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The 2023 Wooder Crisis

JEREMY enters, wearing waders over a button shirt and carrying a clipboard. He addresses the audience. 

 

JEREMY: My name is Jeremy Plotnick and I work for the Philadelphia Water Department. Before March 25th, 2023, I lived a very quiet life … My work was very fulfilling. 

CUT TO: JEREMY, COWORKER #1 and COWORKER #2, all holding water glasses.

 

COWORKER #1: Another successful report on flocculation in the water system!

They clink glasses. COWORKER #1 and COWORKER #2 exit. 

 

JEREMY: My family life was happy. 

 

CUT TO: JEREMY, WIFE and SON  

 

WIFE: Babe, dinner’s ready. I used tap water for the soup and it’s especially delicious. 

 

SON (holding out picture book about water cycle): Daddy, will you read me a story?

The three embrace. WIFE and SON exit. 

 

JEREMY: I had a satisfying social life.

 

CUT TO: JEREMY, PROM QUEEN holding water glass, and QUARTERBACK carrying sign reading “Class of 2001 Reunion.”

 

PROM QUEEN: Jeremy Plotnick! Class of 2001 Most Likely to Succeed, and you sure have! This tap water is incredible.

 

QUARTERBACK: You have to come to our game night. With your strategic municipal mind, everyone will be fighting to have you on their team for Power Grid! 

 

PROM QUEEN: Thank you for your service. 

PROM QUEEN and QUARTERBACK exit.

 

JEREMY: I never asked for the limelight. But on March 25th, everything changed. 

 

NEWSCASTER enters and sits in chair, reading from report.

 

NEWSCASTER: The city of Philadelphia has warned residents of a chemical spill in Bristol that may cause contamination to city drinking water. Residents are advised to stock up on bottled water and not drink from the tap after 2 pm today. 

PHILADELPHIAN #1 and PHILADELPHIAN #2 scuffle. 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1: Get out of my way! This is MY Acme! 

 

NEWSCASTER: Water is now reported as safe for use until midnight tonight. Residents are advised to start storing tap water in all available containers. 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1 (holds up container): My dog’s ashes were in this, I said F it. 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #2 (holds up ice sculpture in container): I stole this ice sculpture from a wedding. Figured it would last me a while. 

 

NEWSCASTER: Already the city is receiving pushback to their messaging.

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1: So what happens after midnight, Kenney? What am I, Cinderella?

 

NEWSCASTER: And residents are quickly learning where their water actually comes from. 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1 (holding glass): Wait. We been drinkin from the Delaware this whole time? So this water’s half Jersey?

 

PHILADELPHIAN #2 spits water back into glass. 

 

NEWSCASTER: As the crisis continues, all eyes are on the Philadelphia Water Department, an organization used to flying under the radar that is now getting more notice than ever before.  

JEREMY, COWORKER #1 and COWORKER #2 are busy at work, frantically handling different calls and Zooms.

 

JEREMY (on phone): Yes Mister Mayor, I’m at your service, I’ll call you back, I’m on with the National Guard…

 

COWORKER #1: Jeremy, our social media numbers have tripled! Great idea to start that TikTok. 

 

JEREMY: Hey National Guard, give me one second. (He starts filming video.) Hey it’s me Jeremy, here with your latest water update… 

 

COWORKER #2: It’s terrible this happened, but kind of amazing the water department is getting so much attention!

 

They exit. JEREMY smiles at audience.

 

JEREMY: Yeah, that’s right. I DID THIS! (stands) … My name is Jeremy Plotnick and I work for the Philadelphia Water Department. What I told you before about my life was a lie. Before the water crisis, my life was miserable. No one knew who I was and nobody cared…Work was depressing as hell…

CUT TO: JEREMY, COWORKER #1 and COWORKER #2

 

JEREMY: Ok guys, our visibility numbers are really low. We need a new slogan.

 

COWORKER #1: How about… the Philadelphia Water Department. We do more than send you bills. Or, Philly water is like our attitudes… hard.

 

COWORKER #2: Don’t go chasing waterfalls … stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to? 

 

JEREMY: My home life was miserable.

 

CUT TO: JEREMY, WIFE and SON 

 

WIFE: How was your day?

 

JEREMY: The 2021 Drinking Water Quality report is out. Our turbidity levels did very well this year. 

 

WIFE: Boring. 

 

SON: Daddy, Daddy! Will you read me a story?

 

JEREMY: I’ll do you one better.  (Reading from water report) Unregulated contaminant monitoring found that bromide was found at a level of 0.034 parts per million, which is within the accepted range. 

 

SON: You suck! (SON kicks JEREMY in shin, WIFE puts arm around SON and they walk off, looking disgustedly at JEREMY.) 

 

JEREMY: I had no friends.

CUT TO: JEREMY, PROM QUEEN holding beer bottle, QUARTERBACK holding “Class of 2001 Reunion” sign. 

