SCENE ONE: JACK IS AT WINGS ON THE PHONE.
JACK: Dr. Miller please.
MILLER: You got him.
JACK: This is....
JACK READS OFF A BUSINESS CARD.
JACK: "....Consciousness Through Herbal Healing, Dr. Miller"?
MILLER: That's me Bro.
JACK: Good, good. I got your name out of a book on alternative medicine and well I.... I need to see you.
MILLER: Any particular reason?
JACK: Yes. I'm dying. Now when can you fit me in?
MILLER: Well we don't have any openings for another six months.
JACK: Six months? I can't wait six months. I have to see you right now.
MILLER: Well I'm afraid.... let me see. (Beat) Oh wow man, this is too weird.
JACK: What, what?
MILLER: Ah, well your karma. I don't generally get any cancellations but this is the first cancellation I got in two years. It happened today. Five minutes before you called.
JACK: Oh five minutes, huh? Then I guess then you can fit me in.
MILLER: Yes, can you make it in one hour?
JACK: In one hour? Yes I can. And look I'm sorry if I appeared abrupt. I really do appreciate this. In six months I can't tell would have been dead and buried so I do appreciate it.
JENNIFER AND MICKEY WALK UP AND HEAR JACK'S LAST WORDS.
JENNIFER: You'll be What?
SCENE TWO: JACK, JENNIER, AND MICKEY TAKE A TABLE WHILE JACK TRIES TO EXPLAIN WHAT HE MEANT.
JACK: I was just trying to say that if Lawrence took over the paper we would be dead in the water. It's a figure of speech.
JENNIFER: Well you know we don't have to worry about that because we're not going to let that happen. I told Uncle Mickey what Lawrence is trying to do and he came up with a legal way to stop him.
MICKEY: To try to stop him.
JENNIFER: Alright, well why don't you tell Jack what you told me.
MICKEY: Well I think that our best plan is to convince a judge that to sell the paper to Alamain's company is not in the best interests of its creditors.
JENNIFER: Right and I mean that shouldn't be difficult with Lawrence's reputation.
MICKEY: Well there is one catch. We have to.... we have to convince the judge and the bank that Jack can turn the paper around.
JACK: Well, I can do that. That's a piece of cake.
JACK CHECKS HIS WATCH AND SEEMS DISTRACTED.
MICKEY: You know for the past several months The Spectator has been experiencing some rather wild swings in its editorial point of view.
JENNIFER: First the tabloid headlines then the smile face campaign.
MICKEY: Hmmm, hmmm.
JACK: It.... let me just say this about that. I know that things haven't been going steadily and we have had a little drop off since we stopped running the Elvis stories but I really feel the stories have been steadily improving along with the circulation.
MICKEY: Just barely. Jack the point is that your recent choices have left the paper with a rather tarnished image and your bank very nervous. Now Vern is a nice guy but he's obviously not qualified for this job.
JENNIFER IS NODDING AT JACK TO REINFORCE WHAT MICKEY IS SAYING.
MICKEY: What you have to do is get somebody new in there. Somebody with a very strong business background. Somebody who can give the creditors some real confidence.
JACK: (Beat) You know something you're right. You're absolutely right. That's exactly what we're going to do.
JACK THEN STANDS UP AND TURNS TO WALK AWAY.
JENNIFER: Great. Where are you going?
JACK: Ah, I.... I have to go somewhere. I thought we.... Mickey's going to do this. That's it isn't it?
JENNIFER: Well no, that's not it. I mean we should talk about it. We should go over this Jack.
JACK: Well, we'll do that.... Later. I'll be back. I have an important appointment in the mean....
JENNIFER: Well what could be more important than The Spectator right now?
JACK: Well I'm not saying that this isn't. Ah, maybe not at the moment but in the future. And we have to think of the future. I know, Mickey, you'd agree with that. So you just stay right here and I promise you.... (He kisses her cheek).... I will be back in about an hour, alright. Mickey, you keep going with that. It's a good idea. Keep working with that. Thank you, thank you very much.
HE RUSHES OUT. JENNIFER AND MICKEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IS GOING ON.
SCENE THREE: JACK GOES TO SEE DR. MILLER, THE ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE GUY. JACK SITS CROSS LEGGED ON THE DOCTOR'S TABLE AS HE PUTS SMALL PIECES OF TWIGS IN EACH OF JACK'S HAND.
JACK: They've all given up on me. The doctors, the nurses, the orderlies, everybody in the hospital. They don't even have the guts to tell me, the patient, that I'm dying.
MILLER: Heavy man.
JACK: You know, I guess it just means that traditional medicine as we know it has failed to cure me, right?
MILLER: Well that's the trouble with old line people. Everything is so cut and dried, you know. They don't realize the amazing possibilities of life.
JACK: Well that's what I'm here for, those amazing possibilities. (Beat) So what's with the twigs?
MILLER: It's not twigs. It's herbs, nature's magic. I'm just trying to see which ones blend with your aura.
JACK: Blend with.... you're helping me. I can really see that and I appreciate it because I don't know what I'd be doing otherwise. I mean you know I haven't even told my wife that I'm dying. Not that that's a bad thing. It's.... I mean it's bad enough that I know that I'm dying myself. And to top all that off, I've got two dead guys on each shoulder telling me that I've got this ledger book of life that I have to even out or I'm going to go straight to hell.
