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CHARACTERS:

GRIGOR MARKOV: Russian concert pianist; entered the restaurant at 60 years old
EARL ONSET: WWI veteran; entered the restaurant at 50 years old
ALF HYMER: Founder/manager of the restaurant; has a constantly upbeat manner.
EMILIA SHAPIRO: newest customer in the restaurant; enters the restaurant at 70 years old; still fairly lucid; very conversational with all the other guests
KEAGAN LEE: entered the restaurant at 54 years old
MARIE JOHNSON: enters the restaurant at 90 years old.
WAITER: works at the restaurant with Alf

SETTING:

Alf Hymer’s Restaurant on 100th Street and Madison Avenue, New York City.


ACT 1: SCENE 1

Alf Hymer’s Restaurant. Afternoon on a sunny day. In the restaurant: a red leather booth upstage in the lefthand corner with Grigor in it; another booth upstage in the righthand corner with Earl; a retro style bar downstage with Keagan having a drink.

Emilia walks in with dyed crimson hair and cat eyeliner on her hooded eyes.

ALF: (smiling widely) Welcome, welcome…Ms. Shapiro? Yes, yes it is Ms. Shapiro. (looking at

the computer at the register) Ah! You’re here before your reservation!

Takes Emilia by the arm.

Come, come. Sit over in the booth with Mr. Markov. He’s a fantastically lovely man.

EMILIA: Thank you… (hesitantly) Mr. Hymer.

ALF: (cheerily) Yes, yes, my name is Mr. Hymer. Alf Hymer. Hymer, Alf. Forever ready to

help!

Emilia sits across from Grigor in the booth. He is shoveling beet soup and vodka tonic alternately into his

mouth.

EMILIA: Hello, Mr. Markov. I’m Emilia Shapiro. What’s that you’re eating?

GRIGOR: Borscht.

EMILIA: I see…interesting.

The waiter approaches the booth.

WAITER: Mr. Markov, can I interest you to anything else?

GRIGOR: Vhat specials do you hahve?

WAITER: Mmm-hmm. Today we have an eclectic assortment of specials for you. Cajun

seafood pasta, bourbon pecan chicken, pork chops with raspberry sauce, chicken makhani,

and a crab-stuffed lobster tail.

GRIGOR: Eh, no thank you. I am content vith just my borscht.

WAITER: You, Ms. Shapiro?

EMILIA: Ehm, nothing for me for now. But, may I ask, what’s the date today?

WAITER: Ah, yes. Mr. Markov, what is the date today?

GRIGOR: September 3rd, 1995.

WAITER: There you go, Ms. Shapiro. Enjoy the rest of your meal, Mr. Markov.

The waiter walks off to another table.

EMILIA: So Mr. Markov—

GRIGOR: No. Ve do not talk vhile ve eat. Silence.

Grigor resumes shoveling his meal into his mouth. Emilia, deterred, goes to the booth with Earl in it.

EMILIA: Hi, I’m Emilia Shapiro. (Extends her hand to be shaken. Earl shakes it firmly) Is it all

right if I sit with you?

EARL: Fine by me. Do you know the city well?

EMILIA: (primping her red curls) Lived here all my life.

EARL: Tell me, how can I get from the Pan Am Building to the World Trade Center? I have

been trying to map out a commuting route for some time.

EMILIA: (with a look of bewilderment) Uh, sir, don’t you mean the MetLife Building? And the

trade center—

EARL: No, the Pan Am Building. What in God is the Metlife Building?

EMILIA: T-the new name of the Pan Am, of course. Don’t you remember the company

transfer?

EARL: Ab-so-lute-ly not. When did that happen?

EMILIA: Umm…it was…no, not then—oh! In 1992. Yes. 1992.

Earl’s eyes widen in alarm, and a look of confusion crosses his face.

What’s wrong? Did something happen?

EARL: Ms. Shapiro, it’s 1949. I don’t know what the hell you’re on, but I know it’s 1949

because the last thing I read was headlines on the fall of those German bastards. (muttering

under his breath) ‘Bout damn time.

EMILIA: But—but, Mr. Markov just said—I-I remember—

Alf quickly jogs over to the booth, placing one hand on Earl’s shoulder and the other on Emilia’s shoulder.

ALF: Everything all right here?

EARL: Woman here thinks she can see into the future.

EMILIA: (motioning shakily to Earl) He said the date was—

ALF: (squeezing harder on Emilia’s shoulder) No worries, Ms. Shapiro. Let Mr. Onset be, he’s a

fantastically lovely man.

