The story focuses on a woman (PENNY), whose newly acquired more-than-gently used car is stalled and her saga to get it moved out of a busy intersection. Her cell phone dead and unable to contact the car dealer, she is forced to use a public phone that is otherwise in use by a female, and a verbal battle of wits ensues between them.
by Eleanor Tylbor
CAST OF CHARACTERS
PENNY FLOWERS, Owner of “the lemon
FEMALE PHONE USER, (‘F.P.U.’) user of public phone stand
PENNYI don’t believe this! How many more things can go wrong, today?
Aside to Female Phone User: 'Scuse me, lady, but I gotta use that phone!’
PENNY looks off into the distance and makes obscene gesture with finger
‘Blow it out your nose, idiots! You'll get more out of it!' This is so typical. Finally, I get a cell phone and forget to charge the battery.
SPEAKING TO PERSON USING PHONE:‘Scuse me? Are you going to be much longer?’
FEMALE PHONE USER (F.P.U.)
Do you mind? I’m almost finished. Why don’t you use your cell phone?
PENNYUh duhhh! Don'cha think I would if I could? It's broken –just like your fingers could be if I can’t use that phone like… now
F.P.U..Are you threatening me with bodily harm? Oh gawd – a nut case! I attract them all!
PENNYI’m merely venting, silly lady, at least for the time being but things could change if I don’t get to use that phone! Perhaps I should explain so you’ll be sympathetic to my dilemma. D'ya see that car over there?
F.P.U.Like, who cares, you crazy woman!
ASIDE TO PERSON ON PHONE: “Chloe, if anything happens to me, call my parents and tell them that I love them. Oh and you can tell my sister she can have my Manolo Blahnik Shoes.’
PENNYHumor me for thirty seconds. Over there – see the car?
F.P.U.You mean that orange-colored wreck? That’s - yours? I’d keep it to myself if I was you
PENNYI bought the rusting chunk of junk a week ago and it died on me, today. There’s a sucker born every minute and the dealer saw a big red “S” right here on my forehead
F.P.U.Okay. I see your car. Now can I finish my conversation? The more you interrupt – the longer it’ll take
F.P.U. turns away. PENNY taps her on the back
PENNYPerhaps I’m not making myself clear. I'm not a violent person by nature - not at all but you’re pushing my buttons! Wait – I made a joke - get it? Public phone stand? Push the buttons? In my personal angst, I still manage to find humor. I’m a survivor alright!
(talking into phone softly)
‘Chloe? Don’t hang up on me, yet! I want proof if this nut case attacks me.’
PENNYYou strike me as a relatively sensible person…um…um… You do have a name?
F.P.U..Like I would tell it to a weirdo like you, who not two minutes ago threatened me with bodily harm
SPEAKS ON PHONE: ‘Are you still there, Chloe? I might need you to call the police’
PENNYDo you appreciate how much time that has been wasted? Precious time I could have spent speaking to my car dealer but you insisted on staking out your territory here
F.P.U.SPEAKS ON PHONE: ‘Get ready to call 911! I mean it!’
PENNYThere's no need for that. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you that I'm normally a sane person who rarely loses my temper, but my back’s against the wall!
PENNY reaches over and grabs phone
PENNY SPEAKS ON PHONE: ‘Hello Chloe? She’ll call you right back.’
There! Your conversation is now over
F.P.U.How dare you!
PENNYHow dare I? How dare I, you ask? How many times did I tell you that I hadda make a desperate phone call, but did you listen? Nooooo! Your phone conversation took precedent over my needs, so I took things into my own hands in the true sense of the word. If you don’t mind, I’d like some privacy so block your ears and turn away. Better still, go away
F.P.U.Excuse me? After the way you interrupted my conversation? I think not
PENNYLet me see here…where’s my phone directory? This purse is so big, everything gets lost inside… So this is where my salami sandwich went. Phew! Kind’a stinks. Then again, it is two weeks old. Would you mind tossing it into the trash can over there?
FPUI think not! Why don’t you go throw it in yourself? It’s only mere few feet away. Wouldn’t take you long
PENNYYou think I’m an idiot?
FPUThe thought did cross my mind in addition to being insane
PENNYI take one step away from here and you jump in and take over control of the phone, again. I think not! I’ll just put it back in my purse and toss it later on, when you’re not around
FPUThat is like, so disgusting! You’re gonna contaminate the phone! I’m gonna vomit!
PENNYDon’t let me stop you. Let’s see here…where is the number of my dealership. I should’a filed it under “losers”. Here it is
PENNY pushes buttons
TALKS ON PHONE:
‘Tony please. Tony Mozarelle. He what?’
ASIDE TO F.P.U.:This is just my luck! They’re telling me my salesman has disappeared. Flown the coop. Taken wing as it was
F.P.U.Oh well. Tough luck. Is it my turn, now?
PENNYNot yet but soon. Oh the angst of it all!
PENNY continues her phone conversation
PENNYTALKS ON THE PHONE: ‘I'm a client of that place you laughingly call a dealership. Oh they warned me not to buy anything from you but did I listen? Nooo! Instead I go ahead and end up with this…this…clunker blocking the middle of a busy intersection! I-demand-satisfaction! Hello? Hello?’
ASIDE TO F.P.U: Do you believe she hung up on me? People are so rude these days
(softly and politely)ON THE PHONE: ‘Please don’t hang up. It’s been a day in hell and I’m asking for your indulgence and forgiveness. Now, would it be possible to speak to your wonderful manager? And his name would be…? Mr. Anthony Blackburn. Would this helpful Anthony person be free to talk to me now? Thank you so much… Miss…Miss…Jenkins – and you have a good day. ‘Ciao bella.’ Mr. Blackburn? Hi there...my name is….’
VOICE OVER: “Hello. You’ve reached my voice mail because I’m too busy selling people cars at the most unbelievable bargain prices! Every hour on the hour, we lower the prices of our gently used ve-hi-cles so that our customers can save their bucks to pay for gas. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you…whenever.”
I can’t take it! This…this… woman transferred me to an automated answering system! What ever happened to live conversation with a real person? Gone with the wind just like service in general!
F.P.U.Why don’t you just march right over there and give that manager a piece of your mind, right now! I would.
PENNYI’m distraught and demoralized and all you can think about is to continue your stupid, insipid conversation with Chloe! On top of it all, the automated machine spat out names and phone locals and I don’t even have a pencil! Is there no end to the frustration I must deal with?
ASIDE TO F.P.U.:(genteel sweet voice:) Um - friend? I feel we’ve gotten to know each other in the short time we’ve both been standing here - two travelers on the super phone highway, dialing to communicate our needs. I’m wondering here if I could, like, ask a little fa-vor? It's not a biggie or anything that could put you out. Do you - would you… by any chance have a pen or pencil I could borrow? I don’t seem to have anything to write with
F.P.U.After the way you treated me? You really have nerve!
PENNYJust desperate. Check in your purse. Perhaps you’d like me to check in there for you?
F.P.U.You wanna rob me, don’t you? That’s it, isn’t it? Ohmygawd! I'm hyperventilating...
PENNYLook, whatever-your-name-is - let's start all over and pretend we just met. Isn’t that a good idea? Make believe I'm a close but needy friend who happened along and is asking you to - nay – begging you to please check for a pen or pencil that I could borrow. D'ya think you could do that? As one sister to another? All you hav’ta do is open that bee-u-ti-ful designer pocketbook, stick your hand inside and feel around. I'll even take an eyeliner or eyebrow pencil…anything with lead will do…