Glama, Act I, Scene 9

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A Full Length Musical Comedy by William Armstrong

Scene Nine
Hotel poolside table
Monday night
Sam sits at a table by the pool. He has a drink in front of him. Jeff enters from the lobby and sits down at the table with Sam.
SAM
Can I buy you a drink?
JEFF
Sure. Are you ready for Disneyland tomorrow?
SAM
Iím looking forward to it.
Sam waves to a waitress. Jeff nods to her as if to say, "The usual".
JEFF
It should be a lot of fun. Janet said you wanted to talk to me.
SAM
Right. Before we signed up for this tour, I researched Glama Tours and Jeff Carson. I found out that you own the company, and you still lead a tour almost every week. But, more than that, you try to grant each customer one wish -- nothing magical, nothing big, but something tailored specifically for that person, something they wouldnít otherwise see or do. You donít advertise it. In fact, everyone thinks that they are the only one who gets the special treatment, which makes them feel doubly special.
The waitress puts a drink in front of Jeff and exits.
JEFF
Iím impressed. You have done your homework. Iím guilty on all counts.
SAM
Well, Iíd like to make my wish. It should be an easy one to grant. I want to know how you became the Genie of Glama Tours.
JEFF
I donít normally tell guests about myself. I find that they like it much more if I listen to them. Besides, I was thinking about different wish for you. You like trains, and one of the supervisors down at the Union Pacific Railroad maintenance yard is a friend of mine. I think heíd give you a tour of the whole operation.
SAM
You can grant that one, too, but my request still stands.
JEFF
Can you keep a secret?
SAM
Absolutely! Itís the people I tell who canít.
JEFF
I donít like people to know that I own the company. When Iím just a tour guide, the guests think that Iím risking my job, bending the company rules to "grant their wishes", as you put it. And they tip better.
SAM
My lips are sealed. Now tell about how you got here.
JEFF
Okay, I was going to college when I discovered how much I enjoyed acting. I made a radical change in my life plan: no more business major for me. In fact, college wasnít going to get me where I wanted to go. I dropped out. I took what was left of my education fund and came to Los Angeles. If you love acting, you either go to New York City or to Los Angeles. L.A. is warmer.
You know what they say: "Choose a job you love, and you will never work again." I chose acting, and, sure enough, I didnít work. So, I got a job as a tour guide to pay the bills while I waited for my big break. That was 12 years ago. But the good news is... I love leading tours. I have an audience. The people here are on vacation, out to have a good time. Itís a lot of fun. As my friend Sean would say, "Veni, vedi, Velcro." I came, I saw, I stuck around.
SAM
That doesnít explain how you came to own the company.
JEFF
Well, you know that Glama Tours arenít cheap.
SAM
Iíll drink to that.
JEFF
Most of our clients are well-to-do and retired. "Retired and wealthy" -- that sounded like a great goal to me. So, I asked some of the guests how they got to be where they were. I learned how to invest in the stock market. I learned how to start my own business.
SAM
Getting money to work for you is the only way to develop financial independence.
JEFF
Thatís what I found out. But most of all, I was unbelievably lucky. When Clinton took office he threatened to cripple the pharmaceutical industry. Health care was the political football. I bought drug stocks and doubled my money in five months.
SAM
You couldnít have had much capital to start with.
JEFF
I had my unused college tuition money and my savings from the job. My living expenses are almost nil when Iím running tours. I banked most of my tips and other income.
My real break came with the Internet frenzy. It was crazy. I bought technology stocks and sold out before everyone realized that stock prices were fifty times higher than they should have been.
SAM
So you made your first million in the stock market.
JEFF
Something like that. Anyway, Murray Rosen owned Glama Tours. When he retired, he sold the company to me. I expanded the Asian and European tours because that seemed to be where the growth and the money were.
SAM
You must have been running tours during the Rodney King riots and the Northridge earthquake. Didn't tourism dry up for a while there?
JEFF
Don't forget Y2K. At the end of last year everyone thought that civilization-as-we-know-it would come to an end just because the year changed to 2000. But, you know, it's funny. When there's trouble in the news, people still want to travel. You're right, tourism declines, but demand for escorted tours actually increases. I've been very lucky. I donít need to lead tours any more, but I still love it. And Iím still learning things from people like you.
SAM
So your life hasnít worked out quite the way you figured?
JEFF
Ha! Does anybodyís life turn out the way they planned?
Music begins for "Funny How Life Goes".
JEFF (continues)
You have a thousand dreams
And make a million plans
But funny how it seems
It all comes down to chance.

Your fortunes are left to fortune. There's no telling if youíll get rich.
Your brilliant investment planning never comes off without a hitch.
You crave financial advice
Because you know that money talks,
But you're off taking a bath
When opportunity knocks.
Yet if luck would hang around that stock exchange,
Serendipity could bless you with a handsome chunk of change.

Romances are left to chances. It's a chess game that few can win.
Strategic maneuvers failing, you'll get rooked before you begin.
One night, you feel like a king
Upon your queen-size wedding bed.
The thrill eventually ends
With just a stale mate instead.
But the lucky ones can have a blissful fate
After years together lovers still love checking out their mate.
SAM
When a man's plans aren't coming to pass,
What he really wants is a piece of ...first class.
When a man's schemes and dreams run amuck,
What he really wants is a little ...good luck.
JEFF
Your travel plans can unravel. Drive from Groton to Boston Bay.
Regardless of mapping forethought, Providence will get in your way.
So park your karma and fly
Receding airlines take you home
Your flight is scary and then
Your luggage winds up in Rome
But with providence behind you all the way,
You could end up with your luggage on a Roman holiday.

It just never goes the way youíd suppose.
Itís so funny -- funny how life goes.
SAM
What kind of an actor did you want to be?
JEFF
Just about anything: commercials, dramas, sitcoms, but, actually, my favorite is musical comedy.
SAM
The old standards? Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music?
JEFF
They are the best.
SAM
What do you think of Grease?
JEFF
The stage show? The movie? Or what they cook French Fries in?
SAM
The musical.
JEFF
The rock and roll music was fun, but the show didnít end right. It was a tragedy, not a comedy.
SAM
I know exactly what you mean.
Marcy appears down the hall and starts her camcorder; lights change.
SAM (continues)
Its entire purpose was to pervert innocent high school girls into floozies. The heroine wasnít strong enough. It didnít go the way I wanted.
JEFF
Like you said, "Life never goes the way we plan."
SAM
No, Iíll bet you never figured youíd make your fortune in drugs, the Internet, and Glama Tours.
JEFF
No, but Iím not complaining. Well, itís getting late. Thanks for the drink.
SAM
Are you still going to make my other wish come true?
JEFF
How about Friday?
SAM
I canít wait.
Jeff exits. Marcy stops taping, and the lights change accordingly. Sam puts some money on the table and slowly dances off stage singing.
SAM (continues)
"Iíve been working on the railroad all the livelong day."
Marcy steps forward as the scrim comes down behind her. She holds the camcorder at arms length, points it at herself, and starts taping.
MARCY
I have got the goods on Jeff Carson and his whole ring of thugs. This guy Sam Evans admits that theyíre perverting young girls for immoral purposes. They use heroin, and they use the Internet, probably to recruit the girls or the Johns or both. Iím going to bring this scumbag to justice even if I have to make a citizenís arrest to do it.
Marcy stops taping and exits. Lights fade out.


Continue to Scene Ten

Copyright © 2003 William Armstrong



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