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In This Life

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JACK is interviewing a prospective intern from SALEM UNIVERSITY. So far he has not been impressed with the candidate, which has made the STUDENT even more nervous.

As the STUDENT sits and waits, JACK leans back in his chair and continues to scrutinize his resume.

JACK: (without looking up from the resume) So, Mr. Larson, you're the Sports Editor for the Salem University school newspaper.

STUDENT: Y-Yes, that's right... Since the fall semester.

JACK looks up. He is clearly enjoying the fact that the STUDENT is intimidated by him.

JACK: And you were on the sports writing staff until then?

STUDENT: Uh... yes, I started out as a reporter for our sports section and moved up to columnist last year, and now editor.

JACK: (nodding) I see. Do you have any experience covering hard news?

STUDENT: (caught off guard) Hard news, Mr. Deveraux?

JACK: Yes. Something other than sports.

STUDENT: Well, uh... t-there was the time I... I uncovered a cheating scandal on the football team.

JACK: (narrows his eyes) A cheating scandal?

STUDENT: The coaching staff had hired a bunch of students to take exams for the team. It was a big deal on campus for a while--lots of people were in hot water over it.

JACK: (not really impressed) Hmm... (looks at the resume again) Well, Mr. Larson, I suppose I should turn the HR manager loose on you now.

He gets up, as does the STUDENT.

STUDENT: Oh, of course...

JACK: After you meet with her, you'll meet with my co-publisher, Jennifer Deveraux.

STUDENT: (sticking out his hand) Uh... thanks for meeting with me, Mr. Deveraux-

JACK sees VERN standing by the door and is surprised to see him.

JACK: Vern!

STUDENT: (confused) Vern?

JACK: (to the STUDENT) Uh... yes, nice to meet you, Mr. Larson. (shakes his hand) And good luck to you.

The STUDENT leaves. VERN smiles at him as he walks out the door.

VERN: Internship time again, huh? Looked like a nice kid.

JACK: (rolling his eyes) In a frat boy sort of way, yes.

VERN laughs, as JACK stares at him.

VERN: What?

JACK: Well...

VERN: What?

JACK: Forgive me if this sounds terribly rude, but... What the hell are you doing here, Vern?

OUT on VERN'S smile.



VERN has come to see JACK, and JACK is surprised to see him.

VERN: I can't believe I'm saying this, but I've actually missed you talking that way to me.

JACK is embarrassed and clears his throat.

JACK: I, um... I just meant... I didn't expect to see you here today.

VERN: (looking around at all the boxes scattered around the office that JACK still hasn't unpacked) Jenny-girl around?

JACK: She's at City Hall, but she should be back any minute... You still haven't told me what you're doing here.

VERN: Well, today is the editorial meeting, right?

JACK: Yes, in about 20 minutes-

VERN: Oh good, I'm right on time.

JACK: Wait a minute, Vern... You can't be here!

VERN: Why not?

JACK: Well, you... shouldn't you... be resting? Or something?

VERN: Resting? (laughs) Come on, Jack, who can rest when there's a newspaper to put out?

He walks over to JACK'S desk to look at his computer monitor, but JACK blocks his view.

JACK: Rest assured, Vern, I've got it covered. I know I rely on you a great deal, but I am capable of running this place in your absence, you know.

VERN: (smiles) I know that, Jack. But you can't keep a newspaper man away for too long. He gets homesick...

He tries to get past JACK, who once again blocks his way.

VERN: What is going on with you?

JACK: Do I have to spell it out for you?

VERN: Yeah, that might be nice for starters.

JACK: All right, here it is: you just got out of the hospital not more than 24 hours ago! How could Brian and Tanner let you out of their sight so soon? Not to mention my mother, the woman who gives new meaning to the word 'overprotective'-

VERN: (amused) Why, Jack...

JACK: What? What 'why, Jack'?

VERN: Are you worried about me?

OUT on JACK'S look of denial.



VERN wonders if JACK is worried about him.

VERN: You are, aren't you? You're worried about me.

JACK: (laughs nervously) Worried?

VERN: Yeah, you know--concerned, troubled, vexed-

JACK: Yes, yes, I do know what the word means, Mr. Webster.

VERN: You can admit it, you know.

JACK: (glaring at him) I'm not-

VERN: Fine, fine, whatever you say. (looks around the office) Looks like you've got a lot of moving in to do still, huh?

JACK: (sighs) All right, fine, have it your way.

VERN: Excuse me?

JACK: I admit it, okay?

VERN: (enjoying this) Admitting... what?

JACK: (gritting his teeth) That I'm worried about you. (beat) Happy now?

VERN: (grinning) Why, that's-

JACK dreads what he's about to say, which VERN notes.

VERN: -very kind of you, Jack.

JACK: (sarcastic laugh) Yes, that's me, benevolent to a fault.

VERN: I think it's perfectly all right for me to be here, though. I mean, it's only an editorial meeting. It's not going to kill me.

JACK: Damn it, Vern! (immediately gets scared) I-I'm sorry--I didn't mean that, I'm sorry...

VERN: Are you apologizing to me, Jack? (laughs) I could learn to like this...

JACK: (sighs) Look... It's not that I don't want you here, all right? But... I will not be the cause of you going into the hospital again, do you understand me?

VERN: Jack... Are you... Are you blaming myself for my heart attack?

JACK looks away and does not say anything.



VERN realizes JACK may be feeling guilty about possibly causing VERN'S heart attack.

VERN: Are you blaming yourself, Jack?

