Soup (story)

[VERY 1st ROUGH DRAFT COPY]

Soup by Karen Maeby © Jan 2019 

Summary: 

A very ill patient—that has reached the end of his life—remembers soup from his past and asks for it. While trying to help obtain the wish of the patient, a different discovery is also revealed.  

Characters: (need to be named) 

Nurse 1 – in charge

Nurse 2 – grumpy 

Secretary – sarcastic

Doctor – not personable, robot-like [the one with the character growth] 

Patient – ill 

Elaina Dellmore – friend to Doctor, also a doctor 

Deli Owner – (note: needs to be same name for the full length) 

Stage: 

1: Takes place in a hospital—between patient’s room, hallway and the office space. 

2: Road to #3 

3: Deli space 

Props: 

Karen’s “Soup” To do list 

  • name each character / personality 
  • check each character, are they staying in character? 
  • character growth for the doctor (key) 
  • smooth transitions between scenes and places 
  • relationships between characters 
  • props list 
  • research EOL and how people react days beforehand 
  • add specific stage direction 
  • how will this story fit in with the full length play? maybe foreshadowing since it will be extremely difficult to do hospital scene and deli — will need to possibly think of an alternative 
  • write the future of Soup character/storyline 

SCENE

NURSE 1 

He’s still asking for soup. 

NURSE 2 

Not asking—demanding it. 

NURSE 1 

He says it’s the most magical soup in the world. It heals just about anything and solves all of the problems. 

SECRETARY 

If that’s the case, give me that soup. 

DOCTOR (to Nurse 1 & 2) 

Why are you out here socializing instead of helping your patient when he needs help? Did you not hear the buzzer? 

NURSE 2

We just got back from helping him. He keeps asking for soup, and we don’t know what to do. We’ve brought him all the soups we have, then he waves us away, says you don’t have it

DOCTOR 

Well, I walked by there and he says that no one is helping him. Do something.

NURSE 1 

I’m all out of ideas. 

DOCTOR 

Then go find some inspiration on the walk back to his room. 

SECRETARY 

Did anyone tell him yet?

NURSE 1 

Doctor? 

DOCTOR 

No, I haven’t. Not yet. 

SECRETARY 

Why don’t we try to grant his last wish? Can we at least do that? Let’s see if we can press him to remember. It feels like we have been given this moment to do something instead of just standing around making excuses as to why we can’t. 

NURSE 1 

Go right ahead, more power to you.  

NURSE 2 

You should get a raise if you figure this one out. 

SECRETARY 

That would be nice, but probably won’t happen. 

NURSE 2 

Don’t say that, or you’ll end up like me. 

SECRETARY 

Is that a bad thing? 

NURSE 2 

How much time do you have to discuss the question? 

(LOUD BEEP coming from PATIENT’S room.) 

SECRETARY 

Well, it looks like I have the time, but you don’t. 

NURSE 2 

Very funny. 

SCENE 

SECRETARY 

I have looked up so many places in this state and can’t seem to find anything. 

NURSE 2 

You’re going to either find everything or nothing when you don’t know what you’re looking for. What key words are you using anyway? Soup? 

SECRETARY 

Well…..yes….don’t laugh. It’s all we have to go on….but maybe the place closed down? 

NURSE 2 

Did you look up his name? 

NURSE 1 

You can find his previous addresses, look up the cities and zoom in on those! 

DOCTOR (passing through) 

Find anything yet? 

SECRETARY 

I just looked up his name and found these cities of where he has lived. Going backwards: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Hollywood, St Pete, Pensacola. 

DOCTOR 

Pensacola?

SECRETARY  

Yes, Doctor. It appears that’s where he was born and looks like he lived there for about 20 something years. 

DOCTOR 

Please print that list out for me and see if you can find anything else. Would you also call Elaina Dellmore? See if she’s available to come in and discuss a private matter with me today—as soon as possible. 

SECRETARY 

Yes, sir. 

SCENE 

PATIENT 

Hi Doc. 

DOCTOR 

How are you feeling? Are you any better? 

PATIENT 

I would be better if I got that soup. 

DOCTOR 

Well, that’s why I’m here. We want to find it for you. My staff is working very hard to try to figure it out. 

PATIENT 

You won’t be able to find it here. 

DOCTOR 

Can you tell me more? Maybe a hint of something so we can find it for you? 

PATIENT 

(He closes his eyes.) I see (COLOR). I think the building was (COLOR OF BUILDING). (Coughs.) Chicken…no noodles…maybe there was bread? 

