Written by Joe Janes
163 of 365
Fred “Gronk” Stephens, 50s
Sheila “Oola” Stephens, 40s
Bob Wilson, 50s (offstage)
Jingle singers (offstage)
(Lights up on Fred “Gronk” Stephens sitting at the bar of the Here We Are Lounge. He’s dressed in casual business clothes with his shirt unbuttoned one too many buttons. He is also holding his Gronk club from the commercials. Carmichael is behind the bar. Seated not too far off are Natalie and Dawn, two female flight attendants having a drink. Fred is keeping an eye on a television mounted somewhere above where the audience would be.)
FRED (to Carmichael)It’s on, it’s on. Turn it up.
(Carmichael rubs his fingers together. Fred sighs and slips him a bill. Carmichael grabs the remote and turns up the volume. We hear…)
OOLA (off)Our new carpet from The Carpet Cave makes my feet happy. What do you think, Gronk?
GRONK (off)Gronk says…that’sa nice!
(The two flight attendants look at the TV strangely since the volume wasn’t up at all before.)
JINGLE (off)If your carpet makes you feel like a slave/Time to go spelunking at The Carpet Cave.
BOB WILSON (off)Stop by this weekend for our “Used To Be White” Sale! It’s rug-tacular!
(Fred waves for Carmichael to turn it down. He does. Fred waves him on to continue with their shtick. Carmichael rubs his fingers, again. Fred slips him another ten.)
CARMICHAELThat is my favorite commercial of all time. Did you see that ladies? Wasn’t that hysterical? With Gronk? Cracks me up every time I see it.
(They smile politely at him and resume their conversation. Fred waves Carmichael on, again.)
CARMICHAEL (continuing)Oh, my God! It’s you! I can’t believe it! I’ve got a celebrity, here. You are the man! I can’t believe you’re in my bar. Check it out, everybody! (The flight attendants are the only two there.) It’s him! It’s him!
CARMICHAELDon’t you recognize him?
FREDPlease, bartender, you’re embarrassing me.
DAWNI’m sorry, I don’t. Should we know you?
CARMICHAELIt’s Gronk. The caveman from the carpet commercials. This guy’s a star. Hey, let me buy you a drink, Gronk.
FREDPlease, call me Fred.
CARMICHAELWhat’ll it be, Fred?
FREDUh, ladies, what are you having?
NATALIEWe’re drinking cosmopolitans.
FREDThree cosmopolitans, bartender.
CARMICHAEL (pissed it went from one drink to three)Sure. Coming right up.
(Carmichael gets to making the drinks. Fred, his cash still in hand, walks over to Dawn and Natalie.)
FREDSo, what brings you ladies out to the Here We Are Lounge on a Tuesday night?
DAWNJust having a stay over in the Red Roof Inn courtesy of Northwest Airlines. We head back to Cincinnati tomorrow.
FREDSounds exciting. Out to do a little partying while in Nebraska.
NATALIEWell, you know, when in Rome.
(Carmichael comes over with three cosmos. He sets them down on the table.)
CARMICHAELThree cosmopolitans on the house.
DAWNThank you very much.
NATALIEVery nice of you.
FREDHey, let’s have a toast.
(Carmichael stands by waiting. The ladies notice and then Fred does, too.)
FRED (continuing)Oh, of course. Here you are, bartender. A little something something.
(Fred peels a bill off his cash. Carmichael tries to take the remaining larger wad of money, but Fred does not let go. After a quick tug of war, Fred wins, and hands Carmichael the two bills.)
CARMICHAELYou let me know if you need anything else, Fred.
(Carmichael walks away.)
FREDHang on to this for me.
(Fred tosses Carmichael his club. Carmichael heads to behind the bar.)
FREDWhere were we?
DAWNWhy do you just happen to have your caveman club with you at a bar, Fred?
FREDWhat? Oh. That. I just came from St Jude’s down the street. Visiting some sick, burned, horribly disfigured children. They love the Gronk. I do a lot of charity work.
NATALIEThat’s so sweet of you.
FREDYes, it is. So, any way, a toast!
(They raise their glasses.)
FRED (continuing)To two of the most lovely Florence Nightingales of the clouds.
(They clink glasses and sip. Fred grabs a chair and pulls up near them.)
DAWNWhy don’t you join us?
FREDI am charmed.
NATALIEYou must be a real big deal around here.
FREDOh, you know, some people get excited when they meet a television personality, but I’m really just an ordinary man with ordinary needs.
NATALIEThat’s so cool. You’re on TV and everyone knows who you are.
DAWNThe bartender almost had a coronary.
FREDI run into fans all the time. Gronk! Gronk! Say it, say it!
FREDOh, you know, that tag in the commercial. It’s like my catchphrase. “Gronk says bonk!” Silly really. You never know what’s going to strike the fancy of the public. People seem to love me.
DAWNHow long have you been Gronking it?
FREDOh, years. Years. I own The Carpet Cave. I do all my commercials. Write them, star in them, direct them. The jingle’s new, wrote that, too. Catchy, hunh?
NATALIEWow. You’re like somebody famous whose name I can’t think of.
NATALIEI don’t know who that is.
DAWNWho was the woman in the commercial?
FREDJust a local actress.
DAWNShe looked really pissed at the end when you hit her that last time.
FREDJust acting. I actually ad-libbed that part. Felt right for the character.
DAWNIs she your wife?
FREDWhat? No, no. Never. I’m not married. She’s just a local actress and not a very good one. Doesn’t know how to “roll with it,” you know. That was her last commercial with me. Ever.
FREDQuit? No, no. I don’t know what you heard from the internet gossipers, but I fired her. Gave her a shot and she blew it. It’s a shame you two ladies aren’t in town longer. I’m shooting another spot – we call them spots in the biz – tomorrow and could always use another cave lady or two. And tomorrow night, I’m doing my one man “Odd Couple” at the local theater guild. It will probably sell out, but I could get you some VIP seats.
NATALIEOh, poo. Our flight back is at nine am.
FREDAre you working or just flying back?
NATALIEJust flying back.
FREDMaybe you can get a later flight.
DAWNI think the one after that is at 2pm, but then there’s not another until the day after tomorrow.
(Sheila “Oola” Stephens enters, sees Fred and heads over to the bar.)
FREDWell, I’ll tell you what. I can move our shoot – we call it a shoot in the biz – to earlier in the morning. We could rehearse tonight so you’re all ready to go for the cameras. You’re at the Red Roof Inn, you say?
(Shelia makes the same waving gesture to Carmichael that Fred did with out looking at him. Carmichael hands her the club.)
NATALIEI’ve always wanted to be a movie star.
FREDThis is so much like that, let me tell you-
(Sheila smacks Fred hard over the head with the club.)
SHEILATime to come back to the cave, Gronk.
FRED (getting up)Sheila, honey, I was just talking to some fans.
SHEILARight. Lose your wedding ring signing autographs?
FREDUh, hey, whaddya know-
(Sheila grabs his hair or ear and starts to drag him out.)
SHEILALet’s go, Gronk.
FREDBut, I might have lost my ring here.
SHEILAThe light’s better at home. We can have the kids help us look for it.
NATALIEI wanted to be a movie star.
DAWNSorry your dream got crushed.
CARMICHAELLadies, I have a video camera back in the storage room. I could make you an internet star over night.
DAWNUnless your club’s as big as Gronk’s, not interested.
(Natalie and Dawn clink glasses. Lights.)