The nook Van Dyke Show
“Neither a lender…”
Scene 1: a suburban family room in New Rochelle, New York. Seated around the room are: Buddy Kindell and Sony Rogers, writers on The Alex Brady Show: Jerry and Millie Iliad, a dentist and his wife. Standing is Rob Flepia, the head writer of the show.
Sony: So, why you’d call us all here, Rob? I’ve got a date tonight.
Buddy: You’ve got a date?
Sony: Yes, Mr. Smarty-pants. Herman’s taking me to the movies.
Buddy: Some date.
Rob: Sony, I thought you and Herman weren’t really getting along.
Sony: We’re not, but I can’t resist a man with popcorn. You know what? Take your time, I’m in no hurry.
Jerry: Come on, Rob, what’s up?
Rob: Well, Laura’s birthday is right around the corner, and I’m not sure what to get her.
Buddy: Why don’t you get her what I gave my wife? A headache!
Sony: Ha, ha.
Rob: I’m serious, fellas. I want to get her something really special.
Buddy: Why, is it a big birthday?
Sony: If you’re a woman, every birthday’s a big birthday.
Rob: Oh boy, is it. It’s big because she wasn’t crazy about what I got her last year.
Jerry: What’d you get her last year?
Rob: A mop.
Sony: You didn’t!
Millie: Ooh, I remember that mop! That was the one that pushed itself around the room, right?
Rob: That’s right. I’d seen it on TV and I thought she’d really like it.
Buddy: What happened?
Rob: Well, everything was fine, until Ritchie was playing on the kitchen floor, and it mopped him right into the backyard.
Sony: Oh, no!
Rob: Oh, yes! When she heard him yelling and got out there, it was spinning around on his head. I guess it was still trying to get the spot out. She told me later he looked like Harpo Marx-on-a-stick!
Sony: You can’t get a lady something for cleaning anyway, Rob. That’s not very romantic. How about some jewelry?
Rob: Well, I was thinking about getting a ring for my wife–
Buddy: Hey, how can I get a deal like that?
Sony: Would you stop?
Rob: But I really want something unusual.
Jerry: Hey, Rob, what about one of those new e-books?
Millie: Ooh, that’s a good deal. My husband is so smart! Isn’t he smart, Rob? You’re so smart!
Rob: That’s not a bad idea! Laura does read a lot.
Buddy: Pickles loves to read!
Sony: She does?
Buddy: She once spent a whole weekend reading a cake recipe.
Rob: A…uh…a cake recipe?
Buddy: Sure! The way she cooks, it was a bigger mystery than The Hound of the Baskervilles!
Sony: Just ignore him, Rob. He wouldn’t know a book if it jumped up and bit him in the cello. I think it’s a great idea!
Rob: So do I. I don’t know much about them, though. There are a couple of kinds, right?
Buddy: Hey, I’ve got a cousin that can get you a refurbished Kindle, cheap!
Rob: Is that the same cousin who sold me the mop?
Buddy: Yeah. He’s got a big variety.
Sony: So does a pawn shop.
Buddy: How did you know he had a pawn shop?
Jerry: Rob, I was down in a Barnes and Noble the other day, and I saw that new nook they have. It’s really snazzy, with that little color touchscreen and everything.
Buddy: What’s wrong with black and white? Some of my favorite TV shows are in black and white.
Sony: All of the TV shows are in black and white.
Buddy: See? Those are my favorites.
Rob: That does sound interesting.
Jerry: Oh, and I saw you can loan books! You get one for Laura, and I’ll get one for Millie, and they can trade!
Millie: Ooh, you big doll! Isn’t he a big doll, Rob? You’re a big doll!
Sony: But won’t she be jealous if Millie gets one, too?
Rob: I don’t think so. She really likes to share stuff with Millie. You should see how much fun they’ve had with a cup of sugar! Besides, at least it isn’t a mop!
Millie: I think she’d love it, Rob. We always like talking about the books we read. What’s the worse that could happen?
Jerry: She divorces him and moves to Minneapolis.
