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The Shortcuts
EPISODE 183

THE SHORTCUTS

WRITTEN BY DAVID ADLER

SCENE - THE HALL

GEORGE

Do you remember Tony Kugelman?

JERRY

From high-school. Mr. 4-F.

GEORGE

Why do you care if he couldn't get into the army? I mean weight, appearance, poverty. Those things you can make fun of. But military service...

JERRY

No, those were his grades. 4 Fs, every term. I thought he was in jail. You know (sniffles knowingly).

GEORGE

He got out a few months ago. Do you think he'd be interested in Celia?

JERRY

The one who's all over you? That you can't stand?

GEORGE

Yeah.

JERRY

What makes you so sure that she'd be interested in him?

GEORGE

I don't know. He kind of looks like me a little. And his mother used to use the same laundry detergent as mine, so our houses always smelled the same.

JERRY

You look like you've got something on your mind.

GEORGE

I'm thinking of pulling a double-switch.

JERRY

So you're going to install him in some kind of puppet-relationship?

GEORGE

That's the plan.

JERRY

You know if it were me, it'd be easy. I've already got a double picked out.

GEORGE

What? Who are you talking about?

JERRY

This comedian I used to know. He came to all my sets, tried to be just like me. He copied everything I did. It was like me, only a slightly more sarcastic, less better-looking version.

GEORGE

Really. You never told me about this guy. Who is he?

JERRY

No, I'm not giving you that information.

GEORGE

Why not?

JERRY

Remember Wally Pip.

GEORGE

The guy who played first base for the Yankees before Gehrig.

JERRY

Exactly.

GEORGE

So you're afraid that if you go down, you're out of the line-up for good? Who's my backup?

JERRY

Sack of potatoes.

GEORGE

Well I need to do something. This girl is killing me. The smiling, the calls, the caring. Do you know what it's like to have someone genuinely interested in your life? I don't even answer the phone anymore. It rings, I put a couple of pillows around my head and hum.

JERRY

Why can't you just tell her how you feel?

GEORGE

(Just looks at Jerry like he's said the craziest thing in the world) What, we've know each other a long time, right. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say.

JERRY

I'm telling you, it's never gonna work. The double-switch...it's impossible.

GEORGE

Why? Because it's too perfect?

JERRY

Yeah. It's like the Immaculate Reception. You just need Franco Harris and the whole thing should turn out fine.

GEORGE

See, this is always what happens. I ask you a simple question and you start with the sarcasm.

JERRY

Alright short-round, you finished?

GEORGE

You're pushing it.

(Opens door and enters apartment. There are maps and papers spread out over all the tables and furniture)

GEORGE

Are you painting?

JERRY

What the hell is going on?

(Kramer enters)

KRAMER

Whoa. This is an unexpected treat.

JERRY

What is this?

KRAMER

Oh, these are my maps?

JERRY

Maps of what?

KRAMER

New York City.

JERRY

Of course.

GEORGE

Allow me. What...(trails off)

KRAMER

I was downtown today, you know, buying a top hat, and I remembered I had to pick up Newman at the doctor's. Well I was all the way down there, you know. All the way downtown and I had to be uptown in ten minutes. Well I can't make that. So I thought, there must be a better way.

JERRY

Well, you know what they say; Insanity is the mother of invention.

GEORGE

See. That's what I'm talking about. The sarcasm.

JERRY

But that's how I always talk.

GEORGE

I know. And it's driving me crazy. I tell you, I don't know if we can be friends anymore.

JERRY

Well, it's my loss I guess.

GEORGE

Oh, THAT'S IT. You're really pouring it on today! (Steaming, leaves the apartment and slams the door)

KRAMER

He's right you know.

JERRY

What? About the sarcasm?

KRAMER

I can't take it.

JERRY

You too? Then why are you here all the time?

KRAMER

I'm afraid of the dark.

JERRY

Well I don't know what to say. I mean...

KRAMER

Don't.

JERRY

I guess I could tone it down a little. I don't need to be funny all the time.

KRAMER

Funny?

JERRY

Hey, how does a normal person talk?

KRAMER

Ask me something.

JERRY

Like what?

KRAMER

Ask me about the...subway.

