Jedemi Chronicles SE – The Taming of Viv – 009

The story continues…
The gang is curious to see if their hunch will play out.  Will Viv take their hints?  Is their proposed means for communicating going to work?

 


Scene 18 – “Sunday: What more can I do”

FADE IN:

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

Chalkboard says:

Sunday’s Specials on the top and then a quote of the day on the bottom.

Buy one, Get one… Twilight Special

The opening scene pans from the sign to where Viv is again making the espresso machine sparkle.
She is lost in thought when a voice starts breaking through.

FRANKIE
So it’s come to this, huh?

VIV
What? Huh? (startled) Oh Frankie, is that you?

FRANNIE
Yes indeedy. So twilight specials? Like are you going for the golf course motif now? Don’t do that. You’d have to change the whole look of the place and besides, swinging sticks with all this glassware would be nothing but trouble.

VIV
Very funny… I forgot how funny you could be…. In fact, where the heck have you been?

FRANKIE
Here.

VIV
Here?… as in this cafe here?

FRANKIE
Yup.

VIV
And you managed to stay quiet? Did your friends muzzle you or something?

FRANKIE
Nah. I’ve been working on a plan.

VIV
A plan, huh? Funny you should say that. I’m in need of a plan.

FRANKIE
Really? Guess my timing is perfect.

VIV
It certainly is. Let me lock up and then we can talk uninterrupted.

FRANKIE
Sounds good. I’ll just wait for you at our table. Okay?

Viv reaches into her apron pocket and pulls out her keys as she moves up front.

VIV
Sure. Go make yourself comfortable.

CUT TO:

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

Now the view shifts to above the cafe. Frannie is providing some “play-by-play” to Joey and Doc.

FRANNIE
Don’t look now, but he’s in.

JOEY
Really?

FRANNIE
Yeah. Viv just went to lock up and Frankie has settled in at the table.

DOC
Did he bring the napkins?

FRANNIE
He said he was, but I don’t see them. Maybe he’s got them hidden under the table or on one of the chairs.

JOEY
I guess that’s a good sign… I mean, at least he isn’t hitting her over the head with them.

FRANNIE
Have you noticed Viv this afternoon?

DOC
Yeah. She could use some cheering up. You can tell this Sunday afternoon swoon is getting to her.

FRANNIE
It’s hard to believe that 5-6 hours is the difference between profitability and having to get either an investor or hit the bank up for more money.

JOEY
Margins in this business are tight. She’s drawing a steady clientele but there’s not much wiggle room — if something needs repair or the suppliers raise prices, she’ll be in a world of hurt.

DOC
She could raise prices too, right?

JOEY
There are limits to how much she’d be able to pass through. And the on the supplier side, even though the volumes she’s doing are good — they aren’t high enough to earn price breaks.

FRANNIE
Yeah — Starbucks this isn’t.

DOC
And we’re grateful for that.

JOEY
Indeed! Though I’m sure Viv would be quite glad for the Starbucks discount.

DOC
I’m sure sweating the numbers wasn’t something she ever wanted to be doing.

FRANNIE
Yeah — It was the part she was really dreading when Mr. H turned the place over to her.

JOEY
Okay… Let’s listen in. Maybe we’ll pick up something useful.

FRANNIE
I think I’ll move in a little closer… just in case…

JOEY
You go girl!

The scene shifts to table level.

CUT TO:

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

Back at the favorite table, Viv plops herself down. Frankie breaks the ice.

FRANKIE
So you liked the movie the other night?

Viv smiles and the life seems to come back into her body.

VIV
Oh yeah. Very uplifting. Loved grandpa. Such a free spirit!

FRANKIE
Lionel Barrymore did a great job in that role.

Note: This is here for reference — clearly the scene Viv was thinking about when Sam walked in on Friday is still on her mind.

