Monday, October 6, 2008

86: Mist, Mellow Fruitfulness


SCENE: Keats’ Café. Early October.

A WOMAN of a certain age, obviously exhausted, walks slowly through the door. She looks around, as if seeking a familiar face. Finding none, She moves to a table near the window, where she places her heavy bag on the floor.

Placing her reading glasses low on the bridge of her nose, she scans the menu.

A waitress, FANNY, approaches. She is smacking gum.

FANNY:
Hey. I’m Fanny. What can I getcha?

WOMAN:
Just some water for now. It’s been a while since I was in, and I should probably look things over.

FANNY:
You betcha.

FANNY exits.

The WOMAN continues to move her eyes over the menu.

WOMAN (to herself):
Ah! There it is. I was afraid they’d taken it off the menu.

FANNY (setting down a large glass of water):
You ready?

WOMAN:
You have no idea how ready. I’ve been waiting for this all year. Let’s see…I’ll have the “Season of Mist” and definitely some “Mellow Fruitfulness.” I’m starved.

FANNY:
Sorry. We’re out.

WOMAN (incredulous):
WHAT?

FANNY:
We’re out. Out of mist. Mellow fruitfulness, too.

WOMAN:
You’re kidding, right?

FANNY:
Nope.

WOMAN:
But your thatch-eves have vines running ‘round!

FANNY:
They’re from Hobby Lobby. I had to go pick them up last week.

WOMAN (stunned):
Guess I’ll settle for the swollen gourds, topped with plump hazelnuts and sweet kernel.

FANNY (over her shoulder): Yo, Keats, we got any squash yet?

KEATS (offstage):
Truck didn’t come.

FANNY:
You heard the man.

WOMAN:
No. This can’t be happening. My hair was soft lifted by the wind, wind that winnowed, when I got out of my car. And I’m sitting careless… or at least I was until you started telling me you’re out of everything good. I mean, look outside! The day’s soft-dying! Crickets! Whistles and twitters!

FANNY walks over to the jukebox, pops in a quarter, and presses a button. Happy music fills the air.

FANNY:
Maybe that “Song of Spring” will perk ‘ya up.

WOMAN:
Turn that crap off. Nobody comes to Keats’ Café for spring. It’s October, Fanny. I need autumn. I’ve been coming here every October for years for my favorite dish. And now this nonsense. If you don’t have mist, mellow fruitfulness, gourds, hazelnuts, sweet kernels, or even a real damned vine, what do you have?

FANNY:
Well, there’s a great wine special.

WOMAN:
God, I could use a drink.

FANNY:
We have Strenuous Tongue Cab by the glass. It’s like squishing grapes in your mouth.

WOMAN:
Bring me a bottle. And tell Keats to get his sorry ass out here right now.

FANNY EXITS, calling the order.

A moment passes. KEATS, a dark-haired man wearing an apron and a toque enters stage left. He sees the WOMAN, removes his hat, walks slowly to her table, and sits beside her.

She looks up, and into his eyes.

KEATS:
So it’s you who ordered the melancholy. How have you been?

FANNY returns with a bottle and two glasses, pours wine for both, and exits. The lights fade to black as KEATS takes the WOMAN’s hand in his, and she begins to answer.





2 comments:

Christy Raedeke said...

AH, I've been waiting for your October Keats; a bright spot in this dreadful season...

bluelikethesky said...

Well, Christy, as the woman found out, you can't always get what you want. You might find you get what you need, but, then again, they may be out of that, too!