*We open at Louie's the next day with all five boys at their usual table.*

Sach: (Grins) So, when's your girlfriend comin', Chuckie?

Chuck: Two. And she's not my girlfriend.

Slip: Yet.

Bobby: I think it's nice that she wants to help you.

Sach: Yeah! Maybe you'll become a famous writer now.

Chuck: I just don't know why. All I did was help change her tire.

Bobby: She liked you. Probably thinks you're a nice kid.

Sach: I'll bet she wants to show you her huge penthouse in the sky.

Slip: She'll show you a couple things, then she'll wanna see a couple of your things...

Bobby: Ehh, she'll probably just want to pat him on the head.

Sach: I think she'll want to give him a real career!

Whitey: Yeah, a career!

Bobby: Well, she wants to give something.

Sach: She gave him that card, didn't she?

Whitey: Yeah.

(That's when Vivianne arrives, looking smart and mature in a simple, well-tailored blue suit and hat.)

Vivianne: Hello, Mr. Mahoney. Ready to talk writing?

Chuck: Y...yeah, I am. *his cheeks turn a little pink*

Sach: Wow, she's doesn't look like a romance writer. (Sach's lips go.)

Vivianne: I'm glad you approve. Who are these charming gentlemen, Mr. Mahoney?

Chuck: These are my friends and my brother. *points to each one* Slip, Sach, Whitey, and Bobby.

Vivianne: It's nice to meet all of you. You seem like a good group.

Slip: Oh, we are. *leans over to Chuck and mutters* Whatever she asks for, say yes.

Bobby: (Coughs) You know, maybe we ought to go. You know, see if Louie needs any help in the back.

Sach: Why? I'm all settled here!

Slip: *Glares at Sach* Letís go help Louie. *He grabs Sach's ear, wincing slightly, but drags him to the back room anyway.*

Bobby: I'll go with them. Make sure they don't do anything they'll regret. (Nods) Come on, Whitey. (He heads for the back)

Whitey: Wait up! *rushes after Bobby*

Vivianne: (Sits in Slip's vacated seat) They certainly are colorful. They remind me of Damon Runyan characters.

Chuck: *clears his throat* Very colorful.

Vivianne: So, perhaps we could talk writing now. What is it that you write? Mysteries? Probably not romance.

Chuck: I don't really have a genre. I've written mostly articles. What short stories I have are just general fiction. I'm open to any genre, including romance.

Vivianne: I like that. I don't often see men who are open to writing romance.

Chuck: I'm very flexible... *realizes what he said and adds* as a writer.

*The door to the back room is open a crack. We hear a faint snicker.*

(Cut to the back room. Bobby, Whitey, Slip, and Sach are all peeking out.)

Bobby: Oh boy, did he just put his foot in his mouth!

Sach: She took it pretty well.

Slip: He just turned five shades of red in two seconds.

Vivianne: (Cut back to the main room; she raises an eyebrow, but says) I'm glad to hear that you are. It would be nice to hear about romance from a man's point of view.

Chuck: Uh, yeah, sure.

Vivianne: I'd love to read some of your stories. Maybe I can give you a few pointers...and I could show them to other writers who might be able to help you.

Chuck: I'd like that.

Vivianne: I'm glad you helped me. Not many young men would have jumped to help an old lady like you did.

Chuck: You're not an old lady!

Vivianne: That's not the way a lot of people your age see me. I write romance novels that older women read. I'm past spring-chicken.

Chuck: Maybe, but it's knowledge that counts.

Vivianne: Thank you. Sometimes, I think I'm too experienced.

Chuck: Being unexperienced is no walk in the park.

Vivianne: You just haven't found the right publisher yet. Even with my father's money, it took me years to find a publisher who liked my work.

Chuck: I don't even need to be published. I just want someone to appreciate my work.

Vivianne: You may actually have a head start. It took me a while to get anyone to take my writing seriously. They thought I was dabbling. I didn't want to live of my father's money.

Chuck: I don't even have money.

Vivianne: Then you might be able to at least get some people to take you seriously. They know you need to do this. It's your survival.

Chuck: So far I haven't. They just see me as a kid.

Vivianne: You're hardly a child. A bit young...but a man.

Chuck: *Smiles* Thank you.

Vivianne: Some publishers just can't see past the ends of their noses. Many of the tougher book lines in the same publishing house that puts out my books thinks of my novels as cream-puff silliness.

Chuck: That isn't very nice of them.

Vivianne: They're all hard-nosed mystery writers and pulp novelists who think the only thing that's important is the blood on the front of their covers. I've read many of those books. They're full of action and plot and some of the most vivid descriptions of people and places in literary history...and are completely devoid of soul.

Chuck: A story needs a soul...

Vivianne: That's what I think, too. Those men only care about the money they're making and cover art models they're sleeping with.

Chuck: That isn't right.

Vivianne: Tell that to them. Half of them aren't even that good at writing. They have copy editors working overtime.

Chuck: I bet I could write a better romance story than they could write their genres, and I don't even have much personal experience.

Vivianne: I'll bet you could, too. You probably have more personal experience with mysteries and romance than them if you're from New York.

Chuck: Mystery, yes. Romance... *shakes his head* no.

Vivianne: I find that hard to believe. You're such a nice young man.

Chuck: *Shrugs* It's true.

Vivianne: You've never had a girlfriend at all? Pardon my being so forward, but it's just so surprising.

Chuck: I don't know if I'd say at all. I just usually come off very shy.

Vivianne: You just haven't found the right quiet girl yet.

Chuck: Yeah...

Vivianne: Do you have your stories here? Maybe I could read them.

Chuck: *Taps a folder on the table* I brought what I think are my best ones.

