Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 30, Day 206 - “An Operator Tries To Help Jim Croce Make A Call”

“An Operator Tries To Help Jim Croce Make A Call”
Written by Joe Janes
8/12/09
206 of 365

CAST
Charlie, 30s

(Lights up on Charlie, a casually dressed telephone operator wearing a headset and sitting before a computer terminal.)

CHARLIE (Into headset)
Sorry, Mr. Floyd. We keep getting disconnected from Mrs. Floyd. I think she’s hanging up- Hello? …Mr. Floyd? …Hello? (He shrugs and disconnects the call and pushes another button.) Information, Charlie speaking, city and state, please?...Los Angeles, California… (He types in the info)…Okay, how may I help you?......Sir, you having a number on a matchbook that’s old and faded - not very helpful… Is it a business or a residence?... Do you have an address or a name?...Raye? R-A-Y-E…No “e.” …Oh. …Do you have a last name?... No. I see. We’re talking Los Angeles here, Sir. I really want to help you, but there are millions of people in LA. Many of them, I’m sure, go by the name Ray. …Was Ray a celebrity? That might help narrow it down. Was it Ray Parker, Jr? Ray Romano?... Well, who is this guy?... ………Sir, if he’s your best old ex-friend and you don’t know his last name, then I can understand why he’s an ex-friend………You should know your friends well enough to know their last name. Just saying… …………Oh, it’s not him you want to talk to. …It’s your ex-girlfriend. …(Sucks air through is teeth) …Yah, that sucks. I feel really bad for you. What a dick. Are you sure it wasn’t Ray Romano?… Maybe the phone is listed under the lady’s name, what is it?...Her name, what is it?...There’s something in your eye? ………………………I’ll wait…………………Just take a deep breath, Sir…………………………I’m sure they’ll be happy to know you’re fine, but, to be honest, you don’t sound fine. ……Did you have some kind of head injury or something?... Look, I’m sorry, but I really can’t help you without more specific information. …………………Thanks for saying that……………………Sir, even if I could keep the dime, you hang on to it. I think you need it more than I do. Bye, now. (He hangs up) Put it towards some therapy or something…(Picks up a new call) Information, Charlie speaking- What? Oh. Thank God. Yes, I have that number, right here. Jenny, Jenny. 867-5309. Would you like me to connect you?

(Blackout)

In case you weren't aware of the song or would like to hear it, here's a cover of it by Strat2Caster...

7 comments:

Jeff said...

Joe, very funny...remember, you don't pull on Supermans cape, you don't spit in the wind, you don't pull the mask off the Lone Ranger and you don't mess around with Jim! Thanks for teaching the writing class on Monday! Jeff ambrose

GarinT said...

Solid soloness with a reference bow on top.

In light of your 206th script, I googled "206". Did you know Taishi Ci, a general during the Three Kingdoms dynasty in China, died in the year 206? Fascinating, but moreso irrelevant.

159 more to go. Like the Alfa Romero 159, which is available in both front and four wheel drive.

Chris Othic said...

Love the idea, but I feel like this brushes up against the song when it could parallel it a bit more. Looking at the lyrics, I think there is room for the operator to react to some more things. The lines that always stick to me from the song are "Isn't that the way they say it goes" and "That's not the way it feels."

I think if you rewrote this you could try and pair some of these up with responses from the operator.

I also wonder if Charlie should just refer to himself as Operator?

And one more, during the chorus, I know the lyrics speed up. I'd think the Operator would have to react to this, as Croce is sort of just rambling on to himself and not talking directly to the operator. You might want to address this.

Love the Jenny out. Love it!

Lastly, here are the lyrics if anyone doesn't want to [have to] listen to this awesome song (which is also my weapon of choice in the karaoke department!):

Operator, oh could you help me place this call
You see the number on the matchbook is old and faded
She's livin' in l.a.
With my best old ex-friend ray
A guy she said she knew well and sometimes hated

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So i can call just to tell them i'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels

Operator, oh could you help me place this call
'cause i can't read the number that you just gave me
There's something in my eye's
You know it happens every time
I think about the love that i thought would save me

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So i can call just to tell them i'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels

Operator, oh let's forget about this call
There's no one there i really wanted to talk you
Thank you for your time
Oh you've been so much more than kind
And you can keep the dime

Isn't that the way they say it goes
But let's forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So i can call just to tell them i'm fine and to show
I've overcome the blow
I've learned to take it well
I only wish my words could just convince myself
That it just wasn't real
But that's not the way it feels

Jason said...

Please tell me that when this gets staged, there will be a way to get Bob Newhart to do it.

Joe Janes said...

Jason - I was thinking Newhart or Shelly Berman.

Chris - I think trying to nail the monologue too directly to the song might eff up the pacing and make it too predictable. I prefer to think of this as the incident that inspired Croce to write the song.

Alibear said...

Since I adore Jim Croce, this just made me giggle endlessly. Especially the Ray Romano line. Well done!

Anonymous said...

I wish I could hear it!! Huge Jim Croce fan, and know every word to that song. Will try to hear it ona different computer.