Here’s the latest from the crossroads of faith and media:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Those immortal words opening the Charles Dickens classic A Tale of Two Cities sum up my feelings about 2020, a years that will be remembered for a cruel pandemic, economic catastrophe, murder hornets and an absurd media and political climate that is, in my view, an actual risk to Democracy.

How you interpret that last item most probably depends on where you sit on the political spectrum. As for me, I consider myself near the center with some opinions that are anathema to the right and some that are likewise to the left. Overall, I would describe my values as either conservative or classically liberal – and from that vantage point I see both major political parties as temperamentally ill-equipped for the times we are in.  When society desperately needs a sense of balance that respects differing opinion as a means of honing in on truth and thoughtful action, too many of our political leaders and media conglomerates are feeding our human tendency toward either smug, partisan and self-defeating anger toward others which is all-too-often mixed with an unhealthy dose of America-shaming. No, we’re not the best at everything and, yes, we can learn from the successes of other nations – but they have a lot to learn from us too and we’re also far from the epitome of evil and incompetence that one side of the political equation would have us believe.

Which brings me to the upside of this lockdown. For some of us, particularly those of us who are fortunate to have our health, a roof over our heads, food on the table, money coming in and the love of family and friends, we can’t help but be filled with a sense gratitude. Some awesome people even manage to maintain that gratitude without every item on that list.

This has also, for some of us, been an opportunity to either discover passions we didn’t know we had or to dive into old passions with renewed, well, passion.

As for me, I’m rediscovering my passion for great television. And no, I haven’t become a couch potato who lays in front of the tube from morning til night. But, I do see traditional commercial television as an art form. I like its beats and rhythms and I love when it uses storytelling to convey ideas that inspire us all to both improve things and appreciate life as it is.

One of the current masters who accomplishes that in the sitcom format is Chuck Lorre. In fact, his three current shows (Mom, Young Sheldon and Bob Hearts Abishola) are the only three current scripted series my wife and I make it a point to watch. We’re also regularly tune into reruns of The Big Bang Theory (as well as the non-Lorre classics Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond). What all those shows have in common is that they are laugh-out-loud funny and feature warm, relatable characters. And, quite often, they bring to light some simple, yet fairly-deep, insights into what it is to live constructively and to simply be human – such as through these 10 lessons from the “Big Bang” asymmetric universe.

So, as part of getting back into script-writing mode (I’ve written some TV pilots), I’ve incorporated some of the lessons I’ve taken in from the current state of affairs lockdown and incorporated them into a lockdown-themed episode of Mom. As someone who has dealt with depression, I relate to the characters as they rise up and defeat their own addictions and personal demons. There is so much wisdom and humanity mixed in with the genuine laughs that Mom (created by Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky and Gemma Baker) truly stands out as one of my all-time favorite TV shows (a list which is to come).

Anyway, with gratitude to the above-named trio for creating such healing characters, here is my tribute to their great contribution to television history, a minor writing exercise entitled Green Eyes and Ham. Happy Memorial Day everybody!

COLD OPEN
INT. BONNIE AND CHRISTIE’S LIVING ROOM – EVENING
BONNIE is alone, looking directly into her smart phone
camera.

