© 2003 Bradford Christison

All sound fades away.
FENINGER sits calmly in his corner seat. Again, there are no other signs of people anywhere, on the street, in the park, on the patio, except for RUSSEL walking purposefully towards FENINGER with a tray.

Sound resumes.

RUSSEL approaches closer to FENINGER’S table.
On the tray there are two perfectly made martinis exactly as FENINGER has requested.
FENINGER expresses his condescending pleasure with the arrival of RUSSEL through a cloud of white billowing cigar smoke.

Finally, some service. I was beginning to wonder what happened to this place.
RUSSEL places a cocktail napkin in front of FENINGER. He expertly places the martini exactly in the middle of it.
FENINGER continues to look up at RUSSEL. He smiles through his clenched teeth as he holds the cigar in his mouth.
Peering at RUSSEL’S name tag and puffing smoke, FENINGER grabs his drink. He looks up at RUSSEL’S tremendous size.

Russel, good job. You got it right this time. But, I only ordered one martini. God, who is in charge of hiring at this place? Why don’t you send the manager over here so we can have a little chat?

RUSSEL remains silent as he looks down at FENINGER with a pleasant smile on his face. The tray with the extra drink balanced in his hand.

FENINGER blows smoke at RUSSEL and begins to talk to him as if he doesn’t understand English.

Hmmm...Russel...drink good. You good food monkey. Me like.

RUSSEL does not react. He just stares intently at FENINGER.
FENINGER returns the cigar to his mouth and grabs his glass. He looks up at RUSSEL with mock concern.

What’s the matter Rus-

Suddenly RUSSEL’S huge hand enters the frame and plucks the cigar from an astonished FENINGER’S mouth.
RUSSEL drops the fat stogie into FENINGER’S perfect martini. It hisses as it hits the liquid in the glass.
A frozen moment.
FENINGER throws a fit.

You just made a huge fucking mistake my friend. Do you know who I am?

RUSSEL is unfazed. His mellifluous voice surprises FENINGER.

A ball-busting lonely and bitter old alcoholic hump with little money and no class?

What did you say to me? What did you fucking say to me?! I could fucking buy you!

RUSSEL {slightly louder)
I know who you are, Mr. Feninger. You have a daughter that doesn’t talk to you anymore. Your business partners think you’re stealing from them. You dropped two grand on that toupee. …and, you have a problem with incontinence.

A GASP from the patrons behind RUSSEL. Someone GIGGLES.
FENINGER unconsciously touches his hair. His eyes begin to show panic. He looks at RUSSELwith an angry but confused expression, as if to ask how he knew all those things.

I wait on a lot of people Mr. Feninger. I hear a lot of things. Your daughter and her new husband, your business partners, your doctor, the wig guy down the street. I listen to a lot of conversations here. They all share a pretty low opinion of you I’m afraid.

FENINGER looks at him in sustained disbelief.

And as far as buying me is concerned, you're bankrupt. So, I’m afraid you couldn’t afford me…I could however, buy you Mr. Feninger with the tips I made today...assholes are a dime a dozen..

A beat. FENINGER is now dumbstruck.

Oh, that. Your lawyer and your banker eat here all the time. Very talkative guys those two.
FENINGER weakly tries to regain the upperhand. In an angry whisper he threatens RUSSEL.

I’ll have you fired, you’ll never work in this town again.
RUSSEL maintains his coolness. His voice never changes its pleasant tone.

It doesn’t matter what you think you can do to me, Mr. Feniger. I have nothing to lose. I’m nobody just like Mick. This job? Beating you like a dog in public would be much more rewarding than working at this restaurant.

The patio crowd is riveted to the conservation between FENINGER and RUSSEL. RUSSEL stands menacingly close to FENINGER. Perfectly composed.
FENINGER bewildered, looks around him. He sees the other patrons on the patio, the other waiters, cooks, and passerby looking at him as he cringes from RUSSEL’S remarks. A look of realization crosses his face. They all have heard what RUSSEL has said.

...and all the other nobodys here wouldn’t care one bit if I left, but I think they’d rather see you go. So, if you would Mr. Feninger, please leave or I'll remove you myself.

FENINGER tries to regain his composure. He thinks about it. His bottom lip quivers with rage as he surveys the silent of the restaurant crowd of waiters, patrons and busboys.
He stands up and grabs his cigar case. He stumbles and nearly falls on the broken glass at the foot of his table.
FENINGER’S toupee is slightly askew as he begins to walk the long gauntlet of silent stares through the patio to the exit of the restaurant.
End of excerpt…
Weeds by Bradford Christison

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