Scene One: The downstairs hallway of Simpson/Lynch Studios, moments before the end of our previous post. It is approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday, February 15th. Summoned by Carla, the SnL receptionist, the Foxster runs downstairs from the second floor and enters the hallway. He sees Tara holding Vickie against the wall... by her throat.
Foxster: Oh, [expletive deleted]!!!
Couldn't resist including this shot again!
Foxster (yelling): TARA!!! Let her go! (As the Foxster approaches the two women, he notices Tara's left arm pulled back, as if she is about to throw a punch. She doesn't look at him; her eyes are locked on Vickie's.) Now, Tara!
Finally, Tara turns toward the approaching Foxster. She lowers her left arm. Then, with a quick glare at Vickie, she releases her iron grip on Vickie's throat and steps back two or three paces. Vickie places both hands on her neck, her breathing erratic. The Foxster steps between the two women.
Foxster (to Vickie): Are you okay?
Vickie (her voice trembling and raspy): I... don't know...
Tara: Is she okay? What about me?
Foxster (to Tara, without turning to face her): You look just fine at the moment! (to Vickie) Look, maybe you should sit down somewhere, or get a drink from the kitchen, or probably both... I don't know. (brief pause) But don't leave, okay? We'll need to talk, obviously... (The Foxster turns to Tara.) And we need to talk now.
Tara walks away from the Foxster and Vickie, heading toward the bedroom she shares with the Foxster.
Foxster: Tara? (Tara stops, and turns to face him.) Not there. Upstairs, in the conference room.
Tara's eyes open wide in shock and outrage as the Foxster heads toward the stairway, and exits. After a moment's hesitation, she follows and exits, leaving Vickie alone, still leaning against the wall.
* * * * *
Scene Two: The upstairs conference room. The Foxster stands behind the Skipster's usual seat, as Tara enters and slams the door behind her.
Tara: What's with the dramatic location?
Foxster: I think you can guess. (brief pause) Sit down, please. (Tara makes no move to sit.) Fine, suit yourself. (pause) I hope you realize you're putting me in a very uncomfortable position.
Tara: Oh, sure. I suppose you'd rather be consoling poor, helpless Miss Vickie Wicked right now. I'm sure she could think of a "position" or two for the both of you...
Foxster: Knock it off, damnit! I meant that you're forcing me to play "boss man," and to treat you accordingly!
Tara: Why are you taking her side?
Foxster: I'm not taking anyone's side. But I obviously needed to split you two up, and since you evidently had the upper hand... well...
Tara: Don't you even want to know exactly what happened down there?
Foxster: Of course I do! And maybe I'll be able to ask you for myself, if you'll stop mouthing off long enough for me to get a complete sentence in edgewise!
Tara pauses for a moment. The defiant look on her face subsides, and she nods. She sits in Gretchen's customary seat near the Skipster's chair. The Foxster remains standing.
Foxster: First things first. As your employer...
Tara (interrupting softly): You're really enjoying this, aren't you?
Foxster (removing his dark sunglasses and looking Tara in the eyes): Is that what you think? Do you really believe that?
Tara: No. (brief pause) Sorry. Go on, I'll shut up.
Foxster: Thank you. Anyway, little altercations like that...
Tara: "Little altercations?"
Foxster (sighing): So much for shutting up...
Tara: Okay, I'm sorry. (pause) And you can put your glasses back on, hon. I know how this light must bother you.
Foxster: Well, yeah, it does. Plus I can hardly see you without them. (The Foxster puts his dark sunglasses on again.) Your actions downstairs could leave SnL open to a lawsuit... or two, or three... or forty-seven. And after the Skipster specifically told you and Gretchen to "play nice" with her... (pause) What the hell set you off like that?
Tara: She made some sleazy little dig about Skipster wanting to "make a baby" in Hawaii, and followed up with a crack about the possibility of Gretchen not being able to have children. I put my hand on her arm -- gently -- and said she'd better not ever make such a thoughtless remark to Gretchen herself, and... (pause) Well, evidently I didn't take my hand off soon enough. She swore at me, and slapped me right across the face!
Foxster: Which is when you went for the throat, literally?
Tara: Pretty much.
Foxster: I know you, Tara. You're no one to mess with. (brief pause) You could have choked her to death. (A slight smirk plays across Tara's face. The Foxster smiles in spite of himself.) Don't say it...