BONNIE
Okay. Let’s get started. Is
everyone here?
CUT TO:
INT. SIX ZOOM BOXES – EVENING
As the Zoom call begins, three boxes are on top and three are
on the bottom. Bonnie is in the center of the bottom row.
CHRISTIE is upper right box in her bedroom and dressed in her
pajamas. All the other boxes are vacant.
CHRISTIE
I’m here.
BONNIE
I see that. Where’s everybody else?
CHRISTIE
Give them a minute. This is, after
all, our first Zoom AA meeting.
BONNIE
And it’s already driving me to
drink. And look at you in your PJs.
Couldn’t you at least have dressed
up a bit?
CHRISTIE
Sorry. I didn’t realize this was a
formal affair. Anyway, this is what
you call quarantine chic.
BONNIE
Have you not been watching CBS This
Morning? Gayle King says that it’s
very important to get up and get
dressed – pandemic or not.
CHRISTIE
How can I watch Gayle King? The
TV’s in the living room with you.
Why am I stuck up here anyway?
BONNIE
We’ve been over this.
CHRISTIE
So, let me get this straight. A
couple of Adam’s bar customers come
down with the virus. And so, even
though he hasn’t been tested and
has no symptoms, he decides to selfisolate.
And I’m trapped upstairs
because…?
BONNIE
Because even though he’s
asymptomatic…
CHRISTIE
Good medical word.
BONNIE
…I’m the one who ends up having a
cough. Hence, I’m self-isolating
from you. It’s an act of motherly
love.
CHRISTIE
Yeah, you’re so good – but somehow
you end up with the refrigerator
and the TV. Besides, I haven’t
heard you cough since yesterday.
BONNIE
(coughs)
See what you’ve done? You’ve
reminded the virus.
CHRISTIE
How’s Adam, anyway?
BONNIE
He’s worried about his business, of
course – but he’s okay. He’s in our
bedroom with Gus.
CHRISTIE
At least he has the dog to keep him
company. I’m all alone in my bed.
BONNIE
So, nothing’s changed.
Silence.
BONNIE (CONT’D)
Oh, come on. That was a joke –
kinda.
JILL suddenly pops into the upper right hand box. She’s at
her kitchen counter working on a heaping bowl of Ben &
Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. She indulges sporadically
during the episode.
JILL
I’m here! What did I miss?
BONNIE
I just made a joke and Christie
didn’t laugh.
JILL
Oh. Well, you’re on the little TV
screen. Why don’t you go get
yourself one of those laugh track
thingies?
The LAUGH TRACK kicks in.
CHRISTIE
That could work.
BONNIE
You know, I generally like the
feedback of a live audience.
OPENING SEQUENCE
The usual opening images are displayed with the final image
of the characters’ group selfie photoshopped to show the women
wearing masks/protective face coverings.
ACT ONE
INT. SIX ZOOM BOXES – EVENING
The Zoom call continues as TAMMY pops into the box on the
lower left. She is driving a van with bags of groceries in
filling the rear. A package of Pepperidge Farm cookies juts
out from one of the bags. She’s wearing a mask and gloves.
TAMMY
Am I on? Can you all see me?
BONNIE
Yes. Well, your eyes anyway.
CHRISTIE
(squinting)
I never realized they were green
before. Very attractive, actually.
JILL
Jeez! Ever since you kissed that
chick on that retreat, we just
don’t know what you’re gonna say.
BONNIE
Never mind that.
(to Tammy)
Are you driving?
TAMMY
Yeah. Don’t worry. I have your
pictures turned off. It’s like I’m
listening to talk radio – except
nobody’s suggested this whole thing
is a hoax to bring down Trump.
CHRISTIE
Why are you driving? Where are you
going?
TAMMY
I’m picking up some cash as an
Instacart driver – you know,
delivering groceries to people.
CHRISTIE
That’s good. That’s important work!
BONNIE
Yeah, yeah. Just be careful – and
make sure people tip you
appropriately. Don’t be taken
advantage of. No guff.
TAMMY
You’re my next stop.
BONNIE
Oh. Did you pack the eggs gently?
TAMMY
Check.
BONNIE
And did you get the Spam – to go
with the eggs?
TAMMY
Check.
BONNIE
Oh, oh! And those Pepperidge Farm
cookies back there! Are they were
the ones with raspberry and
chocolate?!
TAMMY
Yeah, yeah. I got everything you
wanted. Oh, except the toilet
paper.
BONNIE
Damn! We’re really running low on
toilet paper.
TAMMY
Sorry.
BONNIE
I’m sure you did your best.
How far are away are you?
TAMMY
Don’t you ever check your app? I
should be there in less than a half
hour.
BONNIE
Okay. Just leave everything by the
