(The screen turns white and the town of Somerset is slowly drawn on screen line-by-line as the music swells to its climax)
This… is Somerset.
As the Somerset logo fades, episode 19 begins with a knock on the door at Nick’s apartment. It is the same day as the 18th show, only in the afternoon, and Alana has gone home after catching a morning nap.
NICK: Coming. (Slowly walking out to the door… he opens the door to see Jack)
JACK: You really have to stop falling out of bed, you know.
NICK: Very funny. Come on in. (Turns around and goes toward the kitchen as Jack shuts the door) I’d offer you something to drink, but I can’t have anything with this concussion.
JACK: Not even coffee?
NICK: That I can have. There’s a pot on the counter.
JACK: Don’t mind if I do. (Motions to couch) Get back on the couch, I’ll get your coffee. Now how the heck did you do this again?
NICK: I’m sure Alana filled you in.
JACK: Humor me, Nicholas. I was out of commission last night and I’ve been with Susannah most of the morning working on getting her settled at Martin Enterprises.
NICK: Well, okay. If you insist… (The music builds as Nick starts telling the story to Jack, and the scene changes to Bernard’s Restaurant.)
Mike has gone to Bernard’s for a beer on his lunch break, and he doesn’t see Norman Vickery there entertaining a client. Norman does, however, see Mike, and he comes over to the bar and taps him on the shoulder.
MIKE: (Turns around and laughs) Spying on your employees at Bernard’s, Norman?
NORMAN: (Laughs himself) You’re lucky I’ve got a good sense of humor, Wagner. Actually, I’m here working a source for a possible A-1 story that I’ll hand off once I get more information… but I have been meaning to talk to you regarding another matter.
MIKE: (Sips beer) Something wrong?
NORMAN: Oh no no, nothing wrong. Just something long overdue regarding you. I’ll meet you back at the office.
As Norman returns to his table to entertain his client, Mike finishes his beer with a puzzled look on his face, wondering why Norman would want to see him.
MIKE: Well, he’s not firing me. What’s up?
(The music builds as the picture fades to black, followed by the Somerset logo coming on screen)
Somerset… is brought to you today by Lilt. The only home permanent with gripper sponges… the way to shiny, beautiful hair. And by Cascade, the dishwashing detergent that leaves your dishes spotless and shiny.
At the Cleybank Corporation, George is in a conference call with some investors regarding his plans for Somerset’s downtown renovation. As he is talking, a few voices have questions.
GEORGE: You have the documents in front of you, all of you should be looking at the page marked “Five-Year Renovation”.
VOICE #1: I have to tell you, George… your plan for Somerset has plenty of changes in it.
VOICE #2: A lot of restaurants that are popular would be affected by this.
GEORGE: They will get the chance for buyouts. But I’m only offering one deal. If they don’t take the deal, they’ll pay the consequences.
VOICE #1: I’d hate to hear the consequences, but go ahead.
GEORGE: This vision of Somerset has to stand. The Peoples Building, the Woodruff, the old Somerset Inn, those restaurants…
VOICE #3: You’d better have a good explanation for the Somerset Inn’s owner. That’s a historic landmark. They renovated the property several years ago and it has attracted a lot of attention.
GEORGE: I’ll deal with that later. Maybe our company takes over the hotel and quietly does what we want to do with it.
VOICE #2: Why the interest in The Peoples Building, George?
GEORGE: (Rises from his chair and looks out on Somerset) Why not? When I’m done with this town, it’s going to look a lot different. The area’s been stagnant for far too long.
VOICE #3: This area snapped back pretty well after the last recession, George. The economy is still humming along quite nicely.
VOICE #1: You’re not feeling the pinch of the housing market. Most of the houses in Somerset are selling for relative bargains.
GEORGE: (Begins to wonder about his team) Look, are you all nuts? I thought I had a team that was behind my vision of Somerset. Instead, I’m getting questions about whether or not you think I’m competent enough to pull this off.
VOICE #2: No one’s saying that, George. We know you’ve got it in for Jack Martin. You want to see your vision for Somerset implemented before his.
GEORGE: You’re right. (Turns from window and smiles) I do.
As the music builds, the scene changes to Jack sitting down and listening to Nick’s woeful tale of love lost in a dream.
JACK: This woman is really affecting you, isn’t she?
NICK: Listen. I know I have to get on with my life. I had a chance encounter in a bar with a beautiful woman. It happens more often than you’d think, right?
