Café, September 29, 2012

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Listen (MP3)

GK: I like my coffeeshop, The Daily Grind, because there's not a lot of social activity there, just people at their laptops doing what they came to do. I've been working on a screenplay for about three years and people keep asking me about it and I try to be hopeful but I know and I suppose they know that it's going nowhere, just like most of my big ideas. I was voted Most Promising in high school and here I am 25 years later, not much to show for it. The problem is that I'm a perfectionist, and so I keep correcting and rewriting the beginning, and after three years what I have is four pages that I've rewritten so many times that I'm sick of it. Aiyiyi.

LM: I like this coffeeshop because it's peaceful. Because people don't come here looking for love. They come in to work. I'm a research chemist, working on enzymes, trying to isolate a particular strain of one enzyme that we think is more powerful than adrenaline and testosterone combined, and I have an office and a lab and all that, but I find that I do my best work in the coffee shop with other people around, and the only thing I dislike is that, for the past two weeks, this tall lonely looking guy comes in and sits right next to me. I mean, there are empty seats all over. Why here?

GK: I go into the coffee shop and I go to my seat which is in the one exact spot where you cannot get wi-fi and I sit there and for some reason this woman is always sitting there, a short-haired woman, sensible looking, hard to figure out her age, maybe 30, 35, and she's got papers covered with numbers, I sit down, I say, Hi, she says mmmhmmm, and I go back to work rewriting the first scene that I've been rewriting for three years. I hate this scene.

-----I'm leaving, Jessica.

LM: Where are you going?

GK: ----I don't know. I'll let you know when I get there.

LM: Are you going alone?

GK: -----Yes, of course.

LM: I wish you'd stay. These past three months have been the happiest of my life.

GK: -----The happiest of mine, too. Four years and I've got to rewrite this.

LM: It's so odd, imagining this about a complete stranger, but he reminds me of my father, he's older, he sort of smells like my father, and when his elbow touches my chair, I imagine that he is Daddy and he says---

GK: It's hard to believe that my little girl won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering the enzyme that appears to be the beginning of life on this planet. You used to hate chemistry. And now you've made this unbelievable breakthrough that will change human society forever. You did it.

LM: I imagine him being proud of me. My dad. Us being friends at last. And then I remember: it's not my dad, it's some schlump who likes to sit next to me. Hooo.

GK: -----I'm leaving, Jessica.

LM: Okay.

GK: -----I don't know where I'm going but I'm going.

LM: Alone?

GK: -----Yes.

LM: I want to thank you for these past three months. They've been the happiest of my life.

LM: Do you know that these past three months have been very happy ones for me?

LM: These past three months have been good for me. For you too, I hope.
These past two months have been extremely happy.
This week was really incredible.

GK: For me, too.

LM: I don't ever do this in a coffeeshop. I swear. I am very passionate about privacy. But I did look at his screen. Just for one moment. The first line: "I'm leaving, Jessica." How did he know my name is Jessica. I never told him. But more than that, the thought of him leaving and going away ---- it just really floored me. I haven't even met him, not really, and yet the thought of being without him ----- I got tears in my eyes. I've been working extremely hard and I haven't exactly bonded with my colleagues here and ---- in fact, I don't really know anybody. And I feel this powerful attachment to a man who happens to sit next to me in the Daily Grind.

GK: -----I'm leaving, Jessica.

LM: No, you're not.

GK: -----I don't know where I'm going but I'm going.

LM: I'm going with you.

GK: -----No, I have to do this alone.

LM: These past three months have been the happiest of my life.

-----For me, too.

GK: -----I'm leaving, Jessica.
-----Well, I'm leaving, Jessica.
-----Guess I'd better be going, Jessica.

LM: And he closed his laptop and took his coffeecup over to the dirty dishes basket and I opened his laptop back up and I've never written dramatic dialogue before but I typed. ----I've discovered the secret of life. It's an enzyme. If you take it, you'll be young forever. I have some here. I'll give it to you if you'll promise to marry me.

GK: An enzyme?

LM: It's more powerful than adrenaline and testosterone combined.

GK: Have you tried it yet?

LM: I want to take it with you.

GK: Here?

LM: There's a church at the end of the block. I know the priest. We'll marry and ----- see this postage stamp? There's a drop of it on the mucilage. We lick it and we'll have perpetual youth.

GK: What are we waiting for?

LM: I typed these lines though I'd never written dialogue before and he came back and looked at me and smiled and without looking at the screen he closed his computer and the moment he closed it, I was unable to speak. I opened my mouth. Nothing came out. He said----

GK: Goodbye.

LM: And I tried to tell him that my name is Jessica and I loved him and needed him and I couldn't make a sound. I reached for the computer and he opened it and----

GK: Oh oh. It's frozen. Have to shut it down and reboot. Too bad I didn't save what was on my screen. Oh well. Wasn't that good anyway. Have to just keep working. See you tomorrow?

LM: I smiled and nodded. And out the door he went. My love, whose name I don't even know. I hope he comes back tomorrow. I don't think I can live without him enzymes or no enzymes.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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