Five Minutes from the Station
INT. AN OFFICE IN THE CITY - DAY
Meek but good-hearted white collar employee BERT ADAMS rattles the hook of his
telephone as he sits at his desk, trying to place a call. His big, white-
haired boss, a man of tremendous presence and authority, MR. MASON, stands
over him, watching.
Maybe she isn't home.
Oh, yes, she is.
Well, perhaps another time may be
better. Your wife may not like
springing a dinner guest on her this
You don't know her. If there's one
thing she loves, it's company. "Why
don't you bring Mr. Mason out to
dinner sometime?" That's what she's
(into the phone)
I gave you the number, didn't I?
Hadleyville 947, ring three. ...
Yeah, yes, ring three.
INT. ADAMS' FOYER - CONTINUOUS
Somewhere in the suburbs. A small room in which a phone rings. Bert's wife
CARRIE ADAMS, wearing a plain house dress and carrying a sleeping baby in her
arms, answers curtly.
Well, what do you want?
Throughout the PHONE CALL, we CUT BACK AND FORTH between Carrie in the foyer
and Bert and Mr. Mason (who paces around nearby, smoking a cigar) in the
(to Mr. Mason)
I got her, I got her.
Hello? Hello, ducky! It's me!
Oh, hello, Bertie. What are you
calling up about?
Well, for heaven's sake, can't I
call my best girl up once in a while
without giving a reason?
Who are you talking in front of?
Don't you wish you knew?
Ha ha ha! That's right. Keep her
Well, what's the bad news? Kept at
the office again by that old slave
Ah, no, no, honey, I - I just called
you up to tell you that I'll be home
on the 5:15 tonight.
Oh, well, if that's all, then goodbye.
She starts to hang up.
Wait a minute - wait a minute! I -
er, what's your hurry? I got a
surprise for ya. Guess what it is.
Mr. Mason fell dead and left you a
Bert shoots a nervous glance at Mr. Mason.
No-o. But you're on the right track
all right. Heh. Guess again.
You don't mean to say he's come
across with that raise he's been
promising you for the last--?
No, no, no. No, that isn't it, that
Well, then what is it?
Well, all right, honey, listen. Mr.
Mason -- the big boss, you know --
is coming out to dinner with me on
the 5:15 tonight.
(pause, chuckles, to Mason)
She's so tickled, she don't know what
Is she? Well, that's great.
Listen, here, neither you or that
boss of yours gets a meal out of
this house tonight!
Mason, checking his pocketwatch, watches Bert's face fall.
(awkwardly, to Carrie)
Yeah, all right, honey. Uh, we're
leaving now. Ta ta, ducky. ... Yes,
I'll tell him.
(chuckles, his voice breaks)
Bert hangs up.
EXT. ADAMS' HOUSE - EVENING
A cozy suburban bungalow -- lower middle class but nice enough. Bert and Mason
arrive and pause at the front gate.
Well, there you are. There's the
Nice little place, my boy.
Mason gives Bert a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. Bert opens the small,
wooden gate so that Mason may enter.
INT. LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Bert enters and stands in the room's doorway, calling nervously to Carrie.
(to Mason, behind him)
She isn't here. Well, come in. Come
Bert guides Mason into the room where they discover the dinner table set for
three. Bert seems rather relieved.
Well, everything is okay. I guess
we'll have something to eat in a
Ah, what a pretty little room.
Not bad. Not bad. Wonder if Carrie
put some of that watermelon rind
Bert approaches the table. Carrie, visible through a doorway, works in the
Carrie enters the living room and removes her apron. She's no longer in her
house dress, having put on something fancier for company. She's now well-
groomed and no longer in a sour mood: polite, pleasant, and a bit shy.
Oh! Oh, you're - you're here.
Sure, we're here. Meet Mr. Mason.
(shakes her hand, apologetic)
This is a sort of imposition on you.
Not at all. Glad to have you.
Didn't I tell ya?
I had to run over to Mrs. Dickie's
for just a second.
Well ... when do we eat?
Well, I - er - I wonder if I could
Oh, yes, indeed. Bertie'll show you.
Bert leans in and quietly speaks to Mason, a little self-consciously.
Yeah, it's, uh, right at the head of
Mason exits. Bert tries to take Carrie's hands in gratitude.
Well, you little world's wonder.
But she pulls away from him, upset.
Don't you dare speak to me, Bert
Well, what--? I thought--
Yes. You thought! Where did you
think I was gonna get any food
Well, I don't know. You have plenty,
And how did I get it? Going from
door to door to the neighbors,
begging for it, that's what I did.
Well, this ought to fix me for that
vacancy for the head of the shipping
department. It's still open.
You don't suppose you could land
that, do you?
Well, I don't know. Some of the boys
say it's as good as mine.
Bert! Do you really think so?
Well, what else would the old fella
come all the way down here for if it
wasn't to hand me the good news?
Maybe I could get an electric
Get two of them.
And a new kitty coop.
Oh, Bertie, wouldn't it be wonderful?
Carrie and Bertie hug one another happily. Mr. Mason returns, pausing in the
doorway at the sight of the couple's lingering embrace.
