A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Garden

Written by:
Jim Hamilton

Estimated Run Time:



Dana is sitting alone at a table inside Anthony's restaurant. She has a glass of wine with her lunch, and a partially read books sits closed next to her plate.

Her quiet lunch is interrupted when Casey sits at the table.

Casey: Hey.

Dana: Hey, Casey. I'm surprised to see you here. Would you care for some lunch?

Casey: Where's my stuff?

Dana is taken aback by Casey's assertiveness.

Dana: I'm having lunch here.

Casey tones it down.

Casey: Oh. I'm sorry. What are you having there?

Dana: I'm having a glass of white wine with the grilled catfish.

Casey: Looks good. What's your side dish?

Dana: A vegetable mix of baby carrots, squash, cauliflower, and broccoli.

Casey: A vegetable medley.

Dana: Yes.

Casey: Okay.

Dana: See? Isn't that better?

Casey: Much. Say, here's a question for you: where's my stuff?

Dana: Okay, fine. And by stuff, to what are you referring?

Dana continues eating her lunch.

Casey: There are a number of items, and I'm not rating them in order of importance. First, there's my baseball card collection. Second, there's my giant box of magic markers. Third, there's the award I received five years ago from the Arkansas Angler Association.

Dana: They're junk.

Casey: Dana, they're not junk. They are prized possessions. For instance, my baseball cards-

Dana: A small shoe box full of cards whose condition consists of bent corners, water rings from glasses, and unknown players.

Casey: Paul Zuvella is not an unknown player.

Dana: And I'm sure the value of his rookie card has skyrocketed since I threw out the five you previously owned.

Casey: Those were collector items.

Dana: Those were cards children wouldn't tape to their bicycle wheels. And don't get me started on your markers.

Casey: I've collected those over the years.

Dana: Yeah, and how often do you draw or color?

Casey: I find markers can be a valuable tool in the creative process.

Dana: Uh-huh.

Casey: And the award-

Dana: Your singing bass?

Casey: Yeah.

Dana: It's a singing bass.

Casey: It was given with good intentions.

Dana: Casey?

Casey: Yeah.

Dana: It's a singing bass.

Casey: Dana.

Dana: Why are we discussing this now? This is my quiet me time. I was having a peaceful lunch before my hectic afternoon starts.

Casey: It's not that busy of a sports day.

Dana: Which gives me the perfect opportunity to conduct several interviews.

Casey: For what positions?

Dana: Casey.

Casey: Still haven't found that perfect candidate, huh?

Dana: Did you check the attic?

Casey: The attic?

Dana: Yes.

Casey: You have an attic?

Dana: We have an attic.

Casey: So you're saying my stuff isn't in the trash.

Dana takes a sip of wine and wipes her mouth with her napkin.

Casey: Dana?


Dan and Jeremy are walking down a busy New York sidewalk on the sunny, slightly chilly afternoon. Dan is dressed as if he is ready to go on-air. Jeremy carries a spiral notebook, but he is focused on other matters instead of the notes.

Jeremy: It's going to be crazy.

Dan: We've shot there before. It's only the Garden.

Jeremy: I'm making reference to tonight's party.

Dan: Jeremy, you've got to stop obsessing over this.

Jeremy stops walking.

Jeremy: I can do this.

Dan stops.

Dan: Forget about the party. We're shooting the feature about the Knicks.

Jeremy: Yes.

Dan: And we need to continue walking in order to get to the Garden.

The two continue their journey.

Dan: What's the timetable?

Jeremy checks his notes and then checks his watch.

Jeremy: We're meeting with the coach in ten minutes, the general manager in twenty-five, and finally some of the players after their walkthrough has concluded.

Dan: Great. We've got plenty of time - as long as we keep moving.

The two pick up their pace.

Jeremy: Since we have a plethora of time, as we walk to our destination, we can discuss-

Dan: Jeremy, we're not going to discuss the party.

Jeremy: I need some advice.

Dan: You need to listen.

Jeremy: Okay.

Jeremy stops and Dan continues on.

Jeremy: Listen to what?

Dan: You haven't been listening!

Dan shakes his head as he walks on. Jeremy has to run in order to catch Dan.

Jeremy: Dan?

Dan: You haven't been listening to a word we've told you.

Jeremy: I have.

Dan: You were at a party a week ago. The workday was done, and a woman - forget she's a colleague - a very beautiful woman asked you to dance with her. What did you do?

Jeremy: My legs really were cramping that evening.

Dan: Yeah, right. She even offered to massage your legs.

Jeremy: The condition was caused by dehydration. All I needed was some water to build up my fluids.

Dan: She offered to put her hands on your body.

