American Greetings

[Scene: A man in a business suit is eating his morning breakfast while he reads his newspaper, a briefcase next to him on table. His wife is going to and from the kitchen with toast, orange juice, etc. His teenage son comes into the kitchen, grabs a piece of toast and his books, and starts to head out the door. He stops as if remembering something, puts a greeting card on table in front of dad, and leaves. No words are spoken, and characters donít even look at each other. Father picks up card and reads it.]

[VOICE-OVER of son]:

Happy Birthday, Dad, on this very special day,
Thereís so little time, and so much to say,
But I just want you to know,
I hate it here, Iím leaving home today,
Iím moving in with Bob,
And in case you still donít know, Iím gay.

[Father reacts mildly to card, puts it down and resumes reading newspaper while eating. Mother comes in, is suddenly dressed as if for a trip. He pulls out a card and hands it to her. She takes it and reads it while he goes back to reading his paper.]

[VOICE-OVER of father]:

I know Iíve always been away
It seems Iíve missed your every birthday
I know you think I just donít care
But my home Iím glad you share
And though you think Iím cold and hard
I went and got this greeting card
To say with poetic thoughtful rhyme
What I would, if Iíd the time.

[She doesnít react to card, but goes into next room, and comes back with a suitcase. She hands him a card and heads out the door as he reads it.]

[VOICE-OVER of his wife]:

Too little, too late, like all your talk
I think itís time I took a walk
You think Iím just an old workhorse
I plan to get a quick divorce
Iím leaving with the milkman in his truck
So to you I wish the best of luck,
You stupid schmuck.

[The man reacts with mild surprise, puts card next to sonís card on table and resumes reading his newspaper. The doorbell rings, and he gets up to answer it. Itís the mailman, who gives him his morning mail. He goes back to table and sorts through letters, opens one up and reads it.]

[VOICE-OVER of a boss from his office at work. Each line has the voice of a different supervisor]:

All of us here at your old job
Have thought of you during our weekly meetings
And even though youíre just a slob
We wish to send these Birthday Greetings
Youíve been here twenty years this May
We think youíre looking old and tired
Your pension comes due now any day
So nowís the time to say
[Everyone]: Youíre Fired!

[He looks at the card without response. Puts it on table with other cards. Looks at them blankly. He then pulls out another card from briefcase on table, and looks at it.]

[VOICE-OVER of man]:

Iíve lost my job, Iíve lost my wife
So now Iím going to take my life
Sincerely, John McCandall

[He signs the card on "Sincerely, John McCandall." He lays the card open on the table, pulls a gun from his briefcase and shoots himself in the head, falling face forward onto the open card on the table.]

[VOICE-OVER]:

American Greetings. Weíll say it for you.

END.


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