The Morningsider (Issue 2 – Act 2)

Coding and Decoding

 
interior – Office morning

The Morningsider stands in the doorway of a room full of terminals and server stacks. He looks a little deflated, dressed in jeans and a long-sleeve plaid shirt. Without his hat on, we can see that his hairline has receded all the way back. Although he has cleaned himself up, he still has the huge, red beard.

Morningsider
Dishy?

We see Dishy’s face over his monitor. He looks surprised. We see the silhouette of the Morningsider over his shoulder, still standing in the doorway.

Dishy
No way! Riordan MacClyde?!

The Morningsider has stepped in the door and sits on the edge of Dishy’s desk. Dishy still sits at his terminal, turned in his seat to face the Morningsider.

Dishy
I thought you were dead.
 
Morningsider
Really?
 
Dishy
Kind of. Barry was very elusive about what happened to you.

The Morningsider has a down-cast look on his face.

Morningsider
Yeah, he’s a good friend that way.
 
Dishy
You look like you died. I mean, like death warmed-over, anyway. Are you okay, man?
 
Morningsider
Yeah. Not so much. I … uh … got evicted … kind of.
 
Dishy
I’m sorry, dude. But I’m glad to see you. Don’t worry, we’re gonna have fun this week. Tons of code, tons of stupid requirements. Just the kind of client you love to hate.
 
Morningsider
(putting on a smile)
Great. Where do we begin?

The Morningsider and Dishy sit back-to-back at opposite terminals, typing away furiously.

Dishy
So, you live in a cave and eat weeds? Dude, you know they have like homeless shelters where you can get soup and beans? You may have to listen to their “Jesus loves you” business, but, you know — free food.
 
Morningsider
Dandelions and burdock are free, too. And cattails. And sassafras … And pigeons and squirrels.
 
Dishy
Whatever, it’s your life, man. How’s that working out for you, anyway?
 
Morningsider
It was great until this weekend.
 
Dishy
So, did she like see you? Catch you in the act? Is your picture up on post office walls?
 
Morningsider
No, I doubt she has ever seen my face. But she knows where I’ve been living. She’s going to be staking out the park, I’m sure. Probably using informants or something, trying to track me down.
 
Dishy
Well, you’re totally welcome at my place until this blows over. Or, you know, until I get tired of you. Or if I happen to meet a chick.
 
interior – Office day 2

They still sit back to back at opposite terminals. Dishy has on different clothes. Riordan does not.

Dishy
So, what if you like confront the girl? In a dark alley or something. You know, shake her up with that whole vigilante thing you’ve got going on.
 
Morningsider
Something tells me that it would only make things worse. The whole point in how I’ve been living lately has been to lay low — keep myself and the park off everybody’s radar. I just didn’t see something like this coming.
 
interior – Office day 3

The framing stays the same. Dishy sits on Riordan’s desk, sipping coffee while Riordan types. Again, Dishy has changed clothes, and Riordan has not.

Dishy
You could kill her. My cousin has this friend who can get rid of the body in a marsh over in New Jersey. Or like kill her pet or something. Or just kidnap her pet and leave a note saying you killed it. Or like, rough up her roommate and leave a message spray-painted on her wall that says “Don’t fuck with me.”
 
Morningsider
Dude?!
 
interior – Office day 4

Keeping the same framing. Riordan still sits, typing, in the same clothes. Dishy sits at his desk, turned around, facing Riordan’s back.

Dishy
(gesticulating)
You know you should at least shave. I mean that beard sticks out like a sore thumb. You might as well just wear a t-shirt that says “This is only temporary” on the front and “Yeah, I’m the Wild Man of Morningside Park” on the back.
 
Morningsider
I’m not shaving.
 
Dishy
(writing on a note pad)
Hey, that’s a cool t-shirt idea. You mind if I print up something like that? If you make the headlines a few more times, we could really rake in some money off something like that. I mean, I’m sure things will cool down eventually, but might as well ride the fad as long as we can. Besides, you know, you could use a few more items in your wardrobe. Is that the only shirt you have?
 
interior – Office day 5

Keeping the same framing. Riordan has on one of Dishy’s shirts. Both are sitting back to back again at their terminals.

Morningsider
I said, I’m not shaving.
 
Dishy
Then like, dye it or something. Seriously, dude. If you ever want to go back to your transient ways, you need to revamp the image. Take some of the money you’re getting from Barry now and go to Old Navy or H&M and buy some cheap, yet respectable, duds.
 
Morningsider
(sighs)
 
interior – Office day 6

Still with the same framing. Barry stands in the room between Dishy and Riordan.

Barry
Looking good, boys. Do you think you can wrap it up today? I want to do a presentation to the client on Monday and then go live with the ap on Tuesday.
 
Dishy
We’ll be done tonight. Do you want to do testing tomorrow?
 
Barry
I want you to do testing tomorrow. I’m going to parade my sexy self down 5th Avenue tomorrow.
 