door. I’ll grab the last of the
Lysol and bring it all in when
you’re, you know, socially distant.
By the way, were you able to get
more Lysol?
TAMMY
Yes!
BONNIE
Unscented?
TAMMY
(getting annoyed)
Unscented!
BONNIE
No need to get snippy. You know
your tip is on the credit card.
TAMMY
I know. Five percent.
(sarcastically)
Thanks.
(beat)
Anyway, who all is in on the call
so far?
JILL
Just you and the three of us.
(beat; off a spoonful of
ice cream)
Oh, and Ben and Jerry.
BONNIE
Easy there, Jill. Haven’t you heard
of the Quarantine Fifteen?
JILL
Warns the woman waiting on the
cookies and Spam.
TAMMY
Where’s Marjorie? I thought I had
her all set up for this before I
left the house.
BONNIE
We’re talking about Marjorie – and
technology. She probably somehow
zoomed into one of those boxes on
CNN.
JILL
That would be funny – Marjorie as
a talking head.
BONNIE
In other words Marjorie as
Marjorie.
TAMMY
(laughs)
That’s a good one!
MARJORIE pops into the lower right box. The camera is
extremely tight on her face making it unclear where she is.
MARJORIE
I can hear you! And not funny!
CHRISTIE
Well, come on. It’s a little funny.
MARJORIE
Can you see me now?
CHRISTIE
Yeah. Wow! You have green eyes too.
JILL
Have you never looked anyone in the
eyes before?
CHRISTIE
Green eyes are very rare. Only two
percent of people have them.
JILL
You know that?
CHRISTIE
I just googled it.
A TOILET FLUSHES.
BONNIE
Marjorie, where are you?!
MARJORIE
Whoops! You can’t see anything can
you?
TAMMY
Just your eyes.
CHRISTIE
Your green eyes.
JILL
Enough with the eyes!
BONNIE
No! Just keep the shot on the eyes.
That’s all we want to see right
now.
MARJORIE
Okay. Wait a minute. I’m heading
into the other room. I have to say
I’m really glad Tammy just scored
us a twelve-pack of toilet paper.
BONNIE
What?
TAMMY
(quickly changing the
subject)
Don’t forget to keep that camera
angle!
As Marjorie enters her bedroom the camera is going all over
the place, from the ceiling, to her window where one of her
cats sits gazing out at the world, to her dresser on which
another cat lies, to her bed where three of her other cats
are resting.
MARJORIE
Don’t worry. I’m decent.
JILL
And I’m dizzy. Will you hold that
thing straight?
MARJORIE
Just a second.
The three latter CATS MEOW and jump off the bed as Marjorie
sits on it and finally gets her face properly framed. She’s
dressed in a flannel nightgown.
There we go. Is that better?
JILL
At least those little virus
carriers are gone.
MARJORIE
There’s no evidence you can get
COVID-19 from a cat.
CHRISTIE
Still, it wouldn’t kill you to be
alone in the bed.
BONNIE
Spoken by one who knows.
Christie reacts with her flash impression of an angry cat,
claws out.
TAMMY
Is everyone here now? I feel like
someone’s missing.
Silence.
WENDY (O.C.)
Me! I’m the one missing!
WENDY, wearing a medical mask and dressed in her nurses garb,
pops into the upper center box.
BONNIE
And Jan Brady has arrived.
MARJORIE
Bonnie, you do realize that none of
us is doing more to fight this
thing than Wendy. She and all the
health care and hospital workers
are the true heroes in all this.
WENDY
Thanks, Marjorie. It’s been some
day. From the moment I first got in
I…
TAMMY
Hey, what about us food
deliverers?! We’re doing our part –
and it’s not exactly without some
risk.
MARJORIE
That’s a good point too.
BONNIE
Wait a minute! We’re all doing our
part. You never know how you’re
going to act at a time like this
but I’m proud to say that when my
country called on me to stay home,
binge watch TV and order food
online I stepped up.
CHRISTIE
Then, super super that you are, you
went the extra mile and instructed
your tenants to shelter in place
and fend for themselves.
TAMMY
(sarcastically)
Maybe when this is over there can
be a national fundraiser to build a
memorial honoring your sacrifice.
BONNIE
Not just to me but all those who
stood beside me – from a safe
distance, of course. But I want you
to know that I’m no hero. It’s just
the way I am – and, yes, isn’t that
what all heroes say? It’s in our
DNA, I guess.
MARJORIE
You can’t be serious.
CHRISTIE
Oh, she’s serious as a pandemic.
The thing that worries me is I have
her DNA.
JILL
So, what have y’all been binge
watching?
BONNIE
You know that show on TLC about the
dwarf couple.
MARJORIE
