This piece is a fleshed-out version of a very short monologue I wrote for the “Character on the Spot with Jamie Moyer” workshop from The Sketch School. I highly recommend that class! The suggestions were “Zoom date” and “twice divorcee”. Enjoy!
Tom smoothed his hair back and straightened his back. Nervously, he clicked the Zoom link.
Up popped Cheryl, a pretty brunette in her early 30s.
“Hi Tom! Tom isn’t it? Or are you…let me check…”
Cheryl flips through some pages on a clipboard.
“Yes…Tom. Hi Tom! I’m Cheryl. Thanks for meeting with me. And thanks for working with me on the time, oh, I have been so busy! Have been on a lot of these Zoom dates? I’m just starting myself, but I have to tell you, it’s really hard to keep track of everyone and everything. I mean, in my mind, you have an aversion to cute cuddly kitty cats. But that’s not you, is it?”
“Uh…” said Tom.
“No, I think that’s Paul. Let me check…”
Cheryl checks her clipboard.
“Yes, definitely Paul. Was that Paul number one? Or Paul number two? ‘Paul’ was the name of my 2nd husband and you would think I would have learned my lesson. I mean you can tell everything about a person just by their name. I would date a Dave, but NEVER a David. Two very different guys, you know what I mean?”
Cheryl squints at Tom.
“So, do you normally go by Jim or do you prefer James? We may as well get this out of the way right now and not waste each other’s time.”
Tom shook his head and said, “No, I…”
“Tom! That’s it! Silly me. I’m so sorry, dating is really confusing! Well, I guess I can answer my own question. Your profile said “Tom” not “Thomas” so that’s a good sign. A really good sign. It really should be a standard question on the questionnaire. In fact, I’m going to let them know right now.”
Cheryl looks away from Tom and starts typing, and saying, out loud, what she’s typing.
“Dear Love Nest Programmer. It has come to my attention that your questionnaire is not as complete as it could be. For instance, I prefer men who use the shortened version of their names and yet I went on a date with a Richard! It was completely unacceptable.”
Cheryl looked at Tom for a moment, “Sorry, I just really need to do this now or else I’ll completely forget about it.”
“And why would you send me on a date with a George? Now I know there’s no manly way to shorten ‘George’, but really? I mean who would name their kid ‘George’ and force them to live the life of a ‘George’ rather than allowing them to choose the way they want to be addressed! He probably had a lot of ‘mommy’ issues and to tell you the truth? I don’t need that. Can you please adjust your questionnaire? Thank you, and you’re welcome!”
Cheryl looked at Tom and laughed.
“Whew! They wouldn’t know what to do if it weren’t for clients like me.”
Cheryl smiled at Tom.
“You’re just going to love Mr. Brisket. You need to know; Mr. Brisket is the main man in my life. He’s my everything. I have litter boxes in every room along with food and water bowls that match the exquisite décor of my cozy home. He sleeps with me every night and he can be a bed hog. Can’t you darlin’?”
Cheryl bent to pick up the ugliest yellow cat Tom ever saw.
“You’re a bed hog, aren’t you? Yes, you are! You’re my fuzzy wuzzy little man. I’m so sorry I had to get you snipped but you just didn’t understand that you shouldn’t pee all over the furniture, did you? No you didn’t! Such a cutie.”
Cheryl held up Mr. Brisket to Tom. Mr. Brisket is purring like an old locomotive.
Cheryl looked at her clipboard again.
“Tom! Now you’re going to need to be able to get along or I may have to make an actual brisket out of one of you!
Cheryl looked at Tom, then the cat, then back to Tom. Beep! Beep! Cheryl picked up the phone.
“Oh, look, it’s Janny. She knows today is Zoom Date day! This is so rude, uhg! Sorry, I need to take this.”
Cheryl answered the phone.
“Janny, I’m in the middle of a date, what are you doing?”
Cheryl listens and then turns away from Tom and continues speaking in a stage whisper.
“It’s going great! He’s such a great listener! Most men just want to talk and talk. Look, I’ll call you tonight.”
Cheryl hung up.
“Well, Janny is in! This is so exciting Tim, I mean Tom. Let me check…”
Cheryl checks the clipboard again.
“Right! So, Sam, when would you expect to have children?”
Tom sighed and clicked the “Leave” button. He picked up a clipboard and made a couple of notes on it and then turned to look at his friend Pete.
“Please, keep reminding me…No more Cheryls.