Morningsider
It’s Gay Pride Day tomorrow?
 
Barry
Yeah. Hi. I’m the Last Sunday in June. You may have noticed me on your calendar?

(beat)

Dishy
Since when do you get excited about Pride Day, Riordan?
 
Morningsider
It’s just the… raspberries.
 
Barry
Is that what you kids are calling it these days?
 
Morningsider
No. Real raspberries. They ripen at the end of June. It makes it easy to remember.
 
Dishy
Oh, I get it. The fruit all come out.
 
Barry
(smiling)
That we do. Well, you enjoy your fruit, Riordan, and I’ll enjoy mine.

Barry leaves.

Morningsider
Hmm. I guess I’m going to have to take some of your advice, Dishy.
 
Dishy
Yeah.
(double take)
Wait. What?
 
Morningsider
I’m going back to the park.

Dishy turns in his seat to face Riordan.

Dishy
Dude. Seriously. Give it some more time. I’ll buy you some raspberries.

Riordan turns away from his terminal with a gazing look in his eyes.  We see the office behind the side he faces away from, but the side he faces toward shows the spot where the raspberries grow in Morningside Park.

Morningsider
It’s not that, it’s…
(looking around at the walls and computer shit)
All this is getting to me. I need to get out. I need to go home. Even if just for a moment.
 
Dishy
You’re crazy, man. I like that about you, but… Just don’t get caught. And don’t let the cops follow you back to my place. I wouldn’t do well in jail.
 
Morningsider
(pensive)
Yeah.
 
Dishy
But do come back, man. I mean it. Don’t get yourself arrested or anything.
 
Morningsider
I’ll be careful.
 
Dishy
Hey, is she hot? I could like, keep her busy for you. What’s her name, I can plug into the Columbia database and get some info on her.
 
Morningsider
(pulling a newspaper out from under a haphazard pile of papers)
See for yourself. She has a photo by-line in the Spectator.
 
Dishy
She’s cute. Oh yeah, I’m all over this one.

Dishy turns back to his computer.

Dishy
Alright, Elle Paige, just give me a second, and I’ll figure out where you live.
 
Morningsider
No need. She lives in Barry’s building.
 
Dishy
(turning back to the Morningsider with a burst of exasperation)
Man, you’re taking all the fun out of this.
 
Morningsider
I didn’t know you went all “hacker” on me, Dishy. When did that happen?
 
Dishy
Don’t be too impressed. Columbia is a client. I did lead development work for the Registrar’s office, so I know the user account that the PHP pages use to access the MySQL database.
 
Morningsider
Comes in handy if you want to stalk some Columbia girls, I guess.
 
Dishy
Exactly. But I never really had the guts to use it. ‘Till now. Well, at least I can figure out her schedule.
 
Morningsider
Dishy, tomorrow is Sunday–the last Sunday in June. She’s not going to be in class.
 
Dishy
The ap we built works like a full scheduling package for the students and faculty. It links in to class schedules, but they use it like a campus-wide scheduling system. Each person has a portal that gives them their own personal planner. It shows classes, extra-curricular stuff. One guy was even stupid enough to use it to note the days he was planning on stealing meth ingredients from the chem lab.
(looking intently at his screen)
Aha! In the summer, they only put out the Spectator on Sundays, and she’s got herself scheduled to be in the office tonight. What if I go there and like give her some false information on you and then sweet talk her into … doing something … with me … tomorrow.
 
Morningsider
Like going to the Pride Parade with you? Excellent first date for the nice hetero couple.
 
Dishy
Yeah, no. That’s crazy.

(beat)

Dishy
But… It would get her out of Morningside. You’d know exactly where she is and not have to worry about her.
 
Morningsider
You’re a hell of a friend, Dishy.
 
Dishy
Yeah, well, maybe after this you’ll call or write once in a while.
 
Morningsider
And now you’re my Jewish mother?
 
Dishy
(having a eureka moment)
Jewish! That’s it!
 
end act
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Stored Procedures
The Morningsider
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Flirting with Danger
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3 responses to this post.

  1. […] Coding and Decoding Note: You can always navigate through the series using the “The Morningsider” link up in the header. […]

    Reply

  2. Posted by luke on 08/26/2007 at 10:15 am

    Now they’re talking! Dishy makes for good contrast. I remember you telling me the MS had computer history, but it reads like a sudden jump. Maybe a bit more dejection would help. Isn’t this the life he ditched? Otherwise, great. I look forward to more Acts.

    Reply

  3. After a great conversation with Luke about how I could improve the sense of Riordan’s dejection, I have edited the act.

    The stage direction that read:

    Riordan turns away from his terminal, looking down.

    Now reads:

    Riordan turns away from his terminal with a gazing look in his eyes. We see the office behind the side he faces away from, but the side he faces toward shows the spot where the raspberries grow in Morningside Park.

    Thanks, Luke, for helping me realize how I could graphically represent the Morningsider’s sense of loss from working in an office.

    Reply

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