Schoolmate Telephones from the Bus Station - by Paul Rhymer

ANNOUNCER: Well sir, we're visiting our friends who live in the small house half-way up in the next block at a very, very odd time today. It's past four o'clock in the morning, and Mr. and Mrs. Victor Gook and young Mr. Rush Gook are all in their beds fast asleep. But... listen: [telephone rings steadily a few seconds. There's a pause, and it rings again... and again... and again.]

SADE: [wakes up suddenly and calls] Yes? [telephone again] [pokes her husband] Vic.

VIC: [makes guttural noises]

SADE: Vic. [phone again]

RUSH: [off] Mom.

SADE: Vic. [calls] Yes?

RUSH: [off] Telephone's ringing.

SADE: [calls] I know it. Vic.

VIC: [gradually coming to life] Huh? [telephone rings]

SADE: Telephone.

VIC: Who?

RUSH: [off] Want me to answer it?

SADE: [calls] What?

RUSH: [off] Shall I answer it?

SADE: Yeah. [telephone again]

VIC: [to Sade] What's going on?

SADE: Telephone's ringing.

VIC: Where?

SADE: [calls] Who is it, Rush?

RUSH: [off] I haven't answered it yet.

VIC: [to Sade] What time is it?

SADE: I don't know.

VIC: Hand me my watch there on the table.

RUSH: [off a little ways] Hello? Yeah. Who?

VIC: [to Sade] Hand me my watch there on the...

SADE: Listen.

RUSH: [at telephone] Mister Gook? Missus Gook? One second, please. [calls] Mom.

SADE: [calls] Who is it?

RUSH: [approaching] They never said.

SADE: Man or lady?

RUSH: Lady.

SADE: [excited] Oh, goodness, somebody's sick. Who'd it sound like?

RUSH: [up] Didn't recognize the voice.

SADE: See if you can see my other slipper.

RUSH: Can't see nothin'. It's dark.

SADE: Vic, turn on the light.

VIC: Huh?

SADE: Turn on the light.

VIC: Who is it on the telephone?

SADE: [irritably] I don't know. Hurry up: switch on that lamp.

VIC: [switching it on] That you, Rush?

RUSH: [chuckling] Sure. I was sound asleep when that telephone started to ring. There was a little dream about bein' on the Sahara Desert going on in my brains an' that doggone bell...

SADE: Rush, will you find my other slipper?

RUSH: It's right here by the foot of the bed.

SADE: Well, hand it to a person. There's people waitin' on the phone.

VIC: Wonder who the heck it is.

SADE: Somebody sick. [to Rush] Never sounded like Aunt Bess, did it?

RUSH: I can't trust my own judgement, Mom. See, I was only half awake when I answered it an' the sound of a human voice...

SADE: [moving off] Keep quiet in here now so I can hear what they say.

VIC: [to Rush] What's the time?

RUSH: Search me.

VIC: Well, look at my watch there.

RUSH: An individual's brains are very foggy when they're awoke out of a deep sleep. Under different circumstances...

VIC: What's it say?

RUSH: Ah... four-twenty.

VIC: Holy Smoke.

SADE: [off - at phone] I'm sorry... I didn't quite catch the name. Mrs. Shuggle? Myrtle? Myrtle Frummer. [remembers Myrtle] Oh - sure. Well forevermore! [cordial, but not gushingly so] How are ya, Myrtle? My stars! Oh, fine an' dandy. Well, where are ya, Myrtle? Oh. Oh, uh-huh. Yes.

RUSH: [to Vic] Who's Myrtle Frummer?

VIC: I don't know.

RUSH: No sir. I wouldn't of guessed it was four-twenty in the morning. If I'd been called upon to approximate the time I would of said...

VIC: Be still.

SADE: [off; she's been ad libbing yesses and uh-huhs] Well, think of that. Lands, I'd just about thought you'd dropped off the face of the earth. Oh sure, often think of ya. I expect you're still located in Sioux City, Iowa? Oh, it's Niles, Michigan now, huh. Well. My, my. Yes, I guess work like that does take ya around the country a good deal.

RUSH: [to Vic] Don't sound like anybody's sick.

VIC: Ump.

RUSH: Who'd ya say Myrtle Frummer was?

