Luke put on the fridge!

Dr. Kildeer (laughing): So... have you found anything interesting yet?

The Foxster shows her a picture of a house for sale.

Dr. Kildeer: Oh, I know this place! It's the old Fenneman Estate.
It's very beautiful. And it's the only Cape Cod-style house in Pleasantview, Alabama.

Foxster: Why does that not surprise me?

Dr. Kildeer (after a long pause): Do you smoke?

Foxster: Well, uh... yeah.

Dr. Kildeer: Well, uh... quit! (The Foxster gives her a dirty look.) I really do enjoy our pleasant discussions together, David, but I really don't think they should all be while you're lying in bed at Pleasantview Community. (She starts looking around the room.)

Foxster: As the old saying goes, "Jane, get me off this crazy thing!" and we can all have our next discussion at Kewl Beanz! I'm inviting you, and all the staff, and the treat's on me. (pause) Just promise not to eat too much.

Dr. Kildeer: Stop trying to bribe me. You're staying here until I feel you're ready to be released. (Dr. Kildeer starts going through the Foxster's closet. The Foxster swears under his breath.) Ah-ha! (She produces a nearly-full pack of cigarettes and a lighter, with a sly smile.)

Foxster: No! You're not going to take them! (pause) Please tell me you're not going to take them? (pause) I know better to smoke them while I'm in here...

Dr. Kildeer: Nice try. There are three missing out of this pack that I assume Tara smuggled in yesterday. I'm sure you don't smoke in this room, but you probably wait until we go off duty, then sneak outside.

Foxster (weakly): Please don't take them...

Dr. Kildeer: Let's just say I'm temporarily removing this evil temptation from your life. (Dr. Kildeer drops the cigarette pack in the pocket of her white coat.) They'll stay safe and sound, all locked up until you're released. Maybe by then you won't feel you need them so much. (She jots down some notes on her clipboard.) And I'm going to call Tara and ask her nicely not to bring you any more while you're in here! Your heart and lungs will write me a thank-you note...

Foxster: You know something, Doctor Killjoy? You really have a lousy bedside manner.

Dr. Kildeer: Wait until I have the nurse put your bedpan in the freezer for a few hours. (She gives the Foxster an evil laugh and exits. The Foxster sighs.)

Foxster (muttering to himself): Great! Stuck in this damned hospital. No cigarettes. No Tara. And my doctor thinks she's Hawkeye Pierce! (pause) Meanwhile... Skip's off living it up, vacationing with Gretchen. They're probably sailing in beautiful tropical waters. (pause) I can see those two now...

Foxster (lying back): Damn! I want some pistachio ice cream. (The Foxster sighs.)

* * * * *

Scene Three: The downstairs main bar of Kewl Beanz!, a
few minutes later.
Frank the EMT is off duty, and wearing his "civvies." He enters through the archway and waves a cheerful hello to Tara, who is working the bar. The lounge is relatively empty. Frank takes a seat next to Milo Fenderbender. Frank glances at Milo, and does a double take. Milo notices Frank, and suddenly looks uncomfortable.

Frank (nodding): Hi.

Milo (looking away): Yeah. Hi.

Frank: You look familiar. Do I know you from someplace?

Milo: I don't think so. (Milo starts acting strangely, and quickly finishes his drink.)

Frank (offering his hand): I'm Frank. I'm kinda new in town.

Milo (getting up and ignoring Frank's hand): That's nice. (to Tara) Well... I've gotta get going. Be seeing you, Tara. (Tara waves as Milo exits.)

Tara leans across the bar.

Tara: Gee, Frank! Running off my best customer?

Frank: Sorry, Tara. It's just... I know I've seen him somewhere before... (Frank shakes his head.) Umm... I'll just have a Bud draft. (Tara brings him a large frosted mug and places it on a little round coaster in front of him.) Thanks.

Tara: You wanna start a tab?

Frank: Yeah, might as well... (Frank looks around at the near-empty bar, as Tara fills out a guest check.) Are you always this busy?

Tara (walking over and leaning across the bar): Very funny. You should have been here an hour ago. The place was mobbed! I had to call in Bella, the new gal, to help out. (pause) So, what's been going on in your world?

Frank: Nothin' much. Been doin' a lot of thinking...

Tara: Oooh, careful. That might be dangerous.

Frank takes a sip of his beer, and looks in Tara's eyes.

Frank: Tara... There's something I'd like to discuss with you. (long pause) I'm finding myself getting deeply attracted...

Tara quickly pushes away from the bar and cuts Frank off in mid-sentence.

Tara: Umm, Frank... first of all... I want you to know I'm quite flattered! I mean, you're a very nice guy, and a really handsome one at that. But you know that I'm very devoted to David, and I'll always be a one-man woman.

Frank sits there absolutely confused. Finally he smiles.

Frank: Tara, I was about to say that I'm getting deeply attracted to someone I work with. At the hospital!

The realization of what Frank's just said finally hits Tara, and blushing slightly, she leans across the bar again, with both hands under her chin.

Tara: Oooh! A love story? By all means, tell me more! So... Who is it?

Frank: Promise me you won't say anything to anyone about this!

Tara (nodding): Bartender's code of honor.

Frank leans closer to Tara, and begins speaking in a quiet voice.

* * * * *

Scene Four: A few minutes later. Milo is standing in Vickie Wickie's doorway.

Vickie: Oh, finally! Do you have some information for... (Vickie suddenly notices that Milo is looking at her with wild eyes.) What's the hell's wrong with you? You look like you've just seen a ghost!

Milo: Baby... I think I just did!

* * * * *

To Be Continued...


  1. "This is an epic of war and peace proportions" ... Huddersfield Evening Examiner.

  2. Hmmm...who is the Frankster and how does Milo know him? da-da-da-da.

  3. Ronda, we always like to throw these little tidbits in to keep our loyal readers on their toes!