Dinner at Denny’s

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CAST:
MAN: Shawn Rapier (later Dallen Gettling)
WOMAN: Lisa Valentine Clark
WAITER: Eric D. Snider
PEOPLE AT OTHER TABLE: various, but usually Daryn Tufts and Mark Berrett


(We’re at Denny’s. MAN and WOMAN talk as they look at menus.)

MAN:

I am so exhausted. I had a long day at work.

WOMAN:

Really? What happened?

MAN:

Oh, just a lot to do. So many decisions to make. Bill comes in right before lunch, wants me to make a decision on the Thompson Project right that minute. I’m like, Bill! It’s lunchtime! Then later, Wanda starts bugging me about the decorations for the office party, and someone else is taking up a collection, and how much would I like to donate? … So many things to think about. By the end of the day, I was fed up with making decisions.

WOMAN:

Poor dear.

MAN:

That’s why we’re here. I just want a nice, quiet, relaxing dinner. No thinking. Just quiet.

(Enter the WAITER. For the rest of the sketch, the MAN should appear frazzled, harried, tired, and nearly out of breath. He is exhausted, like he said.)

WAITER:

Hi, welcome to Denny’s, my name is Damon, and I’ll be your server. Can I get you anything to drink?

MAN:

Yes, and I think we’re ready to order, too.

WAITER:

Oh, all right. How about if I take your dinner order first, then?

MAN:

Fine.

WAITER:

What will you have?

MAN:

I’d like the steak and eggs.

WAITER:

What kind of potato would you like with that?

MAN:

Pardon me?

WAITER:

What kind of potato? (MAN is thrown off. Thinks a second.) French fries, baked potato, mashed potato, rice, or cole slaw?

MAN:

(obviously tired from working all day) Uh… baked potato.

WAITER:

And would you like sour cream, chives, cheese, onions, or chili on that?

MAN:

Uh — cheese.

WAITER:

American, cheddar, or Swiss?

MAN:

Cheddar.

WAITER:

Melted or shredded?

MAN:

(perplexed) Melted!

WAITER:

All the way melted, or just sort of half-way melted?

MAN:

(a little irritated) All the way melted!

WAITER:

OK, sir. Now, how would you like your steak cooked? (MAN is drawing a deep breath, recovering from this burst of decision-making. Before he can answer, WAITER cuts him off) Rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, well, extra-well, or charcoal briquette?

MAN:

Medium-rare.

WAITER:

And how would you like your eggs? (doesn’t even wait) Sunny side up, over easy, over medium, over hard, scrambled, scrambled with cheese, poached, boiled, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or raw in a cup?

MAN:

(rubbing his forehead) Over easy.

WAITER:

Toast, biscuit, English muffin, or bagel?

MAN:

Toast.

WAITER:

White, wheat, rye, sourdough, kaiser, or pumpernickel?

MAN:

Wheat.

WAITER:

Soup or salad?

MAN:

(trying to out-smart him) How many kinds of soup are there?

WAITER:

Fifty-three.

MAN:

And how many kinds of salad?

WAITER:

Just one.

MAN:

(smiling smugly) Well, I’ll have salad then.

WAITER:

Ranch, bleu cheese, thousand island, French, Italian, Russian, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or vinaigrette?

MAN:

(sighing, defeated) Ranch…..

WAITER:

And what would you like to drink?

MAN:

I don’t want anything.

WAITER:

(Throughout this speech, MAN is protesting, insisting he doesn’t want anything to drink) We have Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Mr. Pibb, root beer, orange juice, apple juice, tomato juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, iced tea, hot tea, herbal tea, coffee, cappuccino, milk, or hot chocolate.

MAN:

(finally breaking in) Milk! I want milk! Just bring me some milk!

WAITER:

Whole milk, lowfat, 2%, or 1%?

MAN:

Two percent!

WAITER:

Cow milk, goat milk, yak milk, or beaver milk?

MAN:

Forget it! I want water! Just a glass of water. (to WOMAN) How hard can that be?

WAITER:

Ice, or no ice?

MAN:

(practically yelling) Ice!!

WAITER:

(meekly) Do you want a straw?

MAN:

NO!!!

WAITER:

OK, OK, OK! That’s fine. Now, what would you like to have, ma’am?

WOMAN:

(she has just finally decided, after looking at her menu throughout most of this. She is not trying to outsmart the WAITER; she is merely stating what she wants; not too fast) Um, I’ll have the steak and eggs, steak well, eggs scrambled, white toast, French fries with Heinz ketchup, vegetable soup, in a bowl, with saltines, and a tall glass of Sprite with nine cubes of ice in it.

WAITER:

D–

WOMAN:

And a straw. (that answers WAITER‘s question)

WAITER:

(as he takes menus) OK, I’ll put your order in, and I’ll be back in a moment with your soup and salad. Do you need anything else?

MAN:

(grumpy, half-sarcastic) Yeah, an aspirin.

WAITER:

Tylenol, Advil, Bufferin–

MAN:

Never mind.

WAITER:

(shrugs) Thank you. (leaves)

(WOMAN is still cheerful; none of this seems to have struck her as unusual. MAN, on the other hand, is twice as weary and worn-out as he was when they came in. PEOPLE AT NEXT TABLE start making a lot of noise. PEOPLE AT NEXT TABLE are a bunch of rowdy-looking punks. MAN is bothered by it. The WAITER re-enters, with soup and salad and the drinks on a tray.)

WAITER:

OK, here we are. Shall I give her her soup first, or you your salad first?

MAN:

I don’t care. Serve her first.

WAITER:

Should I lean over her left shoulder, or right shoulder? (MAN doesn’t even answer. His head is in his hands. WAITER makes up his own mind, and gives MAN and WOMAN their food and drinks.) Now is there anything else you need right now?

MAN:

Yes, the people at the next table are being awfully noisy, and I have a headache, and it’s been a long day, and–

WAITER:

Don’t worry, sir. I’ll take care of it. (slight pause) Do you want me to ask them to be quiet, throw them out, call the manager over, call the police, I can beat them up, or not bring them their food —

MAN:

Just ask them to be quiet. Please.

WAITER:

Yes, sir.

(WAITER goes over to other table and has a conversation which we do not hear, because we are listening to MAN and WOMAN)

MAN:

I can’t believe this. I just wanted a quiet, relaxing dinner out, and I have to answer all these questions. Can’t this guy make any decisions on his own?

WAITER:

(still talking to PEOPLE AT NEXT TABLE) OK, where exactly do you want me to shove it? (that conversation continues silently for just a few seconds, and then WAITER comes back over) Sir, the people at the next table have told me that they do not intend to be quiet. Shall I tell them again, or call the manager, or call the police, or–

MAN:

Will you kill them for me, please?

WAITER:

(without hesitation) Yes, sir. (heads for the other table, as he starts to pull out a gun)

MAN:

No! No! Waiter! (WAITER stops; comes back)

WAITER:

I forgot. Shoot them in the head, in the face, in the chest, in the–

MAN:

I was only kidding! Don’t really kill them. Listen, we just want to go. Can we just pay for these drinks and go?

WAITER:

Certainly, sir. Would you like to pay by cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, you can go back and wash dishes for a while, you can barter a couple chickens…?

MAN:

Cash. (as he pays) Dear, will you carry me out to the car.

WOMAN:

Sure, honey. Fireman’s carry, piggy-back, should I carry you in my arms…?

(Lights down.)

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