Written by Joe Janes
57 out of 365
(Lights up on Melinda and William sitting at a table in the office break room.)
WILLIAMAs you can see, Melinda, they really want to make it so you don’t ever have to leave the office.
MELINDAI see, William. I never saw a vending machine before that doled out stamps and bus passes. And even has a mailbox.
WILLIAMThere’s food, too, including frozen entrees. I prefer to pack my own lunch.
(He takes out a small paper bag and takes a sandwich out of it.)
MELINDAMe, too. (She takes out a more professional looking lunchbox and unzips it.) Is that peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat wrapped in wax paper?
MELINDAThat’s what I have, too. Creamy or crunchy?
WILLIAMCrunchy, of course.
WILLIAMWell, isn’t that something?
MELINDAI think I’m really going to enjoy working here, William. I really do.
WILLIAMThat’s good, Melinda. I’m glad to hear that.
MELINDAEveryone seems so nice.
WILLIAMEveryone is. Almost everyone.
WILLIAMOh, darn it.
MELINDAWhat is it?
GARYHey, Schnauzer Balls. Who’s the new chick?
WILLIAM (not looking at him)The lady is Melinda. This is Gary.
GARYHello, Melinda. Has Schnauzer Balls shown you the copy room, yet?
GARYWell, if you want a man to show you where everything goes, just let me know. I’ll show you all the ins and outs. What’s for lunch, Schnauzer Balls? (Gary grabs William’s lunch sack and starts looking through it.) Carrot sticks, apple, Little Debbie. Keep the carrot sticks. (Throws them on the table) But give me the PB & J. (Gary holds his hand out. William hands Gary the sandwich. Gary takes it and sticks his hand out, again. William takes the piece of sandwich in his mouth and puts it in Gary’s hand.) Bon appétit!
(Gary goes to another table, sits and begins eating.)
MELINDAThat was so rude!
WILLIAMNo, Melinda, it’s all right.
MELINDAHe took your lunch, William. It is not all right.
WILLIAMYes, it is. Yes, it is. The joke’s on him. I anticipated his hijinks. I brought two lunches. (William produces a second paper lunch bag. Gary reaches over and grabs that bag, too.) Shoot!
(Melinda gets up and stands next to Gary.)
MELINDAJust who do you think you are?
MELINDAWhere do you get off taking people’s lunches, Gary?
GARYWho are you? His mommy? Hey, Schnauzer Balls, tell your mommy to back off.
(Gary stands up and gets in Melinda’s face. She doesn’t back off.)
WILLIAMOkay, okay. (He gets up and wedges himself uncomfortably in between them.) No need for that. We’re all professionals. Let’s just go back to our own tables and eat our lunches quietly.
GARYTell your woman she needs to learn to keep her nose out of other people’s business.
WILLIAMMy woman? Sure, I’ll tell her.
MELINDAShut up, William.
MELINDA (returning to her seat)You can bully William all you like, but don’t ever try that with me.
GARY“William” doesn’t mind. Do you, “William”?
WILLIAMNah…It’s all in fun. (Melinda looks at him) Maybe. I do. A little, I do, Gary. I mind.
GARYYou do? You don’t want to give me your lunches anymore?
WILLIAMI don’t think I ever technically gave them to you or wanted to?
GARYYou calling me a thief? You want to step outside?
WILLIAMWe’re on the fiftieth floor.
GARYSo? You chicken? (makes chicken sounds)
MELINDAYou two are driving me crazy. This isn’t the playground. We’re adults. Grow up. Stop taking his lunches and you stop letting him. What’s Gary going to do? Beat you up?
MELINDAWell, he can’t. It’s against the law; you can have him arrested for assault. You can have him fired for even threatening you. Report him to the HR director.
WILLIAMHe is the HR director.
MELINDA (to Gary)Then you should be ashamed of yourself.
(Gary gets up and walks to their table.)
GARYTell you what, William. You work on growing a pair and I’ll work on being less of a bully. Let me buy you a frozen entrée from the vending machine. Seriously. My treat. Whatever you want. What do you say?
(He escorts William off.)
MELINDAThat’s much better.
GARY (off)Which one do you want?
WILLIAM (off)Oh, I don’t know. The Turkey Tetrazzini Lean Cuisine looks good.
GARY (off)Which one?
WILLIAM (off)This one down here…Oh.
(William wobbles back to his chair.)
MELINDADid he buy your lunch?
WILLIAMChange of plans. Gave me a wedgie, instead.
GARY (off)See you tomorrow Schnauzer nuts! And no more carrot sticks!