(correcting her)
They’re little people.
BONNIE
I know. That’s what I just said.
MARJORIE
No, I mean… Never mind.
I’ve been watching “The Life of
Birds” documentary series on PBS.
Fascinating.
TAMMY
She watches it with her cats.
BONNIE
Television that brings the whole
family together.
JILL
Well, I’ve been rewatching “Downton
Abbey.” I tell you, I could’ve
lived back then. It was a time
of…
WENDY
Hello! I’m still here!
JILL
Oh, sorry, Wendy. What have you
been binge watching?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about binge
watching some stupid TV show! I
just went through one of the worst
days of my life!
Silence.
CHRISTIE
(timidly)
What happened?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about it.
MARJORIE
I think you do.
BONNIE
I think you need to.
Pause.
JILL
Come on, Wendy. Tell us about your
day.
Pause.
WENDY
Today my unit was designated the
second COVID ICU at the hospital.
I’m in the middle of my fourth
straight thirteen-hour shift. I
don’t want to go back there but I
know I have to. Lives are depending
on it.
BONNIE
Television that brings the whole
family together.
JILL
Well, I’ve been rewatching “Downton
Abbey.” I tell you, I could’ve
lived back then. It was a time
of…
WENDY
Hello! I’m still here!
JILL
Oh, sorry, Wendy. What have you
been binge watching?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about binge
watching some stupid TV show! I
just went through one of the worst
days of my life!
Silence.
CHRISTIE
(timidly)
What happened?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about it.
MARJORIE
I think you do.
BONNIE
I think you need to.
Pause.
JILL
Come on, Wendy. Tell us about your
day.
Pause.
WENDY
Today my unit was designated the
second COVID ICU at the hospital.
I’m in the middle of my fourth
straight thirteen-hour shift. I
don’t want to go back there but I
know I have to. Lives are depending
on it.
BONNIE
Television that brings the whole
family together.
JILL
Well, I’ve been rewatching “Downton
Abbey.” I tell you, I could’ve
lived back then. It was a time
of…
WENDY
Hello! I’m still here!
JILL
Oh, sorry, Wendy. What have you
been binge watching?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about binge
watching some stupid TV show! I
just went through one of the worst
days of my life!
Silence.
CHRISTIE
(timidly)
What happened?
WENDY
I don’t want to talk about it.
MARJORIE
I think you do.
BONNIE
I think you need to.
Pause.
JILL
Come on, Wendy. Tell us about your
day.
Pause.
WENDY
Today my unit was designated the
second COVID ICU at the hospital.
I’m in the middle of my fourth
straight thirteen-hour shift. I
don’t want to go back there but I
know I have to. Lives are depending
on it.
Those people need me – both the
patients and my team. Honestly, it
feels like a war zone. We’ve had to
deal with limited supplies for
weeks now. It’s getting better but
we’re exhausted. The doctors, the
nurses, everyone.
I have two patients on ventilators.
I don’t know if they’re going to
make it. I just feel like I should
stay with them because no one
should go through this alone. But,
on the other hand, I needed to step
away. I’m just so very, very tired.
There’s just so much going on all
at once. It’s overwhelming. I just
want to give every patient the care
they desperately need, the care
every human being deserves.
(wipes away a tear)
I’m sorry.
Silence.
MARJORIE
You’re doing your best, Wendy – and
you’re doing it with compassion.
It’s all any person can do. I’m
proud of you.
TAMMY
You’re all heroes.
JILL
Amen to that.
BONNIE
Yeah.
CHRISTIE
Omigosh! You have green eyes too!
END ACT ONE
ACT TWO
INT. SIX ZOOM BOXES – EVENING
The Zoom conference call continues but all six boxes are
blank. Suddenly, one at a time, the women pop back into their
previous boxes.
JILL
Ooh. What happened there?
BONNIE
I don’t know. I guess it was a
commercial break.
MARJORIE
Anyway, Wendy, you should know that
we’re all with you through this.
We’re all praying for you.
JILL
That’s right. We’re your friends.
WENDY
(beat)
Thank you.
(beat)
How’s Andy?
JILL
Thanks for asking. Actually, he’s
tested positive.
There are GASPS as the women react.
JILL (CONT’D)
He’s okay. He doesn’t have any
symptoms but he’s self-isolating.
CHRISTIE
Why didn’t you tell us earlier?
