That One Diner Chain From Your Hometown

Scene – Diner  

A small-town diner. Three tables are set up. The furthest one to the left starts with dirty dishes on the table and two glasses that are half full of water. A woman is sitting at this table. The middle table has a man, Frank, who is sitting at it by himself talking on the phone. The manager is standing behind the cash register on the left. A server is seen in the back, checking his phone instead of working. A doorbell rings, and a couple enters and stands at the “please wait to be seated” sign.  

LUKE: Thank you so much for coming home this weekend with me. I hope my parents aren’t too much.  

KAT: Oh, come on. I grew up with 7 brothers. Family can never be too much.  

JACOB: Welcome, welcome. Is it just going to be two of you?  

LUKE: Yes, indeed Jacob. Yes indeed  

JACOB: Right this way, Luke (Jacob leads them to the furthest booth on the right. Luke sits facing away from the cash register, and Kat sits looking towards the register.) 

KAT: They know you by name?  

LUKE: Oh yeah. I come here all the time.  

JACOB: With a bunch of different dates. Can I start you two off with something to drink?  

KAT: I’ll have a coke. 

JACOB: Oh, I’m sorry. We only have Pepsi. Is Pepsi okay?  

KAT: Um yeah sure.  

JACOB: Well we’re out of Pepsi.  

KAT Oh. So maybe a Sierra Mist?  

LUKE: And I’ll have an orange soda.  

JACOB: Two glasses of water, coming up.  (He exits.)  

LUKE: Isn’t he a card?  

KAT What did he say about other dates?  

LUKE: He probably meant like January 21, not Jan on her 21st.  

KAT: That was specific.  

FRANK: (Into his cell phone) So what are you saying? You’re done… you’re done? Just like that? After 14 years of love and passion, it’s just over? What am I to you? Just some piece of meat that you can throw out when you think it’s gone bad? We have kids, Bethany. Children! Mine and yours… oh, you want to talk? Oh, I’ll be right there. I’ll be there in 8 minutes! (He storms out of the restaurant and the doorbell dings.)  

KAT: Oh my god… that poor man.  

SHIRLEY: There’s nothing poor about that man. (The doorbell dings.)  

SHIRLEY: Out the door And you’re not getting away with it this time, Frank! (Frank walks back in and hands Shirley his money and then walks out again. The doorbell dings as he walks in and out.)  

SHIRLEY: Counting the money I always expect him to tip, but he never does  

KAT: Wait, what?  

LUKE: Frank has been pulling that move since my freshman year of high school. Maybe even before. (The woman at the first table stands up and goes to the cash register to pay for her meal. Shirley meets her there.)  

KAT: But what about his kids?  

LUKE: What kids?  

KAT: They might grow up without a father. (Jacob enters with the two glasses of water as the woman leaves. The doorbell dings.)  

SHIRLEY: Is she still talking about Frank over there?  

LUKE: Yeah…  

JACOB: Just like number three and eight. Are you two ready to order?  

LUKE: I am. Are you Kat?  

KAT: I mean I guess.  

LUKE: Well, ladies first.  

JACOB: What a gentleman. Go ahead.  

KAT: Aren’t you going to write it down?  

LUKE: Honey. He’s a professional.  

KAT: Well, alright then. I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries. But make sure there is no lettuce or tomato.  

JACOB: Got it.  

KAT: I want you to say it back to me.  

JACOB: Say what?  

KAT: My order.  

LUKE: Kat, please. He’s got it all in there. I’ll be having…  

JACOB: I know, I know. The usual. (Jacob takes the menus, busses the middle table, and heads off stage.)  

KAT: Oooooo. What’s the usual?  

LUKE: A milkshake with the burger and fries blended into it.  

KAT: That’s disgusting.  

LUKE: I’m kidding.  

KAT: Okay good. (The doorbell rings, and a couple enters and waits to be seated at the sign.)  

LUKE: I don’t blend in the burger.  

SHIRLEY: We will be right with you. (Jacob enters with menus.)  