JACK: Not in my life it hasn’t. (Laughs and drinks coffee)
NICK: Oh come on, Jack. You can’t tell me someone as handsome and virile as you hasn’t had woman falling at your feet.
JACK: Virile? (Drinks coffee) That calls for a shot of caffeine.
NICK: You know what I mean.
JACK: Well, Nick… I have had my share of dates. You’ve seen some of the ladies I’ve squired around Somerset.
NICK: Of course I have. I think people would say you have fine taste in women.
JACK: Why thank you, Nicholas. I knew there was a reason why I kept you around and built you up to eventually be a good politician someday.
NICK: I just wish I could have really met my mystery woman and that it wasn’t a dream. God, she had on the most gorgeous dress…
JACK: Somewhere, someday, your princess will come to Somerset. It may not be her, but someone will knock you off your feet.
NICK: I know. And I know it may be sooner than I think, right?
JACK: Well, you told me Alana stayed here this morning.
NICK: Ah, yes. Alana. The great love of my life before all hell broke loose. (Drinks) We did have two really good years together.
JACK: You’re friends right now, and that’s how it will stay. No more enemies for either of you.
NICK: You’re right. I don’t think I could take it.
JACK: So keep on your path you’re on right now. Have Alana in your life as a friend and search for your happiness.
NICK: That title sounds so like a soap opera.
JACK: I’d tell you to search for tomorrow, Nick, but that’s been done already. (Laughs)
The two share a laugh as Nick settles back in on the couch and the picture fades to black.
We’ll return to Somerset in just a moment.
George is in his office at Cleybank, having finished the conference call. He is now on the phone with Zachary, whom we do not see, discussing how things went.
GEORGE: Mixed results. Some of the investors are a little wary that my plan might be a bit too grandiose… hey, if you have any other smart ideas, let them know. I think I got through to them, but I’m going to need a little more help…. (faces window) All right, Zach. Stay off your feet and… what do you mean you’re meeting friends tonight? (Turns back toward the camera) Dammit, son! Are you trying to get yourself killed?
He realizes he’s being too dramatic and pulls back.
GEORGE: I know the doctors said you could drive. At least you’re doing it with a car. All right, I’ll see you when I get home tonight. Will you be home for dinner?... Good, I’ll see you then.
As George hangs up, he looks outside at the view of Somerset and the sun shining overhead on the city.
GEORGE: Just a matter of time. That’s all.
The music builds as we switch back to the Register office, where Norman is working on some story ideas when Mike knocks on the door.
MIKE: How did the meeting go?
NORMAN: Not bad. Have a seat.
Mike sits down, feeling a bit fidgety because he has no idea what is going on.
NORMAN: You seem a little… nervous. Do you think you’re in trouble or something?
MIKE: Well, the thought did cross my mind. Am I being fired?
NORMAN: Now why would you think that? Didn’t I tell you it wasn’t bad news?
MIKE: I know I haven’t been the happiest person at the Register lately, and I wondered if you guys were getting sick of my attitude.
NORMAN: On the contrary. The fact you’re getting antsy and not being complacent tells me you’d be the perfect investigative reporter here at the Register.
MIKE: (His mouth drops and he takes a deep breath) You don’t mean that.
NORMAN: I can take it back if you’d like…
MIKE: Okay! (Laughs as he holds up hand) You mean it! You mean I’m going to be the next Steve Slade?
NORMAN: I don’t think anyone could stop Steve. Or top him, for that matter. But the higher-ups are willing to give you a chance.
MIKE: I’ll take it. (Shakes Norman’s hand) Now what’s my first order of business?
NORMAN: What everyone else in this town is wondering. What the hell is Project X and how is Jack Martin behind it?
MIKE: (Music in the background) I already know a couple of Jack’s secrets… do you want something more full-fledged?
NORMAN: Jack has to know that people around here are starting to wonder. Get to the bottom of what is going on.
MIKE: I’ll get on it right away.
As the music builds, Mike is happy about his job promotion, and he wants to celebrate. The picture fades to black, and the Somerset credits and music roll following the commercial break.
Join us each weekday afternoon at this time for the continuing story of Somerset. And on most of these same stations, be sure to watch Guiding Light, the Brotherhood… a celebration of daytime’s longest-running serial. Weekdays on SONBC.
The preceding program was pre-recorded.