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Act 2, Scene 1

The scene open on a touristy, small town street. There is a building, which doubles as the bus station, chamber of commerce and museum for the town of Gumption. Meg comes out of the building, and surveys the scenery. There are many people on the street, including tourists in loud clothes, with many cameras, pointing at the souvenirs available. There is a tourist information booth, several stores, and a motel.

MEG walks down the street, holding a small bag. She looks lost and bewildered. A huge crowd with a tour guide suddenly surges forward and carries her along. The guide is pointing out historic monuments along the street.

GUIDE: And this building was constructed by William T. Frank back in 1877, for a mercantile business. He also had a small boarding house. Mr. Frank went on to become famous for his jars of homemade pickles and went on to start our world famous pickle factory.

The tour guide and group break out into song and perform a song and dance number, insert song in, once it's written

{The guide continues on and MEG finally makes her way out of the crowd.}

MEG: So this is Gumption. It's certainly... quaint. I wonder where the Gumption writer's camp is located.

OLD MAN on a bench: It's about 40 miles thataway, ma'am.

MEG: Excuse me? Where is the camp?

OLD MAN: It's about 40 miles that way (pointing) and you just missed the bus for today and the motel is full. So guess you'd better start walking or I hope you like sleeping under the stars.

MEG: Thank you, I think. Is there someplace to eat? And a public phone.

OLD MAN: Cafe's just down the street. Course, she's pretty expensive this time of year. And there's a phone right outside.

MEG: Well, thank you for your help. I guess I'll check it out. {Meg starts walking towards the Cafe. } To herself: I didn't quite expect this. I thought there would be more trees and animals, not so many 'old' buildings. I bet the camp is really nice and I'll have a good time. I'll see if I can call the camp and have someone pick me up and then I'll eat while I'm waiting.

MEG walks over to the phone and picks it up and dials.

MEG: Hello? Gumption writer's camp? My name is Meg Reve and I have a reservation for a week at your camp. I missed the bus and I wondered if... Yes, I know the next bus is tomorrow, but I don't have a place to stay and I...but I have a room there, why won't you come and pick me up? It's not done! Well, I'm here in town, and I want to stay out at your camp tonite so please send someone to come and pick me up. I paid a lot of money and I want you to... Hello? Hello? Hello?!??

MEG hangs up the phone, in an angry motion and walks away from the phone.

MEG: Why of all the nerve! I paid that money and they won't even come out and pick me up! {She then looks worried as she realizes she won't have a place to stay for the night or be able to eat}

MEG: (To herself) What am I going to do? I don't have any more money and I don't have any place to stay. I never should have come, Pauly was right.

JIM WALTING enters, walking down the street. His walk is very relaxed and he is an older man, but still handsome. He overhears MEG and strolls over to her.

JIM: Can I help you Ma'am? I overheard you say you don't have a place to stay.

MEG: (looks up with a worried look at this strange man in front of her). Well, I uh, , I just got into town and I was supposed to stay at the writer's camp and I can't get out there. (She gets up and backs away) Don't worry about it, I'll go get my husband and we'll ...(As she is backing up, she trips over her luggage and falls backwards. Jim lunges forward and catches her before she falls. MEG looks up at her rescuer and then really looks at him.)

JIM: You alright Ma'am?

MEG: Yes, yes I am. And I will be alright tonite also.

JIM: It didn't sound like it to me and it didn't sound like your husband was around either from what you were saying earlier. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but I hate to see a lady in distress. And well, people sometimes just end up with trouble following 'em when they're trying to get out to that writer's camp.

MEG: You're right, I'm here by myself. And is there some kind of problem with the camp? I read about it and it sounded so exciting, that I wanted to come out here.

JIM: I don't want to say anymore, I'll let you judge for yourself. Why don't I give you a ride out to my place and you kin stay with me for the night. Then tomorrow, I'll give you a ride out to the camp, it's a short piece down the road from us and you can check in and get settled in at the camp.

MEG: (Looking worried again) Are you sure? I don't want to inconvenience you and maybe it would be better to wait until tomorrow and I can catch the bus and... ¦(MEG is backing up again and about to trip over the luggage, when JIM catches here arm before she gets there)

JIM: Whoa Ma'am, I understand, you're a bit nervous catching a ride with some strange man. But if you'll wait jest a few minutes, my missus will be out here and we can all ride out together. (He smiles and MEG really notices him now, with looks of interest, and disappointment at the mention of his 'missus')

MEG: Well, I hate to impose...

JIM: Don't worry none about that and look over there, he comes my missus now.

(Out of one of the stores, a plain looking woman, older then MEG, comes out and walks toward JIM. As she approaches Jim, his smiles grows wider and it is obvious that he is very much in love. MEG is also watching her and wondering what Jim sees in her)

JIM: Hey Katherine, I'd like to introduce you to someone who'll be coming home with us. Katherine, this is, uh, ma'am, I'm sorry, I forgot to get your name.

MEG: I'm Meg Reve and your husband has made a very generous offer to me.

KATHERINE(smiling):That's my Jim, always looking out for others. Please, call me Kate, Jim is the only one who calls me Katherine anymore and I can't get him to stop.

MEG(smiling tentatively):Alright, Kate, I'm glad to meet you. And its very kind of you both to consider taking in a stranger, I'm afraid I wasn't prepared enough for this trip.

KATE: That's alright, we've seen a few other people who have..

JIM: Now Kate, we don't want to have this lady forming any opinions until she sees things for herself. You never know, she might not agree with us, there are a few people who don't.

KATE (heavy sigh): I suppose so, but I just hate to see.., well never mind, Meg, you come home with us and we'll get you a good dinner and let you get rested up. You look like you've had a long day.

MEG, suddenly, feeling the effects of riding a bus for several days, does look tired and worn: You're right, I do feel like I need some rest. I've been traveling for several days and looking forward to this and well, I don't know.

JIM: Don't worry about it, and here let me get those bags for you. Come on this way and we'll...

All three walk off the stage, with Jim talking about getting dinner for MEG and KATE reminding him that she probably needs sleep as much as food. After they leave the stage, PAUL & MELANIE come on stage, looking around.

PAUL: Are you sure Meg came out here? I know she didn't have enough money for a motel, especially at these prices and she was supposed to arrive on the bus just a short while ago. I was sure she'd still be around here or down at the cafe getting something to eat.

MELANIE: {looking at a bright and colorful brochure} Paul, she left me this brochure and it list Gumption as home of the 'World Famous, Guaranteed to Improve You, Writer's School'. So this must be the place.

PAUL: Well, I wonder where the School is. Maybe that old man knows. Excuse me, sir, do you know where the writer's school is?

OLD MAN: It's about 40 miles that away.

PAUL: 40 miles!?! I thought it was here in town?

OLD MAN: Nope, it's way out in the sticks. And it closes up early, so you probably can't get out there in time tonite.

PAUL, to MELANIE: I can't drive anymore tonite, I'm exhausted. Why don't we stay in the motel here in town?

MELANIE: That's fine with me, lets go check on it.

PAUL & MELANIE leave the stage and end Scene I

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