Tara: Can't stop me from thinking it.
Foxster (shaking his head): Enough.
Tara: And... I suppose you'll be wanting me to apologize to her?
Foxster: Well, yeah.
Foxster: Well, yeah.
Tara: Fine, if she'll apologize for the slap!
Foxster (shaking his head): Unconditionally. (pause) But whether she does or doesn't follow up with an apology of her own, you let me know, okay?
Tara: Then you believe me? About the slap?
Foxster: Never a moment's doubt. (pause) Okay, I'd better go track her down, and hear what she has to say. (The Foxster walks toward the door, and opens it.)
Tara: Hey, Foxy? (The Foxster turns to look at Tara.) You're a pretty good boss... but I still like you better as my boyfriend.
Foxster (chuckling): Yeah, so do I, sweetheart. So do I.
The Foxster exits, leaving the conference room door open.
* * * * *
Scene Three: The home of Vickie Wickie, early the same evening. There is a knock on the door. Vickie opens it. Milo Fenderbender stands there. Vickie turns without a word and walks into her living room. She sits on the couch, at one end.
Milo closes the front door and walks into the living room behind Vickie. He notices a new addition to the room, a terrarium on a wrought-iron stand, which contains a three-foot long red-tail boa constrictor.
Milo (pointing at the snake): Visiting relative from out of town, I assume?
Vickie: Shut up. And sit down. (Milo attempts to sit next to Vickie, but she frowns and points to the opposite end of the couch.) Over there, horn-dog.
Milo (sitting): Okay, so what's the latest chapter in the ongoing soap opera? You obviously didn't call me here just because you were feeling the need for company.
Vickie: I'll make this quick. Tara and I had a fight today...
Milo (interrupting): By "fight," I assume you mean argument?
Vickie: Let me finish! And no, I mean fight! The chubby little troll had the audacity to grab my arm, and when I belted her across her smug little face, she pinned me to the frigging wall in a choke hold!
Milo (whistling): She did? Wow. (brief pause) And where did you hide Tara's body, once you'd broken out of it?
Vickie: Well, to be honest...
Milo: That'd be a first.
Vickie: Will you stop it! (brief pause) I was caught off guard. The sawed-off sack of [expletive deleted] is a lot stronger than she looks. I almost blacked out! I was never so glad to see that blonde boyfriend of hers. He separated us, and took her upstairs, supposedly to lecture her, but more probably to boink the little whore on the conference table. (pause) The Foxster cornered me in the rec room about twenty minutes later, and did his best to smooth things over by asking me my side of it, blah, blah, blah... I tried my best to act like the wounded little puppy, of course.
Milo: Of course.
Vickie: Which was easier for him to swallow due to the timing of the whole thing, I'm hoping. (pause) Now listen up, Milo. As soon as I can, I'm going to be giving you copies of the SnL staff's personnel files. I want you to use every scummy contact you have to find out whatever dirt exists on any and all of them. And you can start with that godless little slut, Tara!
Milo: Glad to. By the way, I'm fast becoming one of the best customers at Kewl Beanz!, and don't think little Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay hasn't noticed! She usually sends over a free espresso or two whenever I'm around. And I actually kind of like hanging out in the Krebs' Krib room. Nice 1960s atmosphere. Heh. This dreary little town of Pleasantview loves her, too, no doubt because she's employed half the formerly-unemployed at her booming little establishment. (laughs) In fact, I've noticed that more and more women -- and little girls, too -- have been getting their hair styled like hers. She's the Dorothy Hamill -- or the Farrah Fawcett -- of the 21st century, you might say.
Vickie (impatiently): If you're done rambling, and singing the praises of that little tramp, may I finish? (Milo nods.) I'll give you a call the moment I get those files.
Milo: Got it. (standing) Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time for my nightly caffeine fix. (Milo walks toward the front door. As he nears the terrarium, he looks back at Vickie.) By the way, what did you name him? Or is it a "her?"
Vickie: Name who? (brief pause) The snake? Oh, for...! It's not a pet, stupid, it's... an amusement!
Vickie (nodding): At feeding time, when I throw in the live baby mice.
Milo: That's what I love about you, Vickie. You're such a sentimentalist.