Part 2 Christmas challenge

Already falling behind it seems. Not on writing, just on posting it, so thats no big deal. Its a common problems for people who like to write by hand first. Which I do with a lot of projects. Anyway here is the second scene. Expect big posts on the weekend. 😉

🌲

  Scene 2: Nutcracker 

Scene: Basement I.T. department

It is Wednesday December 5th 

Camera aimed at JACK’s cubical.

Beyond it two cubicles are visible with 

Decoration, one with multicolored lights

Another with a 3D Rudolph head with a 

Red nose and rings around it. 

Jack’s desk remains void of decoration 

But the single family photo.

GABRIELLA’s decoration is not visible from 

JACK’s side.

 

JACK
Gabby over there us still pouting. She hasn’t said more than three words to me in like a week. I mean its not like I mutilated the reindeer or anything.

 

GABBY (loudly from behind partition)
I.T. this is, Gabriella. Is that you, Santa? Wow! I can’t believe you’re calling me personally.

 

JACK grins at camera wide and impressed. 

 

GABRIELLA
Oh, you’ve taken Jack off your nice list. Yeah that makes sense. I did just hear him mention reindeer mutilation like its okay.

 

JACK snorts.

 

GABRIELLA
Yep, Santa. I’ll keep you posted. Happy Holidays!
JACK (laughing)
 She is other level nutty.

 

BEAT. JACK shaking his head amused.

A nutcracker appears at the top of a 

Partition. GABRIELLA standing slips a 

Walnut into its mouth and proceeds to 

Crack the nut, shell bits scatter over JACK 

And desk. GABRIELLA smiles sweetly. 

 

GABRIELLA
Walnut?
JACK (shaking off debris)
I’m good. Thanks.

 

GABRIELLA replaces nutcracker on her desk.

Crosses to break room munching nut.

 

JACK
So she is totally acting suspicious. This whole week. No, its longer than that. Ever since her meeting with Coleman. Instead of what she usually does: actually working between tech calls, which by the way is redundant, but she hasn’t been doing her redundant work. No she’s been leaving her cubicle to chat with people. Add to that she took on the usage reports, which anyone can see she hates.

 

BEAT unheard question.

 

JACK
Oh, usage reports are random spot checks we do to see what employees are using their computers for. You know, how much time does Daniel spend on minesweepers, or Tiffany on Facebook. That sort of thing. Gabriella dislikes them because she feels like she’s invading their privacy But technically they had no privacy guarantee on work computers so (shrugs)  She just gets too involved. When she first did them she found out that Frank was spending all this time on medical sites and she dug deeper, to see what he was actually looking at. Turns out his wife had ovarian cancer and she just got all worked up about it. Hasn’t liked doing them since. Now she volunteers to do them, and is using them to go out there and get to know those weirdos. Its very odd. (nods at break room) Watch her.

 

Camera pans left to show GABRIELLA and 

MAYA through break room window. A bit of

A muffled conversation can be over heard 

Between women in break room.

 

MAYA (teary)
Not only is he still married, he also lied about having kids. And he’s six years older than his account said. 
GABRIELLA (awkwardly) 
Wow. Liars, that really sucks. 

 

Commotion is audible behind camera. 

JACK moves unseen to GABRIELLA’s 

Side of the cubicle and begins rifling 

Through her things. 

 

MAYA
I know! He’s completely ruining Christmas for me. It was going to be so exciting to show him off to my family. 
GABRIELLA
He can’t be the only thing that makes the holidays special.
MAYA (wails)
He was!

 

MAYA throws herself into GABRIELLA’s

Arms for a hug. GABRIELLA notices 

Camera watching her, and looks closer

Angrily catches sight of JACK.

Camera pans back to JACK, riffling 

around GABRIELLA’s desk. 

 

Cut to break room camera crew. 

GABRIELLA comforts MAYA wile

Watching JACK with growing annoyance. 

