SCENE ONE: JACK AND JO ARE WATCHING SUZANNA COOPER BEING INTERVIEWED BY JENNIFER.
JO: Did you hear what she just said?
JACK: I heard it but I don't believe it.
SUZANNA COOPER GOES ON TO IMPRESS ON THE AUDIENCE HOW IMPORTANT THESE FACE TO FACE MEETINGS ARE. JO SIGHS AND PUTS HER FACE IN HER HANDS.
JACK: That's it. It's time to formulate a plan to figure out a way to convince her that meeting Miranda Miller would be a big mistake.
JO: No, no, it's time to formulate a plan that you tell Jennifer that you found a manuscript upstairs in the attic, that you turned it into a novel by Miranda Miller and we will tell Ms Cooper the same story.
JACK: What, so she can just cancel the whole thing. No, not when I'm this close to making a deal.
JO: You're this close to getting yourself into a lot of trouble, son.
JACK: I don't care. I don't care. I'm going to figure something out. I'm going to convince her that she will publish this novel without ever meeting Miranda Miller.
JACK IS STILL WONDERING HOW THINGS ALWAYS GO WRONG FOR HIM.
JACK: Where did it all go wrong? I sent a manuscript to anyone I could possibly think of and the only one who was remotely interested is someone who's obsessed with meeting the author.
JO: But she's interested. That's so obvious.
JACK: It could have been so easy.
JO: Oh Jack.
JACK: I could have just published it, made the move deal and we'd all have lived happily ever after.
JO: Well there is one other way.
SHE WALKS UP NEXT TO HIM AND LOOKS HIM STRAIGHT IN THE EYE.
JACK: No! I will not say that I wrote it. There will be another way and I'll come up with it. I'm sure it's going to be a long shot but like all long shots when they come in, they pay off big.
JO: You will never change will you son?JACK: Not a chance. Not as long as there is only change in my pocket.
SCENE TWO: JACK HAS GONE TO HIS MEETING WITH SUZANNA COOPER WHICH TAKES PLACE AT THE SALEM MALL. HE IS WEARING HIS FULL DISGUISE WITH MUSTACHE AND BEARD.
JACK: About.... about the publishing. When you publish the book....
SUZANNA: No, if, if I publish it, we'll bring it out in the spring but I really haven't made up my mind yet.
JACK: I beg your pardon. You already said you loved the book.
SUZANNA: It's not an ordinary romance novel. It is a cut above what we normally put out. It'll catch on, make money, if it is marketed properly and that will cost too.
JACK: I'm sure that any change that you want to make....
SUZANNE: Changes I'll discuss with the author but until I meet her myself I can't really make a decision. When can you arrange a meeting?
JACK: I'm afraid it presents certain difficulties.
SUZANNE: You're her agent. You tell her it's reality time or else.
JACK: I would love for you to meet with Miranda but I'm afraid it will be impossible. It's not going to happen.
SUZANNE: Listen my friend, between intelligent people nothing is impossible. Now I don't know what her ploy is but you and I are in this for the money.
JACK: Yes, well that does enter into it.
SUZANNE: And it could be a lot of money and the beginning of a long lucrative even.... intimate relationship. So may I suggest that you have a little heart to heart with Miranda and persuade her to meet with me. And in case she's a lush, I've met them before. Sober her up, produce her. Otherwise.
JACK: Otherwise, yes.
SUZANNE: And don't wait too long. I'm leaving town tomorrow. SHE FONDLES
THE FRONT OF HIS JACKET THEN LEAVES.
JACK: Well if your writers didn't drink before I'm certain they all drink now. (Beat) Well one does what one must.
JACK WALKS AWAY.
SCENE ONE: ACK COMES RUNNING DOWNSTAIRS IN BARE FEET AND A SUIT. HE IS CARRYING SOME ODD SOCKS.
JACK: Okay, where are the rest of my socks?
JENNIFER: They're probably in your sock drawer.
JACK: No, they're not in the sock drawer.
JENNIFER: Oh that's right, you changed everything around. You know what Jack, would you mind doing me a favor? Would you put Abby down for a nap?
