(We open with the line-by-line drawing of the town of Somerset on the screen as the music reaches its dramatic climax...)
This.... is Somerset.
An outside shot of a high-rise building that is clearly a hospital campus, as the camera zooms in on one of the higher floors.
Somerset Hospital is bustling with activity at midday, and nurse Alana Singleton is holding down the fort at the front desk when the phone buzzes.
ALANA: (Picks up) Fourth floor, Nurse Singleton? (Cradles phone) Ah yes, I've been waiting for your results to come through... let me see... (Leafing through charts) Yes, Mr. Poindexter, we have your results back here and Dr. Kurtz wants to talk with you. It's good news... yes, Dr. Kurtz will be here this afternoon. We'll look forward to seeing you.
(As Alana is finishing up the call, a young woman comes down the hall and puts away a few clipboards. The woman, Victoria Petterino, is a student nurse at the hospital who is just finishing up the last parts of her learning program before joining the staff full-time. Before Alana sees her, we see Victoria sit in a chair and lean forward.)
ALANA: Hey there, Tori. Feet hurt?
VICTORIA: Getting used to all the walking, that's all. How do you rate staying at the nurses station?
ALANA: (Laughs) I don't. You should see me here when it gets chaotic. Which you will shortly when you finish all of your training. How'd it go today?
VICTORIA: I'm slowly getting the hang of some stuff that didn't come clear to me before. I can't believe my training is almost over.
ALANA: Believe it. And also believe that the whole staff is looking forward to having you on board.
VICTORIA: Why, because my father makes the best Italian food in all of Somerset?
ALANA: Okay, you got me. It was the spaghetti. (Laughs) How about we indoctrinate you in another way of life for nurses?
VICTORIA: Does it involve changing bedpans?
ALANA: No, this involves a cup of coffee. Come on, it's time you saw the nurses' lounge for more than just a couple seconds.
VICTORIA: Ooooo, I can't wait. (She walks away with Alana as the music plays, and the scene changes...)
The outside of the building reads "The Register", Somerset's daily newspaper. Inside the busy newsroom, we zero in on a cubicle where a young man is sitting at his keyboard, taking notes on a story. The man, Michael Wagner, is a metro reporter for the Register.
MICHAEL: Jack, I didn't think I'd hear from you right away. I tried you at the office yesterday later, but you'd already left... ah, I see. Welcoming a new resident to Somerset is always good.... you want to do 3:30? That's fine by me. Whatever new details you can pass along is great... Thanks as always, Jack. Take care.
(As Michael hangs up the phone he is startled by a face leaning over the cubicle wall)
MICHAEL: I didn't do anything, officer... honest...
The man, Lt. Scott Garfield, laughs.
SCOTT: Relax. I was here to see one of the editors on a completely different matter. But now that I'm here, didn't you want to talk to me?
MICHAEL: You gotta check your messages more often.
SCOTT: Sorry. I'm still not computer-savvy. I'm an old-guard police officer.
MICHAEL: Your office put out a press release touting a new way of life in Somerset. I'd be interested in going to Bernard's next door to talk about it.
SCOTT: Liquid lunch? We're both on duty, you know. (Laughs)
MICHAEL: One beer won't hurt. Let's go.
(The two exit the office, as the picture fades to black with the sponsor tag)
Somerset... is brought to you today by digestible all-vegetable Crisco. For fried foods that contain no cholesterol... and for flaky pie crusts... you can trust Crisco.
We fade back in on Bernard's Restaurant, one of the downtown watering holes. We see Scott and Michael sitting at the bar, talking with an older gentleman who is the restaurant's owner.
BERNARD: What can I get you gentlemen? Tap or bottle?
SCOTT: Tap for me. Make it the weak stuff, I still have to go back to the office and file a few reports.
BERNARD: I'll have you know, Lt. Garfield, that I always keep the strong stuff around.
MICHAEL: He's not kidding. I've been here many a late night.
BERNARD: One drink order from you and I can sleep better at night knowing my restaurant's in the black. Coming right up.
