NewsRadio Episode 603:  "Custody Battle"
by NewsRadiator

Disclaimer:  I do not own these characters.  I'm just playing with them for a while.

Author's Note:  Please send all feedback to

"Custody Battle"

Scene 1:  Dave's Office

          Dave is sitting behind his desk when Jimmy walks in.

Jimmy:  Hiya, Dave.

Dave:  Good morning, sir.  You've finally decided to show your face around here today.

Jimmy:  Dave, I'm retired.  So far, sleeping in is about the only perk I've discovered.
Dave:  Uh huh.  My heart bleeds for you.

Jimmy:  So are you all settled in?

Dave:  I think so . . . finally.

Jimmy:  Good, good.  What about Beth?

Dave:  What about her?

Jimmy:  Well, how does she feel about being your secretary again?

Dave:  I don't know.  We haven't discussed it.

Jimmy:  Okay, does she even know she's your secretary again?

Dave:  I would assume so.  It's the logical conclusion.  Why?

Jimmy:  You don't know about Beth and Brett, do you?

Dave:  Obviously not.

Jimmy:  Let's just say they have a slight competition going on.

Dave:  How slight?

Jimmy:  They hate each other.  Actually, hate is a mild word for what those two have
          between them.

Dave:  Why do they feel that way?  Did Beth steal his boyfriend or vice versa?

Jimmy:  No.  They just have this competition to see who the better secretary is.

Dave:  Uh . . . tell me, since when did Beth care about that?

Jimmy:  Since she started having to share her boss with another secretary.

Dave:  Nothing like a little competition to drive Beth to do her best.

Jimmy:  Yeah.  Let me tell you, it's a hoot to watch them battle it out.

Dave:  What do they do?

Jimmy:  See for yourself.

          Jimmy leads Dave to the door, and they look into the bullpen.  Beth is at the snack table, pouring coffee.  Brett walks up and stands beside her.  He grabs a mug and starts pouring his own at the other coffeemaker.

Beth:  Just what the hell do you think you're doing?

Brett:  Um . . . just what the hell does it LOOK like I'm doing, dumbass?

Beth:  You work for the newspaper, so technically you have no right to drink coffee from
          the station's coffeemaker.

Brett:  I'm not going to drink it myself.

Beth:  MR. JAMES!!

Jimmy:  I'm not involved.  You know better, Bethie.

Brett:  He just called you a cow.

Beth:  Bethie . . . not Bessie, you MORON!

Brett:  We'll just see who the moron is.

          He bolts for Dave's office, knocking Matthew over in the process.

Matthew:  Okay, this time it was NOT my fault.

          Beth chases after him, and Jimmy and Dave barely have time to get out of the way as Brett and Beth run through the doorway.

Scene 2:  Lisa's Office

          Beth and Brett tumble through the doorway connecting to Dave's office.  Lisa is at her desk.

Beth and Brett:  Lisa, I brought you coffee.

          They glare at each other before turning back to Lisa.

Lisa:  Oh . . . thanks, but Dave and I stopped on the way to work.  I already have coffee.

          Beth slings her coffee on Brett's lap then turns to Dave.

Beth:  Damn you, Dave!

Dave:  (motions to the coffee on Brett's pants)  No, damn YOU.  I would've drunk that.

Scene 3:  Basement

          Joe is lying down beside his tool box, working on the printing press.  Matthew is sitting on the floor watching.  Joe is hammering something.

Matthew:  Joe, exactly what are you doing?

Joe:  Based on my calculations, I can increase the speed of the printing press by at least
          thirty percent with just a few minor adjustments.

Matthew:  Minor adjustments?  Joseph, you're beating it with a hammer.

Joe:  Dude, just trust me, okay?

Matthew:  But you don't even work for the newspaper.  Who's doing your job upstairs
          while you're down here tinkering with something you shouldn't even be touching?

Joe:  Spaz, I'm in the business of fixing things.  Now who is the source of most of the
          mishaps -- electrical and otherwise -- upstairs?

Matthew:  I am.

Joe:  That's why I brought you down here with me.  Nothing’' gonna go wrong upstairs
          as long as you're not there.  Don't worry.

Matthew:  Okay, sweetie.

          Joe stops what he's doing and peers at Matthew.

Matthew:  Oh, sorry.  I'm just taking Brett's advice.  He said to loosen up and to do and
          say whatever feels natural.

Joe:  And that feels natural?

Matthew:  Well, not really.  I guess I got carried away.

Joe:  Matthew, if you EVER call me sweetie again, this hammer is gonna find its way to
          your face.  Are we clear on that?

Matthew:  Crystal.

Joe:  Great.  So . . . you have to do and say what feels natural, huh?

Matthew:  Yeah.

          Joe laughs then returns to his place underneath the machine.

Joe: (singing as loudly as he can)  You make me feel . . . You make me feel . . . You
          make me feel like a NATURAL WOMAN!

Matthew:  Sing it, brother . . . .  Hey, wait a minute!

Scene 4:  Dave's Office

          Dave is sitting on his desk, and Lisa is pacing back and forth.

Lisa:  I knew it was bad between those two, but I didn't realize just how bad.

Dave:  What, it didn't strike you as odd that they race to your office to give you coffee on
          what Mr. James tells me is a daily basis?

Lisa:  Well, yeah, but she's never slung it on him before.  This is a new twist.
Dave:  Uh huh.

Lisa:  Besides, I've had a lot on my mind the last few months.  I had my own soap opera
          going on.  I couldn't tune in everyday to see what drama was unfolding in the lives
          of my secretaries.

Dave:  Relax.  '’m not accusing you of anything.  The important thing to consider is how
          to deal with this.

Lisa:  Fire them both and save the trouble?

Dave:  Someone's in a charitable mood today.

Lisa:  I'm just worried about the emergency room bills if Beth keeps on pouring scalding
          coffee on her fellow employees' laps . . . not to mention the lawsuits.

Dave:  Look at the bright side.  If a straight guy took scalding coffee in the lap, he would
          be left one-hundred percent dysfunctional . . . sexually speaking.  Brett, on the
          other hand, will only be left halfway dysfunctional.  He can still find . . . alternative
          enjoyment in life.

          Lisa busts out laughing until she sees Brett standing in the doorway connecting to her office.

Brett:  I heard that.  It seems I can add discriminatory homosexual jokes to my lawsuit.

Dave:  I'm sorry, Brett.  I was only joking.

Brett: (sticks out arm)  Talk to the hand, Hetero!  Lisa, what are you going to do about

Lisa:  Don't worry.  Dave and I were just discussing it.  We'll deal with it.

Brett:  Fire the psycho.  The doctors say I've lost any chance of passing on my genes to
          the next generation.

Dave:  Oh, they did not.  Besides, there was never a chance of that in first place.

Brett:  Keep talking, Dave.  That's one more count to the lawsuit.

Dave:  Whatever.

Brett:  Whatever indeed!

          He storms out the way he came.  Lisa just sighs and looks at the ceiling.

Dave:  Ugh . . .

Lisa:  Do me a favor and let me do the talking next time.  I just might be able to save your
          ASS from getting SUED!

Scene 5:  Breakroom

          Dave and Lisa walk in to find Beth sitting on the counter eating chips.

Beth:  (sarcastically)  How's the patient?

Dave:  He got back from the ER about half an hour ago, Miss Bobbitt.  Luckily, he won't
          have any permanent sexual side effects.

Beth:  Lucky for whom?

Lisa:  Beth, we've come to a decision about what to do.

Beth:  Fire him?

Dave:  Why on earth would we fire him?  He didn't burn anyone.

Beth:  Okay, I'll keep my optimism in check from now on, but I can dream can't I?

Lisa:  We're leaving it up to you.

Beth:  I get to fire him?

Dave:  Once again . . . he's not getting fired.

Lisa:  We're giving you the choice of who to work for.

Beth:  I have to choose between the two of you?

