Sunday, July 11, 2010

A SHORT PLAY: "THE FRAME STORE"



INT. FRAME SHOP: AT THE COUNTER. A customer (BILL) talks on his cel phone while he waits for the proprietor. 


BILL (ON HIS CEL PHONE): "Yeah, you're not going to believe what happened! I found the perfect frame for that piece. It's green and looks like laminated cow skin. The only problem was the price: $300! That's more than I paid for the artwork! Anyway, the clerk orders it for me, and I put half the money down.


No, wait! There's more! I walk across the street and, lo and behold, I find another store that sells the same frame for half the price.  I couldn't believe it! Half the price! So I run back to the original store to get my money back, only it occurs to me that they might not want to give it to me, so I make up a story. You're going to die when you hear it! It's brilliant! It should be in the Museum of Excuse Stories. Wait a minute....here comes the guy who runs the place. I gotta go!"


He pockets the phone. 


PROPRIETOR: "Hey! You just bought a frame. Don't tell me you want another one  already!"


BILL: "Well, not exactly. See, what happened is...I got a parking ticket while I was in here. It's expensive, so...I hate to say it...I won't be able to buy the frame I was going to buy. I just can't afford it now."


PROPRIETOR: "Geez, that's too bad! It was a nice frame."


BILL: "Yeah. It's turning out to be one of those days."


PROPRIETOR: "How much was it for?

BILL: "How much was what for?"

PROPRIETOR: "The ticket. How much was it for?"

BILL: "Oh yeah, the ticket...it was, um...Three hundred dollars."

PROPRIETOR: "THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!??" It's not supposed to be $300 here! This is Santa Monica. Two hundred and fifty is what you get for a ticket here!"

BILL: "Well, I could be mis..."

PROPRIETOR: "Let me ask my partner. DAVE,  COME OUT HERE FOR A MINUTE!"

DAVE comes out with a big roll of plastic in his arms. He puts it down. 

DAVE: "Bubble wrap. I'm making a place for it in the back. What can I do you for?"

PROPRIETOR: "It's not for me, it's for him. This guy just got a parking ticket for 300 bucks."

DAVE: "THREE HUNDRED BUCKS!!??? It's never three hundred in Santa Monica! It's 250! Everybody knows that! Do you know what that means?"

BILL: "Wait a minute, if you're trying to imply that I'm..."

DAVE (TO THE PROPRIETOR): "That means fifty bucks for the cop!"

PROPRIETOR: "Yep, fifty bucks! If he does 10 of those in a day, that's $500 a day."

DAVE: "$2,500 a week!"

PROPRIETOR: (on a calculator) "$125,000 a year! That's a felony!"

BILL: "Well, I..."

DAVE: "Man, I hate to hear stuff like this! It really eats at me, ya know? It just tears my guts out! One dirty cop ruins it for everybody! Santa Monica's a good town, and it deserves better than this. I'm gonna take this up with the city council!"

BILL: "Well, there's no use bothering the city councilmen..."

DAVE: "Whaddaya mean? I AM A CITY COUNCILMAN! Lemme see the ticket."

BILL: "The ticket?"

DAVE, PROPRIETOR (TOGETHER): "The ticket!"

BILL: "Well...well...er...um, the cop took it away. I just gave him a check."

PROPRIETOR: "What!!?? A check???  He took a CHECK from you???""

DAVE: "Whoa! Hold on! He's not supposed to take a check from you. He's not supposed to handle any money at all! Geeeez! This is big! The police here get federal money. That means the F.B.I.'s gonna get involved!" 

PROPRIETOR: "Congress, maybe! People are gonna get sent up for this!"

He reaches for the phone. 

BILL: "What are you doing!?" 

PROPRIETOR: "I'm gonna call the police."

BILL (MORTIFIED):  "No, no, wait!...put the phone down...just put the phone down!"

PROPRIETOR: "Wha...?"

BILL: "I um...well, I might as well just...spit it out.  I, uh.... I found a place across the street that sells the same frame for half the price. You charge $300 and they charge 150 for the same thing. I... just...wanted...to........to.... get-the-money-back-so-I-could-buy-it-from-them-instead.  There, I said it."

AN AWKWARD MOMENT as all three stare at the floor in silence, then....


DAVE: "I gotta put this bubble wrap away!"

DAVE EXITS.

PROPRIETOR: "Aw, that wasn't nice."

BILL: "Look, I'm really sorry. Tell you what. I'll still take the frame from you. I gave you half before,  and I'll pay you the rest now. You don't have to wait til the order comes in. It's the least I can do. "


PROPRIETOR: "Alright. I'll write up a receipt......Here." 


BILL: "Wait a minute! This for a hundred dollars extra. It says here that you're giving me gold wire and platinum nails. I didn't ask for that!"


PROPRIETOR (LOOKS BILL IN THE EYE): "Sure you did."

