What I Want
by Conrad Weaver
Life's disappointments and longings are summed up in this exchange between
a diner and a greasy-spoon waiter.
Man: Successful business man, wearing suit/ tie writing a letter…
Waiter: Burly, rough, greasy waiter/ chef; who’s working 2 – 3 jobs.
Table; 2 chairs; restaurant menu; notepad and pen for main character; pad
for waiter to write on, apron with food stains; diner cap or chef’s cap
for waiter, coffee pot with a little “coffee” in it, coffee cup…
(Scene: Greasy spoon diner; late at night; Man: sitting at table writing
letter. Waiter: off stage)
Man’s Thoughts (These need to be prerecorded and played on sound system):
How do I say this? I never thought this would be so hard. Dear
Sarah, I know you’re probably not expecting this. But I really don’t know
what else to do. You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been irritated and distant
lately; I can’t really explain it… it’s just that…our marriage, my job…
my life isn’t what I dreamed it would be. I need something more. I’m really
not sure what it is I’m looking for, but I know this is not it.…and I don’t
even know if….
Waiter: (Enters as last line is played…interrupts) …. Hey you… what’s
it gonna be?
Man: Oh, let’s see…(picks up menu) yeah could ya give me a minute?
Waiter: Sure, whatever you want boss. You want some coffee?
Man: Yeah that sounds good… you have decaf?
Waiter: Nope, just the real deal here… Leaded….this stuff’ll keep you
awake till next week!
Man: NO decaf? (Irritated) I thought this was a real restaurant!
Waiter: Yeah well, most people coming in here this time of night want
some caffeine. So, do ya want it?
Man: Yeah whatever. (Waiter leaves to get coffee) (Man picks up menu…
shakes his head and says to himself) Not much on here… hope they
have something I’m looking for…
Waiter: (returns with coffee) OK, so what’s it gonna be bubba?
Man: The name’s NOT Bubba… It’s John, and I’d like to start off with
a Caesar salad… then a steak with a baked potato… I need something healthy…
Waiter: (Laughs) In THIS place? Around these parts Bubba’s Diner
is known for the grease… you got that?
Man: Uh sure … look, all I want is something good and healthy
to eat. I have to watch my cholesterol. (Getting agitated) What I want
right now is a salad…
Waiter: OK fancy pants, let me explain something to ya… we’ve
got greasy burgers, or greasier burgers…if you’re looking for something
else go down the street to The Dutch’s Daughter (Name a local upscale restaurant)
or some fancy shmancy place like that.
Man: You don’t have anything besides burgers and grease?
Waiter: (emphatically) I told ya, we have burgers, big
– fat - greasy ones…
Man: Kinda like the help around here, huh? Fat n’ greasy.
Waiter: (Frustrated) Look mister… do ya wanna eat here or not?
I really don’t care, ‘cause I don’t have time for someone who doesn’t know
what they want.
Man: Well, I don’t know if you’ve got what I’m looking for…..
Waiter: (angrily) What DO you want?
Man: (Shouts angrily – really ticked) WHAT DO I WANT? I’ll TELL
YOU WHAT I WANT…I want to be recognized for what I’ve done for my company…I
want a wife who doesn’t nag me about trading in the minivan for an SUV…I
want to lower my cholesterol…I want to cash in my stock options so I can
get out of this crummy town… I want a family who doesn’t run and hide when
I come home from the office…and…and I want respect…
Waiter: RESPECT?!! Man, you’re in the wrong place
Man: (sarcastically angry) Well that’s obvious. I guess they didn’t
teach respect at Bubba’s Diner training school. Now where’s that
Waiter: (Tries to diffuse the situation – a little sarcastic) Look,
you’ve probably had a rough day at your fancy high rise office…But don’t
take it out on me…I’m just a waiter, ya know…and there are some things
I want too…
Man: (sarcastically) Yeah? Like what? A bath?
Waiter: (Gradually becomes more angry and loud) (Sets down coffee)
For one…customers who don’t yell at their waiter…(leans over the table)
I want a job that pays enough to cover the rent…I wanna be able to give
my wife a nice gift on our anniversary… I wanna stop smoking … (sits in
chair, takes a deep breath) I want my mom to be healed from her cancer
Man: (thoughtfully) So I guess we’re both looking for something more
Man: (Picks up menu)
Waiter: (Sheepishly) Yeah I guess so… (Stands) Hey, I recommend Cheerios…
Man: (Looks up quizzically) What?
Waiter: I hear they can lower your cholesterol.
(Lights fade out as music begins… “ I still haven’t found what I’m
looking for” U2)
© Conrad Weaver, all rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies
are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In
exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified
of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted