SCENE ONE: JENNIFER IS NOW BACK TO WORK; JACK IS TRYING TO GET STORIES FOR HIS COLUMN. THEY ARE BOTH AT HOME AND JENNIFER IS SORTING LAUNDRY. JACK IS SITTING NEXT TO THE LAUNDRY BASKET AND IS PULLING OUT THINGS AT THE SAME TIME AS HE IS RESEARCHING A STORY.
JENNIFER: What we need is to set the temperature on cool or warm and you know what, some of these need to hand washed.
JACK: Hand washed?
JENNIFER: Yeah, I'll show you when I get back, okay.
JACK: Back? Excuse me, back from where?
JENNIFER: Well I have to go vote and I want to get a copy of The Spectator.
JACK: You don't need to leave for that. I've got a copy right here off the computer.
JENNIFER: It's not the same. I want to see it in the newspaper.
JACK: Excuse me, how long will you be gone?
JENNIFER: I won't be gone long at all and I just fed Abigail and she's sleeping and the baby monitor's on so in case she wants anything she'll let you know, okay.
JACK: And what if it's broken, it won't say a word.
JENNIFER: It's not broken. It's working fine and you know what I have some research applicants coming over to interview and that's it.
JACK: Here.... here?
JENNIFER: Yeah, here. I'll see you later, bye.
JACK: Jennifer, wait.... don't.... Jennifer don't leave....
JENNIFER: You'll be fine Jack.
JACK: Listen, you don't have....
JENNIFER: I'll be back soon.
JENNIFER RUNS OUT.
JACK: Fine. I guess it's just you and me and my work.
THERE IS A GURGLE FROM THE BABY MONITOR.
JACK: Well it's obviously working.
HE PICKS IT UP AND TALKS RIGHT INTO IT.
JACK: I'll be right up. Thank-you very much. Hold on, I'll be right there.
HE RUNS UP THE STAIRS.
SCENE TWO: SHORT TIME LATER THE RESEARCH APPLICANTS BEGIN ARRIVING AND JENNIFER IS NOT BACK. JACK IS THERE SURROUNDED BY LAUNDRY AND ABIGAIL WHILE HE TRIES TO SORT THEM OUT FOR JENNIFER.
APPLICANT 1: I must admit that I didn't dream I'd be interviewing in such a.... domestic atmosphere. Ms Deveraux does have an office, doesn't she?
JACK: Ah, yes, she's getting one as we speak.
APPLICANT 1: Ah, I hope so. I could hardly be expected to work here, could I?
JACK: Hardly. Yes. Now you know that the salary.....
APPLICANT 1: Hardly commensurate with my qualifications and much less than I've earned in the past.
JACK: Well if you're not in it for the money, what are you in it for?
APPLICANT 1: Well with my background I can pick and choose and I thought it might be amusing to work with a neophyte in the talk show field.
JACK: Oh well Jennifer's no neophyte.
APPLICANT 1: She's no Oprah Winfrey either. But she could be.... with the proper direction.
JACK: Yours specifically.
APPLICANT 1: Well you can see by my resume that I'm over qualified but as favor to the network I am considering the idea.
JACK LAUGHS TO HIMSELF.
JACK: As a favor to the network. Yes well I'm sure that my wife will be just miserable that she missed you. However she will look over your resume with baited breath. Absolutely baited breath.
HE SHOVES HER TOWARDS THE DOOR.
APPLICANT 1: Then you don't think that I should wait any longer?
JACK: No! I think you should allow her to look over at your resume. I'm sure that it speaks for itself. Now if you'll excuse me I have an appointment with another young lady.
APPLICANT 1: Another young lady?
JACK: My daughter, sleeping upstairs. I have to discuss with her the options of environmental protection as it relates to the diaper. You see the more she uses the more dangerous it is.
APPLICANT 1: Mr. Deveraux, I don't think you....
JACK OPENS THE DOOR AND JENNIFER IS STANDING THERE.
SCENE THREE: JACK DOES NOT WANT THE APPLICANT TO KNOW WHO JENNIFER IS.
JACK: What are you doing here?
JACK: You.... listen, let me tell you something, you better get inside and start cleaning this house before the lady of the house finds out that you haven't done your work.
JENNIFER: I am the lady of the house Jack.
JACK: Ah, don't talk to me that way. You have been paid to clean the house, not talk to me that way.
HE DRAGS JENNIFER INSIDE AND PUSHES OUT THE APPLICANT.
JACK: Good day, good day. Say hello to Oprah.
HE SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT.
JENNIFER: What on earth are you doing Jack?
JACK: I'm doing you a big favor, that's what I'm doing. Believe me you didn't want to interview that one.