JACOB: Hello, hello. Table?  

RICK: Booth.  

JACOB: Too bad you’re getting a table. (He walks them over to the middle table.)  

JACOB: What will you want to do about drinks?  

RICK: I’ll have a coke.  

LISA: And I’ll have a water.  

JACOB: Sure thing. (Jacob walks off to go get the drinks.)  

KAT: Wait he just said to us that he didn’t have a coke.  

LUKE: Playing on his phone. Must’ve just gotten a shipment or something.  

KAT: I didn’t see any truck come in.  

LUKE: Maybe he had prime. (Jacob enters with coke and heads to the middle table.)

JACOB: Are you two ready to order?  

RICK: I am. Are you Lisa?  

LISA: Oh you know what I want, babe.  

RICK: We will have two burgers and two orders of fries.  

JACOB: We can do that.  

LISA: Hey if it’s not too much of a bother, I would like my water.  

JACOB: Ma’am, I am so sorry. I’ll go grab that right now. (Rick and Lisa get back into their conversation and stop paying attention to Jacob. Jacob goes to the table on the far left and picks up one of the glasses of water. He then turns around and sets it in front of Lisa.)  

JACOB: Here ya go, miss.  

LISA: I’m so sorry, but is there any way we could fill this up all the way?  

JACOB: Of course, honey. Of course. (Jacob picks up the glass, and Rick and Lisa get back into their conversation. Jacob picks up the other cup from the table on the left and pours its water into Lisa’s glass. He then walks back and sets the glass in front of Lisa.)  

JACOB: Is this better?  

LISA: Splendid!  

JACOB: Your food will be right out. 

LISA: Thank you! (Jacob walks off.)  

KAT: Why is he being so much nicer to them?  

LUKE: What do you mean?  

KAT: I mean. He was attentive, and he was smiling, but he did give her someone else’s drink.  

LUKE: He’s just thinking of the planet. Save the water and all. (Jacob enters with Lisa and Rick’s food.)  

KAT: Finally, he comes with… (Jacob walks right past Kat and Luke and walks to Lisa and Rick.)  

JACOB: Here you go. Hope you two enjoy your food! (Jacob turns around and walks past Luke, but Kat stops him.) 

KAT: Um hey. Jacob? Yeah, I was wondering why they got their food before us?  

JACOB: Oh, don’t worry honey, your food will be out soon. It takes a while to make Luke’s shake. (The lights go down. When the lights come back up, Lisa and Rick are gone. Their table is bussed along with the table to the left. Luke is playing on his phone, and Kat is anxiously tapping her foot.)  

KAT: What is taking them so long?  

LUKE: You can’t rush perfection.  

KAT: It has been two hours and thirty-seven minutes. How long does perfection need?  

LUKE: It is worth the wait.  

KAT: Nothing is worth waiting two hours and- (She checks the time on her phone.)  

KAT: Thirty-eight minutes! I mean, do they really expect us to wait this long?  

LUKE: I don’t see your point.  

KAT: Are you telling me that you have waited this long before, and you are okay with this? If that is true, you are crazy.  

LUKE: I mean. I usually wait this long when the restaurant is this busy. (Kat looks around the restaurant and points out that it is empty.)  

KAT: This busy? This place is empty. Does this place even get business?  

LUKE: Well we aren’t here at their busy time.  

KAT: It is dinner time on a Saturday. What is a busy time around here?  

LUKE: Like two to three.  

KAT: Oh so it’s a lunch place.  

LUKE: No. A.M. (Jacob enters with two plates with their food on them covered with napkins so you cannot see what is on the plates. Jacob, he sets the plates down in front of the two of them. He puts the milkshake between the two of them.)  

JACOB: Here you go, you two. Hope it’s as good as you expected it to be! (Jacob walks off stage. Luke takes off his napkin, revealing his order. Kat looks under her napkin but does not reveal it. She looks upset.)  

KAT: Oh, come on. Excuse me! Jacob? (Jacob enters.)  

