(SCENE: It’s a cold morning at a crowded Dunkin Donuts in Leominster, MA. There is the dull roar of conversation with occasional statements maybe sticking out a little from the din. Employees call out orders every few minutes. There’s a radio playing something upbeat and peppy, right on the edge of obnoxious.)
(CUSTOMER is standing in line. Note: CUSTOMER’s lines are inner dialogue unless otherwise indicated.)
CUSTOMER (with a sigh)
Ughhh, I’m so tired. And how am I hungover? I didn’t even drink last night.
(More orders announced and general chatter, which is soon interrupted by CHARLIE talking at a nearby table.)
(CHARLIE is in his thirties and loud. He has a strong Boston accent and his voice gets louder as he gets more passionate in his argument. What CUSTOMER doesn’t know right now is that CHARLIE is a ghost who died in 1999.)
Listen, it doesn’t fucking matter if they didn’t get a Stanley Cup. Look at that fucking lineup: you got Borque, you got Oates, you got Neely, you got Janney. There’s no way you can argue the nineties wasn’t the Bs best decade.
Are you serious? Please tell me this isn’t for real.
(TOMMY joins in the argument. TOMMY is also probably in his thirties, with an equally strong Boston accent. Also unknown to CUSTOMER is that TOMMY died in 1975.)
I can blow your argument out of the water in three words. (Emphasizing each word, counting on his fingers) Bobby. Motherfucking. Orr.
CHARLIE (groans loudly)
Look asshole, I’m not saying Orr is anything short of God. But he’s one fucking guy! You can’t put one guy up against a full team of champs.
Champs? I think you need to win a championship in order to be champs, big guy.
Oh my god, these guys need to shut the fuck up. Why isn’t this line moving?
Hey, pass me one of them crullers.
(CHARLIE passes him a cruller and he takes a huge bite. His next words are spoken around a huge mouthful of donut.)
That’s the problem with you young kids, honest to god. No respect for history. Bobby Orr was fucking poetry on ice. And he wasn’t the only one. You got Esposito, Holdge, Middleton. You got no idea, kid.
(They fade out slightly as the general roar of the crowd gets more overpowering.)
What time is it? I’m going to be late. I’m going to be so late.
(A bell jingles and a roar of cheers come up from TOMMY and CHARLIE.)
TOMMY and CHARLIE (in unison)
(MARGIE sweeps into the shop. She’s brash and cheerful with the same accent. She’s also a ghost who died in in her thirties in 1927.)
Boys! What’s the talk this morning?
(She pulls out a chair and joins the table. Meanwhile, the atmosphere is getting more tense around CUSTOMER)
Aww, same old same old. You got this knucklehead here trying to tell me that some future bullshit Bruins beat the greatest lineup of all time. Like I didn’t sit my ass in those seats at the Garden and see the greatest play.
It was the nineties you fucking geezer. It’s not the future, you just been dead too long.
(The whole table erupts in loud, raucous laughter at this.)
Well, I can end this stupid argument easily. You’re both wrong! You shoulda been there for the beginning. 1924, I got to see Smokey Harris score their first ever goal at Boston Arena.
And then they lost the next eleven games!
(TOMMY and CHARLIE erupt into laughter again. MARGIE sighs and take a long sip of her coffee.)
You young kids have no respect for history. At least they won a Stanley Cup back then, Charlie.
Easy to do when there’s only six teams, Margie.
(TOMMY lights up a cigarette.)
(Meanwhile in line, CUSTOMER is getting anxious. They’re trying to peek around the edge of the line to see what’s going on.)
What the hell is going on? Is he fucking smoking? Is the manager really not going to kick him out?
(Someone cuts in front of CUSTOMER in line)
CUSTOMER (out loud)
Hey! The line’s back there, buddy!
(They tap the cutter on the shoulder but they don’t respond.)
CUSTOMER (angry now)
Hey, I’m talking to you! You just cut me.
(Still nothing. CUSTOMER is already anxious and decides to let it go with a heavy sigh.)
CUSTOMER (inner voice again)
Okay, but really, what is happening? This line hasn’t moved in at least five minutes. And I’m going to be late.
(The sound of crowd amps up to overwhelming again. CUSTOMER takes a shuddering breath.)
I’m going to be late! I’m going to be late for…for what?
(The bell jingles again and PATIENCE walks in. PATIENCE is the ghost of a young 18th century Puritan woman. She speaks with a British accent.)
(The table roars greetings at her as she walks in.)
CHARLIE, TOMMY, MARGIE (in unison)
PATIENCE (sitting down)
Tell me we’re not having the sports conversation again.
Naa, it’s not so much a conversation as it is a complete demolition of this child’s entire worldview.
You’re the one who’s spent decades with his head lodged up his ass. Decades.
(It’s starting up again)
I sincerely don’t care. At all. Pass me that cigarette, Tommy. In life, my husband would have died had he seen me smoking. But he’s not here, is he?
(They all laugh loudly)
CUSTOMER (starting to panic a little)
Why can’t I remember where I’m going after this? What is happening?
(CUSTOMER taps the person in front of them again)
CUSTOMER (out loud)
Hey! What’s going on?
(The person doesn’t answer. CUSTOMER keeps tapping on them, getting louder and harder.)
CUSTOMER (voice rising to a shout)
Hey! HEY! Don’t fucking ignore me! What is happening right now?
(They start going to other people)
Ma’am? Ma’am, can you hear me? Sir, what’s going on! Someone! Anyone, what is happening right now?
(Conversation is still going around them, but everyone seems to be ignoring CUSTOMER. Or they just can’t hear them. Why can’t they hear them?)
CUSTOMER (still out loud)
All I wanted was a coffee. That’s why I came here. From…from where? Where was I before this? I was…I was…(quietly) oh god.
(They sink to the floor, the din still pressing in on them.)
There was a car…I was driving on the highway….it was raining…they came over the divider…oh god oh god….
(The din seems to be quieting down. From underneath it, Tommy speaks quietly to the others at his table.)
Oh shit, we got a new one.
CUSTOMER (speaking distantly, remembering what happened)
It was so quick…I couldn’t…I couldn’t get away…and it killed…it killed…
(Customer starts hyperventilating)
MARGIE (calling over)
(The din instantly stops. CUSTOMER looks up shakily at the table. They’re all looking over at them.)
Yeah, you. Come on over and sit with us.
(CUSTOMER stands up and walks over, pulling out a metal chair and sitting down.)
No clue how you take your coffee, but here you go. What’s your name, kid?
CUSTOMER (still in shock)
Eh, you can tell us later, it’s all good.
Have a cruller.
A pastry. Here.
(She passes them a cruller, which CUSTOMER starts eating. They’re clearly in shock.)
You’re gonna be okay, kid. It fucks us all up at first. Just one important question for you.
Is Bobby Orr the greatest hockey player of all time?
Bobby Orr. Was he or wasn’t he the greatest hockey player of all time?
Is he the one with the statue outside the Garden? With the-
(CUSTOMER mimes flying action from Bobby Orr statue.)
TOMMY (Loud and delighted)
HE GOT A FUCKING STATUE? Hey Charlie, any of your boys have a statue yet?
Hey, fuck you!
(The episode ends with TOMMY, MARGIE, and PATIENCE roaring with laughter and CUSTOMER hesitantly joining in.)