JENNIFER: She was one of the applicants?
JACK: I'm afraid she was.JENNIFER: That bad?
JACK: That bad.
SCENE FOUR: A SHORT TIME LATER, JENNIFER IS INTERVIEWING THE NEXT APPLICANT, A MAN. SHE INTERVIEWS HIM ON THE COUCH WHILE JACK WORKS ON HIS COMPUTER NEARBY.
JENNIFER: Right, when did you graduate?
APPLICANT 2: Ah, got the old BA this June.
JACK RAISES HIS EYEBROWS.
JENNIFER: Oh, okay and then after that?
APPLICANT 2: Oh, off to Hawaii. Man the surfing there is unreal. I got on as a bus boy at a real posh hotel. That's where I met Arnie, Arnie Leonard. He sent me here you know.
JENNIFER: Yes, yes. He told me.
JENNIFER: What was your major?
APPLICANT 2: Communications, what else? I put on some workshop shows at the university. Real great stuff.
JENNIFER: Oh, what exactly did you do?
APPLICANT 2: Pushed a camera around.
JENNIFER GLANCES ACROSS AT JACK WHO GIVES HER A SMIRK.
APPLICANT 2: Look Mrs. Deveraux, this job would just be stepping stone for me.
JACK: Excuse me. A stepping stone to what?
APPLICANT 2: I'm going to be a sports commentator. One of the really big ones. (To Jennifer) And working with you would give me a great chance to meet a lot of sports figures. I could give you all the right questions to ask. You'd.... you're not much into sports are you?
JENNIFER: I like baseball.
APPLICANT 2: Yeah but you don't know diddly about it do you? You're not just going to target the show to women, are you?
JENNIFER: No, no, I'm not but you know there are women in sports too.
APPLICANT 2: Not what I call sports.
JACK LOOKS ACROSS AT JENNIFER AND RUNS HIS FINGER ACROSS HIS
THROAT INDICATING SHE SHOULD CUT THE GUY NOW.
APPLICANT 2: I'm talking soccer, hockey, football. Games with power. So what do you think?
JENNIFER: I think that I'm going to think about it. Thank-you very much. If you should get another job you should probably take it.
SHE DRAGS HIM TO THE DOOR.
JENNIFER: And you know what? At the mall they have this big huge sports store with lots of football equipment. You should probably check it out. You'll probably like it a lot.
THE GUY TURNS TO LEAVE AS JULIE COMES UP THE PATH.
SCENE FIVE: JULIE HAS COME TO VISIT THE DEVERAUXS.
JENNIFER: Julie, hi.
JULIE: Hi, good morning sweetheart. Hello Jack, how's the column coming along?
JACK: Oh it's....
JULIE: And how's my beautiful little cousin Abby. Well I got her a snow suit. I couldn't resist. It's too big for her now but she'll grow into it.
JENNIFER: Well Jack can always reduce it to size herself.
JULIE: Jack, I must tell you. Your first column, it's engendered quite a bit of interest.
JENNIFER: Well, it should. It's wonderful. I'm very proud of my husband.
JACK: Yes, Jack of all trades, master of none.
JACK: Well it's the sum total of all my business experiences.
JULIE: Oh I wouldn't say that.
JACK: Oh please, the only two enterprises I've taken part in that still show some promise are the marriage to my wife and the little girl sleeping upstairs. Everything else has come to nothing.
JENNIFER: That is not true Jack. You were a great publisher, you were a great editor and you're a brilliant reporter.
JACK: I believe the operative word is were.
JENNIFER: Jack if you want to go back and work at the newspaper I think that's fine.
JACK: No, I did.... I did not say that. Please, just forget the last minute and a half of conversation.
JENNIFER: Jack you won't mess this up.
JACK: Well I can certainly give it the old college try.
JENNIFER: Come on, it's a wonderful column. You are a great reporter. It'll probably be nationally syndicated, do you know that?
THE DOORBELL RINGS.
JACK: Oh yes I'm sure it will. Let me get the door please. Maybe it's our friend from the mall.
JENNIFER: I'm interviewing some research assistants.
JULIE: Oh that's my cue to go see Abby.
JENNIFER: Okay. I've got to....
JULIE: We've got to start redecorating this room.
JACK OPENS THE DOOR AND THE APPLICANT WALKS STRAIGHT UP TO JULIE.
APPLICANT 3: Mrs. Williams, nice to see you again.
JULIE: Wyn.... always a pleasure to see you.
APPLICANT 3: Hi. I'm Wyn Stevens from the Tate Agency. Arnie Leonard sent me over to meet Mrs. Deveraux.
JACK LOOKS THE GUY UP AND DOWN WITH JUST A HINT OF JEALOUSY.