JILL
I don’t know. I guess I was trying
to pretend it wasn’t happening. It
was easier to talk about “Downton
Abbey.”
CHRISTIE
What happened? How’d he get it?
JILL
It probably happened when he and
some other cops were called in to
break up one of those idiotic virus
parties. The event was even posted
online. Now at least four of the
“party-goers” have it.
CHRISTIE
Wow. Talk about going viral.
JILL
The fools! The organizer is on a
respirator now. I hope he dies!
MARJORIE
You don’t mean that.
JILL
(reluctantly reconsiders)
No. I don’t. But it’s just not
right that Andy and his squad are
put in danger by those morons.
MARJORIE
They’re probably just a bunch of
stupid kids who think they’re
invulnerable and that everything is
funny. What were they – like
eighteen, nineteen, maybe twenty?
JILL
Andy says they were all in their
forties.
MARJORIE
Alright, so morons.
JILL
Even if they were young, they
should know better. People’s lives
are at stake!
MARJORIE
I know.
BONNIE
Although, to be honest, I did some
pretty stupid things when I was
eighteen and twenty.
(reconsiders)
Then again, I did some pretty
stupid things when I was forty.
(reconsiders)
And this morning.
CHRISTIE
Your point being?
BONNIE
People are idiots.
CHRISTIE
But your examples were all about
you – like most things you go on
about.
MARJORIE
Let’s face it. We’ve all done some
pretty stupid things that we
regret. Fact is, I think I’m
probably number one in that
department.
BONNIE
Oh, you want to make this a
competition? Bring it on, woman,
because I’m locked and loaded.
CHRISTIE
I gotta warn you, Marjorie, I was
there for most of it. When it comes
to a bad decision contest she
floats like a butterfly and stings
like a bee.
MARJORIE
I don’t know. It’s hard to beat a
bank robbery.
CHRISTIE
Oh, yeah – The sixties, you, the
Black Panther – and the backseat of
the getaway car.
BONNIE
Don’t forget the explosion of
indelible ink.
MARJORIE
It was blue. My mug shot looked
like Smurfette.
(beat)
Ah, memories. But, romance aside,
prison was no picnic.
BONNIE
Hey, I was in prison too.
TAMMY
So was I!
WENDY
My gosh! This is gonna be like the
battle of the titans.
TAMMY
Oh, it’s gonna be a cage match.
MARJORIE
Prison – by itself – wasn’t even my
worst mistake. That would have to
be how I totally screwed up my
relationship with my son. We lost
decades.
BONNIE
Well, how about me and Christie? I
had her before I was old enough to
vote. I almost aborted her but
didn’t. I had the chance to give
her up for adoption but couldn’t. I
did my best to raise her but I
utterly failed at it.
Silence.
CHRISTIE
(shaken)
So, I was your biggest mistake?
TAMMY
(as if folding a poker
hand)
I’m out.
MARJORIE
Me too.
TAMMY
(beat)
That actually didn’t come out
right.
CHRISTIE
But it’s how you feel.
BONNIE
Look, every mistake you made in
your life is because I was such a
poor example for you. You really
had no idea what a real family
looks like – and that was on me.
CHRISTIE
So, my disaster of a life – the
addictions, the failed
relationships, especially with my
own kids – it all reflects badly on
you and makes you feel worse about
your own life.
BONNIE
That’s not what I said at all.
CHRISTIE
But it is what you said.
BONNIE
No, it’s not. It’s what you heard.
(pause)
The truth is Little Girl – and you
are my Little Girl – is that I’m
extremely proud of you. You’ve
overcome so many obstacles –
obstacles I sprinkled before you
like Acme tacks in front of the
Road Runner – but, no matter what,
you just kept on going.
(beat)
My big mistake certainly wasn’t
having you. It was not enjoying you
– and not giving you every good
thing you deserved. There’s my
biggest regret, in a nutshell.
CHRISTIE
(softening)
And I certainly am a nutshell.
(beat)
Hey, I know you did your best with
the emotional hand your were dealt.
I mean you were given up for
adoption when you were four and
passed around from foster home to
foster home until you ran off with
Alvin as a teenager and had me –
and he abandoned us both.
BONNIE
At the hospital – on Christmas Eve.
Saint Joseph, he wasn’t – but he
had his story too.
CHRISTIE
I’m glad we both had a chance to
reconcile with him before he
passed.
BONNIE
Me too. He was a messed-up kid –
but he actually had a good heart.
CHRISTIE
Except that he died of a heart