EMILIA: (eyeing Earl) O-oh, al…right then, I guess.

ALF: Mr. Onset, what is it you would like?

EARL: Damn directions to the Pan Am from the World Trade Center.

ALF: Ah, yes. I shall give those to you once you are done with your meal.

EARL: Thank you, Mr….

ALF: Yes, yes, my name is Mr. Hymer. Alf Hymer. Hymer, Alf. Forever ready to help!

Alf returns to his register near the door.

GRIGOR: (shouting unnecessarily loudly from across the room) Vaiter, vhat specials do you hahve?!

WAITER: Mmm-hmm. Today we have an eclectic assortment of specials for you. Cajun

seafood pasta, bourbon pecan chicken, pork chops with raspberry sauce, chicken makhani,

and a crab-stuffed lobster tail.

GRIGOR: Eh, no thank you. I am content vith just my borscht.

EMILIA: Didn’t he just—

ALF: (from his register) Ms. Shapiro, would you like chimichurri steak, on the house?

EMILIA: Oh, uh, sure. Thank you, um, that’s very…kind.

Alf strolls into the kitchen. Sounds of boisterous cooking and the smell of spices drift out while the door is

open. A couple minutes later, he emerges from the kitchen and goes back to the register.

EMILIA: So…Mr. Onset…where are you from?

EARL: ‘Merica, of course. Best damn country in the whole wide effin’ world.

EMILIA: (tentatively) I see. You seem like you really love America.

EARL: I’d love it even more if the government got rid of those damn Reds and radicals.

EMILIA: Excuse me?!

EARL: I mean, really, what’s so wrong with the treatment? It’s justified, you know. The

government needs to catch those criminals.

Emilia gets up from the booth, eyeing Earl leerily.

EMILIA: I…uh…I th-think I’m going to go eat at the bar. It was…nice…meeting…you.

Earl waves his hand indifferently. Emilia goes to the bar and sits next to Keagan, who is concentrating on a

magazine. She has a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog and French fries on a plate in front of her.

EARL: Mr. Hymer, where’s my food? It’s been a damn long time.

ALF: It’ll be out very, very soon, Mr. Onset. In the meantime, can I interest you in an ice

cold, refreshing Budweiser? From the tap?

EARL: What’s a Budweiser?

ALF: (smiling suddenly) I’ll get you a Budweiser.

Earl, paying no mind, draws out a cigar from his pocket. He lights it up with pleasure and begins to smoke.

EMILIA: Hi, my name is Emilia Shapiro. Mind if I sit next to you?

KEAGAN: Not at all. Just don’t start talking politics.

They laugh lightly. Keagan is wearing a black and white polka dot shirt, a cocktail turquoise skirt, and

swing shoes, which all look awkward on such an old woman.

I’m Keagan Lee.

EMILIA: I adore your clothing. Where did you get such an outfit?

KEAGAN: This recent Vogue issue I’m reading. I love Vogue. Love, love, love.

EMILIA: Recent? Those clothes look fairly…different. What issue is your magazine?

KEAGAN: (tilting the magazine to reveal the cover) February, 1956.

Emilia furrows her brow after hearing the date.

EMILIA: That’s not a very recen—

Alf appears suddenly behind Emilia.

ALF: Ms. Shapiro, your chimichurri steak is ready! It’s positively sublime.

Alf places the meal in front of Emilia.

EMILIA: Oh, uh, thank you Mr. Hymer. (To Keagan. Alf returns to his register) May I borrow

your magazine for a moment, please? I just want to show Mr. Onset over there something.

KEAGAN: Sure, just make sure not to lose my page. There was a beautiful article about

Marilyn Monroe. (aside) What a beauty she is.

Keagan hands the magazine to Emilia. Emilia begins to walk towards Earl with the magazine. Alf rushes

over.

ALF: Ms. Shapiro, Mr. Onset does not want to be troubled right now.

EMILIA: I would just like to show him the date on this magazine, if he wouldn’t mind.

ALF: (speaking over his shoulder) Mr. Onset, would you like to see a Vogue magazine?

EARL: (looking off to the side with his cigar in the corner of his mouth) Hell no. That magazine is for

stupid women and gay men.

ALF: (grasping Emilia’s shoulder firmly) There you are, Ms. Shapiro. Mr. Onset does not wish to

see that magazine. If you would please go back to your conversation with Keagan, that

would be magical. She is a fantastically lovely woman.