Millie: You’re terrible! Isn’t he terrible? You’re just terrible!
Rob: Thanks, fellas! I’m got to see a man about a nook!
Scene 2: in the writers’ office at the Alex Brady show. Sony is at the typewriter, Buddy is laying on the couch, and Rob is doing jumping jacks.
Sony: And then Alex says, “That’s no armadillo, that’s my accountant!”
Buddy: Good, good, put that down.
Rob: That’s good, gang. Let’s call it a night. We can finish it up tomorrow. I want to get home for dinner with Laura.
Buddy: Me, too.
Sony: You want to get home to Pickles’ cooking?
Buddy: No, Laura’s!
Rob: Well, you know you’re always welcome, Buddy, but I don’t think I dare ask Laura to do any extra cooking tonight. She’s been really wrapped up in a book she’s reading.
Sony: Hey, how’s that nook working out?
Rob: She loves it! I think she’s spending more time with it than she is with me and Ritchie.
Sony: You sound like you’re jealous.
Rob: I am, a little, but I think it might be the best birthday gift I ever got her.
Buddy: I still think you should have gone with the Kindle.
Rob: I don’t know, Buddy, she really likes this. She’s been reading that big biography everybody is talking about.
Sony: The one by Jellybean?
Rob: That’s the one. “On the Trail: the Story of America’s Sweetsnail“.
Sony: I still can’t believe a snail wrote a bestseller.
Buddy: Why not? Alex has a top-rated TV show, and he’s a rat.
Sony: Say, didn’t you interview with him once?
Rob: Yes, I did. It’s when we thought Alex was going to fire us all, remember that? I just couldn’t see working for a ventriloquist show.
Mel Cool-er, the producer of the show, walks into the office.
Buddy: Speaking of dummies…
Mel (ignoring Buddy): Rob, Alex wanted to know if he could borrow your copy of On the Trail. He likes to keep up with the competition.
Rob: Sure, Mel. I’ll e-mail it to him tonight. Laura should be finished with it by then. I’m kind of curious, though, why doesn’t he just get his own copy?
Mel: It turns out it’s been withdrawn by the publisher. It seems someone sued Jellybean over revealing show secrets.
Mel: Claude Mentor.
Sony and Buddy together: The ventriloquist?!
Mel: That’s right, Sony, the ventriloquist.
Sony: Boy, that’s really got to hurt a guy’s feelers.
Rob (chuckles): Well, somehow, that doesn’t surprise me. I always thought he was strange, but I never thought he’d sue himself!
Mel: Yes, well, just see that Alex gets that book tonight, won’t you?
Rob: Sure, Mel, sure.
Buddy: Hey, Rob, hand me that pencil! (Buddy pulls a pen out from behind his ear and holds the pen and the pencil sticking straight out from Mel’s forehead) See! Our own talking snail!
Mel: Yeccchh. (Mel exits)
Rob: Okay, fellas, see you tomorrow. Good night, Son.
Sony: Good night.
Buddy: Good night. I’ve got to get home before Pickles tries to cook something and hurts herself.
Scene 3: the Flepias’ kitchen. Laura is making dinner. Rob enters with his briefcase.
Rob: Hi, honey, I’m home!
Laura: Hello, darling! (She kisses him)
Rob: What was that for?
Laura: Can’t a wife kiss her husband when he comes from work?
Rob: Yes, but not usually while you’re cooking.
Laura: Well, if you’d rather I didn’t…
Rob: I didn’t say that. (adopting an old man’s voice) Give me another one, sweetlips!
Laura (pushing him away): Careful, grandpa, or you’ll ruin the steak.
Rob: We’re having steak tonight? What’s the occasion?
Laura: No occasion, darling. I’ve just saved so much money on books lately, I thought we’d splurge.
Rob: Oh, that reminds me. Did you finish reading that book by Jellybean?
Laura: Yes, I did. I have to say, I don’t quite see what all the fuss is about.
Rob: Well, it’s not every snail that writes an autobiography.
Rob: Well, Alex Brady wants to read it, and I need to lend him our copy.
