Rhubarb, December 3, 2011

The Town Hall

New York, NY


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Rhubarb

Listen (MP3)

GK: So you’re an English major, a writer, dark-rimmed glasses, dark sweater, drink lots of coffee.

FN (WRITING): Intimidated, the rutabaga emanated dark precocious stains like so many fractures in the seams of unreality.

GK: You’re not published yet, so you need a job and one day (PHONE) the phone rings there in your parents’ basement in Queens where you’ve been living for three years----- (PICKUP)

SS: Jeff, it’s for you!

GK: And it’s Manly Man Magazine!

TR (ON PHONE): Mr. Baxter----- it’s Cliff at Manly Man ----- listen, I’ve got an opening for an administrative assistant ----- entry level ----- 20 grand a year ---- can you start tomorrow?

FN: Tomorrow??? Gosh. Yes!!!!

TR (PHONE): Nine a.m. sharp. Okay? We need someone to cover the phones and take deliveries.

FN: I’ll be there, sir!!!! (BRIDGE)

GK: A salary of twenty grand in Manhattan means you need to find an apartment with fifteen roommates to share the rent. But what the heck, it’s a job----- You set four alarms so you’ll be sure to wake up at 5 a.m., (BUZZER, CUCKOO, BANJO, KLAXON) and 5 a.m. is plenty of time to get into Manhattan to the offices of Manly Man. And you awaken at 5 a.m. (BUZZER) and you write in your journal---

FN (WRITING): The joyfulness of orange juice in the tumultuous bus stop of my shadow tracing humid peccadilloes like phantom plumage of igneous desire.

GK: And you brush your teeth (SFX) and shave (SFX) and put on deodorant (SFX) and walk to the train (SFX) and you swipe your Metrocard (SFX)—And you stand on the platform with 300 other people. (SFX) And you wait. And you wait. And you wait some more. The platform gets more and more crowded, and finally a train comes. It’s packed with people and the crowd presses in (BING BONG, DOORS OPEN, PEOPLE PRESS IN) and you can’t fit—(FN STRUGGLES) and then the conductor comes on:

FN (UNINTELLIGIBLE ANGRY STATIC/YELLING, BING BONG)

GK: He said there’s a train coming right after this one . So the doors close (SFX) and that train leaves (SFX) and now you have one hour to get to work. Your first day on the job. Another train comes (SFX) but it’s an X train. You’ve never heard of the X train. (BING BONG, DOORS OPEN). There’s hardly anybody on it. And yet it seems to be going in the right direction, and you’ve got to get to work (CLOCK TICKS) and so you board it, and you sit down.

FN: Stand clear of the closing doors, please. Sit down and behave and keep your hands to yourself. (BING BONG, DOORS SHUT)

GK: And you’re on the train (TRAIN SFX), hurtling through the darkness. No stops. Faster and faster you go, deeper and deeper underground. Finally the train ascends, and you get to the first stop. The doors open (SFX) and you step out onto the platform, and---

SS (MECHANICAL VOICE): Welcome to Maplewood, New Jersey!

FN: What?!??!

GK: You’re in New Jersey.

FN: No no no no no!

GK: You’re in New Jersey. (DOGS). Dogs are running around off-leash (SFX), and people are very friendly (SS: Hi, how are we doing this morning? TR: Hey--Cold enough for ya? (BIG LAUGHTER)? SS: Hey, could I interest you in some raffle tickets for my son’s hockey team?

GK: And a man walks up in a wool suit and fedora.

TR (JIMMY STEWART): Say, young fella, welcome to our town. I’m from the Savings & Loan ----- now’d be a darned good time to invest in a house.

FN: No! I have to get a train to Manhattan. I’m late for work.

TR (JIMMY STEWART): Loans are darned cheap now. You can buy a whole house with a yard for the price of a little dinky studio apartment in Manhattan. Whattya say?

FN: I’ve got to get to work. When is the next train?

TR (JIMMY STEWART): To Manhattan? Oh gosh. 9:28.

FN: Nine twenty-eight?????

TR (JIMMY STEWART): September 28th, 2014.

FN: What??? Nooo!

(HEELS APPROACH)

SS: Hi. What’s your name?

FN: Carter.

SS: That’s good. I like that name. My car is over here.

GK: She’s beautiful. She has a car. Maybe she can give you a ride into Manhattan. (FOOTSTEPS)

SS: Get in. My name’s Emily.

FN: Emily, listen ----- I’m late for work, it’s my first day, I’ve got to get into Manhattan-----

SS: Do you like angel food cake or lemon cake?

FN: What???

SS: I like lemon. But we could compromise. Do you like a church wedding or an outdoor wedding?

FN: What are you talking about?

SS: Hold out your hand. There-----

FN: A ring???? What’s that for?

SS: I want three boys and a girl. How about you?

FN: I want to be a writer.

SS: You want Hawaii for the honeymoon or Antigua?

FN: Do you hear what I’m saying?

SS: Okay, Antigua. Perfect. Here----- here’s the church. I rented you a tuxedo. And shoes. You’re a 12 1/2 right? Good. It starts in half an hour. I’ll see you inside. (THEME)

GK: Wouldn’t this be a good time for a piece of Rhubarb Pie? Yes nothing gets the taste of shame and humiliation out of your mouth like Beboparebop Rhubarb Pie and Rhubarb Pie Filling.

(RHUBARB SONG)

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