NEW TITLE - HALF BAKED
Jay Allen 50 to 65Martha Allen 50 to 65Sonny Allen 50 to 65Veronica Allen 50 to 65Marty Minkoff 50 – 65Nadia 45 to 55Ethan Preston 20 to-25
ACT 1SCENE 1
SETTING: Present day. A small café in central Florida. Café entrance is down left. Swinging doors to kitchen are up right. Two small café tables with two chairs each are center stage. A small counter with two bar stools is back center. A chalkboard on the counter reads ‘Today’s Special – Hungarian Ghoulish.AT RISE: Sonny is sitting at one of the tables reading a newspaper He is dressed in black pants and a white button-down shirt. Veronica walks out of kitchen dressed in a black and white waitress outfit. VERONICA. Quitting time Sonny. (She retrieves a ‘closed’ sign from behind the counter and hands it to Sonny) Here, put the sign up.SONNY. (Looking at his watch) Ronnie, It’s only six O’clock. We’re going to miss the dinner rush.VERONICA. This is central Florida. The dinner rush ended at 4.30. (Sonny takes sign and opens front door. He starts franticly waving his arms to someone to come in)SONNY. Come on in, come in. We’re still open. Hungarian Goulash is today’s special!VERONICA. Who are you waving at?SONNY. Two old ladies waiting for the bus. If we can get them in here, we could have an even half dozen customers today.VERONICA. First of all, we’re out of Goulash. And second of all, we’re closed! SONNY. (Out to old ladies) Never mind, we’re out of goulash. Go home.
He hangs up the sign on outside of the door and locks the door from the inside as Veronica sits at one of the tables. SONNY. How could we be out of goulash when we only had four customers? Sonny sits at table with Veronica.VERONICA. You know business is terrible. We’re cutting down on the servings to save money. Martha only made eight servings. And all four customers today ordered the goulash.SONNY. That’s only four servings.VERONICA. Me, you and Martha had the others for lunch and one guy ordered seconds.SONNY. Wow, this sucks. We’re gonna go out of business if this keeps up. (Martha appears unseen to Sonny in kitchen doorway holding a cell phone and a cleaver.)SONNY. Maybe we ought to change cooks.MARTHA. (storms in wearing a cook’s apron) Oh yeah wise guy. Maybe you’d like to take over cooking. You know how hot a kitchen in Florida gets? I have to hang out in the meat freezer until a customer comes in just to cool off.SONNY. You must have been frozen solid today.MARTHA. Aren’t you Mr. “Witty.” Is that why you married him Veronica? To keep you in stiches all day while I slave away in the kitchen. I thought the four of us moved down from Jersey to start this business together as a retirement nest egg?VERONICA. (Rising) Hey keep me out of this Martha. Me and Sonny are standing right here, aren’t we? It’s your husband who never seems to be around.(Veronica crosses to the counter and grabs some place mats and silver wear to set up the counter and tables)MARTHA. Yeah, Sonny. Where is that brother of yours? (She holds up cell phone) I’ve been calling him for the last two hours and he hasn’t answered.SONNY. He told me he was going shopping for supplies for tomorrow’s lunch specials.MARTHA. Really? What kind of wholesale food do they sell at the race track? SONNY. (rising to help Veronica) Here we go again. (to Martha) Would you please put that knife back in the kitchen. You’re making me nervous. MARTHA. It’s not a knife, it’s a cleaver. (She heads back to kitchen) Yeah, I’ll put it back in the kitchen, but I can think of a better place to put it…as soon as your brother shows his face around here again!