Written by Joe Janes
191 of 365
(Lights up on Jack wearing a tucked in polo shirt and khaki pants. His belly barely keeps from spilling over his belt buckle. He carries a nice brief case and has a blue tooth phone in one ear.)
JACK (on phone)Stall them, Mickey… I’m just outside. I’ll be in in a few minutes... Get ‘em some coffee, get ‘em some blow jobs, I don’t care. …Don’t lecture me on how important this is. I know how important this is.
(Thomas, a young, black man carrying a milk crate, a rag and a few bottles of shoe polish walks out.)
THOMASShine your shoes?
JACKThomas!...I have to go. (He hangs up his blue tooth.) Thomas! Do me. Here’s five bucks. I’ve been waiting for you. (He hands Thomas a five-dollar bill.)
THOMASSure thing. (He starts to shine Jack’s shoes.) How’s your day been going?
JACKBetter now that you’re here. I was about to crap my pants if you didn’t show up.
THOMASWell, I know I do good work…
JACKYou have no idea how valuable your work is. This is going to be my lucky day. Have you made enough money to go to school, yet?
THOMASI’ve been taking night classes. Still a few years off from getting an associate’s degree-
JACK-in Business Administration. (Thomas looks at him quizzically) You don’t remember me, do you?
THOMASYou look kind of familiar…
JACKI’m a businessman. A year ago. Almost to the day. Right on this spot. You shined my shoes before I gave a big sales presentation in that building.
THOMASI shine lots of shoes, Mister.
JACKCall me Jack. Call me Jack… I got that big sale. Saved my ass. Saved the company’s ass.
THOMASCongratulations. I’m sure that had everything to do with my excellent shoe shining skills.
JACKIt sort of did. The CEO complimented me on my shoes. Before he even shook my hand. I think he’s got some kind of shoe fixation or something. Anyway, from that point on, I could do no wrong with that guy. They’re back today to discuss whether or not to renew with us.
THOMASI see. So, I am an integral part of your strategy to win another sale.
JACKDoesn’t hurt. I just know that if I went in there and lost the sale without getting a shine from you, I’d cut off my feet to spite my face.
(Jack finishes one shoe, but hesitates before doing the other.)
JACK (continuing)What’s the matter?
THOMASOh. Did you want both shoes done?
JACKYes! Of course I do.
THOMASBecause, you only gave me five bucks. It’s been a year. My rates have changed.
JACK (taking out wallet)How much is it, now?
THOMASWell, it’s five bucks for the first shoe, five thousand for the second.
JACKThomas! You can’t do this to me. I’m already late for the sales meeting.
THOMASBe a shame for you to walk in there with only one shiny, shiny shoe. What would a CEO make of that?
JACKYou’re trying to rob me.
THOMASJust providing a valuable service.
(Jack’s phone rings.)
JACK (on phone)I’ll be there in a second, Mickey!... I’m getting my shoes shined, but don’t tell them that! Tell them I’m stuck in traffic. …What! Are you serious? God dimmit. (He hangs up and waves up to the building across the street. Thomas notices and waves, too.) Well, at least the CEO gave me a thumbs up. That’s a good sign.
THOMASBet he’s wondering why I haven’t done the other shoe, yet.
JACK (smiling through his teeth)All right, cocksucker. Here’s how we’re going to play this. You finish my other shoe, I go in there and make the sale, I come back out and we transfer five grand into your bank account. You okay with that?
(Thomas starts to quickly polish the other shoe.)
THOMASGive me your wallet.
JACKI’m not giving you my wallet.
THOMASFor security. How am I supposed to know you’ll come back? Especially if you don’t make the sale.
JACKYou’ll just have to trust me.
THOMASYou’ll just have to trust me that I won’t spill this bottle of black polish onto your oxblood dress shoes.
(Jack quickly stoops and slaps his wallet into Thomas’s hands as if he were shaking them; all the while still aware he’s being watched.)
JACKHere you go, Thomas. Meet me back here in an hour. You better be here.
THOMASHey, I’m not a thief.
(Jack exits, smiling and waving to the building.)
THOMAS (taking the cash out of the wallet and pocketing it)I’m a businessman.