JERRY

Alright. So, I hear they're getting rid of the seats on the subway. Making it standing room only.

KRAMER

Yeah.

JERRY

Is that it?

KRAMER

That's how people speak. Short and sweet. There's no time for all this, superfluous, conversation.

JERRY

Would you mind clearing these things off of my bed? I think I'm gonna go to sleep.

KRAMER

I'll be quiet.

JERRY

I'd like you to go.

KRAMER

But it's pitch-black out there.

SCENE - COFFEE SHOP

JERRY

Good morning Elaine.

ELAINE

Good morning. Hey, you know I always wondered about the "good-morning" return. You're saying good morning to me, and I'm saying good morning back to you. I mean, doesn't that seem a little redundant?

JERRY

(Looks at her like she's crazy)

ELAINE

What. What are you looking at?

JERRY

Nothing. Hey, it's a beautiful day today, isn't it. I mean the sun's shining. Not a cloud in the sky. It's been unseasonably warm this year, hasn't it.

ELAINE

Yeah, I guess. Hey, I was...

JERRY

I read an interesting story in the paper this morning. Did you know that cod stocks in the North Atlantic are at an all-time low? Overfishing. I don't know how they do it.

ELAINE

What are you talking about?

JERRY

Fisheries.

ELAINE

Why?

JERRY

Because that's what normal people talk about. You see this fork. You see this concretion of food molecules cemented to it. I am going to use this fork. You know why? Because I'm a normal person and whatever this disgusting mass of hardened pre-chewed cud is, doesn't bother me.

ELAINE

So you've gone straight?

JERRY

Yes I have, and it's all thanks to George. I had a big fight with him yesterday and I realized that all this sarcasm and petty, whatever, was keeping me from being happy. So from now on, I'm a normal guy. I realize I may not be as funny...

ELAINE

Funny?

JERRY

YES. As funny as I used to be, but what's more important? All this? Or peace of mind?

ELAINE

With you, it's a very small piece.

JERRY

As a normal person, I can accept that "joke" and move on. Now where's my oatmeal.

SCENE REGGIE'S COFFEE SHOP

KRAMER

Can we sit in the booth?

GEORGE

I like the table.

KRAMER

When there's a booth? Come on. We're all vulnerable out here. Everyone can see us eating. Look at that guy. That guy was looking at us.

GEORGE

No one is looking at us.

KRAMER

Why are we here anyway? You know Jerry went to Monks this morning. I saw him going to get the paper.

GEORGE

Jerry gets the paper delivered.

KRAMER

I know. I was going to get his paper. He was going out for a walk.

GEORGE

A walk. I don't like this. Stop playing with that.

KRAMER

(Kramer is pulling napkins out of the dispenser and counting them) What. I'm not doing anything.

GEORGE

So I ran into Tony Kugelman yesterday.

KRAMER

Who's he?

GEORGE

A guy I used to know in high school. He works at a newsstand now down on 4th street.

KRAMER

You know I used to work in a newsstand...until Joan Crawford came and burned it down.

GEORGE

Well, anyway, I was talking to him about Jerry...

KRAMER

About who?

GEORGE

JERRY.

KRAMER

Van Dyke?

GEORGE

SEINFELD!

KRAMER

Oh. Continue. Hey, what is this? I asked for a glass of water. How am I supposed to drink this? (Picks up the vinegar and tries sticking a straw through the small hole in the top)

GEORGE

That's vinegar! I can't take this. I need Jerry here. This isn't right. We had an equilibrium: His sarcasm, Elaine's flakiness, your...whatever. Me and you, it's like a chemical imbalance.

KRAMER

Well why don't you just apologize to him. He'll take you back.

GEORGE

I don't know if I can.

KRAMER

You know he misses you.

GEORGE

Did he say that? You're not just saying that, are you? Cause if you're just saying that...

KRAMER

No. He wants you back.

GEORGE

Then why hasn't he called? I have a phone. He knows the number.

KRAMER

Maybe he just needs some time.

GEORGE

Or maybe he changed his whole life and there's no room for me anymore.

KRAMER

Well, that's a possibility.

