Sunday, January 28, 2007

Run, Olson! Run!



Stock set up. Ominous chords are heard.


Every eye in the store is on . . .

SARAH OLSON, young, blonde, journalist.

She fidgets uncomfortably with her long hair as the ominous music continues to play in the background.

She shifts from foot to foot.

She sighs.

She rolls her eyes.

She stands at the counter with a LONG LINE OF PEOPLE waiting behind her.

We see a puzzled CLERK behind the counter. Clerk clears throat.

CLERK: Ma'am, I need an answer.

Sarah Olson shakes her head and narrows her eye.

SARAH: You cannot make me answer.

Sarah Olson turns around to face the Long Line Of People.

SARAH: This is not free speech! People, this is Starbucks trying to force me to answer their questions. They are asking me to answer their question and essentially, uh, verify my order. They want to have me answer their question. That is, you know, not the way things are done. A reporter asks questions. A reporter doesn't, like, answer questions.

CLERK: Ma'am, what are you ordering?

SARAH: See! Do you see what he is doing? He is attempting to force me to answer! Against, you know, my will! This is about free speech, this is about a free press, this is, you know --

VOICE 1: (Interrupting) About my getting to work on time, hurry up!

SARAH: Mm-hmm. That's right. Free speech. Thank you for that. It is free speech.

CLERK: Are you planning to order?

Sarah Olson spins around gasping and stares at Clerk.

SARAH: Are you asking me about my legal strategy? I can't really talk too much, you know, about, like, my legal strategy right now. But what I think is very important is that there are a couple of different, a couple of different issue. We come in here for coffeee. You can't grill us just for that reason. You can't force us, or, you know, at least reporters, you can't force reporters to answer your questions.

CLERK: I just want to know what you're ordering.

SARAH: My legal strategy, what I will or will not do, is my business.

Sarah Olson turns back to the Long Line of People.

SARAH: If I answer his questions, no one will ever trust me again. If I can't be a trusted reporter, no one will ever talk to me again.

VOICE 2: I find it hard to believe anyone talks to you now! Order!

The crowd begins chanting "Order! Order! Order!" repeatedly.

Grinning, Sarah Olson turns to Clerk.

SARAH: You see what's happening? The people, you know, are coming to my defense. They're on my side. They know that it is, you know, my job to report the news not to answer what Starbucks is, again, asking me, a journalist, to build some sort of defense for them. And I think, you know, kind of the final thing, is that voices like your voice are alarming and really do threaten the, you know, the informed citizenry which is, like, kind of the lifeblood of democracy, and without --

CLERK: Next in line.

WOMAN steps in front of a shocked Sarah Olson.

WOMAN: Espresso Macchiato, dry, with room, in a Grande please.

CLERK: Coming right up.

Sarah Olson's watches with mouth wide open as Clerk begins making the drink.

Shaking her head, she heads for the exit.

Stopping at the door, she turns around to face everyone.

SARAH: Thank you. Thank you all. Your support is making a difference. Again, I can't quite talk about kind of, like, the legal strategy I'm going to employ. But with your support Starbucks will be convinced -- for example -- that questioning journalists is -- It's kind of the -- the very idea of being asked to cooperate is what I find so offensive. I haven't gotten a significant amount of media coverage yet but I hope people will continue to cover me, will continue to look at, you know, why I am important. I think I'm a very interesting case because this is not something where I'm being asked to reveal a confidential source or, you know, talk about unpublished material. But it is a question they want answered, it is a form of oppression to free speech.
And so, I think people are a little slow to understand that I am really something new and really alarming. But people are certianly -- have been very supportive, and I think, you know, with, uh, any luck, they'll continue to be so. Free free speech! Free the free press!

Sarah Olson bows, opens the door and strides out.

Next week, Sarah Olson takes the battle for free speech and a free press to the Gap when a pushy clerk has the audacity to inquire: "May I help you?"
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }