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(This really is what our lives are like.)


The stage is pitch black, except for a small pool of light by the door and a round spotlight at the center that shines on blank floor.

In the middle of the spotlight is one of those random metal thingies that you see in restaurants at the center of tables, the ones that hold condiments and laminated advertisements for desserts, except this one is kind of an abstract mutilated nonfunctional one-- you notice it for what it is, but if you look closely you notice it is just kind of there, and is not actually serving its purpose.

Ryan and Josh enter. As the door closes behind them, there is a humming noise, and the back wall behind the center spot of light lights up with a white WAIT from a slide projector somewhere.

Ryan: This is it?

Josh: (sounding very vaguely excited) This is the place.

Ryan: Alright. So.. what exactly is this?

Josh: This... is a minimalist restaurant.

(awkward momentary silence)

Ryan: (not sure he heard right) And.. what's that..?

Josh: A minimalist restaurant. Like, they took the principles of artistic minimalism, and based a restaurant off of it. Like John Cage and all that. Except it's a restaurant.

Ryan: O...K..

Josh: Betsi Allen loved it.

(Waitress walks up to pool of light. She is dressed in all black. The slide projector changes to say OBTAINING OF TABLE)

Waitress: Hello. Smoking or non-smoking?

Josh: Non-smoking, please.

Waitress: Right this way.

(She leads them into the center pool of light, where Josh sits down immediately and Ryan looks around confused. The waitress hands them menus, and walks away.)

Ryan: Uhh, ma'am-- (she disappears back into the darkness. The slide changes to say WAIT again. Ryan looks around nervously for a moment.) OK... (Ryan slowly sits down. Josh is reading his menu intently, even though each page just contains a single word-- ENTREE, SOUP, DRINKS, etc. The cover page of the menu says LOGO and nothing else.) Uhhh... so.

Josh: (Looking up) Yeh?

Ryan: (awkwardly) Ummm... nothing.

(Josh makes some noise that sounds like "hm" and goes back to his menu. The waitress returns; the slide changes to WAITRESS RETURNS TO ASK FOR ORDERS.)

Waitress: May i have your order please?

Josh: (thoughtfully) Yeh, I'd like an Entree and some Drinks.

Waitress: Would you like a bland, low-overhead side order with that?

Josh: Umm-- sure!

Waitress: (Turning to Ryan) : And you, sir?

Ryan: Uhh.. I'll have the same.

Waitress: All right. One moment please. (She picks up the menus and begins to walk away. There is an extremely loud tone.)

Ryan: (Startled) Ahhhh!! What the hell was that..??

Waitress, turning back: Oh, that was the atmospheric music.

Ryan: Atmospheric music?

Waitress: Yep. It plays for five seconds every 20 minutes.

Ryan: ...but it was just a tone.

Waitress: Mm-hmm. (Getting slightly enthusiastic) See, our mission is to reduce the dining experience down to its bare essential minimals, allowing you to appreciate the pure essence of eating out without distraction by external trappings, which ordinarily would eat your memory and attention and detract from what matters. We do not want you to remember the decor of the restaurant, or even the food; we want you to remember, simply, the unadulterated experience of going to a restaurant. As such, we have this: You get the concept of atmospheric music, the awareness of its presence, but no actual music itself.

Ryan (he has no idea what she's talking about): But how do you call it "music" if it only plays for 5 seconds every 20 minutes??

Waitress: Well, it would be pretty irritating if we played it constantly, wouldn't it?

Ryan: Then why play it at ALL?

Waitress: Oh, come on. Now what would a restaurant be without atmospheric music? (Leaves. The slide changes to WAIT again. Ryan sighs.)

Josh: Dude, what's up with you today? You seem jumpy.

Ryan: Yeh.. I'm just kind of really hungry.

Josh: Hey.. It's ok. Lighten up a bit. So, how're things going?

Ryan (beginning to calm): Ehh, not bad.