VIC: I never said. I don't know.

SADE: [to phone] Oh, he's big as a house now. Oh sure - going on fifteen years old. Well, some says he looks like me an' some says he looks like his father. Vic? Fine as silk. Uh-huh.

RUSH: [to Vic] Must be some dear old friend of Mom's. I don't set myself up as the eighth wonder of the world or anything but give me a set of facts an' I can deduce...

VIC: Go on back to bed. I'm in no mood for light chit-chat at five o'clock in the morning.

SADE: [to phone] Why... a... of course. Surely, Myrtle.

RUSH: [to Vic] I bet she wants to come an' stay all night.

SADE: [approaching] Vic.

VIC: [raises voice] Yeah?

SADE: [closer] I guess you'll hafta get up an' talk over the phone.

VIC: Who is it?

SADE: [closer] Myrtle Frummer - girl I went to school with back in Dixon.

VIC: I don't know her, do I?

SADE: No. But she wants to hear the voice of the man I married.

VIC: Aw, for gosh sakes. Do you realize what time it is?

SADE: Midnight?

VIC: It's going on five o'clock in the morning.

SADE: Really?

VIC: What the heck is her half-wit idea of...

SADE: They're takin' a trip on a bus. On their way to Saint Louis. Bus stopped at the bus station outside of town where the people get out for a bite to eat an' coffee an' freshen up in the bathroom. Myrtle remembered this is the town we live in an' thought it'd be nice to telephone.

VIC: [bitterly] At four-thirty in the morning.

SADE: She never was an awful bright kid. Wasn't ever any particular friend of mine either.

VIC: I'm not gonna get up.

SADE: You got to.

VIC: Tell her I just died.

SADE: She's waitin', Vic. Ya got to treat people civilized.

VIC: People ain't treatin' me civilized. Ringing the doggone telephone at dawn like a nitwit that don't...

SADE: C'mon - here's your slippers.

VIC: Oh, my, my, my, my.

SADE: Rush, you go to talk to her... till your father gets there.

RUSH: What the heck'll I say?

SADE: I don't know, but she said she wanted to hear my little boy's voice too?

RUSH: [moving off] Shall I say I hope she has a peachy bus ride to Kansas City?

SADE: It's Saint Louis they're going to. An' her name is Myrtle Frummer. "Shuggle" is her married name.

RUSH: [off a ways] What'll I call her?

SADE: [raising voice] Mrs. Shuggle.

RUSH: [calling back] "Mrs. Shuggle, I hope you have a peachy bus right to Saint Louis"?

SADE: [calls] Yeah. [to her husband] Vic, don't just sit there on the edge of the bed. Let's get this over with.

VIC: What kind of a lunatic is the woman?

SADE: She prob'ly never stopped to think about the time. Always was kind of a scatterbrain. C'mon.

VIC: [groaning] Oh, my, my, my.

RUSH: [off] Hello? No, this is Rush. Huh? Yeah, I was named after my mother's maiden name. Uh-huh. That so?

SADE: [to Vic] Talk nice now. I don't want her to think I married a mean old bear.

VIC: Why deceive her? I am a mean old bear.

RUSH: [closer] I'm fourteen. Uh-huh. Yeah, first year. Hundred an' eleven pounds stripped. Five feet three inches. Eyes? Blue. Hair? I part it on the side.

SADE: [to Rush in low tones] All right, let Gov talk.

RUSH: [to phone] Thank you, Mrs. Buggle.

SADE: Shuggle.

RUSH: How ya mean?

SADE: Her name is Shuggle - not Buggle.

RUSH: [to phone] Yes, Mrs. Shuggle. Well, I hope you have a peachy trip to Kansas City. Now I'll connect you with my father. [to Vic] She'll wanta know what color your hair is an' how much ya weight an' how tall...

SADE: [hissing] Be still. She'll hear ya.

VIC: [to phone] Hello? Yeah. Just fine. No. I guess we never met. [negative] Uh-uh. I'm in the kitchenware business. No, I'm in the manufacturing end of the game. Yeah. No. Yeah. Oh, that so? Yeah, like to meet him some time. What? Well, don't bother now. Listen, if he's asleep let him sleep. Some other time... [to Sade] Oh, thunder, thunder, thunder.