 

PROM QUEEN: So what do you do… Gary?

 

JEREMY: It’s Jeremy. I work for the Philadelphia Water Department. 

 

PROM QUEEN: The what?

 

QUARTERBACK: Never heard of it. (They laugh and walk off.)

 

JEREMY: On my 39th birthday, I was drinking alone.

CUT TO: JEREMY at bar a couple seats away from SHADY GUY. JEREMY waves to BARTENDER. 

JEREMY: Lemme get a double of water, neat.

BARTENDER gives him glass of water. 

 

JEREMY (holding up glass, ranting to nobody): You know, I make this happen? I make this happen, and nobody cares. Nobody respects what I do! I’m tired of being a nobody! 

 

SHADY GUY: I know a guy, works at the Trinseo chemical plant in Bristol. Might be able to help you out. For a price. 

 

JEREMY hands him bag of money.

 

SHADY GUY (on phone): Mikey. Remember when I took care of that body in the Pine Barrens for you? I need a favor.

 

CHEMICAL GUY (on phone, entering with bucket labeled “Chemicals”): You got it, boss. (Hangs up phone and “accidentally” spills bucket) Whoopsie! 

 

JEREMY: From there things really started to happen. And before long everybody knew who I was. 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1: That’s the guy from the water department! 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #2: It’s Jeremy! Lemme get a selfie, bro! 

JEREMY sits down with NEWSCASTER. 

 

NEWSCASTER: I have with me a rising star in the water treatment industry, Jeremy Plotnick. Jeremy, I think it’s fair to say that the whole world is realizing how important you are, and we’d also like to recognize your valuable contribution to society. (Ladens him with awards, tiara, sash)

JEREMY (answering his phone): Oprah. Hi. I’ll call you back. 

NEWSCASTER: You’re now known as the H2Bro, you have over 100 million followers on TikTok, you have a deal with Netflix…you’re on top of the world!

 

JEREMY: But as quickly as my star had risen, it started to fall. 

CUT TO: COWORKER #1, COWORKER #2 and JEREMY at the office

 

COWORKER #1: Now that the water crisis is over, no one cares about us anymore. 

 

COWORKER #2: Jeremy, just give up the TikTok and do your paperwork. 

 

JEREMY: My family life suffered. 

CUT TO: JEREMY and WIFE with her arm around SON

 

WIFE: It’s H2Bro, or us, Jeremy! 

JEREMY is busy with water reports and on the phone. 

 

WIFE: We’re leaving! (SON kicks him) 

 

JEREMY: Nobody seemed to care who I was anymore. 

CUT TO: JEREMY, PHILADELPHIAN #1 and PHILADELPHIAN #2

 

JEREMY: I work for the Philadelphia Water Department.

PHILADELPHIAN #1 and PHILADELPHIAN #2 make “so what” gestures and turn away.

 

PHILADELPHIAN #1: Oh yeah, remember that water crisis? 

 

PHILADELPHIAN #2: Oh, is that when the water department kept blowing up my phone? 

 

JEREMY: So I got a little power hungry.  

CUT TO: JEREMY and SHADY GUY

 

JEREMY: We gotta go national. Expand to other cities. I’ll come in as advisor, get national exposure. Talk to your friend in Chicago. 

 

JEREMY and SHADY GUY pace the stage.

 

JEREMY: I got greedy.

 

JEREMY (to SHADY GUY): I see an opportunity to grow this. Talk to your guy at Aquafina. 

 

JEREMY and SHADY GUY pace the stage.

 

JEREMY: I got… out of control.

 

JEREMY (to SHADY GUY): Before the next one, we gotta short Dasani stock. Get your Wall Street buddy on. 

 

JEREMY and SHADY GUY pace the stage...

 

JEREMY: … And it all fell apart.

NEWSCASTER and QUARTERBACK enter, sit in chairs. 

 

NEWSCASTER: Jeremy Plotnick, a former Philadelphia Water Department star, has been convicted of a nationwide scam to taint municipal water supplies in order to grow his brand as the H2Bro along with receiving kickbacks from insider trading and bottled water companies directly. The scam ran for three years before an old classmate noticed a pattern on Jeremy’s social media accounts. 

 

QUARTERBACK: Oh you mean Gary? Yeah, he was doing bottled water Sponcon so I thought something was up, man. 

 

NEWSCASTER: Plotnick will serve a ten year sentence for endangering public safety and committing wire fraud. 

 

JEREMY: Would I do it again, you ask? Put it this way: I’m not the one you need to worry about. There are hundreds of disgruntled water department employees out there. And if we don’t get the respect we deserve, there will be another Jeremy Plotnick! There will be another Jeremy Plotnick! There will be another––

 

GUARD: Jeremy Plotnick! ... Visiting hours are over. 

 

JEREMY: I gotta go. 

 

BLACKOUT

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