Josh: How's your band doing?

Ryan: Pretty good. I think our drummer might have died last week, though.

Josh (full stop): ... isn't that.. Bad?

Ryan: Hard to say. I won't really know until I hear from her.

Josh: Yeh, I guess so. Hasn't that disrupted the recording process, though?

Ryan: Well, it would, except.. I've.. Kinda started recording all of the drum bits for her.

Josh: Oh really?

Ryan: Well.. Nearly all of them. I mean, she's almost never there! So it's just like, y'know, I know how to play the drums, and I was writing all of the drum bits anyway, and she keeps kind of messing them up. So.. I guess you could kind of think of her as the "tour" drummer.

Josh: Aah. Like the bassist.

Ryan: Uhh, yeah. And the keyboardist. (Beginning to squint.) ..and the trumpeter. :blinks: So..how's the work at the theater going? What was that movie you were talking about securing the rights for? "Zethyror?"

Josh: ..oh!! Zythagora! (Getting really excited) oh, yeh.. It's just.. Wow. Just completely revolutionary. If they can get the funding together it's going to be really influential. I can't wait to see how it does at cannes.

Ryan: Hm. So tell me what the deal is with it again?

Josh: Well-- (starting to gesticulate) OK. So-- the entire thing is filmed inside| of a Refrigerator. (Ryan tilts head) And.. it's shown on five screens simultaneously.

Ryan: (interestedly) Oh really.

Josh: Yeh. One on each side, and one above. Like it's a panoramic view or something. Except sometimes the angles of the screens get off, or duplicate each other. And sometimes they just show pictures of stars, and it's like they're trying to draw your attention to a particular screen by counterpoint.

Ryan: Hm. Wouldn't that be kind of difficult to do actual showings though?

Josh: Well, yeah, see that's why they're having so much trouble with this. Cuz it's so hard to get the setup they need done correctly. Won't be a problem here, though-- I mean, I think I got it worked out. I'm talking to the guy who owns the warehouse next door.

Ryan: Sounds like a lot of work for you.

Josh: Well, yeh, it isn't easy, but seriously though. We have just got to find a way to put this movie on if we're going to keep any self respect.

Ryan: Hm. When are they going to start paying you?

Josh (staring off into the distance) : Soon, I think.

(Waitress returns with plates.)

Waitress: Here you are.

(Slide shows FOOD)

Ryan: (looking) Uhh.. Ma'am..? ..There's .. No food on these plates.

Waitress: (Semi-distastedly) Oh, we don't use food here. (Brightly) We do it all with condiments! (Disappears)

(Ryan leans back, sighs exasperatedly. Josh starts to put condiments together in bowl, mix, and eat them. Awkward pause.)

Josh: You wanna try some of this? It's pretty good.

Ryan: That's... OK.

(Josh shrugs. Slide: INCREASINGLY AWKWARD WAIT FOR WAITRESS TO BRING CHECK. Josh looks up, finished.)

Josh: You haven't really enjoyed this much, have you.

Ryan: ..i never really liked John Cage.

Josh: Eh. Too bad. Sorry it didn't work out. Could be worse though-- I could have taken you to that Dadaist restaurant that used to be at fifth and main.

Ryan: A dadaist restaurant? What would that be like?

Josh: Well, it was just, like-- OK. SO it was just like this big cylindrical wooden shack painted yellow, right?

Ryan: Mmhmm?

Josh: And you'd walk inside..

Ryan: Mmmhm?

Josh: And a man in a duck suit would hit you over the head with a baseball bat, take your wallet, and leave you unconscious in a dumpster a couple blocks over.

Ryan: Huh. What happened to them?

Josh: They went bankrupt. Local crack dealer stole their baseball bat, and they weren't insured.

(Waitress returns, hands Josh the check)

Waitress: Would you like your check, please?

Josh: Yeh, thanks.

(Slide: LEAVE)

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