JACK: (very serious) Obviously... Obviously, if I hadn't been giving you such a hard time over my damn cufflinks or whatever the hell it was that I was barking at you about on my wedding day, you wouldn't have... I mean, you wouldn't have...

VERN: (smiles) Hey, look--it's not your fault, what happened. My arteries were clogged solid, Jack. Too much bacon and chicken fried steak and-

JACK: Green noodle tuna casserole?

VERN laughs.

VERN: You had nothing to do with it. In fact, the doctor was surprised I didn't have one sooner. (beat) But here I am, good as new, ready to take another beating from you-

JACK gives him a look.

VERN: (holding up his hands) Kidding, kidding!

JACK: (moving behind his desk, waves a finger at VERN) Do not kid about things like this, Vern... It's... It's tempting fate.

VERN: (rolling his eyes) Aye, aye, whatever you say, boss. (laughs) It is great to have you as my boss again.

JACK: (touched) Really? (quickly covers up his emotions) I-I mean, uh... really?

VERN: So, wha'cha been working on?

JACK: Trying to find someone to assign this princess series to, as a matter of fact.

VERN: The princess story? (disappointed) You mean... you're giving it to someone else?

JACK: Vern, you are on medical leave! Don't fight me on this one--I am not going to budge.

VERN: All right, okay! I was just... you know, I was looking forward to going to the coronation, that's all.

JACK: (looking at his computer monitor) Yes, well, those are the breaks. (looks up at VERN) I'm sorry.

VERN: No, I understand. Really. If you need my notes, they're on the shared server there. Everything should be backed up.

JACK: Good, good... (mutters) I just hope I can find someone at this short notice. I suppose the next step is to actually do an interview with the princess herself. (sarcastic laugh) That should be really deep. What are your goals in life? End world hunger? Promote world peace? Find Prince Charming?

VERN: Oh, come on, Jack, give her a break. I'm sure she's a nice young girl who's just like the rest of us.

JACK: Except she's about to come onto millions and gets to wear a tiara everyday. Yes. Just like the rest of us.

JENNIFER has come back from CITY HALL and knocks on JACK'S door.

JENNIFER: Hey, the meeting hasn't started yet, has it- (notices VERN) Vern!

VERN: Jenny-girl... (goes over to hug her)

JENNIFER: What are you doing here?

JACK: Good question. I was trying to extract a good enough answer from him earlier.

JENNIFER: My gosh, you just got out of the hospital, you shouldn't be here! (gives JACK a teasing grin) Five minutes with him could put you back in there in a hurry.

JACK: Thank you ever so much for your faith in me.

JENNIFER: Oh, it's only because I know you so well, darling.

JACK: And I'm so glad, dear.

VERN laughs.

JACK and JENNIFER: (simultaneously) What?

VERN: Nothing, nothing, just... It's good to be home again.

OUT on JACK and JENNIFER smiling at each other.



JACK and JENNIFER are getting ready for bed.

JENNIFER: (turning down the quilt) I really liked that Larson kid, Jack...

JACK is brushing his teeth, and grimaces when he hears her.

JENNIFER: (poking her head in the bathroom) Did you hear me?

JACK: (toothbrush in mouth) Yes, I heard you.

JENNIFER takes his toothbrush out.

JENNIFER: What did you say?

JACK: I said yes, I heard you. And I can't believe you just said what you said.

JENNIFER: What do you mean?

JACK: (takes the toothbrush out again) I mean, he's a complete neophyte, Jennifer. How can you even think of hiring him?

JENNIFER: Jack, he's going to be an intern. They're supposed to be neophytes, not seasoned reporters!

JACK: (spits into the sink and rinses) Well, I didn't say I was looking for someone who was ready to win a Pulitzer. Just someone who can write a decent story. (gets into bed with her) I guess I've just been spoiled.

JENNIFER: (smiles) What did you just say?

JACK: I said I wanted someone who can write a decent story.

JENNIFER: No, after that.

JACK tries to remember what he just said.

JENNIFER: (exasperated) About you being spoiled.

JACK: (half-smiles) Oh, yes, that.

JENNIFER: Yes, that. (beat) What did you say about that?

JACK: I said I've been spoiled.

JENNIFER: (trying to draw it out of him) By... whom?

JACK: (teasing her) By that last intern I had. DeeDee, was it? DeeDee Yates-

JENNIFER: (hitting him on the arm) Jack!

JACK: (laughs) No, wait, wait--Horton! Yes... I do believe her name was Miss Horton. (beat) Yes, she was something pretty special.

JENNIFER: (smiles) She had a pretty amazing boss herself.

JACK: Well, I don't want to be immodest-

JENNIFER: Yeah, Diana was the best boss an intern could ask for...

JACK glares at her.

JENNIFER: (laughs) Of course, she wasn't nearly as kissable as another boss I had.

JACK: I would hope not.

JENNIFER: Jack, come on... You know I loved working with you.

JACK: For me.

JENNIFER: With you.

JACK: All right, have it your way... (sarcastically) With me.

JENNIFER laughs.

JACK: Yeah, sure, laugh now. It isn't wise to antagonize your partner, you know. It makes for lots of tension at the office.

JENNIFER: Oh, really?

JACK: Yes, really.

JENNIFER: What kind of tension?

JACK: Well... Nothing that can't be... relieved, I suppose...

JENNIFER: Oh... Care to, um... elaborate?

JACK: (grins) I do think a little demonstration is in order...

OUT on their kissing.


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