(she exits to kitchen as Sonny sets the tables)SONNY. I don’t get it. She was so nice before Jay married her.VERONICA. Well, marriage changes some people. And your brother is not exactly a model husband.SONNY. What’s that supposed to mean?VERONICA. He likes to drink, gamble and hit on other women.SONNY. What’s your point?VERONICA. That is my point.SONNY. It’s not like he wasn’t doing that before she met him.VERONICA. Listen, I don’t want to discuss your brother’s marriage when we have our own to worry about.SONNY. What’s wrong with our marriage?!VERONICA. I don’t want to discuss it.SONNY. You said you didn’t want to discuss their marriage, not ours!VERONICA. I don’t want to discuss anybody’s marriage, how ‘bout that?SONNNY. (a little relieved) Works for me.VERONICA. You should discuss it with him.SONNY. What! How come I’ve got to get into the middle of their marriage and you don’t!? Give me one good reason.VERONICA. He’s your brother and you convinced him to marry her!SONNY. I only asked for one good reason.VERONICA. Well, you better do something because things have only gotten worse between those two since we moved to Florida and opened this café.SONNY. Alright, alright. I’ll talk to him.MARTHA. ( From kitchen) Well look who just walked in the back door. Prince Charming.Jay enters from kitchen carrying a small paper bag. He is followed by Martha.JAY. Lay off me Martha. It’s too hot to argue.MARTHA. Look who’s saying it’s too hot. The guy whose been in the air-conditioned race track lounge all day. Try switching places with me buster. Then tell me how hot it is!JAY. Veronica?VERONICA. Don’t look at me pal. JAY. Sonny, would you talk to her?MARTHA. What’s he gonna tell me? You’re a lazy good for nothing? I already know that. JAY. For your information Miss Smarty Pants, I was out shopping…. Here. (He removes a large can of baked beans from the bag and places it on the counter. The can of baked beans will stay in this spot till the end of act one. Sonny goes back to reading the newspaper at the table )MARTHA. Baked Beans?SONNY. Wow, look at the size of that can.JAY. I know. They were on sale at the Pigley Dixie supermarket. But we gotta serve em by Friday. The date’s gonna expire. Only cost me a buck. Can you imagine. A can that size for only a buck! VERONICA. We’re gonna serve baked beans as the lunch special tomorrow?JAY. Not just baked beans. We’ve got hot dogs in the freezer.MARTHA. (Picking up can) Do you know this can is dented? A dented can of baked beans that’s about to expire. No wonder it only cost a buck. You’re the only idiot who’d buy it.JAY. Stop riding me Martha, I’m warning you.MARTHA. What happened to the rest of the hundred bucks I gave you for food? A hundred dollars’ worth of food should not fit in one grocery bag.JAY. Inflation?VERONICA. What did you do with the money, Jay?SONNY. (perusing paper) According to these picks in the paper, ‘Satellite’ to win in the third, ‘Southern bell’ to place in the fourth, ohh and look, a trifecta in the sixth. ‘Aces full’, ‘Plenty of nothin’ and ‘long shot’. VERONICA. Long shot? Is that a typo?SONNY. No, the horse’s name was actually ‘long shot.’ I wonder what he paid?MARTHA. Jay, you lousy son of a ….JAY. Ahh, ahh…language Martha. It’s a family restaurant.VERONICA. She’s right Jay. You lost all our food money for the week.JAY. (pointing to Sonny) That is not my hand writing.SONNY. (Showing him the paper) These aren’t written down, they’re highlighted! JAY. (quick glance at paper) That is not my highlighting.MARTHA.(removes her apron and throws it at him) I’ve had enough of you Mister. I’m calling the divorce lawyer and taking you to the cleaners.JAY. Great, while you’re there, have this apron starched.VERONICA. All right, that’s enough you two. Sonny, talk to your brother. Come on Martha, I’ve got a little credit left on my card. Let’s go get a drink. You two lock up.(Veronica and Martha exit front door as Sonny follows them and re locks the door behind them.)SONNY. Great, just great Jay. What else can you do to sabotage this operation?JAY. Sonny, you don’t understand. I need to raise some cash quick. I got people looking for me. Why do you think I haven’t been hanging around here?SONNY. And they’re not looking for you at the race track? That’s the first place I’d look.JAY. What, you think I’m stupid? I let somebody else place the bets for me.SONNY. Who?JAY. That’s my business.SONNY. No, since it’s all our money, it’s all our business! JAY. Not if Martha divorces me.SONNY. What are you gonna do, throw away a thirty-five-year marriage? Don’t be stupid.JAY. I’m reachin’ my limit with her. Why I ever listened to you and married her I’ll never know.SONNY. Martha’s a good woman…in her own, unique way. And you needed to settle down.JAY. Yeah, well she’s pushin’ me to my brink.SONNY. Well, we better figure something out. Besides what you owe to whoever, none of us are making money on this joint. JAY. Maybe we should add a piano bar.SONNY. Nah, I don’t think that will do it. JAY. Wait, I got it!