JENNIFER: Yes I'm Jennifer Deveraux. Nice to meet you. You know what Jack, Julie wanted to go see Abigail. Why don't you take her up to the nursery and make sure our daughter is socially presentable.
JACK: Heh, I think Julie knows her way to nursery, don't you Julie?
JULIE: No. Julie doesn't know her way and if Abby is not socially presentable, Julie is not the person to make her so.
JACK: Well it's.... a little bit like getting on a bicycle. Once you do it, you never forget it.
JULIE: Oh I forgot it.
JACK: Well let me show you how to do it.
JACK WALKS UPSTAIRS WITH JULIE AS THE GUY BEGINS TO TALK TO JENNIFER.
JENNIFER: Please have a seat.
SCENE SIX: THE THIRD APPLICANT HAS JUST ARRIVED, AND JENNIFER BEGINS TO INTERVIEW HIM.
APPLICANT 3: You know I think this whole idea of a male nanny is just perfectly charming you know. It's just so now. But let's not waste a moment. I want to tell you what I'm going to do to make you the highest rated talk show hostess in TV history, okay. I'm the man to do it, okay. I've got plans that'll make the screen burn.
JENNIFER: You know Mr. Stevens, what I'm looking for is a research assistant.
APPLICANT 3: Oh I can do that too and I will but first you have to throw away any idea that you have to help or educate the public. Okay, they want entertainment. They want down and dirty entertainment and when they see you as some crazy belly dancer, you know, imitating a routine, every set in America is going to be turned on and tuned in to you.
JENNIFER PULLS A FACE AS THE GUY CONTINUES.
APPLICANT 3: And I'll dig dirt about the winner. You know, dredge up the stories that get covered up. It'll make the inauguration ceremony seem like a side show.
JENNIFER: Can I ask you a question. How long ago did you leave the Tate Agency?
APPLICANT 3: Not long.
JENNIFER: How long?
APPLICANT 3: It was about a year ago now. It was a raw deal, you know. It was.... they had nothing on me really. The advertising business was hard hit and.... I need a job real soon.
JENNIFER: Well I'm sure you'll get one.
APPLICANT 3: You don't understand. I'll do anything, okay. I got bills to pay. I've got kids in private school. I've got a balloon payment due the first of the month.
JENNIFER: Thank-you Mr. Stevens. I'll think about it. I appreciate your time in coming over here. Thank-you very much. I'll look at everything I have and review it and....
JACK AND JULIE COME DOWNSTAIRS.
APPLICANT 3: Mrs. Williams, will you put in a good word for me?
JACK: Ah, you know I think that we'll put in many words for you and about you and around you and don't worry about a thing. It's in the bag.
JACK SHOWS THE GUY OUT.
JULIE: I don't know what to say Jennifer. Wyn Stevens, well he owes money all over Salem. He even owes money to Wings. He's bounced checks all over town. I don't think you'd enjoy working with him especially if he wants an expense account so that he can take out all the guests on your show. JENNIFER: Yeah.
JULIE: But he's easy on the eyes.
JENNIFER: Well yeah, that's fine but I need someone dependable. I need someone that I can trust.
JACK: Well you can't trust someone who looks that good.
JENNIFER FROWNS AT JACK.
JACK: You can't! I know what I speak. Trust me.
JULIE: Jack dear, I really came over to find out about the column. What are you going to feature in the next one?
JACK: Well you know Julie, in spite of all the interesting people that have been coming and going all day, I haven't the foggiest idea.
JULIE: The first column turned out so well I want the second one to be just as good. Now, how about doing something political. How about capping the whole election?
JACK: No, no, I think people have had it up to here with the mud slinging and the rehashing of all the political issues. No, no.
JENNIFER: Speaking of, have you had a chance to vote yet Jack?
JACK: No, I have not but believe me, I will. I always go just before the polls close. It always made it easier to wait for those returns.
JULIE: Jack, Jack, that's it. You were a senator's son. You were a candidate twice. You can write about.... you can write about the candidate's feelings. The winners, the losers.
JACK: Yes and most likely the lo.... et's not dredge up this ancient history, shall we.
JULIE: All right, okay. Just take an objective point of view then. Do research on the candidates. Talk about the winners. Talk about their feelings with the voice of experience.
JACK: The voice of the loser. No thank-you!JULIE: Jack, why don't you do it? You've always had a genius for having your finger right on the public pulse in these matters, even when those trash.... those unusual little tabloid type articles.
JACK: Those little tabloid articles that sold so many papers, yes.
JULIE: Jennifer, I'm having a flash. Not a hot one but a good one.
JULIE: Look if you can't find somebody that you trust to do your research....
SHE POINTS TO JACK BEHIND HIS BACK.