Dave:  I seriously doubt loyalty to either one of us is going to enter into the equation.  I
          suspect it will have more to do with whether you want to work with the same
          people you've been working with for all these years . . . or if you want to persist in
          your mission to make a fool of Brett.

Beth:  Why can't I just work for both of you?  I could do it.

Lisa:  Dave, we're witnessing a major event in history.  Beth is inquiring about the
          possibility of doing more work.

Beth:  HA!  Even I have motivation.

Dave:  Yeah, he's about 6'2" and feminine.

          Max walks in and grabs a soda from the refrigerator.

Max:  If it weren't for the height part, I'd swear you were talking about yourself, Dave.

Dave:  No one asked for your opinion, Max.

Max:  Oh, I'm sorry.  Did I hurt you?  That's what you get for making my pig sleep in the

Lisa:  Max, go away.

Dave:  Yeah.  Go find Joe and Matthew.  They disappeared after the staff meeting this
          morning.  God only knows what they're doing.

          Joe and Matthew walk in.

Max:  See how fast I found them?  Am I good or what?

          Max leaves as everyone rolls their eyes at him.

Dave:  Where have you two been all morning?

Matthew:  Don't look at me.  It wasn's my idea.

Joe:  Lisa, if you'll follow me, I have a surprise for you.

Lisa:  Oh no . . .

Scene 6:  Basement

          Joe, Matthew, and Lisa are all standing watching the printing press.

Lisa:  Joe, what's the surprise?

Joe:  Your printin' press is gonna start in about fifteen seconds.

Lisa:  Fascinating . . . but I have seen it in operation before.  Nothing new about it.

Joe:  Just wait until you see how fast it goes.

Matthew:  I helped.

Lisa:  Joe, I'm going to kill you.  What the hell are you doing touching my printing press?

Joe:  Just calm down.  Don't chew me out until you see the results.

          The printing press roars to life and then quickly putters out.  Joe swallows then looks to see Lisa with a pissed expression on her face.

Matthew:  I had nothing to do with this.  I didn't help at all.

Scene 7:  WNHX Newsroom

          Beth is sitting at her desk talking on the phone.

Beth:  No, this is WNHX . . . .  Yes, we're in the same building as the newspaper . . . .
          No one answered the phone over there?  Oh well, okay, I'll give her the message
          . . . .  Okay, thanks.  Bye.

          She writes down a message then pins it up on the bulletin board to give to Lisa when she gets back from the basement.  Beth gets up and heads for the breakroom.  Brett walks by and sees the message on the board.  He looks around before snatching the paper and walking away.

Scene 8:  Dave's Office

          Max is pacing around the office while Dave is trying to get some work done.

Dave:  Max . . . what's on your mind?

Max:  Beth.

Dave:  What now?

Max:  I'm worried that there might be something going on with Brett.

Dave:  Like what?

Max:  Something more than your average friendly rivalry.

Dave:  Max, she poured coffee on his lap.  That's about as unfriendly as you can get.

Max:  But you and I both know that rivalries between members of the opposite sex
          inevitably turn into something more.

Dave:  Not always.

Max:  What about you and Lisa?  How did you two start out?

Dave:  Okay, I see your point, but that doesn't mean that Beth and Brett are attracted to
          one another.  She's not his type.  For God's sakes, no one female is his type.

Max:  What . . . you've never seen The Object of My Affection?

Dave:  No, I haven't.  Regardless, you have nothing to worry about.  Wait . . . why am I
          reassuring you in the first place?  You have no right to worry about this.  Beth will
          never break down.  You will NOT have your way with her.

Max:  Someday, Dave.  Someday.  Never underestimate Max Louis.

Dave:  (sarcastically)  Of course not.  I'll just leave myself open for a long string of

          Max leaves in a huff.

Scene 9:  Lisa's Office

          Joe is sitting on the couch, and Lisa is sitting on her desk with her head in her hands.

Lisa:  What could you have possibly been thinking, Joe?