SECRETARY (walks in to hear PATIENT give the hints.) 

Could it have been matzo ball soup? 

PATIENT 

(His eyes light up.) That’s it! 

DOCTOR (turns to SECRETARY) 

You know what to do. 

SECRETARY 

I’m going! 

DOCTOR 

PATIENT, I have something to tell you. 

PATIENT 

Don’t say it. I already know. The light…it’s coming fast. No time to bargain for soup. 

SCENE 

SECRETARY 

Mystery solved. Matzo ball soup. 

NURSE 2 

The mystery is only solved when you find it and have the soup in your hands!  

NURSE 1 

So, does that mean he’s Jewish? 

NURSE 2 

His last name doesn’t appear to be Jewish. 

SECRETARY 

Don’t be stereotypical like that. It’s rude. 

NURSE 1 

Start looking up Jewish Delis in the state and see if any of the buildings are (COLOR). 

SCENE 

(DELLMORE arrives, knocks on DOCTOR’S door.) 

DELLMORE 

Hi DOCTOR, SECRETARY called and said you needed to see me right away? Said it was urgent. 

DOCTOR 

Yes, hi Elaina, come in. 

DELLMORE 

Well, what going on? What can I help you with? 

DOCTOR 

It’s about one of my patients that’s close to the end of his life. I have a sneaky suspicion that he may be—(interrupted by knock at the door) 

SECRETARY 

I found the place! Here’s the phone number and address. About 4 hours away. 

DELLMORE 

I know about that place. It’s famous. 

SCENE 

SECRETARY 

Are you sure you want to do this, Doctor? 

DOCTOR 

Absolutely. It’s the right thing to do. 

SECRETARY 

You know you could lose your job, right?

DOCTOR 

I know it’s a very big risk, yes, but one I’m willing to take.

SECRETARY 

May I ask why you’re feeling so strongly about this that you’re also putting NURSE 1 & 2 at risk of losing their jobs too?  

DOCTOR 

I’ll tell you why when we return. Please understand, everything I do, I have a very good reason.  

(NURSES bring PATIENT to the walkway area—dressed to leave.) 

PATIENT 

Where are you taking me? I thought you said I wasn’t allowed to leave? 

DOCTOR 

It’s a surprise! I promise it’s a good one. 

SCENE 

(They’re parked outside the deli. PATIENT sees it, sits up, sparks joy, tears to his eyes. NURSE 1 & 2 take him in. DOCTOR and DELLMORE stay back to talk.) 

DELLMORE  

I have news. 

DOCTOR 

Yes? 

DELLMORE 

It’s a match. 

DOCTOR

Are you sure? 

DELLMORE 

I’m positive. I checked twice. Just to be certain. 

DOCTOR 

I don’t know what to say. 

DELLMORE 

Well, I know what to say to you—you did the right thing—about this situation. You won’t be sorry. 

SCENE

(DELLMORE, DOCTOR walk in, NURSES, PATIENT already seated. OWNER walks over to talk to PATIENT.) 

OWNER 

Is that really you, PATIENT? We haven’t seen you in over 30 years. 

PATIENT 

This doctor right here is a good man. He did a good deed bringing me here. 

OWNER 

You don’t remember me, do you? 

PATIENT 

(Stares for a long minute.) No. 

(DOCTOR takes OWNER aside to chat with him.) 

DOCTOR 

He’s very ill and doesn’t have much time left. He keep asking for soup, and it took us long enough to find you guys by the very little information he could remember. It’s his dying wish.

OWNER 

Well, I’m sure glad you did. For his sake, anyway. We have some pictures of him, and his girlfriend from years ago. Want to see? (He shows them.) She died shortly after giving birth to their son, and then PATIENT split town. This is the first I’ve seen of him in those 30 years. I don’t even know anything about the son. 

DOCTOR 

Well, hopefully he’s alive and well—doing good somewhere—in this world. 

OWNER 

What do you mean by that? Shouldn’t his son be by his side during these last moments of his life? 

DOCTOR 

It is stated that he doesn’t have any family. 

OWNER 

That’s….odd. 

DOCTOR 

Do you remember anything about his girlfriend? 

OWNER 

She was a practicing Jew. Never missed a beat to visiting us on Shabbat, and all of the holidays.  She was a very good woman. Honorable. One of our best customers. 

DOCTOR 

Well, thank you for the information. 

OWNER 

No problem, enjoy your lunch… thank you for bringing him here. It’s good to see him. 