SCOTT: (Laughing as he opens a folder) You have a reputation in this town as a hard drinker?
MICHAEL: A hard drinker and a hard reporter, as you may find out one day.
SCOTT: Allow me to stay on your good side for this story. It has to do with Somerset's crime rate being at its lowest level in nearly 25 years.
MICHAEL: I think we can tout that on our front page! I know that will make some people in this town happy.
SCOTT: You're looking at one. I learned under Lt. Will Price, he was one of the best. He didn't want to retire until the crime rate started going down. You never knew Will, did you?
MICHAEL: No, but one of our more memorable investigative reporters worked with him. Greg Mercer was a tiger, and I'm sorry I didn't work back in the era when people like Greg and Steve Slade were dogging the cops about the syndicate's presence in this town.
SCOTT: Thankfully we won't have to worry about the mob this time around. You're stuck with me, I guess.
(The men laugh as we go back to the nurses' lounge, where Alana and Victoria are nursing cups of coffee)
ALANA: It's been a long week here for me, that's for sure. I've logged about 50 hours and more to come.
VICTORIA: Can't you limit your work week if you wanted to do it?
ALANA: I've been told I can, but truth is I love it here. Not much of a relationship person, you knew that. Now you on the other hand... I've seen the way you turn faces around here when you walk around the halls.
VICTORIA: And most of the faces I turn are under 30, is that what you're telling me?
ALANA: Oh, Tori, don't get me wrong. Don't take it the wrong way.
VICTORIA: I've been told by Mom and Dad that I have flawless features, a great face... but I'll let Annabella do all the modeling, thank you.
ALANA: (Sips coffee) How is Annabella, anyway?
VICTORIA: Wrapping up a modeling assignment in Italy. She's talking about returning to Somerset after that for a few months. I know it'll make Dad happy.
ALANA: Come on. He loves you too. He loves all his children equally.
VICTORIA: I know that. I think he's happiest about me because I went to nursing school and am nearly finished with my education. Annabella's taken some college but she got distracted by the modeling...
ALANA: How come she's never thought about coming back here?
VICTORIA: She's making great money over in Italy. She has freedom. But Dad's after her to settle down, find a guy to make her happy, run the restaurant...
ALANA: Mmm hmm. So Mom and Dad can retire, right?
VICTORIA: (Sipping coffee and laughing) Yeah. Dad's talked about retiring, but I think he'd rather have Annabella running the restaurant before he makes any moves.
ALANA: Let me give you a piece of advice. (The camera zooms in) Men. They're not worth it.
(Victoria looks all serious at Alana as the picture fades)
We'll return to Somerset in just a moment.
(The scene fades back in on Alana and Victoria)
ALANA: Sorry if I sound so harsh about that. I didn't mean to be.
VICTORIA: Wait until a certain gentleman hears how you really feel.
ALANA: Tori Petterino, don't you dare tell him.
VICTORIA: (Smiles) Pass me and my lips are sealed. (Laughs) I'm just kidding. I know. I've had the opportunity to go on a few dates here and there and I always turn them down. It drives my mom nuts.
ALANA: Someday, your prince will come. Either that, or you'll take my job when I take over this hospital.
(The nurses laugh. We leave the hospital and head back to the bar)
MICHAEL: Thanks for the good story. This will work in nicely with another idea I'm working on.
SCOTT: Wouldn't involve Jack Martin by any chance, would it?
MICHAEL: (Appears a little startled) It would. Why do you ask?
SCOTT: No reason. I know he's really gung-ho about renovating certain parts of downtown and this story will play right into the hands of his investors.
MICHAEL: If Cleybank Corporation doesn't get its hands on that property first, that is.
SCOTT: We can only hope it doesn't happen. (Sips beer) For Somerset's sake.
(Michael nods his approval as he downs his beer quickly. The picture fades.)
Join us each weekday afternoon at this time for the continuing story of Somerset. And on most of these computers, be sure to watch another newcomer drama, The Pride and The Prejudice. Weekdays on SONBC. This program was recorded.