76d: Karen Black / John Prine
Lunch Counter Reunion
Written by: Marilyn Suzanne Miller
Ralph Bort ... Dan Aykroyd
Patty Rivers ... Jane Curtin
Waitress ... Gilda Radner
[The lunch counter at Woolworth's department store, a
little before one o'clock in the afternoon. Two adults
sit together, having just eaten: a man and a woman,
smoking cigarettes. A waitress removes their plates
and brings them coffee. The man is boisterous and
enthusiastic. The woman is distinctly uncomfortable.
The scene opens in mid-conversation:]
Ralph Bort: [laughing] But - but weren't ya - weren't
ya sort of embarrassed, you know, every time your
underpants showed when you did a cartwheel? I mean, I
mean, I knew they matched your cheerleading skirt and
all that but you must've been embarrassed from time to
Patty Rivers: Well, I--
Ralph Bort: Maybe ... you sort of liked it. Yeah, you
sort of liked it. Huh! I guess that's it. You sort of
liked it. [laughs]
Patty Rivers: I really didn't--
Ralph Bort: That's something, you know? After ten
whole years, finding out the captain of the high
school cheerleading team really liked her underpants
Patty Rivers: They were supposed to show. They matched
the outfit. They were supposed to show, okay?
Ralph Bort: Well, okay, okay, Patty Rivers!
Patty Rivers: I wish you wouldn't say my name so much.
Ralph Bort: Oh, I like saying it. It reminds me I'm
talkin' to ya. I, Ralph Bort -- "B. O." Bort talking
to you, Patty Rivers! And to think in high school, I
was scared of you, y'know? I was scared of you -- but
now we're just regular people, just adults, just you
and me here. [laughs]
Patty Rivers: Yeah. Yeah.
Ralph Bort: You still - you still don't remember me,
do ya? [laughs] Here - here's a hint! [covers mouth
with hands, imitates a filtered voice] Testing
one-two-three! Testing one-two-three!
Patty Rivers: I give up.
Ralph Bort: Captain of the audiovisual squad! Seven
guys who really gave a damn if the mikes had feedback
in the gym. And in the auditorium.
Patty Rivers: Really?
Ralph Bort: We were the backbone of those pep rallies.
You were the underpants! [laughs]
Patty Rivers: Listen, I - I really have to get back.
My lunch hour is over. I just can't stay here--
Ralph Bort: Hey! Hey! Relax! I'm tight with the crowd
at Fanny Farmer, I'll vouch for ya.
Patty Rivers: Well, okay.
Ralph Bort: After all, how many reunions do you have
in your lifetime? Five, ten, fifteen, twenty,
twenty-five, thirty, forty?
Patty Rivers: I don't know.
Ralph Bort: Running into each other at the lunch
counter at Woolworth's! Can you imagine what might not
have happened if I didn't ask you for the salt?
Patty Rivers: I'm due back at one.
Ralph Bort: Five minutes! You can talk five minutes
about old times! High school!
Patty Rivers: We didn't have any old times.
Ralph Bort: We went to the same high school, didn't
we? We went to the same lockers. You know, I forgot to
tell you this. I had your old junior year locker in my
senior year 'cause I found this, uh, this piece of
crepe paper, you know, like from one of your, uh, your
pompons, you know, and I saved it.
Patty Rivers: Why?
Ralph Bort: It was something to save! Something to
keep! A memory! A souvenir! I couldn't take home any
microphones. I couldn't take home those filmstrips on,
uh, Guatemala. Imports, exports, bushels of wheat.
[imitates narrator] "Guatemala, your downstairs
neighbor!" Remember that? I showed that filmstrip
about fifty times in four years. Guatemala,
Guatemalans -- who cares? You didn't have that
problem, though. You probably had lots of souvenirs.
You probably took a lot home, didn't ya?
Patty Rivers: Yes, I did.
Ralph Bort: Well, like what?
Patty Rivers: My pompons, my cheerleading letter, my -
my Homecoming crown--
Ralph Bort: Homecoming! I - I went to a Homecoming ...
after I was in Nam. I was in Nam. Know what I did
Patty Rivers: What?