….Brooklyn lightning!SONNY. Brooklyn Lightening? You want to bet on another horse?JAY. Not that kind of Brooklyn Lightning. We burn the place down and collect the insurance money! The way Martha handles that kitchen, this place catching fire isn’t such a stretch.SONNY. What are we gonna do? Disable the sprinkler system? That won’t draw any suspicion? You’re watching to many old gangster flicks. JAY. We wait till the winter dry season when there’s a drought. They always limit the water supply.SONNY. You may have something there. JAY. Hey, if we burn the place down with Martha still in it, I can collect the life insurance too.SONNY. Are you crazy! You want to spend the rest of your life in jail?JAY. For arson? The most I’d get is ten years. When I get out, we’re flush.SONNY. I’m not talking about arson. I’m talking about burning the place down with your wife still in it! It’s too risky! JAY. Your absolutely right. What was I thinking? Hey, maybe I can take her deep-sea fishing and she can accidently fall off the boat.SONNY. Would you cut that out? You’re not killing your wife. This is serious. Now cut out the half-baked schemes.JAY. Your right, what we need is a full baked scheme.SONNY. Absolutely.JAY. Hey, I think I’ve got something.SONNY. I hope it isn’t catching.JAY. We start a podcast right here in the restaurant. We call it, Café Talk.SONNY. A podcast?JAY. That’s right.SONNY. Do you know anything about podcasts?JAY. No.SONNY. Do you know how to make money from a podcast?JAY. Of course not, nobody does.SONNY. Nobody over fifty-five years of age does.JAY. So, we hire a millennial. A millennial to do the podcast and deliver the orders.SONNY. You’re going to hire a millennial. To work here? That would entail that they actually answer their phones instead of just texting once in a while and I don’t see them delivering orders. It would disrupt their work/life schedule.JAY. Bad idea?SONNY. Yeah, forget the podcast.JAY. Wait, wait, I got it. Pot! You got any Pot?SONNY. Yeah, in the kitchen. I got pot and pans.JAY. Not that kind of pot. I’m talking about weed, cannabis, marijuana. SONNY. How long you know me?JAY. Since we’re brothers…I guess forever.SONNY. Exactly, and in all that time did you ever know me to smoke pot? No. You don’t either.JAY. It’s not for us. It’s for the customers!SONNY. For the customers? You don’t need to smoke it because I think you’re already high. JAY. It’s a great idea Sonny.SONNY. It’s also an illegal idea.JAY. So’s killing Martha and burning down the restaurant but you didn’t object to that.SONNY. (to his feet) I objected to both those ideas!JAY. Selling cannabis is now legal in certain states.SONNY. Yeah, but Florida isn’t one of them.JAY. So, we import it from California or Jersey.SONNY. It’s legal in Jersey?JAY. I think so.SONNY. Well, I don’t think it’s legal to sell it in a restaurant anywhere.JAY. We’re not gonna sell it to people, we’re gonna serve it to them!SONNY. Serve it to them? How? Bake it into the desserts?JAY. Of course not! That would be absurd. You know, sometimes I just don’t know that you think things through. SONNY. Well, I’m glad your finally being reasonable.JAY. We’re not gonna bake it into the desserts, we’re gonna bake it in the appetizers!SONNY. The appetizers!? JAY. Follow me here Sonny. If we bake it into the desserts, by the time the customers get the munchies they are already gone and hitting the Waffle House. If we put it in the appetizers, they get the munchies during dinner and keep ordering more food! It’s genius!SONNY. Cannabis in the appetizers? It does give new meaning to the word pot stickers. JAY. So, we’re going to do it.SONNY. (moving towards the door) Of course not. You made more sense when you talked about killing your wife. JAY. Maybe we can do both. You know both Martha and I took out big life insurance policies on each other before we moved down here.SONNY. We’re not doing either. End of discussion. Let’s go home.JAY. Okay Sonny. But promise me you’ll come and visit me in the hospital after the loan