(The screen turns white and the town of Somerset is drawn line by line as the music swells to its conclusion)
This... is Somerset.
We fade in on the Cleypool mansion as evening has fallen on Somerset. Zachary and George are in the living room enjoying an after-dinner drink.
GEORGE: I didn't know you were into scotch, son.
ZACHARY: (Raises glass and smiles) There's a lot you don't know about me. I enjoy a fine scotch... a cigar now and then...
GEORGE: The spitting image of his father. (Downs his scotch) Bottoms up, as they say. Thanks for sticking around and keeping your dad company through these last months. You didn't have to do that.
ZACHARY: I almost feel like I took sides.
GEORGE: No one took sides. (Rises from the chair and walks across the room) Wendy and I just wanted to take a break from each other.
ZACHARY: You refer to Mom like she's just someone you tossed aside at the curb.
GEORGE: (Turns around to face his son) I did no such thing. Your mom was the one who left. And she took Emily with her.
ZACHARY: Dad, Emily didn't leave because of what was going on. She got that PR job in New York and wanted to experience life in the big city.
GEORGE: Yes. Compared to New York, Somerset's practically a village.
ZACHARY: Dad... if things are meant to work out in the end, they will. Both with Mom and with Emily.
GEORGE: One can only hope.
ZACHARY: (Checks his watch) I promised a few friends I'd meet them in town. Better haul out the motorcycle.
GEORGE: Any idea when you'll be back? (Catches himself) Sorry. I realize you're a grown man.
ZACHARY: I'll let it slip... this time. (Walks out of the room)
(As George chuckles to himself, the scene changes)
CUT TO: Giovanni's restaurant, where Jack, Sam, Lahoma and Susannah are going over the latest in Somerset and his master plan.
JACK: Understand, I don't want to reveal too much now... but if I have my way, Somerset's going to have a big urban renewal coming. No building will be safe... well, except a lot of the old construction.
LAHOMA: You want to revive downtown Somerset?
JACK: Yes. (Takes a drink of wine and turns toward Susannah) And I want you to help me.
(Susannah gets a stunned look on her face as the picture fades to black and comes back with the Somerset logo)
Somerset... brought to you today by Jif. The only peanut butter with that fresh, roasted, peanutty taste. Choosy moms choose Jif.
At Giovanni's, Susannah is momentarily taken aback by Jack's proposal.
SUSANNAH: (Points at herself) Me? What did I do to deserve this?
JACK: Susannah, Sam said you wanted to go into private practice. You're going to need something to keep you occupied while you hang your shingle. Do you have office space yet downtown?
SUSANNAH: Well, I do have an option to lease an office in the Wentworth Building.
JACK: Okay. You're going to need something to keep the money coming in for the short term. I'm looking for people to join my legal staff at Martin Enterprises. You help me, I help you.
LAHOMA: But Jack, Susannah wants to make it on her...
SUSANNAH: Mom, hush. Yes, I do want to make it on my own, but Jack's right. People here don't know me yet. Only one person remotely knows who I am, and I haven't had a chance to drop by the hospital yet to say hi.
SAM: That's right. Dr. Kurtz doesn't know you're in town.
JACK: Is that... Patrick by any chance?
LAHOMA: Yes. They've kept in touch over the years, but off and on.
JACK: It's a big city, but small enough that you'll see him soon. You don't have to give me an answer right away. Sleep on it, talk it over... Sam, Lahoma, when do you leave?
SAM: We leave tomorrow to go back across the country. I'm due back in Oklahoma City middle of next week.
JACK: Okay. I'm sorry I have to be secretive about parts of the plan, but I haven't told too many people yet. There will be something in tomorrow's Register, but it's just sketchy details.
LAHOMA: All right then. Guess we'll have to be kept in the dark until you're ready to unveil the truth.
JACK: Won't be long, I promise. Now then, shall we enjoy ourselves even further?
SAM: Hear hear, let's eat.
(As the foursome catch up on the latest goings-on in Somerset, the scene changes)
At the Cleypool mansion, George is smoking a pipe and studying some folders when Fenwick walks in.
GEORGE: (Looks up) I thought you'd retired to the east wing for the night.
FENWICK: I did, Master Cleypool... (produces envelope) But I wanted to wait until Master Zachary was out of earshot to give this to you.
GEORGE: Did this come with the other mail.
FENWICK: No, it was special-delivered earlier this afternoon. (Lowers his head) But discretion is the better part of valor.
GEORGE: I see. Thank you, Fenwick.
FENWICK: You bet, sir. Good evening. (Turns to leave)
GEORGE: (Opens envelope and looks) I should have known. (Slaps the paper to the floor)
As the camera pans down, we can see the documents are divorce papers from his wife Wendy. The picture fades to black.
We'll return to Somerset in just a moment.
We see what is assumed to be an exterior shot of Somerset, as Jack is walking along on a downtown street to head back to his condo. As he walks, he stops to look off in the distance.
JACK: Look at you. Look at what you've become.
We can see he is not talking about himself. Instead he is staring at a building, which appears to have survived the test of time but is still a bit worn with age.
JACK: (In his head we can hear "Moonlight Serenade" by Glenn Miller. He closes his eyes and smiles. Then he opens his eyes again.) Just wait, old friend. You're at the center of this.
He walks away down the street, as the scene changes.
Susannah, Sam and Lahoma are in Susannah's car going back to her home.
SUSANNAH: I've never been so stuffed in my life.
LAHOMA: Jack certainly knows fine food. You'll have to go there every so often to keep us updated on his recipes.
SAM: Were you a bit shocked by his job offer, Susie?
SUSANNAH: Not so much shocked as flattered. Dad, Jack's right, I...
(We see a brief flash of headlights, and Susannah swerves the car)
LAHOMA: (Recovers in her seat) How much wine did you have with dinner, dear?
SUSANNAH: Mom! I had a few glasses, but not enough to impair my driving. I'll get out and see what happened, if anything.
As Susannah gets out, we see her looking down the street.
SUSANNAH: My God... (runs toward a body lying face down, next to a motorcycle that is still running and intact.)
She turns the body over... and we see it is Zachary.
Susannah is shocked as she bends down to feel for a pulse, with Sam and Lahoma running up behind her as the picture fades to black.
Join us each weekday at this time for the continuing story of Somerset. And on many of these same computers, be sure to watch Guiding Light: The Brotherhood, a celebration of daytime's longest-running drama. Weekdays on SONBC. This program was pre-recorded.