SCENE ONE: IT IS A FEW DAYS LATER AND JACK IS AT HOME TRYING TO BALANCE THE CHECK ACCOUNT. JENNIFER IS WATCHING HIM.
JACK: This checking account is a disaster, a complete disaster.
JENNIFER: Really? What seems to be the problem?
JACK: The problem seems to be that I allowed you to pay the bills last month and now the statements bear no resemblance to what you entered in the check book.
JENNIFER: Okay, so I'm a lousy bookkeeper Jack.
JACK: That is an understatement, yes.
JENNIFER: Now you know that math is my downfall. You don't expect me to be good at everything, do you?
JACK CONTINUES TO ADD UP THE CHECK BOOK WITHOUT ANSWERING.
JENNIFER: Besides that's why I married you.
SHE TAKES HIS HAND.
JENNIFER (CONT.): So I would have someone to take care of these annoying little chores like balancing the check book.
THIS MAKES WORSE FOR JACK, REALIZING WHAT HE WILL LOSE WHEN HE DIES, PLUS THE THOUGHT OF JENNIFER DEPENDING TOO MUCH NO HIM. JACK LASHES OUT AT HER.
JACK: Did it ever occur to you that I might not always be around to do this?
HE SOUNDS ANGRY AND SHE LOOKS HURT.
SCENE TWO: LATER HE TRIES TO MAKE UP WITH HER AS HE CLEARS THE TABLE.
JACK: I am not saying that you're not pulling your load around here.
JENNIFER: Then what are you saying? I mean if you're saying that you might not always going to be around to do these things for me then you're saying that I should learn how to do them myself, right?
JACK: Yes, yes, that's what I'm saying. Also when the baby is born I will be just as busy as you are. I'll be feeding and running and walking and cleaning and watering and everything that has to be done in addition to working at the paper. Which means I will not have time for those mundane little chores.
JENNIFER: Okay, so you're saying then that I should probably help you pick up the slack, right?
JACK: (Beat) Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
JENNIFER: Okay. I mean Jack if it's that important to you, I will learn how to balance the check book correctly. But not right now, okay
JACK: Not right now. Why not?
JENNIFER: Because I have something more important to do. I need to be at the court house. Jury selection for the hospital's law suit begins today.
JENNIFER: And I'm doing a spot for the evening news.
JENNIFER: Um, what does your schedule look like?
JACK: Ah, I don't know. I have a couple of errands to run, nothing too important.
JENNIFER: You, ah, you haven't said anything about my hair. You haven't noticed it's in a different style.
HER HAIR IS UP IN A TWIST AT THE BACK OF HER HEAD.
JACK: I noticed, really. I did notice.
JACK: And.... I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
JACK: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. When you're blonde you wear your hair down. You let it.... cascade and fall over your shoulders like a silken curtain. That way.... men take.... more notice.
JENNIFER: Oh okay. I didn't realize you had such a strong opinion about that. I'll try to keep that in mind.
JACK: Good, you do that.
JENNIFER: Could you meet me for lunch at Wings? I'll be interviewing Rob Stemkowski when they take a break from the jury selection.
ROB STEMKOWSKI IS A LAWYER WORKING ON THE HOSPITAL MALPRACTICE CASE.
JACK: I.... ah, think that can be arranged. In the meantime, you remember what I said. Flowing hair cascading over the shoulders. It's the ticket.
SHE WALKS OVER AND KISSES HIM ON THE CHEEK THEN WIPES OFF THE LIPSTICK.
SHE LEAVES AND JACK TAKES A MOMENT TO THINK OVER THEIR CONVERSATION.
SCENE THREE: LATER JACK GOES TO THE CEMETERY TO ARRANGE HIS FUNERAL. HE WALKS OVER THE GRAVEYARD WITH THE MANAGER.
MANAGER: You'll need to arrange for the bereaved to travel back and forth from the cemetery.
JACK: How about a sub-compact for the wife and everybody else walks. How much will that cost?
MANAGER: Let me see. Oh here we are.
JACK: Is that for one limo or the entire fleet?
AS THEY ARE TALKING A WOMAN WALKS PAST. SHE IS CRYING LOUDLY AND CARRYING A BUNCH OF FLOWERS.
JACK: Recent widow?
MANAGER: No, that's Ms. Pomeroy, my assistant. It's her job to lay flowers on the grave after they've been delivered.