Laura: Why doesn’t he get his own copy?
Rob: That’s what I said…maybe he doesn’t want to give Jellybean any money. Anyway, he can’t. Claude Mentor sued Jellybean, and they’ve taken the book out of the store.
Laura: Claude Mentor? The ventriloquist?
Rob: Yes, I guess he thought Jellybean had gotten out of hand. Hee, hee, hee.
Laura: But you can’t lend it to Alex!
Rob: Why not?
Laura (trying not to cry): Because (sob) I (sob) leant (sob) it (sob) to (sob) Miiiilllliiiieeee.
Rob: Honey, don’t cry! We’ll just get Millie to give it back.
Laura: She can’t…not for fourteen days!
Rob: Why did you make it fourteen days?
Laura: I didn’t do it! It’s just the way the nook does it!
Rob: Well, I’m not making my boss wait fourteen days! Laura, get your nook. I’ll just have to lend that to him.
Laura: But what am I going to read?
Rob: You’ll just have to read paper books, like you used to.
Laura: Ohh, Rob! (Laura goes into the family room. Jerry comes in the back door)
Jerry: Hiya, Rob! I could smell the steak from our house!
Rob: Oh, hi, Jerry. You…uh…you aren’t having steak?
Jerry: Chinese food. Millie’s says we’ve been saving so much money on books, we could get take-out.
Laura (re-entering and slapping the nook into Rob’s hand): Here!
Jerry: Ouch! What did you do, Rob?
Rob: Never mind, Jerry. (he’s flipping through the covers on the touch screen). Um…dear…I don’t see On the Trail on here.
Laura: Well, it was there this afternoon!
Jerry: On the Trail? Millie’s got it. You can’t both have it at the same time.
Rob: Then I guess there’s no use loaning the nook to Alex. (sheepishly handing the nook back to Laura) Here you are, dear. Am I forgiven?
Laura (icily): Hmph.
Rob: Well, that’s it, then. Alex is going to fire me.
Laura (concerned): He wouldn’t really fire you, would he?
Rob: No, but he’ll make me wish he had. Oh boy, where am I going to get another copy of that book?
Jerry: Why don’t you loan him Millie’s?
Rob: Jerry, you can’t loan a copy of a copy…I think.
Jerry: I’ll tell you what. You loan Alex Millie’s nook and Laura can lend Millie her nook.
Rob: That’s a great idea!
Laura: Robert Bokeen Flepia! I am not going to read paper books like some…some…cavewoman!
Rob: I don’t think cavewomen had books, dear. Besides, you won’t have to. I’ll go see Buddy’s cousin tonight and get you a Kindle.
Laura: The mop cousin?
Rob: That’s the one, but I’ll order you a brand new Kindle 2 tonight and have them ship it next day…and I’ll get you a nice Oberon cover to go with it.
Laura (smiling): You’d better, mister. (They kiss: we see smoke starting to come from the frying pan)
Jerry: I hate to interrupt a good husband and wife smooch, but do you smell something burning?
Laura: My steak!
Rob takes off his jacket, and in a bit of goofy slapstick, beats out the fire with it).
Laura: It’s ruined!
Jerry: Rob, maybe you’d better come over to my house and borrow that nook.
Rob: And I need to borrow one more thing.
Jerry: What’s that?
Rob: A big bowl of Egg Fu Yung!
Rob and Jerry exit. Laura picks up Rob’s coat: we see a hole has burned through it. She throws it out the door after them.
This was a fun one for me! I’ve always liked The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I’ve been watching it again from the beginning on my Roku. All of the names of characters here are related to e-books…except Jellybean (and Pickles). There really was a Jellybean episode on the show, guest-starring Paul Winchell. I think the rules on the nook lending are right as well. It’s worth noting that even if Rob had waited the fourteen days, he couldn’t have loaned the book to Alex: you can only ever loan a book once, so Laura had used it up by lending it to Millie. I was trying to work a line in there about “Benny the Mop” as a riff on “Benny the Dip”, but you can’t always make a good Dick Haymes reference fit.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.