 

GABRIELLA
Its okay. Come on. You’ve had nice Christmases alone before. What made them special?
MAYA sobbing says something unintelligible.
Cut to JACK at GABRIELLA’s desk.
Desk shows additional decoration. Christmas

Tree now has miniature ornaments. And 

Snowflake d-cals are stuck to the wall of

The cubicle. Everything is neatly in its place. 

 

JACK (amused pointing at computer screen)
She is full mad hatter. 

 

BEAT unheard comment from camera crew.

 

JACK
Oh. Sorry. 

 

JACK pulls at latched edge of computer 

Privacy screen.

 

JACK
These are her fault you know? She didn’t want to be in your stupid documentary. (aside) Sorry. Anyway she complained that we deal with too much sensitive information to take part. We don’t deal with anything remotely important. We’re a doll company, not the NSA. But they caved and gave everyone theses truly annoying screens. I think she was just nervous about being on camera.

 

JACK finally manages to yank of privacy 

Screen, knocking over snowman mug with 

candy canes. Yanks up a candy cane and 

Breaks plastic shoving it in his mouth. 

 

JACK (around sandy cane)
Oops.    

 

JACK points out screen saver, showing an 

ice skater on a frozen lake with decorated 

Christmas trees around and a nutcracker 

In her arms. Also a countdown clock to 

Christmas in top right screen corner. 

 

JACK (smiling)
She did this thing last year, (beat) every time she’d turn on her computer she’d start singing to herself. Really quiet, it wasn’t annoying or anything, just…weird. She’s weird. She'd like whisper (singing) Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. You know like in that Christmas movie, Singing in—no. White Christmas! That was it. (singing) Snow.  

 

Beat. Close up on JACK’s face.

JACK sits.

JACK
 Lets see what she’s up to. 

 

Cut to GABRIELLA and MAYA.

 

GABRIELLA 
Look, Maya, you can’t let some lying jerk come in and ruin your good time. Do something for you.
MAYA
I wanted to share the holidays with someone. 
GABRIELLA
So do that. Just not with him. And for now, not with a boyfriend. Share it with family, with friends. Buy yourself a puppy. You know…maybe it would help to go find him, (watching JACK) and give him a good swift kick in the hazelnuts.

 

Cut to JACK, rooting around 

GABRIELLA’s computer, back to 

Camera. 

 

JACK 
Either she’s up to something. Or she’s acting weird intentionally to make me curious, just because I said I wouldn’t date her. Ah-ha! I’ve got—

 

BEAT unheard comment. JACK 

stands.

 

JACK ( offended)
I most certainly did say I wouldn’t date her. 

 

Camera shakes back and forth. 

 

JACK 
Thats why she’s so…Look would you just be a pal and watch her.

 

Camera stays tight on JACK.

 

JACK (agitated)
Fat lot of help you are. How can she work with all this clutter. 

 

JACK pushing aside mess he made with 

Candy canes knocks over nutcracker. 

It falls to floor with a loud crack. 

 

Cut to break room. 

 

MAYA
You’re a very sweet girl, Gabby. I’m so glad I spoke to you.

 

GABRIELLA nods awkwardly. 

GABRIELLA crosses to desk.

 

JACK
Shit shit shit. Quick get me some glue.

 

JACK lifts broken nutcracker and tries 

to fit splintered pieces of the cracker 

back together. 

 

JACK
There is just no way she won’t notice this she such a—
GABRIELLA (angrily)
Seriously! What is your problem with me? I’ve been leaving you alone. I don’t stick my stuff on your side of the partition. Or make loud childish noises when your on calls (clearly a complaint) If you want to decorate with the swimsuit issue of sports illustrated or skulls and dead bunnies I won’t bother you. Why can’t you just leave me alone?

 

Camera shows multiple heads 

peeking out from cubicles to 

Watch the spectacle.

GABRIELLA fists and opens hands

repeatedly. 

 

JACK
It was an accident.
GABRIELLA (snidely)
Oh you accidentally walked to my side of the partition, ripped off my privacy screen, made a mess of my desk and broke my favorite nutcracker?

