Driving Miss Mobley: A Wintertime Odyssey in California Wine Country. Act IV, Scene 3 (Santa Cruz).
[The scene opens with a slow tracking shot of Esther and Boke leaving the Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards tasting room with bottles of port and brandy in a wine carrying case. It is approaching 4pm, and both are by now more than a little intoxicated from their previous stops, in addition to being soaked from their impromptu dance].
[The pair stumble out onto the sidewalk, deposit the contents in the trunk of the Tesla, and then walk arm in arm on unsteady legs to the Bottle Jack Wines tasting room, which is only a few blocks from Silver Mountain Winery].
[The tasting room is filled to overflowing with festive, wine-themed Christmas decorations and crowded to capacity with appreciative guests. “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” by Johnny Mathis is playing loudly on the stereo].
[The rain has stopped, so Esther and Boke decide to stand outside on the patio. They exit the tasting room with two glasses of 2018 Sierra Foothills Viognier and an opened bottle of 2014 Santa Cruz Mountains Petite Sirah. Boke extracts from his soft-sided cooler a pair of sandwiches made with El Salchichero bresaola and Monterey Jack cheese served on Companion Bakery sourdough bread brushed with toasted sunflower oil and aged balsamic vinegar. They eat the sandwiches hungrily in between sips of wine].
E: Why haven’t we covered Bottle Jack Wines in The Press yet? I really like this Sierra Foothills Viognier, and the Petite is delicious! Maybe they aren’t complex wines, but they are damn good. Bold wines that make a statement have their place, especially with food this good.
B: When you assign someone who lives in San Francisco to cover the local wine scene around here, you’ll miss out on places like this, and social media will jump in to fill the vacuum. You should hire somehow who can give the Santa Cruz Mountains the coverage it deserves.
E: Someone like you?
B: For example.
E: So you’ve agreed to accept my offer, then?
[Boke is about to respond but is interrupted by the sound of Esther’s iPhone vibrating].
E: Just a sec. [Takes the call]. Hello? Yes, of course it’s me. Sure, I can talk. Just make it quick. What? What?? As in, like, now? And what shall I tell him when he asks me why? And they need the car back when? When?? Are you kidding me?
[Esther starts to get extremely angry].
E: This is so not right. You know, Eric at the Times would never stand for this sort of thing on Christmas Eve. Even Dave at the goddamn Washington Post would say no, and between you and me, that man is a fucking IDIOT who knows SHIT about wine.
[Esther takes a sip from her glass of Viognier].
E: Tell Audrey and her Hearst slave masters that they can bite my honey sweet (c-word) if they think they can ask me to fire my own goddamn driver and return that fucking Tesla of theirs anytime soon. Why not? Because I am not their fucking monkey, that’s why. Because I am a goddamn AWARD-WINNING wine critic who went to SMITH FUCKING COLLEGE and if they actually think that they can order me around like this, tell them to jam rolled up copies of The Chronicle covered in steaming DOG SHIT straight up their worn out, middle-aged assholes. And then set those newspapers on fire.
[Esther finishes her glass of Viognier].
E: No, don’t tell them I actually said that, you idiot. Or that. Definitely not that part. Look. I gotta go. We’ll talk tomorrow when I am more sober. Bye. Happy FUCKING Holidays to you, too!
[Esther presses the end call button on her phone and sets it on the high-top table where she and B. are standing. She takes her glass of Viognier and smashes it directly on top of the phone before then kicking the table over on its side].
[Esther then picks up the damaged phone off the ground and hurls it against the wall where it shatters to pieces. From inside the tasting room, the sounds of Johnny Mathis singing “Silver Bells” can be heard].
B: That went well.
E: Dude, you’re fired. And I need to drop the Tesla off at the dealership by 7am tomorrow or they’ll fine me $500 a day until I do. Budget cuts ordered by corporate, effective immediately. I should sue them for harassment in the workplace for every penny that they are worth. Imbeciles!
[Esther locates the Petite Sirah bottle lying half empty on the ground and lets its contents spill slowly onto the ground].
E: Well, ya’ can’t be ma’ driver no more, Boke, but that don’t mean we can’t still be friends.
[Boke smiles and plays along].
B: Miss Moblee, no’ne at Hearst nah an’ otha’ place cun come b’tween us na’more. I tells youz whot.
E: Boke, I luv ya’, an’ that is tha’ truth.
[Boke is silent].
E: Let’s find a quiet place where we can recover and plan our next moves, dude. A stiff drink wouldn’t hurt, either. We’re done with wine.
B: I know a good spot. It’s not far.
E: Let me drive. I am more able at this stage than you. Just tell me how to get there.
E: And I pick the music.
[Boke indicates his agreement].
[The pair walk back to the Tesla. Esther enters the driver’s seat and cues up “Redemption Day” by Sheryl Crow featuring the late Johnny Cash] to play on the car stereo using her iPhone. After they listen in silence for a few minutes, she pulls out of the parking lot, heading for their final destination].
[End of Act IV].