THE DOCTOR IS MIXING UP A POTION FROM A SERIES OF SMALL BOTTLES ON HIS DESK. ONE OF THEM HAS A POISON SYMBOL ON THE LABEL.
MILLER: Yeah, well that's just called channeling. Don't worry, relax. It's a good thing.
JACK: You've obviously never met Harper and Duke. I mean not that they're the problem. They're just the manifestation of the bigger questions. Life and death, good and evil, cause and effect. I mean is it really so bad that I'm.... Bad?
MILLER: Can I tell you something? You've got one of the worst cases of bad vibes I've ever seen.
JACK: Really? What...what does that mean?
MILLER: Well look.
HE PICKS UP JACK'S LEFT HAND.
MILLER: Um, you see, this is your body's problem.
HE PICKS UP JACK'S RIGHT HAND.
MILLER: This is your mind's problem.
HE PUTS JACK'S HANDS TOGETHER.
MILLER: Now they're one. See your problem is you're letting them rule your life. What you got to do is you've got to take charge, you know. Sit on your throne.
MILLER: Yeah, your throne, you know. Act is if you're an emperor. Control, focus, you know. And you can have all that.... with this.
HE HANDS JACK A BOTTLE OF HIS POTION.
MILLER: Here, drink. (Beat) You know just take a good drink out of your bottle of life. Go ahead man.
JACK IS NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THIS AT ALL.
JACK: What is this?
MILLER: Look just drink, okay. You know, once a day, everyday.
JACK: Till.... when?
MILLER: Till you're cured.
JACK: And when does that happen?
MILLER: When it's empty.
JACK: When what's empty?
MILLER: The bottle man, the bottle.
JACK PULLS A FACE AS HE LOOKS AT THE BOTTLE.
MILLER: Well what are you waiting for? Drink. Look of it as your ticket to a higher consciousness.
JACK SNIFFS THE POTION AND IT IS HORRIBLE.
JACK: Yeah, that or an earlier grave. You.... you want me to drink this all at once?
MILLER: No, not all at once. Take a drink now and later when you start to feel some doubt you just take another swig. That's your problem by the way. Self doubt. Now this is going to help fight that.
JACK: Well what about my incurable disease?
MILLER: Well, that.... that's going to go away when you tell it to go away.
JACK DOES NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL.
MILLER: You see all you need is the confidence to make it leave.
JACK: Oh as long as I don't leave first. Here's mud in your eye. AAAARGH!
JACK TAKES A SWIG OF THE POTION AND PULLS A FACE.
MILLER: Alright baby. You're on the road to recovery.
JACK IS STILL SITTING CROSS LEGGED ON THE TABLE WHEN THE DOCTOR GOES TO THE DOOR AND OPENS IT.
JACK FROWNS AND SHAKES HIS HEAD.
SCENE FOUR: BACK AT WINGS, JENNIFER IS TALKING TO JULIE.
JENNIFER: You just gave me the greatest idea of my life.
JULIE: I did? Wonderful. Well you know I'm always glad to help.
JENNIFER: And you can, in more ways than you know.
JULIE: Alright, what is it Jennifer? You know you've peaked my curiosity.
JENNIFER: What you said just now about business? I mean did you mean it? Are you really looking for new challenges?
JULIE: Well of course, one is always looking for....
JENNIFER: Okay, let me finish, alright. Jack and I had a meeting today with Uncle Mickey about The Spectator and he said that we should find someone to take over the paper. Someone that would give the creditors confidence, you know, to get the paper back on its feet.
JENNIFER: What do you think? I mean you are the obvious choice.
JULIE: Oh honey, I.... um....
JENNIFER: Oh come on Julie, you are perfect for this job. You are the best business woman in this whole town. I mean if they knew that Lawrence was trying to take over the paper they would never sell out if they knew you were stepping in.
JULIE: Yeah. (Beat) Yes, you may have something there at that.
JENNIFER: Does it mean you'll do it?
JULIE: (Beat) It's very tempting. It is. But what about Jack? I cannot imagine that Jack would let me.... well let me get my hands on his little paper.JENNIFER: You know Julie, a few weeks ago I would have agreed with you. But not anymore. Jack has changed. He really has. I just wish I knew why.
SCENE FIVE: A SHORT TIME LATER, JACK RETURNS TO WINGS.
JENNIFER: Oh Jack! I have been waiting for you to get back. I came up with the greatest idea and I can't wait to tell you.
JACK: Well could it wait for just a minute? I need to eat something. If you could....
JENNIFER: No, no wait, this is very important. This is about the newspaper, alright. Now how would you feel about Julie stepping in? I mean just to put the creditors' minds at ease, you know, like Uncle Mickey said.
JACK: Well.... Julie.... taking over.... my newspaper?
JENNIFER: Yes. What do you think?
JACK: I.... I.... ah....
JACK SNEAKS ANOTHER SWIG OF POTION.
JACK: I think.... um.... I think it's a good idea.
JENNIFER: What did you say?
JACK: I said I think it's a good idea. I think Julie would be a very good choice.
JENNIFER: Just like that?
JACK: Yes, just like that. I think Julie would be an excellent choice.
JENNIFER: Well I thought so too. I really did but I wasn't sure that you would be so sure and so confident.
JACK: Guess this stuff works.
JENNIFER: Stuff? What are you talking about?
JACK: Nothing, nothing. It's just.... just the new me, you know. More positive, more confident, more....
HE LOOKS DOWN AT THE POTION BOTTLE.
JACK: .... herbal.