JACK: And what are you going to be doing?
JENNIFER: I have to go over my notes for tomorrow's rehearsal. What are your plans for today?
JACK: Well after I find my sock, I suppose I'll do.... what Is expected of me.
THE DOORBELL RINGS.
JENNIFER: Oh that's probably Jo. She's got withdrawal from not seeing Abby.
JENNIFER OPENS THE DOOR AND IT IS CARLY WHO SAYS SHE NEEDS TO BE WITH FRIENDS.
SCENE THREE: SHE TELLS JENNIFER THAT SHE HAS LOST BO AND SHE HAS LOST NICKY: SHE HAS LOST EVERYTHING. JENNIFER GIVES HER A HUG WHILE JACK STANDS BY. JENNIFER THEN GETS ABBY.
CARLY: As if you guys don't have enough to worry about.
JENNIFER: Carly, I don't want you ever to think twice about coming over here, day or night, whatever time it is.
JACK: I'm sure the child there is happy to see you at any time.
JENNIFER: Oh Jack, you're going to take her up for a nap.
CARLY: Oh do you have to? I don't get to see her that much.
JENNIFER: No, no, she can stay right here with us.
JACK: I'll.... leave you two alone. I'll just do some work upstairs. I'll get the phone.
JENNIFER: Thanks Jack.
JACK GOES UPSTAIRS.
CARLY: He's a good daddy.
JENNIFER: Oh yeah, surprising huh.
JENNIFER: Oh I shouldn't say that. I don't mean that. I'm not surprised. I just.... I guess I just didn't realize how overprotective he was going to be. I really didn't. It's amazing. I mean if he's gone even for a few hours, he races through the door, he picks her up, he swings her around, sings to her, kisses her, the most amazing things. I mean the love in Abby's eyes when she looks at Jack. I mean she just adores him. (Beat) I'm sorry. I know you didn't come here to talk about babies.
CARLY IS UPSET THAT SHE MISSED ALL THIS TIME WITH NICKY AND JENNIFER GIVES HER ABBY TO HOLD.
SCENE THREE: JACK COMES DOWNSTAIRS WHILE CARLY IS FONDLING ABBY AND SINGING HER AWAY IN A MANGER. JENNIFER GETS EMOTIONAL ABOUT IT AND PULLS JACK ASIDE.
JENNIFER: Will you just hold me, please?
JENNIFER: Just hold me.
THEY WRAP THEIR ARMS AROUND EACH OTHER.
JENNIFER: We haven't held each other like this in so long. Why do we let so much time go by Jack?
JACK: What are you trying to say?
JENNIFER: I don't know, I'm just realizing how quickly things can just vanish. I mean all the things that make us happy and how we take them for granted. And I'm beginning to realize the worst thing, the most destructive thing is dishonesty.
JACK: Yes, you do have a point there.
JENNIFER: When people stop talking to each other and when they stop telling the truth, that's when they start to lose each other.
JACK: Exactly. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go upstairs and take care of some chores.
JENNIFER: No honey, wait until later and I'll help you.
JACK: I think I better do it now. I have some things I need to do outside. Run some errands and such.
JENNIFER: Okay, I'll put Abby down for a nap then. If I can tear her away from Carly.
JACK GOES UPSTAIRS AND JENNIFER TAKES ABBY TO PUT HER TO BED.
SCENE FOUR: JACK IS AT ALICE'S WHERE HE MEETS JO.
ALICE: Hot chocolate.
JO: Oh look at the little marshmallows she put on top.
ALICE: Well my dear, you are my favorite customers so I like to treat you royally whenever I can to hot chocolate.
JO: Well I tell you what, royalty is not very good for my diet.
ALICE: Now Jo, come on. This is the holidays. You cannot diet now.
JO: Well in that case, all right.
ALICE: All right and I'll be back with your sandwiches as soon as they are ready.
JO: All right. (Beat) You haven't told Jennifer about the novel, have you, or Suzanna Cooper, either huh?
JACK: You are just determined to give me a hard time. Just determined.
JO: I am not determined. I am not determined to give you a hard time son. I'm on your side. I just think this is going to come back and haunt you.
