(The serial starts with the line-by-line drawing of the town, as the music climaxes...)
This... is Somerset.
We fade in on an empty apartment, but we hear a rustling of keys and an unlocking door. Alana walks in with takeout food and turns on the light, setting the food on the counter. Pouring herself a glass of wine, we see her getting out the takeout she ordered and sitting at the dining room table.
ALANA: (Looking around) Home sweet home. (She's just about to take a bite when the phone rings) How do they always know to call at dinner?
She rises from the table and heads over to the phone, picking it up.
VICTORIA: Ahh, I see you answer your phone differently than "fourth floor, nurse Singleton" at home.
ALANA: Hey, Tori. I thought you were off duty.
VICTORIA: I am. Actually, I just stopped by the restaurant for a bit and wondered if you were up for a little company.
ALANA: Ahh, you don't have to come over and keep me entertained.
VICTORIA: What if I brought a pint of ice cream?
ALANA: What time can you get here? (Laughs)
CUT TO: The outside of a restaurant. This is Giovanni's, downtown Somerset's finest purveyor of Italian cuisine. We fade inside the restaurant, where Jack is meeting Sam, Lahoma and Susannah for dinner.
JACK: Welcome to Giovanni's, gang.
LAHOMA: This is amazing what's been done with this place. I remember it vividly when we lived here and I just loved the architecture.
JACK: Giovanni's owned this place for about 25 years. This was an Italian restaurant before the previous owner retired and Giovanni wanted to buy the building. He succeeded.
SAM: With your help, I'm guessing?
JACK: Actually, not guilty. Giovanni and Rose did this all by themselves. Which was quite a trick considering they already had three kids at the time.
A middle-aged gentleman, Giovanni Petterino, comes out from the back.
GIOVANNI: Bongiorno, Jack. (Grabs him and gives him a hug) I see you've brought dinner guests?
JACK: Absolutely. Your finest table for four, if you do have one tonight.
GIOVANNI: For you, anything. (Leads the party over to their table and sits them down) And your guests are?
JACK: Giovanni, this is Somerset's newest lawyer, Susannah Lucas and her parents, Sam and Lahoma. (Pleasantries exchanged) Is a bottle of wine in order?
SAM: Sure. Your choice. Susannah, Lahoma, that fine? (Both nod) Surprise us with something vintage.
GIOVANNI: Coming right up.
As Giovanni turns to head back toward the wine storage area, Susannah looks at the menu.
SUSANNAH: Well, there goes the diet. I can see where I'll be eating a lot when I need my Italian fix.
JACK: And we have other good restaurants here in Somerset, too. Bernard's just down the street is your perfect watering hole, we have a couple good steakhouses, some Chinese...
LAHOMA: Jack, whatever happened to the Riverboat?
JACK: Met a sad end, unfortunately. I think they rehabbed the boat for cruises on Lake Champlain, but I'm not sure.
LAHOMA: Too bad. That was a nice place to eat.
JACK: So is this. Take a look at the menu. Eat... and then you hear the grand plan.
(Susannah, Sam and Lahoma all have a look on their face as if they can't wait to hear it, as the picture fades)
Somerset... brought to you today by mild Ivory liquid. Our creamiest, mildest Ivory ever. Still helps hands stay young looking.
We open up in the office of Nick Barclay, as he is getting ready to turn out the light after a long day on the job. Just as he's about to douse the lights, Mike comes knocking on the door.
MICHAEL: (Knocks) Don't tell me Somerset's youngest city manager is ready to call it a day.
NICK: You thought I'd be burning the candle at both ends as usual?
MICHAEL: Come on. You know the old saying. All work and no play...
NICK: Yes. Yes, I know that one. You're the one that ends up dull, unfortunately.
MICHAEL: (Appears shocked) Et tu, Nicholas? I just thought I'd stop by and drop off this folder.
NICK: (Picks it up) Somerset's Bid For Bachelors? Is that a hint?