Capra's "You Can't Take It With You"

Capra’s “You Can’t Take It With You”

Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: How would you like to come over to our house and work on your gadgets?
Poppins: Your house? Well I don’t know, thank you.
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Oh go on, you’ll love it. Everybody at over at our place does just what he wants to do.
Poppins: Really?
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: Mmm-hmmmm.
Poppins: That must be wonderful. But how would I live?
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same way we do.
Poppins: The same way? Well who takes care of you?
Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff: The same One that takes care of the lilies of the field, Mr. Poppins, except that we toil a little, spin a little, have a barrel of fun. If you want to, come on over and become a lily too.

 

VIV
I loved the guy in the bank… with the rabbit invention…

FRANKIE
Oh, you mean Mr. Poppins.

VIV
Yeah. I thought it was so cool that Grandpa was like a pied piper… encouraging him to use his talents.

FRANKIE
That was a good scene. For sure, creating that enabling environment where people can be who they really are — and aspire to be — that’s the spirit of the thing.

VIV
Indeed.

FRANKIE
Excellent segue into what I wanted to talk to you about tonight.

VIV
Oh? You mean the plan?

FRANKIE
You’re getting a little ahead of things… but yeah, it’s related to the plan.

VIV
Sure. Okay. I’ll hold my tongue and let you explain.

FRANKIE
You already know that me and my buddies love it here.

VIV
Yeah, I definitely got that impression.

FRANKIE
In fact, if we were handing out Vanderhoff awards…

VIV
Named after grandpa, no doubt?

FRANKIE
Of course. You’d get the first one because of the enabling, creative environment you’ve got here.

VIV
That’s sweet of you guys.

FRANKIE
Which bring me to the plan…(pauses)… Okay, so here’s the thing. We’ve been watching you interact with the folks here… and it’s a beautiful thing. It’s just that… well…

A woman’s voice chimes in.

FRANNIE
… there’s so much more that can be done.

VIV
Wait…Frannie, right?

FRANNIE
Hey, Viv!

Before Frankie could express his disappointment, Frannie continues.

FRANNIE
Flying solo is kind of tough so we thought you wouldn’t mind a hand.

Frankie jumps in and reacts to this statement.

FRANKIE
What the… ?  I was doing fine before you showed up.

FRANNIE
I’ve always wanted to say this and now I can… It’s not all about you Frankie.

FRANKIE
Say what?

Viv’s jaw has kind of hit the ground during this exchange. Frannie notices and quickly gets the situation “righted.”

FRANNIE
I was referring to Viv. (pause) You see, Viv. You’ve got a lot on your plate and you’ve been doing this great job encouraging others — so we thought we’d kick in a little and help out.

VIV
Sounds wonderful! What did you guys have in mind?

FRANKIE
(aside to Frannie) Ah! I see where you are going… Sorry for flipping out, Frannie. Please continue.

FRANNIE
Actually, I was about to turn it back over to you… (pause) So anyway.. We were thinking that perhaps we’d help out by offering suggestions.

VIV
Suggestions? You mean giving me more work to do?

FRANNIE
No. Clueing you in on what to say or do to help someone you are wanting to help anyway.

FRANKIE
Yeah. It’s like giving you a script.

FRANNIE
You had to work in a film reference.

FRANKIE
And is that a problem because… ?

Viv jumps in to put an end to this — even though it seems kind of playful.

VIV
Suggestions? How are you going to do that?

Just then, the pile of napkins magically appear on the table.

FRANNIE
Okay, Frankie. It’s show time!

FRANKIE
Cool. Thanks Frannie. Okay, so here’s the deal…

FADE OUT.

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

Now the view shifts to above the cafe. Joey and Doc are hanging out observing.

JOEY
Good call, Doc!

DOC
Thanks, Joey!

JOEY
You were right. This has to be introduced in a way that will get Viv’s buy-in… And having Frannie there to soften it was definitely the right thing to do.

DOC
No doubt, Viv ‘ll still need to sleep on it.

JOEY
Yeah… But I think this gives us more of a chance to be able to give this approach a proper tryout.

DOC
Definitely. And I’ve got some thoughts percolating for a Plan B and Plan C… you know… just in case.