(They are back in the vehicle.) 

PATIENT 

Thank you Son, I hope God blesses you well in this life. (He closes his eyes, doesn’t wake up.) 

SCENE 

(Back at the office in the hospital.) 

SECRETARY 

I’m really sorry to hear about PATIENT. I think you did a wonderful thing, giving him his last wish. And, in time. 

DOCTOR 

They knew him there at the deli, but he didn’t remember them. I’m a Doctor. I have studied all of this—knowing what is expected and how to react—but….I think the realization has hit me. It’s really sad to think about how your memory just…goes…and then…there’s suddenly nothing left. You don’t recognize anyone or remember anything. Dates that were once important, gone. Names, gone. Faces, gone. Look how long it took for him to provide us with answers. 

SECRETARY 

So, why did you do it, DOCTOR? Why’d you risk your livelihood and put our NURSES in an awkward position to do something like this for you? 

DOCTOR 

It was all over a personal matter. 

SECRETARY 

What do you mean—personal? You? 

DOCTOR 

Have a seat. (He dials phone.) *note* put in appropriate pauses for other line  

Hi this is DOCTOR. We were just in there last week with PATIENT. I wanted to let you know that he passed away shortly after the visit. His last request was eating your soup and he was just so happy to have received that wish come true. No… Thank you. I have a favor to ask. I just found out that I’m PATIENT’S biological son. Would you be able to help me piece together my family history? Yes, I guess everything does happen for a reason. I will visit you soon. Bye now. (He hangs up the phone.) 

SECRETARY 

That’s quite the coincidence, isn’t it? You see so many patients—and one, this one—led you to finding both of your biological parents but also a place that can help you piece your family history together. You gave him a gift, and he already returned it. Do you think he knew? 

DOCTOR 

He called me son right after we got in the car from visiting the deli, so there’s a possibility, but I think he was just confused. 

SECRETARY 

Regardless…..Like the DELI OWNER said…. everything does happen for a reason. Wait a minute—your biological mother was Jewish? 

DOCTOR 

Through and through. 

SECRETARY 

You know that makes you Jewish, right? 

DOCTOR 

I picked up on that. 

SECRETARY 

You have a lot of learning to do. It’s going to change your life. 

DOCTOR 

How do you know? 

SECRETARY 

Oh, because I’m your wise-ass secretary, that’s how. (Eye roll.) Because I’m Jewish. 

DOCTOR 

How did I not know that? 

SECRETARY 

Oh, you knew. You just didn’t pay attention. 

DOCTOR 

SECRETARY, I apologize. Things are going to be changing around here and for the better. What just happened this week has made me realize what’s important. 

SECRETARY 

If you don’t mind me asking, what is the story on your adopted parents? 

DOCTOR 

Which ones? 

SECRETARY 

Ah…you know, you’re always welcome to join my family and friends for Shabbat or any of the holidays to take in the experience. There’s a Rabbi that visits us here if you ever have any questions. He’ll be pleased to learn of you and your story. 

DOCTOR 

You really do know a lot. 

SECRETARY 

Can I be honest with you? 

DOCTOR 

Sure. 

SECRETARY 

I was considering turning in my two week notice this week. Our office—it is such a cold atmosphere—there’s not an inch of personality to it. It shouldn’t be like this, we should be a lot more welcoming; I can’t work in environments like that. However, witnessing you take a major risk, I knew something was going on….and I’m glad I stuck around to find out what it was. 

DOCTOR 

I’m glad you did too. 

SECRETARY 

I hope this change in you stays. You can make a difference in so many lives by just opening up, instead of being like a clam-shell robot in your line of work… 

DOCTOR 

Isn’t today Shabbat? 

SECRETARY 

Yes.  

DOCTOR 

What’s the protocol for going? 

SECRETARY 

We have to be there in about 20 minutes, or we’ll be late. 

DOCTOR 

Then, let’s close up the office and get ready to go. Shall we? 

SECRETARY 

It seems as if I am becoming the Peggy to your Don Draper. 

DOCTOR 

As crazy as that is, I think you might be right. 

SECRETARY 

I’m actually surprised you actually know the reference to a TV show. I would’ve never expected it. 

DOCTOR 

There’s a lot of things you’d be surprised about if you took the time to get to know me. 

SECRETARY 

Well, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! But on a side note, I would like that very much. 

DOCTOR 

Same. Off to Shabbat? 

SECRETARY 

Off to Shabbat. 

(Lights out.)