Act One

Scene One

A diner.  Late twentieth to early twenty-first century.  The diner is well-kept but bordering on cheap.  Tacky floral prints line the walls and vinyl chairs abound but it is clean and seemingly well-run.  A table is down center with a hanging tiffany-type lamp illuminating it.

Woman sits at table facing away from door which is up left.  She is rearranging the table setting and clearly waiting for someone.

Man walks in door, carrying a satchel.  He pauses, sees Woman at table and rushes over.

Man:  The strangest thing just happened to me!  I was walking here when I passed this girl on the sidewalk.  She was wearing this beautiful, beautiful linen skirt with high-top sneakers, of all things—and she gave me this look…simply the oddest of looks… (slows down) and then she smiled at me and…and I don't know…I just suddenly felt as if everything in my life was going to be okay…that I was going to be okay, simply because this strange girl found something in my face worth smiling about.  And she kept smiling as she walked past me and

Woman:  You're late.

 Man:  I know, it's just that when she smiled at me like that I stopped where I was, right in the middle of the sidewalk.  This feeling of well-being and peace just washed over me.  Man, it's hard to deal with benevolent forces like that. You get almost bowled over by them.

Woman:  And that is supposed to excuse your extreme tardiness?

Man:  You don't believe me.  I knew you wouldn't.  You probably think I was just being indecisive at the newsstand or that I lost track of time in the park.  But really, it was all that girl.  I just…I just don't know.  I can't really explain it.

Woman:  Well, in any case, I haven't ordered yet—I wasn't sure if you would want the usual.

Man (grinning):  That's why they call it the usual, dearie.

Woman:  You are in a good mood.  It's kind of ridiculous really…I work so hard to bolster your self-esteem, to build your prospects, to give you hope, all just because I'm your friend and I care about you, and it turns out that all you really needed was for some anonymous person with no fashion sense to smile blankly at you.  Hmmph.  (Waitress approaches)

Man:  I'll have the usual hon (waitress is taken aback) no, I take that back—the usual is getting un-bear-able…give me…hm hm hmm…a slice of pie and a Shirley Temple and (conspiratorially) if I could get extra cherries, that'd be peachy (winks).

Waitress:  What kind of pie?

Man:  Whatever you feel like giving me…my fate is in your hands (she rolls her eyes and turns away)

Woman:  I'll just take some black coffee (waitress begins walking away)…and make it strong!

Man:  So what's on the agenda today boss-lady?

Woman (turns to bag on floor beside her and begins rummaging through papers):  Well, I though we ought to look at your long-term investments to date.  When Sheila left you she took three-quarters of all of your liquid assets leaving you in an absolutely untenable position financially (man begins smelling boutonnière and humming), so I figured it would be good to start there and…what are you doing?

Man:  I love boutonnieres.  They're simply lovely don't you think?  It makes me wish they were still in style.

Woman:  Speaking of which, why are you wearing one?  They're beyond your budget.

Man:  (abstractedly)  Now what would make you say that?

Woman:  They're expensive!  You don't need them!  Why did you even buy one?

Man:  Well, after I snapped to my senses on the sidewalk I saw this man selling flowers and I thought what a lovely little thing.  People don't care about details like that anymore.  It quite brightened my day.  I wish people did care.

Woman:  You can't afford to care.  Ever since Sheila left…

Man: Pshaw…if I can afford to eat in this diner I can afford a wonderful little trifle like a boutonnière.

Woman:  Apparently I haven't been clear enough about your situation.  Eating is a necessity.  Flowers for your buttonhole are not.  You only have money for necessities.  I have to say this:  if we don't resolve some of the problems your ex left in her wake you could be stuck in this position forever!

Man (mystified):  Not forever—only until I die!

Woman:  Oh my god.  I'm outta here—I have better things to do with my time than sit in a crappy diner discussing the meaning of life with a lunatic.  Call me when you're normal (stands and calls to waitress) Forget about that coffee!

Man:  (food arrives and he looks upon it with delight, digging in) How perfectly odd of her.