JACK: She always cries like that?
MANAGER: Always. She's allergic to flowers.
MANAGER: Which reminds me, I'd like to add several arrangements to your invoice.
JACK: NO, NO, NO! The last thing I want is women balling all over my tombstone. So in the death notice remember, no flowers .
MANAGER: I'll make a note of it. Which brings us to the last item on the agenda, the casket. Now my personal favorite is our premium model. We call it the Eternal Slumber. It's silk lined, stainless steel, climate controlled....
JACK: Climate controlled? Is this a casket or a condo?
MANAGER: And it would run you.
HE SHOWS JACK THE PRICE.
JACK: Oh excuse me, it is a condo.
MANAGER: Well if it's beyond your budget there's always our fiberglass model, the Dreamaway.
JACK: Ah, let's cut to the chase. How about a pine box?
MANAGER: If you wanted the economy package Mr. Deveraux, you should have told me from the beginning. May I suggest cremation?
JACK: You may suggest it. Will it eliminate the cost of the casket?
MANAGER: Not entirely but you'd only have to pay a rental fee.
JACK: Rental fee?
MANAGER: Yes the casket would be rented for one day and after the viewing we simply slide the body into the furnace and rent it again to the next client.
JACK DOES NOT LIKE THAT IDEA AT ALL.
JACK: No, forget it. Forget the furnace. I've developed a sudden fear of frying, if you will. I'll tell you what we'll do. You give me one of those floor models back there from the showroom, cut the price in half and I'll say we've got a deal.
MANAGER: Ah, I'll have to consult with my partner on this. Where can I reach you?
JACK: I'll reach you. Really, I'll be in in a couple of minutes. I just have to say hello to an.... to an old friend.
JACK WALKS AROUND UNTIL HE FINDS THE GRAVE HE WANTED.
HE BENDS DOWN AND READS THE HEADSTONE.
JACK: Steven Earl Johnson.
HE IS ABOUT TO RUN HIS FINGER OVER THE WORDS BUT SOMETHING IS STOPPING HIM. HE SIGHS HEAVILY.
JACK: I don't know why. This should be easy. I've spent enough time in the past talking to dead guys. (Beat) Hello Steve.... wherever you are. (Beat) Look I'm sorry I never came by to pay my respects. I just.... you know how it is. It's not that I haven't been thinking about you and all that unsolicited advice you'd be so quick to hand out. (Beat) You know I was just.... I was just realizing how difficult it must have been for you to leave your wife and child in the hospital, lying in a bed, knowing that you're just slipping away. Feeling your life just slipping away from them and knowing that there wasn't a damn thing that you could do to stop it. I just realized that. And, ah.... I found.... we finally have something in common. You see I have a wife and child too and I'm.... I'm going to leave them too and I don't know.... I don't know how to stop it either. (Beat) I was....
(He wipes his eye) It's a break, that's all. It's just a bad break. It's a bad break for both of us. I know what you used to say. Just.... don't just take the breaks, make the breaks. But in my case I don't know. I.... I (Beat) I know that you're right. You're absolutely right.
HE STANDS UP.
JACK (CONT.): At least I'm not lying in a hospital bed somewhere. I can do something and that's what I'm going to do. I'm.... I'm not going to have the rest of my life to take care of my wife and child but at least I can find someone who can. (Beat) And I can make sure that someone is someone that I can live with.... so to speak. (Beat) It's not going to be a dead beat. It's not going to be some kind of, some out-of-town cowboy. It's going to be someone who's.... who's a professional. Who's got serious assets. Who's got stocks and bonds and real estate and.... and intelligent.... and educated. A real ivy leaguer type.... or at least somebody looks like an ivy leaguer. (Beat) I don't care how he looks. I mean he can look good, that's good but.... ah.... as long as he doesn't look like some kind of.... underwear model. (Beat) Anyway I'm sorry, I got to go. (Beat) I got to go.... pick my casket. (Beat) So I'll see you soon hey Bro. I'll see you soon.
JACK WALKS SLOWLY AWAY FROM STEVE'S GRAVE.