MICHAEL: (Shakes his head) Naaa. It's a fundraiser for the hospital.
NICK: I see. (Looks it over) And how did you come across this folder? Don't tell me you're on the committee again.
MICHAEL: No, but they did leak me an advance copy. It probably wouldn't be for another several months. They're still in the planning stages.
NICK: Good, because time right now is something at a premium.
MICHAEL: Many hours in the day and not enough time to get everything done?
NICK: (Nods furiously) Don't you know it. Actually, I am looking forward to my first trip away from here next week.
MICHAEL: Already wasting taxpayer money. I better get out my notebook... (Laughs)
NICK: Jack thought it would be good for me to get my feet wet at this convention in Washington. It's a convention for middle-population cities like ours. Mayors, city managers from all across the country.
MICHAEL: It's called networking, I presume?
NICK: Yeah. I presume nothing will come of it, but it's not bad to get the name out there.
MICHAEL: So nothing eventful. In other words, perfect Register story.
NICK: Feel free to drop on by if you want a story on it.
MICHAEL: I'll be sure to come by when I'm on duty.
(The music builds as we change scenes)
CUT TO: Alana's apartment, where Tori and Alana are sharing a bottle of wine and eating their respective takeout.
ALANA: So what led you to ask if it was all right to come on over? Trying to score brownie points with the head nurses?
VICTORIA: No, not at all.
ALANA: I know that. Just giving you a hard time.
VICTORIA: You innocently mentioned something about going home, watching a DVD, chatting on the computer... I figured you could do that another night.
ALANA: I see. (Sips wine) And in the meantime, check and see how I'm doing here alone?
VICTORIA: I said no such thing.
ALANA: Rose must really be worried about me.
VICTORIA: Well, she did say it might be good if I checked on you.
ALANA: (Gets a sly look on her face) Now the truth comes out. Tell Rose I'm doing just fine. I know how to relax, have a good evening away from the hospital...
VICTORIA: She just worries a bit, that's all.
ALANA: I'd have told you that you didn't have to drop by, but when you said the words ice cream I couldn't say no.
VICTORIA: Mint chocolate chip. You like?
ALANA: Me like. Let's eat...
(The two women laugh as we fade out of the scene)
We'll return to Somerset in just a moment.
We fade back in on Alana and Victoria each digging into a bowl of ice cream, knocking back and relaxing.
VICTORIA: I could get used to this.
ALANA: What, mint ice cream?
VICTORIA: No, the time away from the hospital. I'm not on duty again until tomorrow night, so I'm enjoying every last bit of freedom.
ALANA: Enjoy it while it lasts. As you get more years on the job, it seems like they want you more and more. Of course, I enjoy it.
VICTORIA: I do too. I keep telling myself when is enough enough, but I still have so much to learn.
ALANA: (Puts down bowl) And you're a fast learner. You'll be a pro in no time.
VICTORIA: Ah, I'm not worried. I'll be fine. Now you, on the other hand.
(Alana shoots Victoria a dirty look)
VICTORIA: Just kidding.
(Alana laughs, having been fooled by Tori's seriousness, as the scene changes)
CUT TO: Giovanni's, where Jack, Sam, Lahoma and Susannah are busy dining.
LAHOMA: Mmm... God, Jack, you weren't kidding.
JACK: Heavenly, or what?
SUSANNAH: No, I was thinking the other place. Sinful. Absolutely sinful. (Smiles) But good.
SAM: So you wanted to tell us a bit about the grand plan. What is it?
JACK: Patience. Finish eating, and then you hear about the grand scheme of things.
SUSANNAH: To hear you talk, it's the plan that will change everything.
JACK: Exactly. (Smiles and sips wine, looking intently at Susannah, Lahoma and Sam)
(Music swells as the picture fades out.)
Join us each weekday at this time for the continuing story of Somerset. And on most of these same computers, be sure to watch the drama of As Days Go By. Weekdays on SONBC. This program was pre-recorded.