SCENE - HEALTH CLUB

(Jerry is on a treadmill talking to some uninterested looking guy standing next to him)

JERRY

You know I'll tell you what's a coincidence; that Captain Hook. Do you think Mr. and Mrs. Hook ever thought for a second that would work out so well? I mean that's a lot of foresight. What if his name was Captain Hand? Then you've got a whole other story there.

ROY

Who's Captain Hook?

JERRY

From Peter Pan. You know the pirate. One hand's a hook.

ROY

No. I don't watch much TV though. (Walks away)

ELAINE

Making some new friends?

JERRY

I don't know what's wrong with people. I've got these perfectly good non-sequiturs and everyone's looking at me like I'm crazy. I'm not crazy, Elaine. I'm a...

ELAINE

A normal guy. Right.

JERRY

I don't know what happened to people.

ELAINE

You know the strangest thing just happened. I was over by the ab-machines, and I saw a guy who looked just like you. It was really weird.

JERRY

Oh, no. Was he wearing sunglasses?

ELAINE

YEAH. Yeah, he was.

JERRY

That's Tom Sheinstein. That's my double.

ELAINE

Oh! That's him? Why's he wearing sunglasses, is he blind?

JERRY

No, he wears them all the time. To look cool. Why does anyone wear sunglasses?

ELAINE

Well I'm gonna go over and talk to him.

(Jerry reaches out and grabs Elaine's arm)

JERRY

NO! Stay away from him.

ELAINE

Jerry! You're hurting me. You know you've been acting really strange lately. Maybe I'll see you later.

SCENE - JERRY'S APARTMENT

JERRY

I thought I told you to get these things out of here.

KRAMER

I know. But I had an idea. You know there are maps of the city, and they tell you how to get somewhere. But what about the things they don't tell you?

JERRY

Kramer, I'm having a really bad day...

KRAMER

Well what about speed bumps. Traffic lights. Crosswalks. The things Washington doesn't want you to know.

JERRY

So you're doing what exactly?

KRAMER

I'm making a map of shortcuts. I'm sick of yielding, Jerry. I'm sick of it. I want people to know that they can get around this city. I know a guy, came in from Idaho. He was coming back to his hotel from dinner one day. He left at 6 O'Clock. Three days later, he's still on 5th Avenue.

JERRY

Well, I'm not sure I believe that story, but the shortcut thing is a great idea. Put me down for one when you're finished.

KRAMER

You want to buy one?

JERRY

Yeah. Just tell me how much and I'll write you a cheque. Olive? (Offers Kramer an olive)

KRAMER

What's going on here? Who are you?

JERRY

What? I'm just a normal guy.

KRAMER

Where are your shoes?

JERRY

I took them off when I came in. I don't want to track dirt all over the floor. And in the future, I'd thank you to do the same.

KRAMER

Strange days.

JERRY

Now could you get this stuff out of here please. Shirley is coming over.

KRAMER

Who's Shirley?

JERRY

My date. My insurance agent set me up with her. They're sisters. You know I wasn't covered for floods OR earthquakes?

KRAMER

Insurance? You don't have insurance.

JERRY

Sure I do. I'm a normal guy.

KRAMER

Well for a normal guy, you're really FREAKING ME OUT.

JERRY

Just clean up these maps please.

KRAMER

Please!

SCENE - REGGIE'S

GEORGE

Shirley?

KRAMER

That's right.

GEORGE

Wow. Shirley. Hmm. Kind of, you know...old fashioned.

KRAMER

Well you know Jerry. He's not into that petty stuff anymore. He's just a normal guy.

GEORGE

Normal guy! You know, I spoke to Elaine yesterday. She left me a message. Maybe she's getting a little sick and tired of Jerry too. She wants me to meet her at Monk's for lunch. To talk about it, I guess.

Anyway, I never finished telling you about Tony Kugelman yesterday.

KRAMER

Who?

GEORGE

The guy with the newsstand. I used to know him in high school.

KRAMER

The (Kramer sniffles, turns his head, and pushes a packet of sugar across the table to George to signify that Tony is a suspected criminal). Did I tell you about my shortcut maps?

GEORGE

No.

KRAMER

Do you think this guy, Kugelman, would be interested in selling them?

GEORGE

I don't know. Maybe.

KRAMER

Alright. Where is he, 'cause I'm gonna go down and see him.