JOEY
I like the way you think ahead.

The scene fades out as Joey and Doc quietly watch Frankie and Frannie unveil the napkin plan to Viv.

********

Scene 19 – “Wednesday: Oh, You Mean Now?”

FADE IN:

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

It’s late afternoon.
From the chalkboard, the view shifts to above the cafe where Joey and Doc are observing and talking about Frankie’s game plan.

JOEY
That’s kind of weird. It’s been several days and from the looks of it, this whole Nudging Napkin… er Burma Shave thing doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

DOC
Yeah. It is awfully quiet and kind of normal… like Sunday didn’t even happen.

JOEY
You know… (pause), come to think of it, we never asked Frankie or Frannie where they left off with Viv.

DOC
She told me ‘the wheels are in motion.’ I guess since Frankie was so “gung ho,” we both figured that it would start straight away.

JOEY
Wishful thinking on both of our parts. Maybe they are strategizing on who to start with.

DOC
That makes sense. Much better to go after ‘low hanging fruit’ then to go for something way out of reach the first time out.

It’s momentarily quiet and Joey and Doc observe the scene. Then Doc speaks up.

DOC
Something tells me that today’s the day.

JOEY
Oh? Why’s that.

DOC
Just a hunch.

JOEY
Okay. Let’s just hang loose. If nothing happens, we’ll pay a visit to Frannie and see if there’s anything we can do to move this project along.

CUT TO:

INT. JEDEMI CAFE

In walks Steven. Nicole recognizes him from the previous week and smiles.

NICOLE
Good to see you again.

STEVEN
Glad to be back… I’ve been dreaming about your mocha chai…

NICOLE
Really?

STEVEN
Well… I had such a good go around for my first writing session I figured it could be attributed to that fine drink and the comfortable environment here… I really felt like I could relax and be myself…

NICOLE
So you did you get a lot of writing done last time?

STEVEN
Well… it was a good start. Lots of cobwebs to clear out. But I certainly feel more pumped up than I have for years.

NICOLE
Here you go.

Nicole had made him one the minute he walked in the door.

STEVEN
Wow! That was fast!

Nicole smiles and Steven takes a quick sip.

STEVEN
Ahh… That’s lovely. (pause) So, how is your mom? Did she enjoy her class last week?

NICOLE
I believe so. We haven’t had much of a chance to catch up. She should be in shortly.

STEVEN
I’ll keep an eye out for her.

NICOLE
Hey… it looks like your table is available.

She points to where he was sitting last time. Steven looks.

STEVEN
Excellent!

NICOLE
Enjoy your stay.

STEVEN
Thank you!  Thank you very much.

Nicole starts restocking supplies underneath the front counter while Steven heads towards the table to settle in.

We watch as he pulls out a journal and starts writing… a lot and very fast with a special sort of passion.

Then in walks Carol. She seems to be extra energetic as she’s looking around for her daughter. She sees Steven writing away and smiles. Then she feels a touch on her right elbow.

NICOLE
Ah… Can I help you?

Carol slightly jumps and then laughs.

CAROL
Of course you can. How about a…

Nicole finishes the sentence.

NICOLE
A chai with a pumpkin spice muffin.

CAROL
Oh? You have one left? This late in the day?

NICOLE
I set one aside special for you… as a ‘before school’ treat.

CAROL
You’re wonderful!

NICOLE
Funny… you aren’t the first one to tell me that. I’ll let you in on a secret.

Nicole is looking all “secretive” as she positions herself to whisper in Carol’s ear. She playfully backs off, but still whispers.

NICOLE
I just so happen to take after someone… someone you know really REALLY well as a matter of fact.

CAROL
Really?

Carol acts surprised and then smiles as Nicole steps behind the counter to make the drink. Carol stands on the opposite side of the counter and watches.

NICOLE
So, Mom. You ready for class tonight?

CAROL
Well. Sort of. I think we’re going to go through some exercises first before we really get into the nuts and bolts of things.

NICOLE
Oh?