Joe:  Look, I'm sorry, but we shouldn' be wasting our time in here when I should be
          down there fixin' the printin' press.

Lisa:  NO!  I sent the paper's maintenance specialist down there.  It's what he does!  If
          you had the first clue about what you were doing down there, we wouldn't be in
          this mess in the first place!

          Jimmy walks in the door connecting to the pape'’s newsroom.

Jimmy:  What the hell is going on?  Why isn't the paper printing?

Lisa:  Mr. Fix-It tried to soup it up.

Jimmy:  Oh, Joe . . .

Joe:  I'm sorry.  It worked for a little while.

Lisa:  Yeah, all of two seconds.

Jimmy:  The paper is supposed to be delivered tomorrow morning.  What are we gonna

Lisa:  I have someone down there looking at it.  He hasn't told me anything yet.

Jimmy:  Just great, just great.  Joe, did you bother to ask Lisa before you did this?

Joe:  No, I wanted to surprise her.

Lisa:  Let me tell you, Joe.  You succeeded.  You surprised the hell out of me.

Joe:  Just not very pleasantly, right?

Lisa:  You got it.

Jimmy:  Joe, you're a dead man.

Joe:  Yes, sir.

          The phone buzzes, and Brett's voice comes through.

Brett:  Lisa, I just got a call from Councilwoman Jenkins.  She sounds pissed.
          Apparently, she left a message for you to call her back immediately.  Something
          about an emergency meeting at City Hall.  It's over now, but she wanted you to be

Lisa:  Dammit, who took the message?

Brett:  She says she talked to a woman at WNHX.

Lisa:  At the station?

Brett:  That's what she said.

Lisa:  Okay.  I'll call her right now and find out what went on at the meeting.  Joe, go get
          Beth for me.

Joe:  I don't work for you anymore.

Lisa:  That's right, but you're on my bitch list at the moment, so if you know what's good
          for your health, you'll get off your ass and find Beth . . . NOW!

Joe:  Yes, ma'am.

Jimmy:  Whoof!

Lisa:  Shut up, sir.

Jimmy:  I'm glad you thought to add the sir in there.
Lisa:  Go away!

Jimmy:  Yes, ma'am.

Scene 10:  Dave's Office

          Beth walks in and continues on her way to the opposite door.

Dave:  You know, I'm just thrilled that everyone finds it necessary to use my office as a
          route to Lisa's office.  There IS another way around.

Beth:  No time to chat, Dave.  Lisa's having some emergency.

Dave:  I take it you haven't made up your mind yet?

Beth:  It's like a custody battle.  Except it's not you and Lisa fighting over me.  It's Brett
          and me fighting over Lisa.

Dave:  I feel so loved.  I'm not worth fighting over.

Beth:  It has nothing to do with Lisa though.  Custody battles never do.  It has to do with
          my competition with that arrogant, egotistical . . . ass.  Anyway, I have to go.

Dave:  You have until the end of the day to come up with a decision.

Beth:  Ugh . . . I'm under so much pressure.

Dave:  Only in your mind, Beth.

Scene 11:  Lisa's Office

          Beth opens the door and walks in.  Lisa's on the phone.

Lisa:  Yes, Elaine.  I'm sorry.  I never got the message, but if you want, you could stop by
          my office and fill me in.  The printing press is down anyway.  We might be able to
          beat the deadline if I extend it . . . Okay, 'see you then.

          She hangs up.

Beth:  What's up?

Lisa:  Did you take the message from the councilwoman?

Beth:  Yeah, she called about an hour ago.  Why?

Lisa:  Where's the message?

Beth:  I put it on my bulletin board.  I told you there were some messages on the board
          when you and Joe came back upstairs

Lisa:  I got the others.  I didn't get that one though.

Beth:  It was there.  Why?  Was it important?

Lisa:  Yes!  The city council had an emergency meeting today.  Elaine Jenkins offered me
          the scoop.  We might still get it, but there's no guarantee she'll get here in time.

Beth:  I bet I know what happened to it.

Lisa:  What?

