Prodigal Bus Boy

By Glenn A. Hascall


A modern day retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son.




DAD: (A dad sits at a desk talking on the phone) Maple flavored onion rings? No, I guess our customers just aren't that sophisticated. (Pause - listening) No, I can't say that banana and split-pea pizza sounds very appetizing either. Just send the four cheese fondue (Pause - listening) No, I'm quite certain we couldn't use Limburger. (Pause) Yeah! (Stan walks in) Say, I gotta go; we'll see you tomorrow.

STAN: Hey, Dad. (Sits down in a nearby chair).

DAD: Stan, how are you doing son?

STAN: Oh, all right I guess.

DAD: All Right? How could things be any better? You graduated near the top of your class - got scholarship offers for college. What's the problem, Son?

STAN: I'm not sure I want to go to college.

DAD: (Smile) You're kidding, right?


DAD: (Tentative smile) Oh, I get it, you want to work for a while. Pay your own way, eh! I'm proud of you son.

STAN: No, DAD, listen to me. I don't want to go to college and I don't want to continue being a crummy bus boy in this run down restaurant.

(Strained silence)

DAD: (Hurt but calm) I'm sorry Stan, I didn't know you felt that way about the family business.

STAN: Charley knows all about the business, let him run it.

DAD: Your older brother does know a lot about the restaurant, but I wanted you to help out too.

STAN: It's just not enough Dad!

DAD: Well, what do you want Stan?

STAN: I know this sounds weird, but I got big plans for the future. But it takes a lot of money to get where I want to be.

DAD: Are you asking for a loan?

STAN: No. I want my inheritance.

DAD: Earth to Stan...I don't know whether you've noticed or not, but I'm still alive.

STAN: Look Dad, I know this sounds weird....

DAD: (Interrupts) Sounds?

STAN: OK, so it is weird. (Passionate) Dad, I can't stay here. I can't live like this. I need my space to find out who I am. No offense, but I'm never gonna know

(Dad sighs and takes out his checkbook and slowly writes a check to his son and slowly hands it to him)

STAN: Woah! I've never seen so many zeros.

DAD: Stan, you're my son. You are welcome back here anytime. I'll be praying for you.

STAN: Yeah, yeah. Whatever. I'm gonna go places Dad, you just wait and see. (Stan begins to exit the stage)

DAD: Stan, always remember (Stan completely leaves the stage - and Dad says slowly) I love you.

(Dad leaves stage during the lines from the narrator)

NARRATOR: Stan booked a first class flight to the Big City, where he was sure fame and fortune were waiting with open arms. In short order Stan was treated like a king.

STAN: (On a cell phone) Hey, while I've got you on the line, could you buy me ten thousand shares of Sponge-Tech stock? (Pause) Why are you laughing? (Pause) That's not what my sources tell me. It's supposed to be the next big thing in energy. (Pause) That's right it's my money. Just don't forget who's paying your commissions? (Pause) That's more like it. Hey, gotta go, someone's on the other line. (Presses a button) Hello, this is Stan. (Pause) Oh, (Happy) hello Julie. Yeah, we're still on for tonight. I thought we'd go see the game and then order room service for a little get together with a few of my friends. (Pauses) Oh, (Not as thrilled) The ballet and a quiet dinner at Escar-To-Go? Sounds....great. (Quietly) if you like that kind of thing...What? Oh, nothing...I didn't say a thing. I'll pick you up at eight. (Hangs up the phone - knock at the door - opens it up and a few guys come in.)

JAY: You ready for a little ball game?

SKIP: You got the tickets didn't you?

STAN: (Embarrassed) Hey, guys. I bought the tickets (Hold them up), but I can't go tonight, I got a date with Julie and she want's to go somewhere else.

GARY: (Looks at Stan's neck) I don't see a collar.

JAY: And yet she's able to lead him around like a little puppy.

SKIP: How does she do it? (Laughter)

STAN: All right you guys. Don't say I never did nothin' for you. Here's the tickets on me.

JAY: You're the man...Stan. (General approval and possible high-fives)

GARY: Should we just come back here afterwards?

STAN: (Hesitates) Yeah, sure. (Tosses the keys to Gary) just order something from room service and we'll have some fun when I get back.

NARRATOR: The ballet lasted much longer than Stan had expected, and the food at Escar-To-Go made Stan feel a little queasy. When he arrived back at the hotel room he wasn't feeling very well, but was unprepared for what met his eyes.