SCENE FOUR: AT WINGS, JENNIFER IS LATE AND HAS JUST ARRIVED FOR HER INTERVIEW WITH ROB STEMKOWSKI, THE LAWYER, AS JACK ARRIVES. HE WATCHES THEM SIT DOWN TOGETHER AND TALK. THEY SEEM VERY FRIENDLY AND ROB IS LEANING OVER THE TABLE COMPLIMENTING HER. JACK GETS MORE AND MORE UPSET UNTIL HE CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE AND INTERRUPTS.
ROB: How about I give you an exclusive interview and you can give me....
JACK: HEY, HEY, hold it right there. This is wrong. This is totally wrong. You.... don't you know who you're talking to? This is my wife.
ROB STANDS UP AND JENNIFER IS EMBARRASSED. JACK TRIES TO EXPLAIN.
JACK: Please just sit. Please let me explain.
JENNIFER: Are you sure that you're alright? I can get Dave to get you a glass of water or something Jack.
JACK: I'm fine, I'm fine. I am very sorry. There's been a little misunderstanding. I.... I was just trying to say that.... that you're my wife and it's wrong that you should take up so much of Mr. Stemkowski's time, since you are due back at the court house aren't you?
ROB: Yeah, right. Actually I better get going. (To Jennifer) We can pick this up later, okay. (Beat) Oh and don't forget what I said. In the words of the poet, you scratch my back and....
HE BENDS DOWN NEAR JENNIFER.
ROB: .... I'll massage yours with scented oils.
ROB RUNS OFF FAST.
JENNIFER: Now Jack what was that all about? I mean I am about to get an exclusive interview and you come barging in here and you screw the whole thing up.
JACK: I missed you. That's all. I missed you.
JENNIFER: You're kidding me, right?
JACK: No I'm not kidding, I'm not kidding at all. I just.... (Beat) I'm not kidding about this. I suddenly just.... I wanted to see you and then I look across the room and there was.... another man seeing you. (Beat) And I just had to stop it.
JENNIFER: Jack, I didn't know that you felt that way.
SHE TAKES HIS HAND ACROSS THE TABLE.
JACK: Well.... I do.
HE LEANS OVER AND KISSES HER PASSIONATELY.
SCENE FIVE: THEY BOTH GO HOME AND THERE JENNIFER IS TRYING TO DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR TO ISABELLA AND JOHN'S WEDDING THE NEXT DAY. SHE IS HOLDING UP DRESSES FOR JACK TO LOOK AT.
JENNIFER: What do you think I should wear to the wedding tomorrow?
JACK LOOKS SICK AGAIN.
JACK: I'm not sure. Either one, really.
HE IS REALLY NOT LOOKING AT THEM AT ALL.
JENNIFER: Well I just thought you might like one more than the other, that's all.
JACK: Ah, now that you mention it, I would like to have another look, please.
HE POINTS TO A DRESS WITH A LARGE FLORAL PRINT.
JACK: That one, definitely.
JACK: Yes, yes, this one is just too plain. This one is.... simple yet girly, feminine.... virginal if you will. And men like that.
JENNIFER: Well as long as you like it. That's all that matters to me Jack.
JACK: No, no, you don't understand. You can't just do things just to please me.
JENNIFER: Oh really. Why is that?
JACK: Well, you're a television personality now. You have to think of your public. Your general appearance is very important. Think of the people, the men.... and women who are watching you. And your hair, remember loose and flowing.
JENNIFER: Yes, I know, curtain like hair, I remember. You know not as many people are as into long hair as you are. You know a lot of my friends are cutting their hair shorter Jack.
JACK: Your female friends, yes. But the men like it long and flowing. Believe me. Trust me on this one, alright. If you see a pair of scissors, run the other way.
JENNIFER: I couldn't run right now to save my life Jack. But I understand....
AS JACK IS GETTING A GLASS OF WATER, THE FAUCET SPURTS IN HIS FACE.
JENNIFER: .... what you're saying about trying to look good. I do. But it's just hard. I mean sometimes you feel so schleppy and I'm going to look like a beached whale by the end of....
JACK: No, no, we can't let that happen. We can't let that happen. You have to exercise or go on a diet or something. But we cannot let that happen.
JENNIFER: Is there something that you're not telling me Jack?
JACK: I don't understand. What could I not be telling you? Nothing. (Beat) I'm sorry, you just misunderstood me. I'm sorry.
HE PUTS HIS ARMS AROUND HER.
JACK: I just.... I'm just trying to think of what's best for you, that's all.