DAVE (AFTER A BEAT, RESIGNED): "(sigh!) Sure I did."


BILL, broken, exits the store. Just as he does,  a nervous woman enters.


WOMAN (TO PROPRIETOR): "Um, I was in here a little while ago and ordered a frame. I hate to ask for this, but I need my down payment back. The doctor just said that my poor mother is sick. We'll need the money for medicine."


PROPRIETOR: "Gee, that's a shame. What kind of sickness does she have?"


WOMAN: "What kind? Um...er...um, rheumatism."


PROPRIETOR: "Rheumatism!!!?? Nobody throws up over rheumatism! Who is this doctor? Who did he tell you he was? Maybe he's a not a real doctor! I hate to see people get cheated! Let me ask my partner about this. DAVE, CAN YOU COME OUT HERE FOR A MINUTE!!???"


FADE OUT.


THE END


The play is copyright 2010 by Eddie Fitzgerald. Anyone can use it for non-commercial purposes without asking, as long as the authorship is attached.



12 comments:

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Rooni: Sorry! I accidentally deleted your comment! Anyway, thanks for the encouragement!

RooniMan said...

Tough athourity in Santa Monica.

RooniMan said...

No worries, Eddie.

Roberto Severino said...

Holy cow, Eddie!!!!! You should really be writing your own live-action pictures. This played out like the perfect screwball comedy. I loved it. Boy, that was sure some expensive parking ticket.

By the way, what do you think of The Women, and I mean the original 1939 version, not the 2008 remake. I was watching it on TCM on my DVR, and I loved watching every minute of it. Joan Crawford, Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard, and every other actress in that comedy was top-notch and superb and all had specific personalities and mannerisms of their own. It's one of the movies that I believe that every girl has to see, because the gossiping and backbiting is all too real, and it's more prevalent than ever in our modern society. I think that either today or tomorrow, I'll watch Susan and God, also with Joan Crawford, but I'm not sure if that one's any good. Have you seen that one?

Adam McMahon said...

This reads just like on old time radio show comedy! Very funny stuff, this made my morning. Thanks Eddie.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Roberto: Thanks for the compliment!

I'm not a huge fan of "The Women," maybe because it doesn't use Crawford to best advantage. She's best in roles that are written with her in mind, or that have some element that she can expand on.

It's funny that you mentioned "Susan and God." I was just wishing that I could see that. I have a feeling that it's not a great film, and not a good vehicle for Crawford, but I'm still curious about it.

The Crawford film I really want to see is "Harriet Craig", but aside from a terrific snippet on YouTube, it seems to be out of circulation.

Adam: Thanks!

Roberto Severino said...

Eddie, I saw "Susan and God" today. Not nearly as good or as funny as "The Women," but I liked it overall. I see what you mean though. That movie didn't really have Crawford in mind. Basically, Joan is playing this extremely hypocritical, bratty woman who basically discovers God in England and agitates everybody with her newfound religion, which leads to disastrous consequences in her relationships, including with her husband and daughter. I thought of it as a witty caricature and a social commentary on your typical religious zealot/hypocrite and fundamentalist, who are some of the most dangerous people in the world.

I just hate how half of that movie was a nicely executed comedy, while the rest was sappy, over the top drama. George Cukor really should have just made it a whole drama, in my opinion. I can imagine the story working so well in that complete format.

And I've never seen "Mildred Pierce," so that's part of the reason why I haven't seen much of Joan at her best, though I've liked what I've seen so far based on her MGM work. I think TCM showed that title one time, but I wasn't familiar with Joan Crawford then, so I didn't watch it. Now I'm itching for them to show it again sometime this year, as soon as I watch "Beserk" this Friday. The trailer for it looked terrible and freaked me out, but I wanna see it anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Our Dancing Daughters" is a real curio. Silent and showcasing an athletic Joan Crawford when she most resembled a whole tuna.

jack raffin said...

hahahhaha, oh man. simple & hilarious.

actually, as i was i reading this i thought: damn, i wanna make this into a short, as in like, you know, for shits & giggles and whatnot. like, i even got the location and everything. but then i thought: damn, i don't know anyone here who can speak english, seen as though i live in argentina now.

anyway, good werk. dig it, eddie.

jack raffin said...

ah, also, i'm sure i'm not the only who's mentioned it, but the new look for this blog is real great. and fun. and cartoony. like it should be really. i know it's had this new look for a while, just i didn't comment on it before.

i guess, pre-blog era this blog would've been a great underground newspaper/comic thing.

AMDY said...

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Eddie Fitzgerald said...

AMDY: BTIPPY AT NOGGLE DOIJEVERGER AT REST V (HAH! BDORGAL IS NOTHING, BUT THAT's VHDEWVED!)

JACK: Thanks!

ANON: Our Dancing Daughters? I'll look for it! Thanks!