EMILIA: O-okay…I guess.

Emilia walks back to the bar.

ALF: Yes, yes, thank you. That’s me, Mr. Hymer. Alf Hymer. Hymer, Alf. Forever ready to

help!

GRIGOR: (shouting from across the room. His bowl of beet soup is nearly finished) Vaiter, vhat specials

do you hahve?

WAITER: Mmm-hmm. Today we have an eclectic assortment of specials for you. Cajun

seafood pasta, bourbon pecan chicken, pork chops with raspberry sauce, chicken makhani,

and a crab-stuffed lobster tail.

GRIGOR: Eh, no thank you. I am content vith just my borscht.

Emilia, hearing this exchange, places a gnarled hand on her forehead.

EMILIA: (taking a breath) So, Ms. Lee—

KEAGAN: Mrs. Lee.

EMILIA: Mrs. Lee. Ah! You’re married. How lovely. What’s your husband like?

KEAGAN: (keeping her eyes on her magazine) Rich. Very rich. Richer than Rolexes.

Emilia laughs, while Keagan continues reading.

EMILIA: No, really, what is he like?

KEAGAN: I just said. He’s rich.

EMILIA: Nothing more than that?

KEAGAN: (perplexed) Well, he’s…um…he’s funny sometimes. He buys me very nice clothes,

which is what I love.

EMILIA: What does he do for you other than buy you clothes?

KEAGAN: What else is there for him to do for me?

EMILIA: I-I…nevermind.

EARL: Mr. Hymer, where is my food? It’s been a damn long time.

ALF: It’ll be out very, very soon, Mr. Onset. Don’t you worry. (his face loses its smile and he

becomes somber) Mr. Markov, I believe your meal, sadly, is done, correct?

GRIGOR: Correct, Mr. Hymer. It vas delicious. Can you ask the vaiter for me vhat specials

you hahve?

ALF: (in a solemn tone) I’m afraid not, Mr. Markov.

A long black Cadillac car pulls up to the door of the restaurant. The waiter delivers Earl’s meal to his

booth.

Your car has arrived.

GRIGOR: I do not remember requesting vor a car.

ALF: (shaking his had slowly) I know, Mr. Markov, I know. But it’s time for you to go. Come

on.

Alf walks over to Grigor’s booth and holds him delicately by the elbow. Alf and Grigor go out the door.

Grigor starts to enter the car.

It was a pleasure having you in my restaurant, Mr. Markov. You were a fantastically lovely

man.

The car speeds off with Grigor.

EMILIA: What just—why did Mr. Markov have to leave?

ALF: (still somber) His meal was over.

EMILIA: But he—

ALF: (suddenly back to his cheery attitude) Ms. Shapiro, am I able to interest you in another meal?

Your chimichurri steak was only a starter.

EMILIA: Ehmm…sure. May I have the lobster bisque?

ALF: Absolutely. Waiter!

WAITER: (jumping up from behind the bar counter) Yes?

ALF: One lobster bisque for Ms. Shapiro, please.

WAITER: Comin’ right away.

EMILIA: (rubbing her forehead) Thank you very much.

ALF: Yes, yes, of course. That’s me, Mr. Hymer. Alf Hymer. Hymer, Alf. Forever ready to

help!

Emilia opens her mouth to say something, but decides to close it. Earl’s plate is clean and his glass is empty.

The same somber look that crossed over Alf’s face earlier now returns.

ALF: Mr. Onset, have you finished your meal?

EARL: Yes, I have. The burger was a damn fake out—do you not know how to make a

‘merikkan burger?

ALF: I’m so sorry to hear that Mr. Onset. But I’m afraid I am unable to refund you.

The long black Cadillac returns outside.

Your car has arrived.

EARL: What damn car? I didn’t ask for a car!

Alf places his hand firmly on Earl’s shoulder and looks intensely into Earl’s eyes.

ALF: It is time for you to go, Mr. Onset. It was a pleasure having you in my restaurant. You

were a fantastically lovely man.

The waiter enters and delivers Emilia’s soup to her. Alf gestures for the waiter to come to him.

Escort Mr. Onset to the car, will you?

WAITER: Yes sir.

Earl exits. The waiter walks back into the restaurant as the car speeds off.

KEAGAN: Oh, yes! Emilia, I have an answer to your question. My husband is rich. Very

rich. Richer than Rolexes.