CAROL
And it’s so hard to write on the spot. I’m glad we had take home work.

NICOLE
So… what did you write about.

CAROL
A little short story that I titled, “When Wiggles Ruled – how my daughter’s pet bunny took over our domicile.”

Nicole starts laughing.

CAROL
What?

NICOLE
I can only imagine where you went with that one.

CAROL
No imagining is necessary. I’ll let you read it…

Nicole hands her Mom the drink and holds out her other hand for the “Wiggles” story. Carol waves her off.

CAROL
Another time. Not tonight. Besides, we’ll be reading our own work out loud so I want to go over it a few more times…

NICOLE
Fine. So it sounds like you’ll be getting points for creativity and delivery?

CAROL
I certainly hope so. You know I prefer to write humorous pieces. And besides, with everyone just getting off work, they’d probably enjoy a laugh or two.

Nicole pulls the muffin out of the convection oven and places it on a plate which she hands to her mom. She’s laughing.

CAROL
What’s so funny?

Nicole is now walking Carol to an empty table not far from where Steven is sitting.

NICOLE
I was just thinking of you and that silly bunny. What made you write about him anyway?

CAROL
The teacher narrowed down potential topics to movies we’ve seen recently, sports we may have watched or participated in, or Pet Tales. Since I haven’t seen a movie in like forever and sports are a non-starter, Pet Tales seemed to fit.

NICOLE
Of course.

Nicole pulls out a chair and wipes it and the table before Carol sits down.

NICOLE
In case I don’t see you before you go, enjoy your class. Call me and let me know how it goes.

Carol smiles as she takes a sip of the chai.

CAROL
Ah… perfecto!

Nicole looks around the cafe. It’s pretty quiet at the moment.

NICOLE
(to herself) I wonder where Viv went?

With one eye on the cafe, Nicole looks towards the office. Just then Viv comes out.

VIV
Sorry about that. Just some paperwork I needed to finish. Then I made the mistake of opening the day’s mail.

NICOLE
Figured the office black hole sucked you in. (pause). It’s pretty quiet so is it okay if I…

VIV
Sure. Go ahead. I know you’ve got homework and other things you need to get caught up on.
MANNY, the helper in the afternoons walks by with a bus pan full of dishes. Viv points to Manny.

VIV
And Manny… my little work horse here has everything ready for the opening tomorrow, so we’re in great shape. In fact…

Viv waves to Nicole to move along and follows Manny towards the kitchen.

VIV
Excellent work again today. You ARE an angel. When you finish those, you can go.

Manny smiles for a minute… but then gets contemplative.

VIV
No worries… You’ll be paid for the full shift. Now…

Manny smiles and moves quickly to the back.

Viv turns back around and we watch as she walks about the cafe straightening up. Then she sees it… a napkin with writing on it: “Ask what he’s writing” Looking around she sees Carol flipping through a notebook while sipping her chai. She sees two gentlemen playing a board game and then she sees Steven scribbling away in a journal-sized notebook.

She is hesitant. Looks back down at the napkin and then over at Steven. Then she shrugs her shoulders and cautiously makes her way over towards where he is sitting. Just as she gets close, Carol calls to her.

CAROL
Oh, Viv! You are here!

Viv turns away from Steven who is clearly focused on what he’s writing, and walks towards Carol’s table.

VIV
Good to see you! Having your ‘before school’ snack?

Carol looks surprised for about a second.

VIV
Nicole told me. I’m really proud of you. Writing is tough. Taking a class is a great way to kindle those smoldering embers you’ve got inside of you.

CAROL
That’s a great way to put it.

Viv smiles.

CAROL
My daughter has probably told you that I’m a little nervous about the whole thing.

Viv motions like she’s recalling her conversation with Nicole.

VIV
No. Not at all. In fact, she just goes on and on about how super proud she is of you.

CAROL
She does? Well, I have to say that I’ve gotten quite a bit of inspiration from you and what you’ve done with this place.

Viv is beaming.

VIV
It’s a lot of work, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Carol starts gathering her things.

