Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bake Sale



Single, late twenty-something BETH sits on a stool at the bar in her plush modern apartment as she talks on the phone.

Sure, sweetie, I can make some cookies for your bake sale. Just because your mom is away on business doesn’t mean you can’t contribute some cookies to the fundraiser.

A large cat jumps up and plops down onto the stool next to her. BETH pets the cat.

Six dozen, wrapped in individual dozens? No problem, I’ll drop them off in the morning at your school. In the front hall? Sure. (beat) Your auntie loves you too, sweetie. You’re my favorite niece.
(beat) Yes, my only niece. You’re getting awfully smart. Bye for now, Lizzie. (hangs phone on wall)

BETH strides around the bar to the refrigerator and takes out two tubes of cookie dough before turning on the oven and getting out a knife and several cookie sheet pans.

After reading the instructions, BETH proceeds to open a tube of dough and prepare two pans with half of the first tube of dough.

The phone rings as she puts the pans in the oven. BETH answers the phone.

Hello? Oh, hey. No, I’m just baking some cookies for my niece’s bake sale at school. My sister’s on a business trip.
(beat) Oh hell no, I don’t make the dough, I hate cooking. I’m total fail at it. They didn’t teach that in business school, you know?
(beat) Yeah, it’s not difficult to fake-bake, I’m just using some store-bought dough in tubes. The tough part is PMS-ing. I could eat an entire tube right now before I even bake them. (laughs)

BETH breaks off a big chunk of dough and proceeds to nibble on it while on it while she listens to her caller.

Mmm-hmm. Huh. Hmm. NO! No freaking way! (takes a bite of dough) Mmm-mmm. Oh, never mind me. Go on, continue. Mmm-hmm.

The timer rings and BETH juggles the phone while she takes out the two cookie sheets. She proceeds to prepare another pan while she continues her conversation.

Really? You’re kidding me! (takes another bite of dough) Mmm-hmm. Um-hmm.

A second well-fed cat arrives in the kitchen, jumping up on the bar and then over the counter while BETH puts the next cookie sheet in the oven.

The cat sniffs at the second tube of dough and knocks it off the counter onto the kitchen floor. The first cat attacks the tube, batting it out of the kitchen as the second cat gives chase.

BETH picks up and eats the last bit of dough from the first tube as she wraps up her conversation.

Mmm. Well, you know what they say. Yeah. Big shoes, big...feet. (laughs) Hey, I have to go, I need to take care of these cookies. The smell is driving my PMS insane. Thanks, babe, talk to you in a few days. (hangs up the phone)

BETH removes the first two dozen cookies from the pans and plates them while waiting for the next pan. She looks at the first tube of dough, which is now empty — only plastic wrapping remains.

BETH looks for the second tube of dough on the counter. Failing to find it, she looks in the refrigerator. She looks puzzled when she doesn’t find it there, either.

The two cats rip out of a darkened hallway, bounding into the great room, batting something around as they chase each other wildly. BETH looks at them, watching their antics for a moment.

Shock breaks across her face as the cats bat their “toy” toward her feet and then run away. It’s the remains of the second tube of dough, now deeply bitten, the wrapper shredded.

BETH picks up the dough and throws it away. She flops down on a stool to regroup.

One of the cats can be heard retching off screen. BETH jumps off the stool and races for paper towel in the kitchen, muttering under her breath.

Fecking cookies! Stupid cats! Why did I promise this?



Carrying a shopping basket, BETH is in the refrigerated case, looking for ready-to-bake cookie dough. The case is full up to and around the place where cookie dough is normally stocked. She looks frustrated as she pauses for a moment.

BETH walks to the frozen goods aisle, checks the freezer case for frozen dough. Again, the frozen case is full up to and around the place where cookie dough is normally stocked. There’s only an empty space labeled cookie dough.

BETH shuts the door of the frozen goods case and leans heavily against it, thumping her head on the door. She pauses again in thought.

After recovering from her second disappointment, BETH walks to the baking aisle, looking through the boxes of cake, brownie, and other mixes. The shelves are full, except for the cavernous space where cookie mixes would normally be found.

BETH appears panicked, frozen in place. She drops the basket she is carrying.

ELDERLY WOMAN SHOPPER stops her cart in front of BETH, looking at her as if the younger woman must be ill.

Are you okay, dear? Should I get some help?

(sniffs) I have to bake cookies for a bake sale. There’s no dough, there’s no mix. I don’t have a recipe with me, and my cellphone doesn’t get signal in this store. I don’t cook. I don’t know what to do. They didn’t teach this in high school or business school.
(sniffs) My cats ate my dough, and I’m PMS-ing. (sniffs again, on verge of crying)

It’s okay, dear, we’ve all been there. I’ll bet the ready-to-bake stuff is all sold out, always happens before big fundraising events.
(beat) And you ate some of the dough you had at home, too, right? Chocolate chip always was my favorite when my boys were little.

(sniffs) Busted. (grins)

Check the back of the bags of chocolate chips. There’s always a recipe on the back. It’s saved my wrinkly butt a few times. They probably should have taught you about strategic recipe placement in business school. (laughs)

BETH takes a few steps further down the aisle, where the chocolate chips are located. She grabs a package, then flips the bag over in her hands. She reads the back, then smiles broadly.

(chuckles) See? You don’t have to leave the baking aisle.

BETH spontaneously hugs ELDERLY WOMAN SHOPPER before picking up the discarded basket.

Thank you. You’re a lifesaver.

Smiling, the ELDERLY WOMAN SHOPPER moseys down the aisle with her shopping cart, patting BETH on the arm as she passes by.

(over her shoulder)
Be sure to pick up an extra bag of chocolate chips, dear. You’re going to need them for your PMS or you won’t have enough for the cookies.

BETH laughs before grabbing another bag of chocolate chips for her basket. She reads the recipe on the first bag of chips and then picks up sugar, flour, shortening from the shelves in the same aisle. She pauses for a moment, then reaches for another bag of chocolate chips before leaving the aisle.



Dressed in business attire with briefcase in hand, BETH approaches meeting room while talking on her cellphone.

Yes, I was up most of the night. I’d eaten a bunch of chocolate and couldn’t sleep afterward, so I baked and then did some creative work on a project.
(beat) I dropped off all six dozen this morning. Those tabby cat mothers sitting at the bake sale table were surprised, went on and on that the cookies weren’t fake-baked ready-to-bake. I even saw Lizzie.
(beat) Yes, she was in gym class just across the hall. Perfect timing.
(beat) Oh no, don’t get used to this baking stuff. I only did it because you were out of town.

BETH stops in front of the meeting room door.

(beat) Listen, I have to go, I’m about to enter a meeting. Call me tonight when you get home from the airport and I’ll fill you in on the rest. Talk to you later, sis. (ends call)

BETH enters the meeting room, occupied by several men in business suits. She opens her brief bag, spilling a small zip-top bag of chocolate chips as she pulls out her tablet. She smiles as she picks up the chips and pushes them back into her brief bag.

Good morning, gentlemen. I think I have a solution to the promotion problem for the new Big Skies brand specialty butter. What if we reduce the graphics and put a couple of butter-based recipes on the outside of the box? Perhaps even a few on the inside as well. Let me show you some slides with mock-ups I developed last night.

The men around the table nod appreciatively as BETH smiles while preparing for her presentation.



© Copyright 2013—All rights reserved.
By Femme Malheureuse

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