          Beth opens the door to the paper's newsroom to find Brett with his ear to the door.  She drags him inside.

Beth:  Ha!  I knew it.

Lisa:  Beth, what are you talking about?

          Beth starts digging in Brett's pockets.

Beth:  You stole the post-it note, and you know it.  Where is it?

Brett:  I don't have to help you make an ass of yourself.  You do just fine on your own.

Beth:  Where is it?
Brett:  Even if I did take it, I wouldn't put it in my pockets.

Beth:  That's right.  You'd put it somewhere where you'd never expect me to go after it.

          She reaches inside his pants and pulls out the note.

Lisa:  Beth!  You can't just stick your hands down someone's pants!  It just isn't done!

Beth:  Oh, relax, Lisa.  Workplace sexual harassment ethics codes don't apply here.  It's
          not like he enjoyed it.

Lisa:  Actually, I think that's EXACTLY when workplace sexual harassment ethics
          codes apply!

Beth:  Whatever.  The important thing is that I've proven that he tried to sabotage me.

Lisa:  Brett, what do you have to say for yourself?

Brett:  (dazed expression)  What?  Sorry, that was surprisingly enjoyable.  I'm still

Beth:  Ewwwww!

Lisa:  Brett . . . about the message.

Brett:  Oh.  I'll admit to nothing.  She must have had in her hand before she reached in.
          She just pretended to pull it out.

Beth:  DIE, you son of a bitch!

Brett:  You first, whore!

Beth:  That's it!

          Beth launches herself at Brett, and they start an all out brawl.  Lisa looks on impassively then sits back down at her desk and continues to work.  Dave walks in from his office with a questioning look on his face.  When he realizes the source of the noise, he turns right back around.

Scene 12:  Basement

          Joe watches the maintenance specialist work on the printing press.

Joe:  Dude, that doesn't go there.

Specialist:  Shut up, Garelli.  It's all fixed now.

Joe:  So why isn't it running?

Specialist:  The editor decided to extend the deadline so she could add another story to
          this week's edition.

Joe:  So see?  I did Lisa a favor.

Specialist:  You're dreamin', Garelli.  She's unimaginably pissed at you.  So am I.

Joe:  Why are you pissed?

Specialist:  Don't touch my machine, man.  It's mine.  I'm the only one who touches it.

Joe:  Then make it faster yourself.

Specialist:  You New Yorkers, everything's always about speed.

Joe:  No, you pansy.  It has nothing to do with being a New Yorker.  It has to do with
          being a man . . . something I'm sure you have no idea about.

Specialist:  Garelli, I'm gonna kick your ass!

Joe:  Just try it, pansy.  Bring it on.  Prepare to be introduced to Joe-jitsu!

          The specialist takes one swing at Joe and knocks him out cold.

Specialist:  Prepare to be introduced to my fist, loudmouth.  That'll teach you to play with
          my machine.

Scene 13:  Dave's Office

          Lisa is lying on the couch, face down.  Dave is sitting at her feet.  Beth is sitting on his table.

Dave:  How's the cheek, Beth?

Beth:  I'm okay.  At least now he won't be able to sue me for reaching down his pants or
          pouring coffee on him.  We're even now.

Dave:  Uh huh.

Beth:  What's up with Lisa?

Dave:  Bad day.

Beth:  Oh.  If I contributed to it at all, I'm sorry.

          Lisa looks up long enough to give Beth an evil glare.

Dave:  Anyway, have you made your decision yet?

Beth:  Guys, I can't.  Maybe it was a bad idea letting me make the decision.

Lisa:  (muffled by the cushion)  I'll second that.  This day has consisted of one bad idea
          after another.

Beth:  Yes, well, I think maybe you should just make the decision yourselves.

Dave:  Well, if we go about it the right way, we could still help you save face with Brett.

Beth:  How?  Do tell.

Dave:  Lisa?

Lisa:  (still muffled)  I don't care.  Do whatever you want.  I am no longer involved.

Dave:  Okay.  Here's what we do.

