Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 36, Day 249 - "Typewriter Repair"

“Typewriter Repair”

Written by Joe Janes

9/24/09

249 of 365

CAST

Oswald, 60s

Ike, 30s

George, 40s

(Lights up on Oswald looking down through reading glasses working on the keys of an old typewriter. We hear a store bell ding as George walks in through the door. He is wearing an iPod. Oswald gives him a look. George nods and looks around the small store a bit.)

OSWALD

That’s a 1922 Underwood.

GEORGE (taking out ear buds)

It’s beautiful.

OSWALD

It’s a 1922 Underwood.

GEORGE

I feel like there should be an old candlestick phone right next to it. “Got a hot one for you, Mack - Governor and Mistress Caught in Love Nest. Stop the presses.” (He nods to himself) You restore these?

OSWALD

Restore and repair. Need a typewriter repaired?

GEORGE

Wish I did. Been by this place a million times. Looked in your window and decided, “What the hell?” I had an electric portable one in college. A Royal. Quite the popular guy on my dorm room floor. Everyone wanted to borrow it. A guy named Ted broke it.

OSWALD (pointing)

Did it look like that one?

GEORGE

Yep. Sure as hell did. Wow. Mine was dark blue, but this. Takes me back. So, this is what you do.

OSWALD

This is what I’ve always done.

GEORGE

All by yourself?

OSWALD

My son helps.

GEORGE

This is so great. You do this one thing, that you love, right?

OSWALD

That’s why I do it.

GEORGE

I don’t do anything.

OSWALD

Everybody does something.

GEORGE

Nothing like this. Not everybody gets to do something like this.

OSWALD

Not like I’m turning people away at the door.

GEORGE

But you make a living, right? You support yourself.

OSWALD

I sleep in the back.

GEORGE

In the back of the place where you get to do the thing you really love to do.

OSWALD

Guess so.

(Ike enters carrying take out. He is dressed almost identically to Oswald and wears similar glasses.)

IKE

I got us some gyros.

OSWALD

Jesus, Ike. Why not just take an eggbeater to my guts? Or just throw it in the toilet, because that’s where it will be in twenty minutes.

IKE

Hey. Whoever gets lunch gets to decide lunch. And, besides it’s cheap and next door.

OSWALD

Cheap and next door. Like your mother. (They laugh and then turn serious) God rest her soul.

IKE

God rest her soul.

GEORGE

You two are father and son?

IKE

Yep.

GEORGE

Man, this place just gets cooler and cooler. You do what you love and you’re passing your legacy on to your son.

(Ike and Oswald look at one another like George is crazy.)

GEORGE (continuing)

Typewriters. These are all like sculptures, works of art. I bet when they first came out, printers were crapping their pants.

OSWALD

How’s that?

GEORGE

You know, new technology. People could do what they do, but on their own.

(Ike shrugs.)

GEORGE (continuing)

Like computers today and how they’re killing newspapers. I can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper. Hey, how much is this old Royal.

IKE

Seventy-five dollars.

GEORGE

Really? That’s what I paid for it in college.

OSWALD

Too much?

GEORGE

I thought it would be more, being an antique and all.

OSWALD

Well, it’s electric.

IKE

Not as much call for those.

OSWALD

And it did drop in value over the years. Now, since I restored it, the price crept back up to what it used to be worth.

IKE

Goes in cycles. Like life.

OSWALD

Like a looping typewriter ribbon.

GEORGE

Wow. You just blew my mind. I’ll get this. I’ll get this.

(Oswald, who has continued working on the typewriter in front of him, directs Ike to go get it. Ike puts down his gyro and brings the typewriter back to the counter. They conduct their transaction as they talk.)

GEORGE (continuing)

Why typewriters?

OSWALD

I love typewriters.

GEORGE

I know. I get that. But why? How did you know, “Hey… typewriters.”

OSWALD

Some people do cars. Some people do model trains. Electronics. For me, it’s the smell of the oil, the clack of the keys, the weight, the elegance of the lines. The pure human-driven mechanics of it. On these old ones. There’s no battery. The only battery is the brain. “War and Peace” was written on a typewriter. Lots of great novels were. Important documents, too. Peace treaties. There was no cutting or pasting or deleting. There was trying to get it right, thinking it through, thinking ahead and making big, sloppy messes.

IKE

What’s not to love?

(George picks up his typewriter and heads to the door.)

GEORGE

I’ll be back. And I’ll tell my friends.

(He nods and exits.)

OSWALD (looking at typewriter)

Is he gone?

IKE

He’s looking in the front window.

(Ike waves hesitantly. Oswald takes his gyro and holds it up.)

OSWALD

Eat this or throw it in the toilet. Ike shrugs and takes it. Lights fade as Oswald sneaks a look up at the window and does a small wave.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I liked it a lot up until the end... What if the typewriter shop were a front for drugs, or prostitution, or some twist at the end? Or, I know it was just curiousity that piqued him to go into the shop, but what if he had more of a reason, like maybe doing a business census for the city, and stuck in a dead end job and it lends himself to romanticizing the typewriter repair shop? Or, he could be a yellow book phonebook salesman trying to sell advertising for the shop, and fewer and fewer people advertise in yellowbook nowadays, just like fewer and few people buy typewriters.

Joe Janes said...

I think he is stuck in a dead end job which is why he's so fascinated with them. I do like the idea of him being there to try to sell them an ad in the phonebook. That's brilliant.

Aly said...

Thanks Joe, now I'll take credit for being 'Anon." It was me, and as I was not logged into my account I had to post Anon. Looking forward to the rewrite. If you need a Subject Matter Expert I've sold too much advertising to think about, though thankfully no yellow pages. It's a tough sell.