attack – in bed with you.
(beat)
Life hasn’t been easy on you.
BONNIE
Or you.
MARJORIE
The truth is we’ve all been dumped
on in one way or another and we’ve
all made mistakes that we wish we
could take back. It’s like that
country song goes, “We’ve all got
bruises.”
BONNIE
You’re not gonna start singing are
you?
MARJORIE
I’m just saying that there’s no use
stewing over the fact that we can’t
correct the past. We can’t go back
in time.
JILL
I don’t know. Maybe we can.
BONNIE
Jill, for God’s sake, “Downton
Abbey” is just a TV show.
JILL
I’m not talking about going back in
time – but maybe we can correct the
past.
CHRISTIE
And how do we do that?
JILL
I mean don’t get me wrong. This
whole thing is causing a lot of
suffering for a lot of people. I
mean I get it. I feel it.
CHRISTIE
But?
JILL
But, looked at from another angle,
maybe there’s something to be said
for this big ol’ timeout. Maybe
it’s the Universe’s way getting us
all to take a breather, appreciate
how far we’ve come, see our
mistakes from a distance – and just
sorta hit the reset button.
Pause.
CHRISTIE
Wow. That was like Marjorie-wise.
BONNIE
It was. Maybe we can get another
competition going here. Marjorie,
you care to top that?
MARJORIE
No.
(beat)
Except to say…
BONNIE
It’s on!
MARJORIE
I was just going to say that we all
really have come a long way. The
fact is I don’t even recognize that
blue Bonnie Parker as me anymore.
BONNIE
That’s true. Maybe it’s time to
plan another heist.
MARJORIE
I’m serious. This old lady’s come a
long way – and, thanks to you and
Christie, I’m even reconciled with
my son – and babysitting my
beautiful granddaughter. I can’t
thank the two of you enough for
that.
BONNIE
You’re welcome.
CHRISTIE
Yeah. You’ve certainly done enough
for us.
MARJORIE
Well, over the past – What is it?
Six or seven years? – we’ve all, at
one time or another, been there for
each other. But, I guess, it’s like
the song goes, “That’s What Friends
Are For.”
BONNIE
You have a song for every aphorism,
don’t you?
MARJORIE
No.
(beat; smiles)
I have an aphorism for every song.
BONNIE
(rolls her eyes)
Oh, brother!
MARJORIE
But, you know, aphorisms are
usually true.
TAMMY
Well, as the newest member of this
group all I can say is you’ve all
been like the “Wind Beneath My
Wings.”
BONNIE
Alright, that’s enough!
TAMMY
I’m just saying, you all are the
closest thing I’ve ever had to a
family. You’ve fulfilled a need I
never even knew I had.
WENDY
That’s great, Tammy – because, when
you get right down to it “People
who need people…
BONNIE
(simultaneous)
Stop!
WENDY
(simultaneous)
…are the luckiest people in the
world.”
MARJORIE
Words of wisdom.
BONNIE
Fine – but can we please stop
talking in song titles? You know?
Let It Be?
TAMMY
Can you hum a few bars?
BONNIE
You people drive me crazy!
MARJORIE
Well, don’t you think you drive us
crazy!
Stunned silence.
BONNIE
What?
MARJORIE
It’s just that sometimes whitewater
rafting through your stream of
consciousness can be a bit
exhausting.
BONNIE
How so?
MARJORIE
Okay. Being with you and Christie
can be like being hit by a wave of
amazingly self-absorbed triviality
one second and a wave of intense
personal revelation the next and
then back again.
BONNIE
I like to think there’s an art to
that – but we’re sorry we’re so
annoying.
CHRISTIE
How’d I get into this?
MARJORIE
(beat)
However, then comes the next wave –
where the two you reunite me with
my son.
(beat)
And then there are the waves when
you’re there for me during my
chemotherapy and when Victor died.
(beat)
You all were.
JILL
We’ve all given you our share of
grief too.
MARJORIE
True – and right back at you. But
the fact is, I need you all in my
life. Or, at least, I really want
you all in my life.
BONNIE
(beat)
Ditto.
WENDY
It’s the translogical universe.
BONNIE
What?
WENDY
It’s physicist Michael Guillen’s
term for how, in science, two
opposing ideas can both be true.
BONNIE
(incredulous)
You mean like “alternative facts”?
WENDY
I mean like we all drive each other
crazy – but we also keep each other
sane.
TAMMY
(makes like her head just
exploded)
That’s deep.
WENDY
Anyway, applying the physics
concept to what’s going on now,
Doctor Guillen mentions the first
line of “A Tale of Two Cities.”
MARJORIE
“It was the best of times. It was