Beth:  Wait a minute.  You've never been one for cunning plans or crazy capers.

Dave:  Being around all of you must have rubbed off on me.  Now . . . here goes.

Scene 14:  Breakroom

          Dave walks in with Beth.  Brett is getting a soda out of the fridge.  His clothes are torn, his face is scratched, and his hair is messed up.

Dave:  I thought you said you were even, Beth.

Beth:  Yeah, well, I can't help it if he fights like a wuss.

Brett:  I do not.  You just have too much testosterone.

Beth:  Well, I'm glad SOMEBODY does around here!

Dave:  Okay, calm down . . . both of you.  Brett, Beth is going to be my secretary.

Brett:  Oh, I'm so disappointed.  Lisa chose me over the little annoying redhead.

Dave:  No, actually.  Lisa and I both wanted Beth.  We had a huge argument over who got
          her, and I won.  I'll be sleeping in my own room tonight, but if it means having
          Beth all to myself, it's worth it.  I'll worry about Lisa later.

Brett:  What?

Beth:  That's right, moron.  They wanted me . . . and not you!  In your face!

Brett:  Dave, please get her out of here.

Beth:  Why?  You don't want me to see you cry?

Brett:  No . . . I 'want to be held responsible when you wind up looking like I do.

Beth:  Dave, he just threatened me.  Did you hear that?

Dave:  Leave me out of this for once.  If you two want to fight again, go ahead.  I'm not
          going to stand in your way.  For some crazy reason, I value my life.

Scene 15:  Dave's Office

          Dave walks in to find Lisa still on the couch.  He pulls her into an upright position as he sits down.

Dave:  What's wrong now?

Lisa:  Elaine Jenkins finally made it over here.

Dave:  What was the emergency meeting about?

Lisa:  A cow got onto the property of one of the councilmen.  He called the meeting to
          pass an ordinance calling for sweeping reforms on bovine trespass policy.

Dave:  You're kidding.

Lisa:  (dead seriously)  Do I look like I'm kidding?

Dave:  And Jenkins thought this was a scoop?

Lisa:  Sad, isn't it?  I can't WAIT for the primaries to heat up.

Dave:  Well, it's certainly been entertaining around here today.  It's actually kind of funny
          watching Brett and Beth fight.  Mr. James was right.

Lisa:  Whatever.  Everyone around here has been in some kind of violent altercation
          today.  They're a bunch of little kids.

Dave:  Who else?

Lisa:  Matthew went down to the basement after Joe was missing for a while.  He found
          him unconscious.  Then he tried to get revenge on the maintenance specialist who
          did it.

Dave:  Don't tell me Matthew tried to fight.  I would've thought after getting his ass
          kicked by you the one time that he'd avoid it in the future.

Lisa:  Think of what you're saying, Dave.  When has Matthew EVER learned from a
          mistake?  Anyway, Joe has a concussion, and Matthew is MUCH worse off.

Dave:  Was anyone else involved in a violent altercation today?

Lisa:  Uh huh.  Mr. James just called from the ER.  It seems that it was his cow that
          wandered onto the 'property.  The councilman beat the hell out of

Dave:  What about Max?

Lisa:  He called right after Mr. James.  He says you sent him home early.

Dave:  Yeah.  He was finished with his work for once.

Lisa:  Well, this one doesn't have anything to do with violence actually.  Max was
          wrestling with Louie the Pig again.  They were up in one of the lofts of the barn,
          and Max fell.

Dave:  Is he okay?

Lisa:  Yeah.  He landed on the hay, but he hurt his back in the process.

Dave:  Oh those poor bastards.

Lisa:  If you're capable of sympathy, yes.

Dave:  Well, Beth might be here a while.  I think she and Brett secretly enjoy fighting.
          Maybe not in the same way you and I do  . . but anyway, it appears we'll have the
          cabin to ourselves for a while.  We could make your bad day disappear.

Lisa:  Let's go.

Dave:  I thought you might feel that way.

The End
Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7   Part 8