The couple break their clinch, a trifle embarrassed.
Well, Bert, you'd better run along
and juggle some ice and orange juice.
(grinning at her)
Bert exits into the kitchen as Carrie plays hostess.
Well, sit down, Mr. Mason. Make
yourself at home.
Carrie and Mason sit at the dinner table.
Everything's pushed back on the
stove so I guess it won't burn.
You have a lot on your hands getting
up fancy meals for company, haven't
This is isn't fancy. I hope you like
Oh, I love them.
Oh, that's good.
Um ... Bert's been with you for
quite a while now, hasn't he?
Oh, about three years, I believe.
He's a good steady fellow.
Oh, and he's smart, too.
Yes, he's awfully smart. Bertie
rigged up his own radio set.
You don't say so.
Made it for next to nothing. 'Course
it - it doesn't work quite right yet
It doesn't, hey?
Bert calls in from the kitchen.
BERT ADAMS (o.s.)
BERT ADAMS (o.s.)
Where are the oranges?
(chuckles, to Mason)
Oh, he can't find anything.
(calls to Bert)
Back of the flour barrel, darling.
I sometimes tell him he wouldn't
find his head in the morning if it
wasn't screwed on.
Bert enters with an empty bottle.
Oh, I found the bottle, honey, but
(takes bottle, brusquely)
Oh, give it to me. Jim Page sure has
more than he needs.
Carrie rises and exits into kitchen, leaving Bert alone with Mason.
Well, what do you know about that?
Have a cigar.
Oh, don't mind if I do.
Bert takes the offered cigar and pockets it.
Well, business is picking up.
Oh, yes, yes, sir. Business is
certainly fine in my department.
Bert takes a seat at the table.
What do you think about putting on
some new men?
Oh, we could certainly put 'em to
Well, what about ten for a start?
Well, that would be about right.
I've been thinking it over during my
lunch hour at the automat--
Oh, by the way, there's that vacancy
in the shipping department. Now,
Adams, I want to talk to you about
that. That's a big department, a
very big department.
Yes, sir. I'll say it is.
And we've got to find just the right
man for that place.
Carrie returns with the bottle filled.
Jim wasn't home. The best I could
get was ginger ale.
The men rise and Bert pours drinks for all.
Aw, that'll be all right. Well,
let's go. We'll drink to the success
of the shipping department.
Oh, no, no, no. Not the shipping
department. We'll drink to something
far more interesting. We'll drink to
our charming hostess.
Oh, thank you.
The men toast Carrie. Then everyone drinks their ginger ale.
Well ... sit down, won't you?
Yes, do sit down. I - I'll bring
Carrie exits into the kitchen. Mason sits. Bert nervously presents Mason with
a dish of pickles.
Would you, uh, like to have a pickle?
Mason stabs himself a pickle and puts it on his plate. Bert sits.
You were saying just before Carrie
Oh, yes, uh, what was I saying?
Uh, you were saying about the, uh,
Oh, yes, yes. That vacancy. That's
worrying me. About time it was filled,
Yes, sir, 'bout time it was filled.
Carrie enters with two bowls of soup for the men.
Bert, you run and get my plate. It's
all dished out on the table.
Bert hurries into the kitchen. Mason picks up a spoon to start on his soup but
Well, start right in before it cools.
Mason smiles and shows the spoon to Carrie who laughs nervously and rises.
Oh, I forgot to give you a soup spoon.
Carrie quickly pulls the right spoon from a nearby drawer and rejoins Mason at
the table, chuckling self-consciously.
Well, I tell you, living certainly
costs a lot these days.
Indeed, it does.
Money doesn't go very far unless
you've got lots of it.
You have to be a darn good manager.
Bert joins the conversation as he returns and gives Carrie her soup.
Well, that's what she is, all right,
Yes, but even counting the pennies
the way I do doesn't get you half
your needs. Why, last week our meat
Bert interrupts her as he takes his seat.
Oh, for heaven's sake, Carrie, what
does Mr. Mason care about our meat
Why, of course I care.
(pointedly, to Bert)
Of course he cares.
(continues, to Mason)
And it isn't only food. Baby's
clothes -- they cost something awful.
Bert waves her off, trying to stop her.
Oh, say, don't--
Mason looks at Bert who makes an apologetic face to his boss. Carrie makes an
insistent one to Bert and points to Mason for emphasis when Mason isn't
And, uh, Bert's commutation ticket
Yeah, it certainly does make a dent
in the little ol' bankroll.
There's nothing left to put in the
(changing the subject,
Oh, Mr. Mason was just talking about
that vacancy in the shipping
But he didn't get a chance to finish.
Oh, well, there's no hurry.
Oh, don't let me interrupt you. I
know Bert just loves to talk
business. He eats business.
When it comes to eating business,
you gotta hand it to the boss.
And I flatter myself that I'm a
darn good picker, too.
Oh, you certainly are. You always
find the right man for the right
Yes, and that's just why I came out
here. To find the right man for the
Carrie smiles broadly at Bert.
(quietly, with delight)
Bertie ... !
Adams, you've been with us quite a
while now, haven't you?
