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PROMISE  7'1m2f Integrity: doing the right thing when it hurts

(scene: a bench or three chairs side-by-side facing audience)

MAN -- (enters dressed in suit, with red rose in lapel, carrying 
suitcase, crosses to bench, puts down suitcase, looks at watch, 
paces, looks at watch repeatedly, sits)

BAGLADY -- (enters wearing dirty, tattered clothes, carrying 
several bulging shopping bags, sits on other end of bench) Must 
be a hot date.

MAN -- Excuse me?

BAGLADY -- I say, it must be a hot date you're waiting for. 
You're wearing aftershave.

MAN -- (stands, paces) Yes, as a matter of fact, I am waiting 
for a date. (feels face) You don't think I put on TOO MUCH 
aftershave, do you?

BAGLADY -- No. Not at all. I just mentioned it because you 
smelled nice. (notices suitcase) She must be a looker.

MAN -- (distracted looking at watch, looking around) Huh?

BAGLADY -- I say, she must be a looker.

MAN -- How do you know?

BAGLADY -- (point to Man's suitcase) The suitcase. When a man 
takes the train all the way to the city for a date, the woman 
has to be a looker.

MAN -- (distracted) Yes, I... I suppose she is.

BAGLADY -- You suppose? Which is it? Is she a looker or isn't 
she?

MAN -- Well, actually, I've never met her.

BAGLADY -- A blind date then?

MAN -- Well, sort of. We've been communicating over the 
internet, through emails and chat rooms. (looks at watch) I 
wonder if she got cold feet.

BAGLADY -- So, you don't even know what this woman looks like?

MAN -- No. We decided not to exchange pictures. 

BAGLADY -- How you going to know this woman when she shows up?

MAN -- I told her I'd be wearing a red rose in my lapel. She 
said she'd be holding a CD ROM.

BAGLADY -- Say what?

MAN -- A CD ROM. Kind of like a music compact disc, but it has a 
computer program on it.

BAGLADY -- How romantic.

MAN -- She thought it would be appropriate, since we both like 
computers. (looks at watch) I'll bet she took one look at me and 
headed for the exit.

BAGLADY -- Or maybe she's just sizing you up.

MAN -- You think so?

BAGLADY -- It's what I would do. For all she knows, you could be 
a serial killer.

MAN -- (sits quickly) You're right. She's sizing me up and here 
I am pacing the floor like a school boy.

BAGLADY -- How come you never exchanged pictures with this 
woman?

MAN -- I never felt the need to. I fell in love with her 
writing. I could tell by her word choices that she's warm, 
sensitive and caring. We see eye to eye on everything. I mean, 
she's the perfect woman for me. It didn't even occur to me to 
ask for a picture until we had been writing to each other for 
two months.

BAGLADY -- So, why didn't you ask her for a picture then?

MAN -- Because I already knew what she looked like.

BAGLADY -- Without seeing her picture?

MAN -- It's kind of hard to explain. Didn't you ever hear 
someone on the radio and get a mental picture of what they look 
like?

BAGLADY -- Yeah, I did. I once pictured this talk show host and 
then saw him in person. My picture was off by one hundred pounds 
and thirty years.

MAN -- (stands, paces) Oh, dear. I never even considered the 
possibility that she could be anything but drop-dead gorgeous! 

BAGLADY -- Is physical appearance all that important to you?

MAN -- It didn't use to be. But that was when I pictured her as 
drop-dead gorgeous. On the other hand, what would a drop-dead 
gorgeous woman see in a guy like me?

BAGLADY -- What if this woman turned out to be really, really 
ugly? 

MAN -- I don't know. I... I don't know why I'm so obsessed with 
outward appearance now. I told her that integrity is the most 
important thing to me, that a person should do the right thing, 
even when it hurts.

BAGLADY -- You ready to put your money where your mouth is?

MAN -- Why? (stops pacing) What do you mean?

BAGLADY -- (points) There's a woman coming this way.

MAN -- (stands with back to Woman, slicking hair, straightening 
jacket) Oh, dear, I've looked forward to this day. And now that 
it's here I wish I could hide. Tell me, is she, you know, 
pretty?

BAGLADY -- I'd say, more like drop-dead gorgeous. 

MAN -- You're sure she's coming this way?

BAGLADY -- Yes. I'm sure.

MAN -- (deep breath) Wish me luck. (deep breath)

BAGLADY -- Good luck.

MAN -- Here goes. (deep breath, turns) 

WOMAN -- (very attractive, well-dressed, enters)

MAN -- (approaches) Hi, I'm... I'm....

WOMAN -- You're what?

MAN -- I'm absolutely speechless! You're even more beautiful 
than I imagined.

WOMAN -- (laughs) You're very kind. Do you say that to all the 
passengers in the terminal?

MAN -- Oh. Ah, no. I'm sorry. I'm... (points to red rose in 
lapel) I'm Bob, and I promised to buy you dinner across the 
street at the Rainbow Grill.

WOMAN -- Me? You promised to buy ME dinner? 

MAN -- Yes, I'm the one you've been corresponding with over the 
internet. I was suppose to wear a red rose in my lapel (points) 
and you were supposed to be carrying a CD ROM.

WOMAN -- The Rainbow Grill is a nice restaurant. It's a shame 
(holds up hands to show they're empty) I don't have a CD ROM. 

MAN -- You don't?

WOMAN -- No. 

MAN -- Oh, this is really embarrassing! You probably think I'm a 
little weird asking a total stranger to dinner.

WOMAN -- Not at all. You've obviously mistaken me for someone 
else. 

MAN -- (looks around) Listen, it looks like my blind date stood 
me up. I came all the way to the city to have dinner. Let me buy 
you dinner. (shows palms of hands) No hanky panky.

WOMAN -- Sure. Why not?

MAN -- (points over shoulder) Let me get my bag. (turns, picks 
up suitcase)

BAGLADY -- (pulls CD ROM from bag waves it) 

MAN -- (gasps, straightens, drops suitcase, pause) That wouldn't 
just happen to be a CD ROM, would it?

BAGLADY -- Yes, I guess it is.

WOMAN -- Looks like a CD ROM to me. (turns, exits)

MAN -- (turns, reaches for Woman unsuccessfully) 

BAGLADY -- You can still catch her if you hurry. I'll 
understand.

MAN -- (deep breath, turns, forces smile) No. Don't be silly. I 
only asked her to dinner because I thought you... (grabs 
suitcase) Well, let's get going. We have reservations at the 
Rainbow Grill.

BAGLADY -- Honestly, Bob, you wouldn't hurt my feelings at all 
if you chose her instead. Go! Hurry! You can still catch her.

MAN -- No. Come. (extends hand) Dinner awaits.

BAGLADY -- (stands, hands Man the CD ROM) Here you go.

MAN -- What's this for?

BAGLADY -- You can give it back to that lady. She gave me twenty 
bucks to size you up. She said that if you insisted on doing the 
right thing even though it hurts, she would meet you for dinner 
at the Rainbow Grill. (exits silently)

MAN -- You're kidding. (turns) She said that? (turns) Isn't that 
something? (turns, studies CD ROM as he exits after Woman) 
Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't hurt at all.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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