CAROL
Well, it’s that time… I must be off. If I’m late I won’t get a good seat. I’ve got the writing feng shui all figured out.

VIV
Oh?

CAROL
Yeah. It’s the exact opposite of your cafe — where every seat is a good seat.

Viv laughs.

VIV
Have a wonderful time!

CAROL
Thanks!

As Carol exits out the front door, Viv straightens out the table and chairs where she’d been sitting. Then she finds two napkins. One says Smoldering embers? Good one! Viv is smiling when she reads it. Then she looks at the other, which says: “Any time now.” Initially she looks puzzled and then she remembers, pulling the first napkin out of her pocket. She looks over and Steven has just closed the notebook he was writing in. And his beverage is nearly gone. She smiles and approaches the table.

VIV
All finished?

Steven looks up and sees Viv.

STEVEN
Yes. Yes, I am.

Viv reaches for the glass.

VIV
Can I get you anything else?

STEVEN
I’m fine, thanks for asking. That’s a mighty powerful drink. Like Ovaltine with a cinnamony, peppery kick.

VIV
That’s an interesting way to put it. It’s my personal favorite. By the way, the name’s Viv…
She holds out her hand. Steven stands up abruptly.

STEVEN
Oh! You’re the owner. How rude of me. Let me take that.

He reaches for the glass which Viv is holding. She moves it up and away from him.

VIV
It’s all part of the job. Besides, you’ve got better things to be doing with your time… like, perhaps writing.

STEVEN
Actually, I’m done with that too. I was figuring on getting some reading in before I headed home.
Viv smiles and gives him full eye contact with her bright blue eyes.

VIV
So… what were you writing? Are you taking a class or something?

STEVEN
Just journal stuff.

VIV
Pretty intense journal stuff, huh?

STEVEN
Yeah. I feel better that it’s out of here (pointing to his head) and into there (pointing to the notebook). Just wished I had the answer.

VIV
Answer? (pause) Mind if I…?

Steven pulls out a chair for Viv to sit just as the two board game players move towards the front door, waving goodbye.

STEVEN
Please. I’d be honored.

VIV
Now tell me. What is it that you are trying to figure out?

STEVEN
That’s a long story.

Viv looks around.

VIV
I’ve got the time, go for it.

STEVEN
Well… Our company got bought three months ago but the approvals didn’t go through until last week.
Viv nods and Steven continues.

STEVEN
I’m really worried…

VIV
For your job?

STEVEN
Well yeah and no… not exactly. It’s my boss. She’s so cool and one of the smartest, wisest person I’ve ever met. She’s close to retirement age… needs another six months and then she’ll be eligible for a pension and all kinds of benefits… but I got a bad feeling about the new owners.

VIV
A Wall Street thing?

STEVEN
No, they aren’t a public company…

VIV
I meant as in the movie — greed is good and all.

STEVEN
Oh yeah? You know your movies…

VIV
I indulge myself whenever I’m not working. You were saying…

STEVEN
The new owners have no idea how valuable that silver-haired lady is… She was the first non-engineer in the place and she really had to shepherd them to get them to deliver working products for the yearly COMDEX trade show. She had to explain to them time and time again that you couldn’t wrangle press with just a spec sheet. There was a lot more to it then that…

VIV
I believe you.

STEVEN
Yeah, well if they really want a smooth transition with no degradation of marketing materials, it would be in their best interest to pay her to stick around —

VIV
Six months, huh? That’s how much time she needs to buy?

STEVEN
Yeah. I was just writing about how I’d love to come up with some kind of project that requires Mary’s skills and know-how so that they HAVE to keep her around a bit longer.

Viv nods. Just then she hears the sound of a chair tipping over. Excusing herself, she heads around the corner to Frankie’s table and leans over to set the chair upright. While doing so, she notices more napkins. She ducks under the table to pick them up when she hears the voices of Frankie and Frannie.

###

What was on those napkins?  Check out the next episode (#10).

Thanks for reading!

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