You've watched that department grow.
Yes, sir, I have.
And you ought to know it from
beginning to end now.
Oh, well ...
And you ought to know every man in
I do that.
Well, that's just why I came to you
in my search for the right man for
that place. Now, Adams, what would
you say ...
Mason pauses. Bert leans forward expectantly. Carrie can barely contain
What would you say if I were to put,
er, Henry Jacobs at the head of that
Bert is stunned. He glances at Carrie, then back to Mason.
Mason nods. Carrie is confused but sympathetic.
Oh, Bertie, I thought--
Bert thinks it over.
Why, I think he's the - best
possible man for that place, sir.
Carrie lowers her head in disappointment.
Is that so? Now, that's fine. You
know, I've been watching him for a
long time and he seems to be very
Mason sniffs the air, looks around.
Well, what's that?
Isn't there something burning?
Carrie rises, in tears.
It - it's the dinner!
Carrie rushes to the kitchen.
The stove and the oven. Steam pours out of a kettle. The chicken has burned.
CUT BACK TO:
INT. LIVING ROOM
Bert sits alone with Mason.
Mr. Mason, you haven't anybody in
your concern as good as Jacobs for
I'm very glad to hear you say that.
Yes, sir. He's a fine man.
You've been with us long enough for
me to value your opinion, Adams. Oh,
by the way, how about the trains
back to town? I have an appointment
at nine o'clock.
Mason checks his watch, Bert pulls out his train schedule and consults it.
Well, there's one - one at seven-
fifteen. That's a theater train. The
next one is at, uh-- No, that only
runs on holidays. Next one is eleven-
Eleven-twenty? Great Scott, that's
terrible. Well, I've simply got to
get that seven-fifteen back, then.
It's a shame but I--
All right, sir. If you really feel
you have to go.
The men rise.
I'll call you a taxi.
Thanks, if you will.
Bert exits. Carrie enters, dejected, and joins Mason.
Everything's spoiled. Burned to a
Oh, that's too bad.
I got so excited listening to you.
(suddenly, with passion)
Oh, Mr. Mason, what's the matter with
Bert that he didn't get that job? He
had his heart set on it. And he's
worked so hard. Sometimes I think
I'll go crazy if I listen to that -
that alarm another morning. But he's
so afraid of being late. At night,
he comes home with reports and sits
around figuring until it's time to
go to bed. I beg him to take me to
the movies but he won't. I can't
get him outside the house.
(lowers her head, sadly)
This is what he gets for it.
Someone else gets shoved in ahead
Halfway through Carrie's speech, Bert returns and pauses reluctantly in the
Don't listen to her, Mr. Mason.
He will listen to me! What right's
he got to pass you over? He wants a
good man for the job. Why doesn't he
see the best man in the world right
in front of his nose?
Stop, Carrie. Mr. Mason, don't mind
Oh, but I do.
than angry, to Carrie)
Now, you see what you've done?
(turns on Bert, angry)
I don't care! I - I'd rather you'd
starved to death than work for him
any more! If you had any nerve,
you'd speak up and say that you feel
the way I do. But, no! You'd rather
sit around being a clerk all your
Don't you worry, Mrs. Adams. He
won't be a clerk in my employ much
Oh, you don't mean to say, sir,
you're lettin' me go just because
Certainly I'm gonna let you go. I
won't have discontented people
around me. From now on, your desk
will be vacant, Adams, and you'll
move into my outer office.
Bert and Carrie look at Mason in stunned disbelief.
Your - your - ? What'd you say?
You're going to be my assistant from
Certainly. I was going to put him
there. But I first wanted to find
out what sort of stuff he was made
Bert and Carrie chuckle nervously. Bert holds out an arm to Carrie.
Pinch me, will ya? I'm dreaming.
I knew you had brains but I doubted
just how much initiative you had
Oh, but I don't see--
Why, the minute you picked up the
phone to call your wife, I knew
that she'd forbidden you to bring
me out here.
You knew that?
Why, certainly, from the look on his
Oh, that's all right. I knew very
well that just showed me what sort
of a wife he had. One who would help
him to get along, who could forget
her grouch and put on a dinner with
a moment's notice.
Oh, and what a dinner. If - if
you'll wait, I'll cook up some eggs
Thank you, I'd like to but some
other time. And another thing, Adams,
you've proven yourself to be a great
asset to the firm. Much bigger than
you guess. I knew you had your eye
on that shipping room job but when
I proposed someone else whom I
thought better equipped, did you
run him down? No, you did not. You
showed that you had real heart
interest in the business. Takes a
pretty big man to boost another
fellow for the job that he wants
delighted and stunned)
I'm going around in circles.
And you, Mrs. Adams, you proved that
you wouldn't let anybody, boss or no
boss, trample on your husband. Now,
together, you two young folks ought
to go very far. Well, you move into
your new quarters on Monday, Adams.
I'm gonna kiss you if they shoot me
Carrie embraces Mason and kisses him. They share a chuckle. Meanwhile, Bert is
I, uh, I - I -
(clears his throat)
Adams, you'll find a substantial
raise in your envelope next week.