Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Patient from Hell

Scene One: The parking lot of Pleasantview Community Hospital, late afternoon. Luke Tian has driven Tara King there, in the limousine owned by Simpson/Lynch Studios. Tara sits in the front seat with Luke, who has told her the deeply personal story of his arguments with his father and grandfather, years earlier... arguments which prompted him to defiantly rename himself as "Kato Kato"... arguments he recently attempted to atone for, with evidently limited success.

While Luke finds a parking spot, Tara begins going through the voluminous pile of Snl Studios mail which Luke had handed her hours earlier, noticing one letter in particular which she hadn't noticed before.

Tara: Ohmigods! Here's a letter from Gretchen and the Skipster!

Luke: Great! Maybe that will give us a way to contact them about Mr. Foxster's heart attack.

Even as she tears the envelope open, Tara studies the envelope itself.

Tara: No return address, but I know Gretchen's handwriting.

Tara examines the contents of the envelope.

Tara: A couple of photos -- one obviously taken soon after their arrival, and one taken well after they'd "gone tourist" -- and an incredibly brief note from Gretchen herself. (pause) Just a variation on the old "having a wonderful time, wish you were here" stuff. No contact info. Crap!

Luke: Did you open that big envelope yet, the one addressed to you?

Tara: No. I'm afraid to.

Luke: You, afraid? (brief pause) What's it all about? (pause) Hey, after everything I just told you...

Tara: Later, 'gator! Let's go see David.

* * * * *

Scene Two: The Foxster's room in Pleasantview Community Hospital. He's been moved to Room 313, a room close to, but not part of, the ICU. Nurse Betty is giving the Foxster a mild lecture. In return, the Foxster is giving Nurse Betty what may politely be called "grief." We join the conversation, in progress.

Nurse Betty: This is not your private office, Mr. Foxster! And I will find that cell phone! You're supposed to be relaxing and recuperating!

Foxster: Ahhh, you're just ticked off because you didn't get to be part of my conversation with Tim Burton!

Nurse Betty: How would you like a Louisiana Hot Sauce enema?!?

Foxster (laughing): Ooooh, that's cold!

Nurse Betty (smiling): That's what you think!

Foxster (smiling): You know what I meant. (brief pause) This hospital's too damned warm as it is.

Nurse Betty: Oh, good grief! Stop complaining... And stop terrorizing my staff! (Tara and Luke enter. Nurse Betty smiles at them.) Yay! My excuse to leave!

The Foxster yells at Nurse Betty as she exits.

Foxster: And have somebody bring me some dark glasses!

Tara: Hey, grouch! (Tara approaches the bed and briefly kisses the Foxster.) Feeling better, I see...

Foxster: Hi, babe... Did you bring my cigarettes? (Tara nods, and reaches into her purse.) Gimme gimme gimme! (Tara hands the Foxster a pack of cigarettes, which he hides underneath the small of his back.) Thanks! I knew I loved you for some reason. (Tara gives him "the finger.") These people think I want my sunglasses just so I can have that "Hollywood Look!" The lights in here are killing me, although Dr. Kildeer did have them adjusted somewhat.

Tara: Poor little vampire. (pause) I'm surprised you haven't gotten them to give you a black blanket, and a black turtleneck johnny.

Foxster: Don't think I haven't asked! (The Foxster notices Luke.) Kato! You're back!

Luke approaches the bed and shakes the Foxster's hand.

Luke (seriously): Actually, Mr. Foxster, I have to discuss something with you.

Foxster: I don't think I like the sound of that... You're not quitting or anything, I hope.

Luke: No, but... You may fire me when I tell you what I need to tell you.

Foxster: Which is?

Luke: My real name is not "Kato Kato."

Foxster (nonchalantly): And? (pause) I mean, come on, Kato...

Luke: Please, call me Luke. My real name is Xu-Ning Tian, and "Luke" is what friends and family used to call me.