JULIE: ....why not hire your husband?
JENNIFER TURNS TO JACK.
JACK: No, no!
SCENE SEVEN: JULIE HAS JUST SUGGESTED THAT JENNIFER HIRE JACK FOR THE RESEARCHER POSITION. JACK DOES NOT LIKE THE IDEA.
JENNIFER: That's a good idea.
JACK: Absolutely not. I am very busy here taking care of the house, taking care of the child and writing that column.
JULIE: You prefer dusting and sweeping?
JACK: No I prefer everything just as it is. Taking care of the child, taking care of the house and writing the little column for the paper.
JULIE: So I see. Gee I thought you'd put yourselves in this position to get ahead financially but maybe.... I was wrong. Maybe there's another problem here.
JACK: Which is?
JULIE: Which is none of my business. (Beat) Jennifer darling, I'll see you soon and Jack.... you get started on that column, okay. (Beat) We must start redecorating this house. After all we don't want to waste all of Jack's dusting and sweeping.JACK: Eeeeeergh. You know.... you know I would just like to stra.... wring her neck!
JULIE LEAVES AND JACK CLENCHES HIS FIST AND THEN SHAKES WITH FRUSTRATION AND RAGE.
JENNIFER: Yeah sometimes I would like to also. Especially when she's right.
JACK GIVES JENNIFER A LOOK THEN GETS BACK TO WORK AT HIS COMPUTER.
JENNIFER: So, how would you like to be my research assistant Jack?
JACK: I tell you what I would like. I would like for you to find someone who would look out for you and your image and if it has to be a man, hopefully it's someone who's short, squat, ugly and.... and loaded with acne.
JENNIFER: Jack will you be serious.
JACK: I am being serious. If.... you need some.... you don't need some kind.... some manicured poor excuse for a producer who's going to use your show just to bolster themself. Do you understand that? Somebody who will look after your show, your image, who'll be able to find the kind of guest that you need. Not the kind of people you had in New York. I mean they looked like they came out of a zoo or something.
JENNIFER: I know but we got great ratings with those people.
JACK: You got great ratings.
JENNIFER: And Calliope.
JENNIFER: So how about the job?
JACK: That's another problem. With the amount that the network has allotted you, you will not be able to get the quality of person for the.... for the amount that you can afford.
JENNIFER: Can I afford you?
JACK: Listen, they will hate you for trying to hire your own husband.
JENNIFER: Well I can handle the network if you can handle the work.
JACK: You mean amongst all my other chores?
JENNIFER: Was Julie right when she was hinting that there might be an ego problem here?
JACK: Let me tell you something. I'll tell you about ego. I checked my ego and my self dignity at the door the moment that I said that I would stay here and take care of that baby and write this little column.
JENNIFER: It is not a little column. It is good Jack.
JACK: Yeah, well if the circulation were any better you and eleven people would be thinking that.
JENNIFER: You know what the problem is. You don't want anyone to know that you are working with me. That's the problem.
JACK: No, it's not working with you. It's working for you. You know what I said a minute ago about my ego?
JACK: I was wrong. I lied. I do have an ego. It's alive and well and the terms research assistant don't do much for it.JENNIFER: All right, okay. What about research associate?
JACK GLARES AT HER.
JENNIFER: I guess that means no. I guess you don't want the job. J
JACK: Look it's not that.... it's not that.... I don't.... I don't love you.... it's just that I.... I....JENNIFER: I know that you love me. It has nothing to do with you loving me. All you have to do is say yes.
ABBY STARTS CRYING.
JACK CALLS OUT TO THE BABY.
JACK: Just a minute, I'll be right there.
HE TURNS BACK TO JENNIFER.
JACK: I have something to do. Excuse me. I'll be right there. I'm coming, I'm coming.JENNIFER: Well it took you forever to say I love you. I hope it doesn't take you that long to say yes.
HE RUNS UPSTAIRS AND JENNIFER TALKS TO HERSELF.
SCENE EIGHT: A SHORT TIME LATER, JACK COMES BACK DOWNSTAIRS, AND THEY CONTINUE THEIR CONVERSATION.
JACK: You know if you hadn't asked me I would have faulted you for not checking out my obvious talent first.
JENNIFER: Well then why don't you say yes?
JACK: Because I need time to think about this sort of thing.
JENNIFER: There is no time. It's now or never Jack.
JACK: What is that, a threat?
JENNIFER: Yes it's a threat. It's yes or no. It's very simple. It's yes or no?JACK: All right, I'll give you what you deserve. Yes!
JENNIFER: Yes?JACK: I.... wait a minute, I mean....JACK: ....Yes.
SHE GIVES HIM A BIG HUG.