 

JACK (growing agitated)
Just the last bits were accidental. Look if you like the thing so much why was it here?
GABRIELLA
I like having it around. I like using it. Whats it to you?

GABRIELLA shakes out open 

hands restlessly. 

JACK eyes the avid crowd. 

 

JACK (between teeth)
I’ll buy you another one. That one was a piece of crap anyway.
GABRIELLA fists hands tight
nails digging into palms.
GABRIELLA (calm and cold)
Just move. This is my space, get out of it.

 

JACK moves aside. 

GABRIELLA moves past JACK. 

 

GABRIELLA
What did you need here anyway?
JACK (hesitantly)
I was doing a spot check…on your usage.

 

GABRIELLA cocks hip to the side

Stares JACK down silently. 

 

JACK
Fine, I wanted to know what you were up to. You’re acting weird.  
GABRIELLA
And thats unusual how? (BEAT.) That’s a concern of yours why?
JACK (whispering)
I really will buy you another. It’s my bad. 

 

GABRIELLA
You can’t. They don’t make working nutcrackers anymore. They’re all decorative. And anyway, that piece of crap was my favorite for sentimental reasons. But…whatever. It’s done now.

 

JACK contrite, walks back to his 

cubicle. Heads dart behind partitions

Working noises erupt. 

 

GABRIELLA neatly gathers the strewn 

Candy canes and returns them to their 

mug, setting it in its proper place. 

Shoves privacy screen under desk 

Neatly sets aside the pieces of her 

nutcracker. GABRIELLA sits. Closes 

Different windows on her screen. 

Stopping at last window, labeled:

N.N.list.doc. A document with two 

columns one with a smiling emoji

One with a frowning emoji. Scrolls 

Down to name Jack Forrest on 

frowning list adds a check to his name 

And a note: may the punishment fit 

The crime.

GABRIELLA cracks knuckles. 

 

Cut to JACK in conference room alone. 

 

JACK
You know I should have figured it out sooner. There were plenty of clues. Hanukkah started over the weekend and when everyone got back the people who celebrate all found cards and little bags of chocolate coins on their desks. It wasn’t much, but it also wasn’t anything the HR department would have come up with. Then Tuesday they all got individual donuts on their desks when they came in, and no one knew where they were from. (shakes his head) trust her to look up appropriate food for Hanukkah and pass it out. And she had donuts for the whole staff in the break room with a note on it telling people to ask their coworkers about the significance of fried food and Hanukkah. (shakes head) 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

 

JACK
Why do I care what she was up to? I don’t know. I don’t I guess. This job isn’t that hard. I keep three books in my desk for the down time. It used to just be one, but I finished in the morning once, and actually spent the rest of the day talking to my coworkers. It was pretty rough. 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

 

JACK
Surf the web? Oh no, the company isn’t catching me in that trap. If they want to fire me they’ll have to come up with real cause. 

 

BEAT unheard question. 

 

JACK 
I guess I didn’t get in much reading this week. (shrugs) Gabriella was the more entertaining mystery. She’ll make a decent Secret Santa, not that Mr. Coleman knew that. She just commits herself to every task like it has epic importance (scoffs) as if that will get her noticed. Anyway now that I solved the mystery, thats the end of it for me. 

 

BEAT unheard question.

JACK
Gabriella didn’t work here yet when I ran out of books to read. 

 

BEAT unheard question.

 

JACK
I suppose I know her pretty well. Its hard not to with her just plugging away on the other side of the cubicle, but thats been pretty rough too.  

 

BEAT unheard question.

 

JACK
Have I ever been on the naughty list before? (laughs) Maybe Gabriella will give you Santa’s number and we can find out for sure. Honestly though, before I broke the stupid nutcracker I hadn’t done anything worthy of the naughty list. Stealing the deer was just a bit of fun, she is just sooo easy to goad. And what I said about never dating her—

 

Unheard interruption. 

 

JACK
Lets not get into this again. The point is…I don’t mind being on the naughty list. Knowing Gabriella she’ll pass out chocolate coal or something. She’s a soft touch.

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