JACK: Nothing is going to haunt me because it's all worked out. Just because this.... this Suzanna Cooper refuses to publish In the Midnight Hour until she meets the author, doesn't mean it....
JO: Why don't you just tell her the truth? Why don't you tell her that you're not J. Johnson the agent, you're Miranda Miller, and you stole a manuscript and....
JACK: I didn't steal anything. I'm sorry I ever told you about this. Lesley Morgan had this.... this journal up in the attic. I took it downstairs. I reworked it. I turned it into a novel. Now this Lesley Morgan is dead for all we know. Dead. Let's not mention her name again.
JO: You don't know.
JACK: I will be the one to reap the rewards from writing that novel. It is my novel. I will get all the benefits from working with it, all right.
JO: All right, all right.
ALICE: I'm sorry to interrupt you but, ah, that is a Suzanna Cooper who wants to speak to a J. Johnson. I can only assume that's you Jo.
JACK: Ah well I can remember telling her that you were going to be here.
JACK: You can stay here and.... eat your marshmallows and I'll go talk.
JO: All right.
ALICE IS PUZZLED BUT JO JUST SHAKES HER HEAD.
SCENE FIVE: JACK GOES TO THE PHONE AND TALKS TO SUZANNA.
JACK: But Miranda doesn't like to come out of her house, you see, she's reclusive, agoraphobic.
SUZANNA: If she doesn't talk to me, she doesn't get her book published.
JACK: Well I could tell her that, but....
SUZANNA: You tell her that I want to publish a profitable book and I cannot do that without an author. A flesh and blood author who's willing to go out there and be noticed.
JACK LOOKS ACROSS AT JO.
JACK: Okay, okay, I have it. I will set up a phone interview. Will that solve the problem?
SUZANNA: Why is this happening to me?
JACK: And then perhaps over the phone you can convince Miranda to meet you. I mean with your considerable charm and energy, I'm sure she'll just be putty in your hands. I tell you what, I shall go now and speak to her at her home and I'll get her to call you right back. Goodbye.
JACK HANGS UP FAST BEFORE SUZANNA CAN REPLY. HE WALKS OVER TO THE TABLE AND SITS DOWN OPPOSITE JO.
JACK: The question of the hour is, do you wish to see me happy?
JO: I know where this is going Jack.
JACK: Do you wish to see me happy? Do you wish to see my house in order? Do you wish to see The Spectator back in my hands? Do you wish to see Jennifer back home taking care of her child during these early formative years? Do you wish to see that? Do you?
JO: You are rotten to the core, son. Rotten to the core.
JACK: That is beside the point. If you do wish to see all those things you will do this one little thing for me. This one very special little thing.
JO LOOKS UP AND SIGHS.
JACK: All you have to do is just talk to the woman on the phone.
JACK: It's all you have to do.
JO: Jack, listen. I get really nervous when I'm not myself, all right. I just can't be somebody else. I go to pieces, son. I can't.... I can't.
JACK: I told the woman that you're paranoid, that you're agoraphobic. You can stutter all you want and it won't matter.
JACK: Please, just remember. You're doing this for me. If you do this for me, I will owe you.
JACK: I will owe you good.
JACK: I will owe you.
SCENE SIX: JACK STANDS UP AND JO RELUCTANTLY FOLLOWS HIM TO THE PAYPHONES.
JACK: You got a quarter?
JO GETS A QUARTER OUT OF HER PURSE AND GIVES IT TO JACK.
JACK: Good. Now just remember....
JO: Oh god!
JACK: Just remember....
JO: Okay, okay.
JO: Okay, okay, okay.
JACK: .... that you are back at your own place because you are agoraphobic.
JACK: That means you're afraid of going out and being around other people. Okay?
JACK TAKES HER OVER TO THE PAY PHONE AND DIALS.
JACK: Just remember.
JO GETS COLD SHIVERS AS JACK ASKS FOR SUZANNA COOPER.
JACK: Suzanna Cooper's room please. (Beat) Yes, thank you.
HE HANDS THE PHONE TO JO.
