(Set is a restaurant-Tables and chairs and a counter with stools) (Actors frozen onstage in a tableaux in a dim light. ALEX; the waitress is frozen in the motion of cleaning the upstage centre table. At the Counter, PETE the Cook and owner of the restaurant is hidden behind a newspaper. JOE is a quiet and introspective young man sitting downstage right at a small table. He has medical books in front of him. They are worn looking. There are two tables Centre Stage. The Centre Stage Right Table is empty with three chairs around it. The Centre Stage Left Table has three chairs. RALPHIE, a small round boy is sitting on the floor in front of that table. TONY is sitting at the table along with two girls; CHRISTINE and MEGHAN. Leaning together, cheek to cheek, the girls pose as they imagine Hollywood starlets might. MEGHAN is sticking out her tongue. JIMMY, a lean and lanky boy is standing behind them. They are all posing for a photograph. A prewar song playing in the background-an upbeat number. WILL is standing downstage centre. He is wearing a coat and holding an old camera.)
WILL This is the gang. My gang. I guess it’s my favourite picture, cause it’s the last time we were all together. Pete’s Soda Shoppe. It’s where all the young folks went on Saturday afternoons to hang out. The little guy there, not the one with the cap…the other one. That’s Tony. He’d do anything to get a laugh. Jokes, Impressions of people, That kind of thing sometimes got him in a little hot water. Folks don’t take too kindly to being made fun of. He also did magic acts. I swear; I think if he wasn’t doing that stuff, he’d feel like nothing, like he was invisible. Oh, and there’s Jimmy, the self appointed leader of our gang, and my best friend. The kid with the cap? That’s Ralphie. He followed us around like a lost puppy. Megan there, with the face. She was my childhood sweetheart.(Kisses her on top of the head)
Everyone expected us to get married someday. I know I did. Christine here, was Megan’s best friend. She wasn’t too happy with the boys that were available in our small town. That was the problem. They were available. She’d get these hopeless crushes on larger-than-life movie stars like Frank Sinatra, and of course; Clark Gable…Oh, and that guy there, with the books. Joe. He was a real bookworm. He mostly kept to himself, which of course bothered our gang. We couldn’t just let things be. And behind the counter? That’s Pete. He kinda tolerated us kids, but that was okay; we kinda tolerated his cooking. And the waitress? That’s Alexandra. She was the kinda girl that had a reputation. Looking at this picture you wouldn’t know that there was a war going on…but there was. The war in Europe was on everyone’s mind. I remember it like it was yesterday. (He turns with his back to the audience at the front of the stage-He lifts up his camera and then lights up.)
All Cheese! (Laughing)
MEGHAN Will! I had my eyes closed!
PETE (Looking up from his newspaper) Hey Jimmy! All the boys are joinin’ up. Your team ain’t looking so good.
JIMMY Yeah, well five bucks says they win it all.
PETE You don’t have five bucks.
JIMMY Tell you what. If I lose, I do dishes for a week, but Pete, I ain’t gonna lose.
PETE Make it two weeks and you got yourself a deal.
JIMMY (Moves to the counter and extends his hand.) It will be like takin' candy from a baby.
PETE Shakes Jimmy's hand.) You’re not a baby. Just not quite grown up.
JIMMY (Laughs and approaches ALEX who is cleaning the upstage table.)
WILL (Takes off his coat and glasses revealing himself to be a teenager. He kisses MEGHAN on the cheek and sits down beside her.) How’s my best girl?
CHRISTINE You guys have bin goin’ together since; gosh, I don’t know…Forever! When are ya gonna get married?
MEGHAN (Kisses WILL) As soon as he asks me.
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