Foxster: "Luke," as in "Skywalker?" (Luke grins in spite of himself.) Anyway, it was pretty obvious that a Japanese name for a Chinese guy was an alias of some kind. The Skipster and I always knew -- we're no dummies -- but it didn't matter.

Luke: But, I wrote "Kato Kato" on my job application when the Skipster hired me. And applications always have that note about how falsifying any information may be cause for dismissal...

Foxster: Yeah. Key word, "may." You're not getting away from us that easily, buddy! Besides, not to downplay any reasons you may have had for using that alias in the first place, but SnL is full of people with phony names and nicknames! There's "Skipster" and "Foxster," and I'm sure Vickie's real last name isn't "Wickie!" (whispers) And Tara's real name is "Lisa Lipschitz!" (All laugh.)

Tara: Is not, Foxy!

Foxster: So, as far as I'm concerned, you can smear yourself with green cheese and call yourself The Man in the Moon, and you're still a valued employee. (pause) And if you wanna stay that way, can you sneak in some real food to me, ASAP?

Dr. Jane Kildeer enters, unseen by the others.

Luke (smiling): I'll see what I can do!

Foxster: A "Hangtown Fry" omelette for breakfast tomorrow would be great...

Dr. Kildeer: I'll hang you if you start getting that spicy junk you love so much smuggled in here!

Foxster: Oops. Didn't see you there, Dr. Frankenstein.

Dr. Kildeer: Obviously not.

Tara: Well, from the look on the doctor's face, she needs to talk with you. Sorry for such a brief visit, hon, but I have to get back to Kewl Beanz! before the rush! Bella's too new to be left alone.

Foxster: Bella? Who's Bella?

Tara: Ohmigods! That's right, I haven't told you yet! (pause) I hired an assistant manager, Isabella Vergara. She's Colombian.

Foxster: You hired...?

Tara: Don't I have the right?

Foxster: Of course you do. I just... didn't know.

Tara and Luke (simultaneously, while laughing): You never asked!

Foxster: Nope, anyone from kitchen workers and servers, up to assistant managers... It's your show.

Tara: That's what Milo said.

Foxster: Milo?

Tara: Milo Fenderbender.

Foxster: Fenderbender? You're kidding, right? (to Luke) See? Another obvious alias.

Tara: It's his real name, he says! One of those Ellis Island things.

Foxster: Anyway... Who's Milo? New head waiter?

Tara: No. A very good customer. You met him, sort of, at the Kewl Beanz! Grand Opening. Don't you remember?

Foxster (shaking his head): Sorry, hon, I met a lot of people that night!

Tara: Milo's middle-aged, bearded, very charming, wears glasses and dark clothing, and is always coming out with pop-cultural references... (smiling) You know the type.

Foxster (smiling slightly): So, this Milo character looks like me?

Luke: Only with a lot less hair!

Tara (laughing): Luke! That's not very nice!

Luke: Sorry...

Tara (to Foxster): Anyway, you'll love Bella! She's absolutely gorgeous.

Foxster: Oooh. Got any photos? (Tara gives Foxster "the finger.")

Tara (kissing Foxster): Okay, gotta split! Love you. (to Dr. Kildeer) See ya, doc! (Dr. Kildeer smiles and nods as Tara and Luke exit.)

Foxster (muttering): Great. I'm stuck in here, and she's schmoozing with a Foxster clone. (to Dr. Kildeer) What's up, Doc?

Dr. Kildeer (groaning): Like I've never heard that before. (pause) First things first: Where's that blasted cell phone?

Foxster (coyly): I'll never tell. (pause) So, Nurse Betty ratted me out?

Dr. Kildeer (nodding): Nurse Betty, and three or four other nurses... (Dr. Kildeer impulsively yanks the sheet off of the Foxster. There is apparently nothing on the bed but the Foxster himself.)

Foxster: Hey! You're lucky I didn't decide to beat the sweltering heat in here by removing my johnny!