JACOB: Is there something wrong?   

KAT: Yeah so I hate to be this way, but I ordered a cheeseburger with no lettuce or tomato and (She takes off the napkin and reveals the plate.) you just gave me a salad with only lettuce and tomato.  

JACOB: I’m sorry. What’s the issue?  

KAT: I ordered-  

LUKE: She’s fine.  

JACOB: If you say so. (Jacob exits.)  

LUKE: Honey, the salad here is great. You’ll be fine. (He takes two straws and puts them into the shake.)  

KAT: No thanks. (Kat picks at her food while Luke starts to eat his fries and shake. The doorbell dings, and a man enters with a ski mask and a gun.)  

ROBBER: Everyone on the ground. This is a robbery!  

SHIRLEY: Oh no it isn’t. (Shirley pulls a shotgun from under the cash register. The robber flees, and Shirley chases him outside. The doorbell dings for both of them.)  

KAT: Oh my…  

LUKE: What? Did I miss something?  

KAT: A man just came in here with a gun! (Luke turns around and looks to see if anyone is there.)  

LUKE: Where?  

KAT: I think the manager just chased him outside with a gun.  

LUKE: Was it the sawed-off or the M16?  

KAT: I think it was- wait wait wait. You know what guns they have?  

LUKE: I mean yeah. They get robbed all the time.  

KAT: And you brought me here knowing it is unsafe?  

LUKE: I said they get robbed, I never said we weren’t safe.  

KAT: You know what. (She puts her napkin on the table and gets up.)

KAT: I traveled for two hours from school to meet you at your house, to meet your parents and family. I sat through countless stories of baseball games you would’ve played in if you didn’t throw out your arm sophomore year. I also was judged very quickly by your sister for not wearing a color that wasn’t black, and I had your mother’s eyes practically glued to me once she saw my tattoo. I thought this would be a good getaway from school, but all of that plus you bring me to this crazy nuthouse you call a diner and expect me to just let all of this stuff slide? No no. I’m done. This is too much for a two-month relationship. I’m getting an Uber back to your house, packing my things and leaving. I’ll see you in class on Monday. (Jacob enters.) 

JACOB: Honey wait!  

KAT: What?  

JACOB: Download Lyft. It’s more prevalent in this area.  

KAT: AHHHH! (Kat storms out of the restaurant, and the bell is heard. Luke stands up and walks towards Jacob, who’s standing close to the wait sign. There are a few beats, and Shirley comes back in, and the bell is heard.)  

SHIRLEY: Is she gone yet?  

LUKE: Yeah. She’s gone.  

JACOB: Thank god. (The doorbell rings, and the robber walks back in with Lisa and takes his mask off, revealing Rick. Luke takes out his wallet and starts to hand each of them money.)  

LUKE: I can’t thank you guys enough. I’ve been trying to get rid of her for two months.  

JACOB: I thought she said you two were only dating for two months  

LUKE: I asked her if she had the homework for Econ and she hasn’t stopped bothering me since.  

SHIRLEY: So you weren’t even dating?  

LUKE: No! I don’t know what I said, but she is one hard tree to shake.  

LISA: Tree to shake?  

LUKE: I’m trying out new sayings.  

SHIRLEY: You should try bringing someone in here you don’t want us to kick out. (Jacob starts to clean up the table.)  

JACOB: Hey Luke. Do you want this shake?  

LUKE: You can have it. I have to get home. Goodnight guys! (Luke leaves the restaurant.)  

SHIRLEY: Nice kid.  

RICK: Yeah.  

LISA: Isn’t Michael coming by soon?  

JACOB: Oh yeah.  

SHIRLEY: Everyone gets to your places. (Everyone goes back to where they were at the top of the show.)  

SHIRLEY: 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… (Doorbell dings as the lights fade out.)  

Timothy Henderson Jr. is working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre. He has been writing for a while but has been telling stories since he could speak. He hopes to start conversations or lend laughs to the ones who do not smile as much as he wished they would.

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