sharks catch up with me.SONNY. We better go out the back way.JAY. Why? What’s up?SONNY. There’s a suspicious looking guy standing across the street and looking this way.JAY. What’s so suspicious about him.SONNY. He’s wearing a trench coat and a hat.JAY. So?SONNY. This is Florida. Who wears a trench coat and a Russian fur hat? JAY. You’re right, let’s go out the back. SONNY. I’ll put an ad in the paper for a millennial delivery person who also knows how to podcast. Might as well have a backup plan.They both exit through kitchen.BLACKOUT SCENE 2AT RISE: A few days later. Martha and Veronica are sitting at the table having coffee.MARTHA. I don’t know why you let Sonny and Jay have the whole day off today.VERONICA. What’s the difference? Things are so slow the two of us can run this operation ourselves.MARTHA. You know, you’re right. Maybe we should make them get real jobs. Walmart is hiring greeters. VERONICA. They’re both stressed out. Let them have a day off. Maybe we’ll take a day off next week and let them run the place.MARTHA. So, where’d they go?VERONICA. Deep sea fishing.MARTHA. Hey, that sounds like fun. Maybe we should all take the day off next week and all go deep sea fishing.VERONICA. It’s a thought.(door opens and Marty Minkoff walks in)MARTY. – Hey, there she is! I finally tracked you down! Martha, do you remember me?MARTHA. (to her feet) Marty! Is that really you!? (they embrace) Ronnie, you remember Marty Minkoff from high school.VERONICA. Of course, I do, you two were quite the item. Marty and Martha, king and queen of the senior prom. Newark Central High.MARTHA. What are you doing down here Marty? You retire from the Newark police department?MARTY. Sure did. Now I’m working for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The detective squad.MARTHA. That’s super! I can’t believe it, Marty Minkoff! Please, sit down, sit down, you want something to eat?MARTY. Nah, I’m good. Well maybe something light. And a cup of coffee.MARTHA. (she stands) Sure thing!VERONICA. No, you sit with Marty and catch up. I’ll get him something.MARTHA. Ohh, warm him up some of those pot stickers that Jay brought in last night. You like pot stickers, Marty?MARTY. Love em.MARTHA. Top shelf of the fridge Ronnie. Just nuke em for a few minutes.VERONICA. Coming right up.(Veronica exits to kitchen)MARTHA. Gee it’s great to see you, Marty. Say, how’d you track me down?MARTY. I’m a detective, aren’t I? I use the tools all good detectives use.MARTHA. Found me on Facebook, huh? MARTY. Exactly. So, how’s this little bistro operation going?MARTHA. To tell you the truth. Not so hot.MARTY. Really? Too bad…Hey, you still married to what’s his name?MARTHA. Jay? Yeah.MARTY. I never trusted that guy.MARTHA. Join the club.MARTY. Yeah, so where is he? How come he’s not here helping you.MARTHA. He went fishing with his brother. You remember his older brother. Sonny. A few years ahead of us.MARTY. Oh yeah, Sonny. Him I liked. Jay was a different story.MARTHA. I think you’re just jealous cause I wound up marrying him instead of you. What did you expect? I was gonna wait around forever for you to ask?MARTY. You know I would have asked you.MARTHA. Yeah sure. So, did you ever wind up getting married?MARTY. Well, no.MARTHA. I rest my case detective. MARTY. Doesn’t mean I didn’t miss you and stopped caring about you.MARTHA. I know. Same here Marty.(Veronica enters with a plate of pot stickers and a cup of coffee.)VERONICA. Here you go Marty.(She puts them on table and Marty takes a bite.)MARTY. Hey, these are great.MARTHA. Really? It’s Jay’s new recipe. MARTY. Really different taste. I can’t pinpoint what it is. Sweet, yet…pungent. What are the ingredients?MARTHA. I don’t know, but he seemed to be using a lot of oregano.MARTY. Yeah, it tastes a little like oregano.(he continues to eat)VERONICA. I’m glad you like them, Marty. Maybe we’ll put them on special tomorrow.MARTY. Listen. You got a box. I’ll bring some to the station house as samples for the guys. Maybe I can drum up some business for you.MARTHA. Would you Marty? That would be great. (she rises) I’ve got plenty more in the back. (Martha exits to kitchen) MARTY. So how is she doing Ronnie? Really. Is she happy with Jay?