SADE: She want ya to talk to her husband?

VIC: Yeah... an' he's out in the bus asleep.

SADE: [irritated] Lands.

VIC: She's gone out to wake him up an' bring him in.

SADE: What time'd ya say it was?

VIC: Must be a quarter to five or so.

RUSH: I'd say it was in the neighborhood of...

SADE: You hop back to bed, Rush. Liable to catch cold standin' around in your... [doorbell]

RUSH: Front doorbell.

VIC: Now what?

RUSH: Shall I go answer it? [doorbell again]

SADE: Who on earth can that be?

RUSH: I'll go answer it, huh?

SADE: Yeah. [to Vic] Nobody on the phone yet?

VIC: No. An' if this isn't the most ridiculous, outrageous...

SADE: [quickly] Where you going, Rush?

RUSH: [off a little] To my closet to get my baseball bat. I'm not gonna open the front door at this time of the night where maybe murderers an' cut-throats are prob'ly...

SADE: Come back here.

VIC: [viciously to phone] Hello, hello, hello.

SADE: He there?

VIC: No.

SADE: Well, when he answers don't you talk like that. [doorbell again]

RUSH: Mom, I'm not gonna go downstairs without a weapon. It's almost five o'clock in the morning an...

SADE: You go, Vic.

VIC: How can I? I've got to wait for this other nit-wit to come to the telephone.

SADE: Rush, go in our bedroom an' look out the front window. You can see who's on the porch from there.

RUSH: [moving off] O.K. [doorbell is heard again in the distance]

SADE: [to Vic] Who on earth can that be?

VIC: Prob'ly some dear old schoolmate of yours droppin' around with a box of fudge. Prob'ly some darling sweet cuddlesome... [to phone] Hello? Hello.

SADE: He there?

VIC: Yeah, but he's so sleepy he don't know what he's doin'.

SADE: That Myrtle Frummer always was a ninny.

VIC: [to telephone] Hello. [to Sade] He keeps mumblin' "Who is it?"

SADE: Well, tell him who it is.

VIC: [to phone] Hello, this is Vic Gook. Your wife is a friend of... What? No, not my wife - your wife. No, I don't wanta speak to your wife. I... [to Sade] Oh, what a swell time I'm havin' tonight.

SADE: What's he tryin' to...

VIC: He's gone to get his doggone wife.

RUSH: [off] Who's there? Who? Oh. Hello. [calls] Mom.

SADE: [calls] Yes?

RUSH: It's Mr. Donahue on the front porch.

SADE: What's he want?

RUSH: [off] He just got off'n a freight run an' he saw our light on an' thought somebody might be sick.

SADE: [calls] Well, tell him.

RUSH: [calls to Donahue] We're all O.K., Mr. Donahue. Some people are callin' us up on the telephone. Yeah. That's all. Thanks for stoppin' by. O.K. Good night, Mr. Donahue.

VIC: [viciously to phone] Hello, hello, hello.

SADE: Vic, stop that.

VIC: No half-wit son-of-a-gun is gonna... [to phone] Hello? [to Sade] Oh, thunder, it's the husband again. [to phone] What?

RUSH: [approaching] Pretty nice of Mr. Donahue to take such a friendly interest, huh, Mom? He said he saw the light burnin' in our bedroom an' was apprehensive...

VIC: [to phone] Well, listen, I don't wanna... [to Sade] If I ever see that guy I'm gonna choke him to death.

SADE: What's he...

VIC: He says he can't get a-hold of his wife because she's in the ladies... [to phone] Hello, I don't wanna talk to your wife. No. Why don't I? Just because I don't. I never said I was too good to talk to your wife. Hey, look here, brother, I don't know you, but if you think I'm gonna stand for that kind of talk you're badly mistaken. You've got me outa bed at... hello... hello... [clicks telephone]... hello... [to Sade] The big fat-head.

SADE: He hang up on ya?

VIC: Yeah.

SADE: Mad?

VIC: Yeah.

SADE: Maybe we can all go back to bed then.

RUSH: Mom.

SADE: What?

RUSH: This has been kinda fun.

ANNOUNCER: Which concludes another brief interlude at the small house half-way up in the next block.