(Room is a mess with food and other items strung everywhere.)

STAN: What did you guys do?

GARY: Oh, hey, Stan. The game was a little boring so we came back here.

SKIP: Room service wasn't bad.

(Stan is not happy and it shows in his face)

JAY: Man, I gotta work in the morning. Come on guys.

GARY: Yeah, we better run.

NARRATOR: Stan moves a pizza box and some other items from the couch and sits down to look over his checkbook. He's not happy with what he sees.

STAN: I am not happy with what I see.

NARRATOR: Aren't I good.

STAN: I can't keep picking up the tab on these little get togethers and it looks like I'm going to have to move to someplace a little...uh

NARRATOR: Less expensive.

STAN: Man, I swear I'm hearing voices.

NARRATOR: Stan fell asleep on the couch, his head resting on a bag of some artificial cheese snack. The next day Stan was the recipient of more bad news.

STAN: (Is awakened by a persistent phone) Yeah...what? Slow down, I...what? (Pause) It did what? (Sits up) This isn't funny. (Pause) You're not joking.

NARRATOR: Stan has just been told that Sponge Tech has filed for bankruptcy and he has lost most of his inheritance.

STAN: Is there anything we can do? (Pause) I can send you a check - very funny. What do I do now? (Pause) Yeah, I got a few friends. Why? (Pause) Well, I can't stay here anymore - that's for sure. (Pause) Yeah, okay...check you later.

(Stan starts to dial the phone)

NARRATOR: Stan had to share his disappointment with someone. So he called Julie, she would understand.

STAN: (Depressed) Hey Julie. (Pause) Yeah, I just got a call from the brokerage and that stock you told me about, well the company was here yesterday - gone today. I uh.... Julie? Julie? Something must be wrong with my phone. (Phone rings) Then again maybe not...Skip, hey (pause) No, I don't think so. (Pause) No, my biggest investment went south. I don't think I'll be able to go to any games for a while. Know any inexpensive motels around here? Hello? Skip. Drops the phone. This is bad.

NARRATOR: Once Stan settled up with the hotel and his untimely investment he had just enough left over for a kiddy cheeseburger meal at a local fast food place.

STAN: (Eats one bite of the burger) Oh, how could I have been so foolish, even the bus boys at my dad's restaurant eat better than this

(Throws it in the trash). Man, I just blew it - that's all there is to it. (Pulls out his wallet one more time) Let's see, a piece of lint, my driver's license, a picture of my dad. (Stops and looks at something and gets excited) and a plane ticket home. And I thought I made a mistake getting a round trip ticket. Time to eat some humble pie.

NARRATOR: Humble pie is a phrase commonly used to express remorse for ill-advised decisions or actions, and generally refer to someone like Stan:

STAN: I heard that.


STAN: That's just what I'll do, I'll tell my dad I'm sorry and see if he'll hire me as a bus boy.

NARRATOR: This oughtta make the tabloids.

STAN: Who's going to tell them?

NARRATOR: Probably the people you most recently called friends. They gotta make a buck somehow.

STAN: Yeah, you're probably right.

NARRATOR: Stan cashed his ticket in for a value fare and was able to clean up a bit a local health club. When he got off the plane there was a surprise waiting for him.

STAN: Dad? (Yelling) Dad!

(Dad runs across the stage and gives Stan a big hug)

STAN: Dad, I am so sorry. I blew it. I mean I really blew it. The money's gone and I made a real mess of things. If you'll let me I would like to apply for a job as a bus boy at the restaurant.

DAD: Are you nuts? You're a partner, son. You're home, that's all that counts. I wasn't sure that I would ever see you again.

STAN: You mean you're not mad?

DAD: Mad? Mad that you came home. I'll show you how mad I am. (Pulls out a cell phone and places a call - Stan make appropriate facial gestures during the phone call) Pierre, yeah, it's me. I want you to decorate the banquet room. Yeah, you remember my son, Stan (Pauses) well he's come home and I want to throw a party in his honor tonight. You remember his favorites? Well, make them all. (Closes his phone with finality) Let's go home, Son!


Copyright Glenn Hascall, all rights reserved. This script may be used free of charge, provided no
charge is made for entry. In return, the author would appreciate being notified of any
performance. He may be contacted at glenn.hascall<a>