Ralph Bort: Would you believe ... FIGHT?! You know why
I said that? I wanted you to ask me that so I could
say "Would you believe ...?" Remember? I started that
in our high school. I was the one who said, "Would you
believe ...?" first! I started "Would you believe
...?" It was all over the country but I started it in
our high school. I started "Would you believe ...?" I
started that. Heh! You know, those words would've
never come out of your mouth, you know, if - if I
didn't say "Would you believe ...?" You know? That
really gets me sometimes that I started that, you
know? I started "Would you believe ...?" And those
words would've never come out of your mouth, if I
didn't start that! Huh! Damn! [laughs] Nam! I was in
Nam. Know what I did in Nam? I ran the movie
projector. Showed "Blue Hawaii," "True ..." -- you
know -- "... Grit," all those movies, you know? What
Patty Rivers: What about me?
Ralph Bort: Yeah, what have you done since high
school? I wanna know. I'm interested.
Patty Rivers: Well, I went to college. I got married.
I got divorced. Now, I'm living with my parents--
Ralph Bort: Yeah! I heard about that! Getting divorced
-- I heard about that. My mom sent me something over
in Nam, a little item in the newspaper, you know?
Well, don't worry about it, I mean, they weren't
talking about it in Nam, you know. They had other
things to worry about.
Patty Rivers: Well, that's it for me. I really--
Ralph Bort: I went to community college for two years.
I started the AV squad there. It was sort of my
brainchild. "Brainchild" -- there's a word I never
used in high school, you know? Some people used that
word, I never used that word. Only when I started, uh,
you know, managing the tire department over at Sears,
I started using "brainchild." I got the job, tire
manager over there. It's terrific, you know, I work
nine to five, five days a week. I never thought I
could get into it, you know, but I do - I do it, you
know? I play a lot of poker on weekends, though. A lot
of poker! Maybe too much poker, you know?! But I'm
Patty Rivers: Look, it's been really nice but I have
to get back--
Ralph Bort: Hey! You smoke cigarettes! What kind?
Patty Rivers: Menthol.
Ralph Bort: I smoke menthol 100s. I love 'em! I like
the taste! I like menthol! Isn't that something? Who
ever thought we were gonna grow up like this and I'd
be sitting next to you, you smoking cigarettes? It's
amazing! It's just amazing! What kind of car you
drive? I got a Chevy Nova, you know. A tachometer. I
got rally stripes, baby moon. I got, uh, CB radio,
tape deck. I got all of that in there. I got, uh,
factory air conditioning, too, you know? I wouldn't
take it without the air. What kind of car do you
Patty Rivers: Toyota.
Ralph Bort: Ahhh, you worry about pollution, huh?
Patty Rivers: Well, I--
Ralph Bort: I do, too! You know, I worry about
pollution, too. But I'm pretty busy, you know. I'm--
When I'm not playing poker or managing the tire
department over there, you know-- I - I worry about
pollution. Actually, it's not what you'd call, really,
like, worrying, you know, it's like - it's like - it's
like - it's what you'd call, like, thinking ... about
pollution, you know, like-- ? Yeah. Yeah, that's it!
It's - it's - it's what you'd call thinking about
Patty Rivers: Look, I've really got to go.
Ralph Bort: Isn't this something, though? Both of us
are adults! Both of us adults, here, equals, you know?
It's not like high school. In high school, there were
all those levels, you know, groups. Some people were
nothing, you know? Some people were something. More
something. Right up to the big shots. But, in life, it
all evens out! We're adults! We both lived, done
things, you know? You've lived! I've lived! You know,
like you were married, divorced. I was in Nam. You
know, here you are smoking cigarettes, you know? You,
in high school with your underpants showing. Me,
watching. Things are different! Things are really
different now! I could even ask you out now, couldn't
Patty Rivers: [gives him a sharp look, after a pause]
[She rises, slaps some change down on the counter,
takes her receipt, and walks off. He calls after her.]
Ralph Bort: Hey - hey, I'll call 'em at Fanny Farmer.
I - I'll explain to them that you're gonna be late.
[to the waitress who clears away his coffee cup and
wipes the counter with a rag] I - I - I know them
there, at Fanny Farmer. I know them.
[The waitress hands him his receipt. He inspects it
closely, rises, and reaches into his pocket for