the worst of times.”
WENDY
Right.
BONNIE
So, we’ve moved on from quoting
song titles to quoting Shakespeare?
WENDY
Dickens, but whatever.
MARJORIE
Your point is well-taken, Wendy.
BONNIE
Yes – and it is…?
TAMMY
(raises her hand while
driving)
Ooh! Ooh! I know!
HONKING SOUND. There’s a flash of panic on the faces of the
women. ONCOMING HEADLIGHTS shine in Tammy’s face as she
quickly grabs the steering wheel with both hands.
BONNIE
(as Tammy grabs the wheel)
Both hands on the wheel!
TAMMY
(calls out to other
driver)
My bad!
(beat)
Where was I? Oh, yeah. I was just
gonna say that it’s like being in
prison. It’s hell but nothing makes
you appreciate freedom more.
CHRISTIE
Or how being an addict gets you to
appreciate sobriety more.
JILL
Being a former marine, Andy calls
this whole thing a worldwide reboot
camp. It’s a mess – but it’s also
an opportunity let go of what’s
pulling us down and hang on tightly
to everyone and everything that
lifts us up.
CHRISTIE
So, both let go – and hang on.
MARJORIE
The secret of the translogical
universe.
WENDY
Bingo.
BONNIE
So, Marjorie, all this time we were
playing a cosmic bingo game and you
win. Seems right – given your
ability to be at once trite and
profound.
CHRISTIE
(meekly)
I said the secret.
MARJORIE
(enjoying her win)
But I did identify it.
WENDY
That’s true.
CHRISTIE
(under her breath)
Rip-off.
WENDY
The point is it’s only bingo. Let
it go.
CHRISTIE
(softly)
Cosmic bingo.
(beat; sheepishly)
So, what do we hold onto?
BONNIE
I’ll tell you what we hang onto. We
hang onto gratitude – for every
breath, for whatever health we
have, for stocked store shelves,
food on the table, for a roof over
our heads, for those we love, for
freedom, purpose, for friggin’
toilet paper! – and for whatever
Higher Power brought us to where we
know that whatever crap the world
dishes out, we can eat it up and we
can spit out – because…
(sings)
“We did it Our Way”…
(talks)
…and…
(sings)
“We Made it Through the Rain and
found ourselves respected by the
others who got rained on too – and
made it through!”
As the women smile an endorsement of the sentiment…
TAMMY
(applauds)
Bravo!
MARJORIE
(applauds; simultaneous)
Bingo, Bonnie!
BONNIE
Talking about crap the world dishes
out, you know what sucks?
(beat)
When your Instacart shopper claims
the toilet paper is out of stock
but you find out she just scored a
twelve-pack for her and her
housemate!
Tammy knows she’s busted.
MARJORIE
And downstream we go.
END ACT TWO
TAG
INT. SIX ZOOM BOXES – EVENING
The Zoom conference call nears an end as only Christie and
Bonnie remain in their respective boxes.
CHRISTIE
So, it’s just you and me now.
BONNIE
Which is how our story began.
CHRISTIE
That was some conversation.
BONNIE
Yeah.
CHRISTIE
Too bad Wendy had to drop off
early.
BONNIE
Yeah. It’s about time we pay her
more notice.
CHRISTIE
It’s about time we pay all nurses
more notice – and also, you know,
pay them more.
BONNIE
True.
CHRISTIE
I’m really glad you upped Tammy’s
tip to twenty percent.
BONNIE
Well, we’re lucky we can still
afford it – and the work she’s
doing is important too.
CHRISTIE
You know, the old you wouldn’t have
gotten past the toilet tissue
issue.
BONNIE
Well, what can I tell you? I’ve
grown.
CHRISTIE
You have. I’ve noticed.
(beat)
From my window, I’ve seen you
dropping breakfast off in front of
Mister Munson’s door.
BONNIE
Spam and eggs.
CHRISTIE
If he wasn’t blind I’d make a joke
like he likes his green eyes and
Spam.
BONNIE
You mean because my eyes are green.
CHRISTIE
Yeah. Good one, right?
BONNIE
Sure.
(beat)
And your’s are blue. I don’t know
how you ever made it into the
group.
CHRISTIE
I had a connection.
BONNIE
Or an out.
CHRISTIE
Good one.
(beat)
Do you really think this is an
opportunity to start over?
BONNIE
No. It’s an opportunity to take all
we’ve learned and go forward –
rebooted, with the lessons saved
and the bugaboos trashed.
(beat)
You don’t really want to start over
do you?
CHRISTIE
(with realization)
Nooo.
(beat)
Good night.
BONNIE
Good night.
CHRISTIE
(beat)
I love you, Mom.
BONNIE
(surprised; moved)
I love you too.
Christie’s box goes blank. Bonnie pauses briefly and wipes a
tear from her eye.
FADE TO BLACK.
THE END

 

 

 

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