EMILIA: You already told me that…didn’t you? I-I faintly remember you—

ALF: (now back to his cheery attitude) She did not answer you earlier, Ms. Shapiro. You are

mistaken.

EMILIA: Are you sure? Because—

ALF: Positive, Ms. Shapiro. Ten-million and one percent positive. How is your bisque?

EMILIA: Oh, it’s wonderful.

Alf walks off to his register. The waiter idly wipes clean the same glass incessantly.

KEAGAN: I wish I could make such a delicious dish. My husband wants me to become a

better cook. (she sighs) I can’t risk ruining my beautiful clothes.

EMILIA: Oh, well, why don’t you just wear an apron?

KEAGAN: (angrily) Aprons are revolting!

EMILIA: …I see. Why don’t you just tell your husband you don’t like cooking?

KEAGAN: (staring wide-eyed at Emilia) Are you insane?! I couldn’t say that to my husband!

EMILIA: Why…why not?

ALF: Ms. Shapiro, if you wouldn’t mind, I think Mrs. Lee would rather leave that topic to

rest.

The car horn honks outside.

Mrs. Lee, your car has arrived.

KEAGAN: What car is it?

Alf turns to look at the long, black Cadillac.

ALF: A cherry red muscle car. Absolutely stunning.

KEAGAN: Ah, yes. That’s my ride. I can’t wait to see my gorg-e-ous husband!

Keagan puts her Vogue magazine under her arm and begins to walk out with Alf.

ALF: If I may ask, what is your husband’s name?

KEAGAN: It’s—it’s—I…it’s, um…well—

ALF: Nevermind, Mrs. Lee, it’s quite alright. Go on now. It was a pleasure having you in my

restaurant. You were a fantastically lovely woman.

Keagan exits. The car speeds off. Emilia is shoveling her bisque into her mouth.

EMILIA: Mr. Hymer, when is my car going to come?

ALF: Not for some time, Ms. Shapiro. You have yet to finish your meal. Meals take a long

time to eat. Years, for most.

EMILIA: Years?

ALF: Yes. Years.

EMILIA: Why does it take that long to finish a meal?

ALF: Alf Hymer’s Restaurant prides itself on meals that are so good they make you forget all

else to savor the taste. Savoring takes quite a long time, Ms. Shapiro.

EMILIA: I see.

Alf smiles and begins to walk back to the register, but turns when Emilia says his name.

Mr. Hymer, what date is it today?

ALF: What date do you think it is?

EMILIA: Well…the last date I can recall is January 7th, 2006.

ALF: Then that is your date, Ms. Shapiro. No reason for me to tell you.

EMILIA: Where did they all go, Mr. Hymer? Mr. Markov and Mr. Onset and Mrs. Lee?

ALF: (staring off at the door) Who?

EMILIA: Mr…Mr…I-I…they were just here, weren’t they?

ALF: (resting his hand on Emilia’s shoulder) I’m afraid I don’t know to whom you are referring.

But please, nevermind that. Continue enjoying your bisque.

A new customer, Marie, enters the restaurant.

ALF: (smiling widely) Welcome, welcome…Ms. Johnson? Yes, yes it is Ms. Johnson. We were

expecting you.

Takes Marie by the arm.

Come, come. Sit over in the booth with Ms. Shapiro. She is a fantastically lovely woman.

Marie takes a seat by Emilia, who is now shoveling bisque into her mouth.

MARIE: Pleased to meet you, Ms. Shapiro. How are you?

EMILIA: (eyes still on her food) Doing well, thank you.

MARIE: Where are you from?

EMILIA: Here.

MARIE: Oh, that’s nice. You have family here?

EMILIA: (furrowing her brow) …Yes. I…had family here.

MARIE: Uh…had?

EMILIA: Yes. Had.

MARIE: I’m sorry, did something happen with—

ALF: (from his register) Nothing happened, Ms. Johnson. Ms. Shapiro had family here. Leave it

at that.

MARIE: Oh…um…okay. (scratching her head) Ms. Shapiro, I’m sorry to bother you further—

I’m just so scatter-brained today—but what’s the date today?

EMILIA: January 7th, 2006.

MARIE: Thank yo—wait. 2006? I thought the year was—

ALF: 2006 is the date Ms. Shapiro gave you, Ms. Johnson. Her date. Let us leave it at that.

MARIE: I’m sorry, I don’t think I understand what you mean.

ALF: (sighing) You will soon, Ms. Johnson. You will soon.

Motioning to the waiter.

Please tell Ms. Johnson our specials of the day.

End scene.



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