JACK: Okay, who are you? Miranda Miller. Miranda Miller, get it straight. JO: Miranda Miller.
JACK: Miranda Miller, Miranda Miller.
JO TAKES THE PHONE.
SUZANNA: Suzanna Cooper.
JO: Yes, this is Melinda Miller.
JACK HAS A FIT.
JACK: I told you, Miranda, Miranda!
JO: No, actually it's not Melinda, that's, heheheheh, that's my nickname. My real name is Miranda. You can call me.... well you can call me Merinda, you can call me Miranda.
SUZANNA: Well why don't I just call you Ms Miller?
JO: OH, excellent, excellent idea, excellent idea.
SUZANNA: Ms Miller could you tell me where you got the inspiration for your wonderful book?
JO: Heheheheheh, the inspiration.
JO: For my book. The inspiration.
JACK: A dream. It came to you in a dream.
JO: It came to me in a dream. It came to me in a dream, heheheheheh.
SUZANNA: Well, how interesting. And that's just the kind of response the readers are dying to hear.
JO: Heheheheh, oh what a coincidence.
SUZANNA: And it fits right in with the title, In the Midnight Hour.
JO: Yes, yes it does, doesn't it? (To Jack) When is she going to hang up this phone?
JACK: Just keep going. You're doing fine, keep going.
SUZANNA: Ms Miller, your.... agent, Mr. Johnson.
JO: Yes, lovely man, isn't it? (Beat) Ah, he. He's a lovely man, isn't he? Lovely man.
SUZANNA: He's.... fine. Yes, anyway he told me that you're not comfortable with publicity and I understand that, especially for someone as introverted as you obviously are. But, for the sake of your extraordinary novel, in order to give it every chance for the success that it deserves, I'd like to convince you to agree to at least one televised interview.
SUZANNA: Ms Miller.
JO: No, no, no way. No I cannot. I cannot handle it. No way. You see my psy.... my psec....
JACK WHISPERS IN HER EAR.
JACK: Psychiatrist, psychiatrist, psychiatrist.
JO: My psychiatrist told me that the worst thing in the world for me would be to be on....
SUZANNA: Your psychiatrist told you that?
JO: Oh yes, yes, he brought it up a few times. Yes he did. He certainly did. He said I should avoid it like the plague. I mean being televised, that is, you know. He said that it could put me right over the edge. That's what he said.
SUZANNA: Fine. I'll publish you anyway!
JO: What? (Beat) Well bless your heart.
JACK IS CHEERING IN THE BACKGROUND AND JO TURNS TO LOOK AT HIM. SHE HITS HIM WITH HER ELBOW.
JO: She'll publish me anyway! Heheheheh. Well I'll talk to my psychiatrist about that okay.
SUZANNA: Well I like your book. What can I say. And when it becomes a best seller, then maybe you'll come out of hiding and show people your face, huh?
JO: Yes, yes, yes. Um I better be going now because, heheheheh, um....
JACK: Hang up, hang up.
JO: .... because my marsh.... my marshmallows are melting on my hot chocolate.... hot chocolate.
SUZANNA: Right. Well you go drink your hot chocolate and tell your agent to call me so we can open negotiations.
JO STARTS TO GIGGLE WHILE JACK IS CHEERING IN THE BACKGROUND.
JO: I'll do that, thanks.
SHE HANGS UP AND SCREAMS WITH DELIGHT.
JO: She's going to publish it. I did it, I did it.
JACK: Yes, you did it.
SHE SCREAMS WITH DELIGHT AGAIN AND JACK COVERS HER MOUTH.
JACK: Yes, you did it, you did it. It's going to be published.
JACK: Yes it's going to be published. It's going to be published. SSSSSSSH! It's going to be published. Yes, Yes!
JO KEEPS SCREAMING BEHIND HIS HAND.
SCENE SEVEN: MEANWHILE BACK AT HOME, JENNIFER ASKS CARLY FOR DINNER. WHILE CARLY IS THERE, LAWRENCE DROPS BY TO SEE CARLY AND JENNIFER GETS UPSET AT SEEING HIM AT HER DOOR.
[Transcribed by Carol Vaughan