Dr. Kildeer: I'm a doctor, remember? Nothing I wouldn't have seen before.

Foxster: Maybe not, but I'll bet you've never seen so much of it.

Dr. Kildeer: Oh? I thought you were Irish. They're not necessarily known for... (Dr. Kildeer stops, catching herself.)

Foxster: Whoa! Almost allowed your human side to come out there, Janie-Poo!

Dr. Kildeer (smiling and blushing): That's Doctor Janie-Poo to you, Mr. Lynch!

Foxster: And that reminds me: Would you please tell your staff that my name is Mr. Lynch, and not Mr. Foxster?

Dr. Kildeer: Whose fault is that? Everybody calls you the Foxster! How'd you get that name, anyway? Is it because you think you're so foxy-looking, or because you think you're as sly as a fox?

Foxster: Actually, it's based on an even older nickname, "The Silver Fox."

Dr. Kildeer: Silver Fox? (pause) Do you dye your hair?

Foxster: Huh?

Dr. Kildeer: Are you prematurely grey?

Foxster: No. (pause) The "Silver Fox" thing is a long, boring story...

Dr. Kildeer: So you say. (pause) Have you heard from your partner yet?

Foxster: Nope. Tara can't get in touch with him. Why?

Dr. Kildeer (after a long pause): You and Tara, and the Skipster and Gretchen, all live in the same house, right?

Foxster (teasingly): What are you implying, Dr. Frankenstein?

Dr. Kildeer: I'm being serious. Answer the question.

Foxster: Yes, sir! Yeah, we do. Why?

Dr. Kildeer: Why don't you -- or you and Tara -- get your own place?

Foxster: Never really thought about it. I impulsively moved down here from Massachusetts when Skip and I renewed our partnership, full force, and it was convenient for me to move in there.

Dr. Kildeer: Doesn't that get on your nerves at all?

Foxster: Of course not.

Dr. Kildeer: Are you sure?

Foxster: Sure, I'm sure. What's your point?

Dr. Kildeer: Just wondering if maybe it's the cause of any stress. (pause) Just some food for thought. (long pause) Well, I have to leave you now. Believe it or not, you're not the only patient I have to see today... although the person who coined the term "patient" never had to put up with you. And that reminds me: Stop hitting on my nurses!

Foxster: Not "hitting on." "Flirting with." There's a big difference, otherwise my little Tara would have put me in your ER a long time ago! (Dr. Kildeer smiles and walks toward the door.) See you later, Dr. Frankenstein.

Dr. Kildeer: That's "FRONK-en-steen."

Foxster: You're a Mel Brooks fan? I think I'm in love!

Dr. Kildeer: And I think I'll send a nurse in with a sedative. You obviously need one.

Foxster: What I need is a vodka IV! (Dr. Kildeer shakes her head and exits.) Wow. And Tara calls me a grouch.

* * * * *

Scene Three: The room at Simpson/Lynch Studios which Tara shares with the Foxster. She has finally opened the large envelope she received earlier in the day. The return address bears the name of a publishing house in New York.

Tara (talking to herself while reading the letter enclosed with two other objects): Ohmigods, they're actually gonna publish it! (Tara looks at the enclosed dust jacket for a novel, and impulsively walks to a bookcase and wraps it around an antique hardcover collection of Charles Dickens short stories which the Foxster owns. Then she looks at the check sent by her editor, and whistles.) That's my advance? I didn't know they made that many zeros!

To Be Continued...


  1. Nurse Betty is a woman after my own heart.

  2. I like the way Nurse Betty thinks.
    A hot sauce enema might make him think.
    But somehow I doubt it,
    Exasperating man.
    He'll do it because
    He thinks he can-can-can.
    Hurray for Tara,
    The Foxster's flame
    Riding a comet of her own
    To fame.
    And Kato, now Luke
    Is on his way
    To making peace
    For past hurts,

  3. Fun chapter here....and Tara's a budding author? Good for her!