Jeremy: Yeah.

Dan: She likes you.

Jeremy: I'm one of her producers!

Dan: Being my producer is not a valid reason for me to like you.

Jeremy: Dan.

Dan: Right now, we're working on the Knicks. We'll discuss this later.

The two reach the outside of a building. Before they enter, Dan hears his name being called out. This isn't a case of Dan's ego being stroked by another "Sports Night" fan wanting an autograph; this is a case of hearing a voice that hadn't been heard in years.

Dan searches for the familiar voice inside the crowd.

"Dan Rydell!"

Dan finds the familiar face behind the voice.

Dan: Rob?

Dan and Rob meet and shake hands.

Rob: It's good to see you, Dan.

Dan: It's been years. How are you doing?

Rob: Great.

Dan: How's Helen and the kids?

Rob: Helen's wonderful, and the kids are out of college now.

Dan: College? They weren't even in high school the last time I saw-

Dan notices Jeremy standing next to him.

Dan: Oh, I'm sorry. Rob, this is Jeremy Goodwin, an associate producer with CSC.

Jeremy: Good to meet you.

Dan: Jeremy, this is Rob Landers. I used to work with him back in Chicago.

Jeremy and Rob shake hands.

Jeremy: You two go way back?

Rob: Dan worked under me when I was the sports director and lead sports anchor at our station in Chicago.

Dan: Yeah, that was before I went to Lone Star and CSC. So you've moved up since?

Rob: I'm still at the station.

Dan feels slightly foolish for assuming Rob had moved on to another job.

Dan: Great. Chicago is a great city to work, a great city to live.

Rob: Helen and I are here for something more.

Jeremy nudges Dan and points at his watch.

Dan: Jeremy and I are meeting the rest of the film crew to work on a feature.

Rob: I heard.

Dan: You heard? How did you hear?

Rob: I'm here in New York for an interview.

Dan: Of course. The Bulls are in town for tonight's game.

Rob: That's not my sole purpose for coming here. I'm having a different kind of interview: a job interview.

Dan: Wait. You're interviewing with CSC?

Rob: I'm meeting with Dana Whitaker later this afternoon. I'm interviewing for "Sports Night."

Dan is dumbfounded.

Dan: Really?

Rob: You sound surprised.

Dan: I am. I haven't seen you in years, and now you're here interviewing with my network. You've been in Chicago for how long?

Rob: Twenty-two years.

Dan: I'm surprised... you would leave Chicago and come here.

Rob: I believe one of your headhunters tracked me down.

Dan: Headhunters?

Rob: If I recall correctly, his name is Sam Donovan.

Dan: Sam?

Jeremy: Danny?

Dan: Uh, yeah. Listen, I've got to do this feature.

Rob: Sure. Could I give you the hotel number where we're staying?

Rob pulls out a pen and a business card. He writes the name of the hotel and the room number where he and his wife is staying. He hands it over to Dan.

Dan: Thanks. I'll be sure to call you... if I don't see you inside the building.

Rob: Fabulous. It would be great to work with you again, Dan. It's good seeing you again. Nice to meet you, Jeremy. Dan, we'll talk and maybe go out for dinner.

Dan: Sure.

Rob: Take care.

Dan and Rob shake hands, and Rob walks away. Dan stands in amazement and continues to hold the business card.

Jeremy: He sounds cordial.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, he sounds cordial.

Wow. Rob Landers from Chicago.

Jeremy is distracted by a woman walking into the building.

Jeremy: Dan?

Dan continues to stare at the business card.

Dan: Yeah.

Jeremy: I believe I just saw Tricia Marino enter the building.

Dan: Hold on there, Jeremy. Tricia Marino?

Jeremy: Tricia Marino from Chicago's front office.

Dan: Let's see if we can get some comments from her.

Jeremy: Maybe she can comment on the state of their season and if they are happy with their current roster.

Dan: They're twenty games under five-hundred. I don't believe they are too happy with their current roster.

Jeremy: Yeah. Let's go. We've got to complete this and get back to the newsroom, so I can prepare this feature and finish the prep work for tonight's filming.

Dan: There's not much prep work in preparing to film a party, even if it's being hosted by the Yankees.

Jeremy: Plus, I need to be adequately hydrated.

Dan: Yeah, just so-

Jeremy: Just so my legs don't cramp up.

Dan: Yeah.

Jeremy begins to enter the building and spots Dan taking a final look at the business card before putting it inside his jacket pocket.

Jeremy: Ready?

Dan: Yeah. This is a coincidence, with Rob in town and you working tonight's party with Lorie.

Jeremy: How so?

Dan: We each may have a new dance partner.

The two finally enter the building.

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