The Lady Who Lunched, or Who Is Miriam? by Scott Peeler


This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author’s PRIOR consent

    TIME: The present.

      PLACE: The Crowís Nest Restaurant in Santa Cruz, California.

      MIRIAM is seated at her table at The Crowís Nest. She has been
      waiting for some time, and looks frequently at her watch. Her guest is
      obviously late.

      COURTNEY enters.

      COURTNEY: Would you like to order a drink now, madam?

      MIRIAM: Not yet, thank you.

      COURTNEY: As you wish.

      COURTNEY exits.

      MIRIAM pulls out a pack of Pall Malls from her purse, remembers she
      cannot smoke here, and puts the cigarette pack back into her purse.

      CALEB rushes in. He kisses MIRIAM.

      CALEB: Sorry Iím late, Mom.

      MIRIAM: Itís fine, honey. How are you?

      CALEB: Iím good!

      MIRIAM: Iím glad.

      CALEB: Thank you for seeing me.

      MIRIAM: Of course.

      COURTNEY arrives.

      COURTNEY: Can I get you both started with a beverage?

      MIRIAM: Iíll have my usual, COURTNEY.

      CALEB: Coors Light?

      COURTNEY: In a bottle or a glass?

      CALEB: Bottleíll do.

      COURTNEY: You got it.

      COURTNEY leaves to make the drink order.

      MIRIAM: Whatís going on, CALEB?

      CALEB sighs.

      CALEB: Newspapers are disappearing, and theyíre cutting budgets to
      keep from going under. Itís getting harder and harder to make it as
      a stringer. I need money again.

      MIRIAM: What about online outlets?

      CALEB: They still havenít figured out how to monetize that.
      Thereís too much free reportage. Anyone with a blog and a GoPro can
      post up-to-the-minute news coverage.

      MIRIAM: How much are we talking about?

      CALEB: Ten thousand.

      MIRIAM (sighs): I can help you just this once, CALEB. But you need to
      come up with a long-term plan here. Youíre, what, ten, fifteen years
      away from retirement?

      CALEB: But journalism is all I know.

      MIRIAM: What about technical writing?

      CALEB (shaking his head): Mom, Iím too old for that.

      MIRIAM: How so?

      CALEB: Itís a young personís game. Youíve got to be up on all
      the latest technologies.

      MIRIAM: I have every faith that you can get up to speed, and show
      those millennials how itís done.

      CALEB (sighs): Thank you for that, Mom. Iím not feeling so confident
      right now.

      MIRIAM: We all get to that point, sweetie. Youíre not the first
      person who had to reinvent himself in mid-life. When your father left
      me, I had to rethink everything. Absolutely everything.

      COURTNEY returns with their drinks.

      COURTNEY: One Old Fashioned, on the rocks, and a Coors Light. Are we
      ready to order food?

      CALEB: Oh, shit. I havenít even looked at the menu yet. You go
      ahead, Mom.

      MIRIAM: COURTNEY knows what I want.

      CALEB: Okay, IíllÖ um, Iíll have the Black Angus Sirloin.

      COURTNEY: How would you like that prepared?

      CALEB: Medium rare, but a little on the bloody side.

      COURTNEY: Sounds perfect.

      COURTNEY leaves to make the meal order.

      MIRIAM: Honey, donít lose hope. Youíre a talented writer. Iíve
      always looked forward to reading your articles.

      CALEB: Well, youíre my mom soÖ

      MIRIAM (interrupting): Nonsense. You write beautifully. Do you know
      which article is my favorite?

      CALEB: No.

      MIRIAM: A few years ago, you wrote about the dismantling of the old
      Ferris Wheel at the Boardwalk.

      CALEB: Oh, yes.

      MIRIAM: You wrote such a poetic eulogy for her.

      A long silence follows this remark. CALEB looks down at his beer.

      CALEB: I have so many memories of that ride. Thereís one I canít
      shake. It was 1973 or í74. You and I were riding the Ferris Wheel at
      night. Do you remember?

      MIRIAM: Was it the night of the blackout?

      CALEB: It was. Several young women had been murdered in the Santa Cruz
      mountains. A serial killer was suspected.

      MIRIAM: I remember.

      CALEB: You and I were on the Ferris Wheel when, all of a sudden, the
      power went out. All the rides stopped, the midwayís lights went out,
      and the entire boardwalk was plunged into darkness. We were stuck at
      the top of the ride. The people below us began to panic. I remember
      the screams. It was terrifying.

      But as frightened as I was, I realized I was in the safest place I
      could possibly be: on top of the Ferris Wheel with my mom.

      MIRIAM reaches across the table and clasps CALEBís hand in hers.

      MIRIAM: Someone will need to remember me. I want it to be you.

      COURTNEY arrives with their meals.

      COURTNEY: Ahi salad for madam, and the Angus Sirloin Steak, medium
      rare, for sir.

      MIRIAM: Thank you.

      COURTNEY exits