Vivianne: All right. Let's take a look. (She opens the folder and reads for a while)

(Cut back to the back room. Bobby grins.)

Bobby: She's actually readin' his stuff!

Sach: Wow! A real writer is readin' Chuckie's stories!

Whitey: This is so wonderful for him!

Slip: There is so much tension out there.

Sach: Do you think she'll get Chuckie's stuff published?

Bobby: Maybe she could recommend him to some of those pulp fiction rags. They could use real writers over there.

Whitey: You're right, Bobby.

Slip: *Not paying attention to the others* He wants to be published, all right.

Bobby: No kiddin', Slip. He's only half-lookin' at his stories.

Slip: *Glances at Bobby* He's too busy tryin' not ta drool.

Bobby: (Glances back) I'm surprised he ain't drooled in her lap yet.

Sach: He wouldn't do that! She's a real lady!

Bobby: She's a chick. Don't matter what age.

Slip: He's too shy to be that forward.

Bobby: He's always been like this. When we'd be out chasin' chicks, he'd be hidin' behind trash cans.

Slip: They seem ta like each other, but he ain't gonna do a damn thing about it.

Bobby: He's too much of a gentleman.

*Slip snorts.*

Whitey: What's wrong with that?

Bobby: He can't talk to any girl, even ones his own age.

Whitey: Oh.

Slip: I wanna do som'en ta help them, but for once, I dunno what.

Bobby: I think this one is on Chuck. I don't know anythin' about writin'.

Sach: I ain't even all that good at writin' my name!

Whitey: I can only write notes for my projects.

Bobby: I hope Chuck does good here. All joking aside, she might be able to help him.

Slip: In more ways than one...

(Cut back to the main room. Vivianne finally looks up with a smile.)

Chuck: Well?

Vivianne: You have a great deal of potential...but I think you need more practice.

Chuck: *Nods* Okay. I can do that.

Vivianne: You write vividly, but you lack polish. Have you talked to some of the local newspapers? They might be interested in short human interest pieces like this.

Chuck: *Frowns a bit* I tried. I couldn't get in the door. I wanted to...but I got nervous and couldn't do it.

Vivianne: You have to believe in yourself. You're a pretty good writer. You just need fine-tuning.

Chuck: *Nods* Okay. *pauses* Would you help?

Vivianne: (Nods) I'll do what I can.

Chuck: *Smiles* You already have.

Vivianne: (Blushes) Thank you. You just need a push in the right direction.

Chuck: And the right person to do the pushing.

Vivianne: (Nods) That's right. I may see if I can find other people to help you, too, whose writing styles are closer to yours.

Chuck: I'd...like that.

Vivianne: And I'll continue to help you as much as I can. (She squeezes his hand gently)

Chuck: *Eyes widen a little* Thanks.

Vivianne: Thank you for making an old woman feel good.

Chuck: *Faintly* You're not old.

Vivianne: Let's just say I'm seasoned.

Chuck: Okay.

Vivianne: You're such a sweetheart. It's amazing some lovely girl hasn't snapped you up yet.

Chuck: *Frowns a little* Yeah...

Vivianne: You'll find her someday.

*Chuck nods.*

Vivianne: (Looks at her watch) I have to go to a meeting with my publisher. Perhaps you'll consider giving the newspapers another chance?

Chuck: I will.

Vivianne: Good. Maybe we could get together again sometime. I really enjoy helping young authors.

Chuck: I'd like that.

Vivianne: I'll have my secretary call you to make an appointment. (She gives him a small peck on the cheek) Thank you for being such a good boy. (She's blushing when she pulls away)

*Chuck nods, blushing, and utters an unintelligible sound.*

Vivianne: I'll see you later! (She hurries out, blushing furiously.)

*Chuck stares after her, as the other guys come out of the back room.*

Bobby: (Grins) She likes you.

Sach: She's crazy about you!

Slip: *Waves a hand in front of Chuck's face* Hey, Chuck?

Chuck: *Still staring* Hm?

Slip: *Sits next to Chuck and leans into his line of vision* Hey, Chuck!

Sach: I think we've lost him.

Whitey: He's still here.

Slip: *Ignores them and leans in closer to Chuck* Hey Chuck, snap outta it.

*Chuck sighs.*

Bobby: It sounds like your career may just take off.

Sach: And your love life.

*Chuck starts to frown.*

Slip: Well, that was an abstract turn of emotion.

Sach: Chuckie, what's wrong?

Chuck: Love life?

Bobby: You like her, don't you?

Chuck: *Nods once* Yeah...

Slip: An' she likes you, too.

Sach: She kissed ya!

*Chuck touches his fingers to where she kissed his cheek and pauses a moment.*

Chuck: I gotta go... *grabs his folder from the table, then gets up and leaves quickly*

Slip: What the hell was that?

*Whitey just shrugs.*

Bobby: Maybe we ought to talk to him.

Sach: We already tried that.

Whitey: It didn't work.

Bobby: I think Chuck is on his own. This is seriously out of our turf.

Slip: An' it's outta his turf, too. He don't know what to think.

Sach: Ain't there anythin' we can do?

Bobby: Not really. I don't think she's gonna try anythin'. I think she's as confused as he is. I'll bet it's been ages since a younger guy said she was pretty.

Slip: *Nods* An' he's gettin' attention from an attractive woman. He don't know what to do.

Bobby: I think we're just gonna have to let these two work it out on their own unless she tries somethin'.

Whitey: I don't think she will.

Sach: Maybe it'll even be good for Chuck. None of us know real writers.

Slip: That'll be good, yeah, but I think this'll be better for him in another way.

Sach: We'll see, Chiefy.