GEORGE

Don't you want to hear the rest of the story?

KRAMER

I'd love to buddy, but I've got to run. Maybe later.

(Kramer Exits)

GEORGE

What is going on here?

(Kramer Returns)

KRAMER

I forgot my hat.

(Kramer puts on his top-hat and leaves)

SCENE - RESTAURANT

JERRY

So I was standing in line at the video store and some guy comes and butts in ahead of me.

SHIRLEY

So what did you do?

JERRY

I tapped him on the shoulder and said "Excuse me, sir, but I was here first." Well he laughed about it and said it was just a mistake. Turns out he's an electrician.

SHIRLEY

That's an interesting story.

JERRY

Well, I thought you'd like it. Hey, did you see the NASDAQ today?

SHIRLEY

No, I didn't.

JERRY

Well, it started off pretty tough, but then by the end of the day, it rebounded.

SHIRLEY

That's all anybody ever talks about at work. The stock market. I'm so sick of it.

JERRY

Really. I forgot to ask, where do you work?

SHIRLEY

Research and development at Colgate-Palmolive. I product test the new soaps and shampoos.

JERRY

So your job is to bathe all day?

SHIRLEY

Basically. I'm the cleanest person I know.

JERRY

Clean. Yes. Do you know I love to wash my hands? In fact, I keep wet-naps in my wallet.

SHIRLEY

Who are you Jerry Seinfeld?

JERRY

Hey. I'm just a normal guy.

SCENE - COFFEE SHOP

(George is sitting in the booth all by himself, looking excited and nervous. Elaine enters with a man who looks just like Jerry)

ELAINE

Hi. George, I want you to meet Tom. The new Jerry.

GEORGE

(Nervously, wiping his hand on his pants to make sure his palms aren't sweaty) Hey.

TOM

I just got off the phone with my parents. They went out for dinner yesterday. Expensive place. Classy. My mom sends back her Coke because there's too much ice in it.

GEORGE

(George is apprehensive at meeting the NEW Jerry, and is acting a bit shy) Oh, yeah. Do your parents live around here?

TOM

No. They're out in Palm Springs.

GEORGE

Really. Not Florida?

TOM

They like the dry heat. What about your parents?

GEORGE

They're out in Queens. They don't like anything.

(Tom laughs heartily, and George starts to brighten up)

ELAINE

Tom and I were just at the movies. That's why we're late.

TOM

George, you had to be there. There was this couple in the back of the theatre that kept laughing at the stupidest things. I mean these weren't even jokes really. But they kept laughing. So I turned to Elaine and I said, "They probably haven't laughed this hard since Ishtar." A couple of Bad-laughers. Can you believe it? People!

GEORGE

Kramer! Hey, Kramer. Come over here.

KRAMER

Hi.

GEORGE

Kramer, sit down.

KRAMER

OK.

ELAINE

Kramer, I'd like you to meet Tom. Tom, this is my friend Kramer that I was telling you about.

TOM

Hey, the K-Man.

KRAMER

Greetings. So where's Jerry?

ELAINE

He's not coming.

KRAMER

What, is he busy?

ELAINE

No, we just didn't invite him.

KRAMER

Didn't invite him? What's going on here?

GEORGE

We don't need Jerry. We've got Tom.

TOM

Hey, what's the deal with Oranges? What do you think came first, the fruit or the color? Because if it was the fruit, that's kind of crazy.

KRAMER

(Goes spastic in the booth) Whoa. I know what's going on here. I know what you're trying to do. I'm not going to be a part of this. Oh, no.

ELAINE

Will you calm down?

KRAMER

No, I'm not going to sit idly by while you phase out Jerry like so much...asbestos.

ELAINE

Tom works for Rand McNally. You know, the MAP people.

KRAMER

Oh, really.

ELAINE

I told him about your shortcut maps. He thinks it's a great idea.

KRAMER

He does?

TOM

It's the best idea I've ever heard. We've been looking for a breakthrough in map making for years. You know it's always the same thing. Those legends, the colors. The railroad tracks.

You know the reason people need maps? Most of them just don't want to ask someone for directions. They're lazy. They don't want to look like an idiot in front of their wives.

But with your shortcut maps they're making great time. They're looking like heroes. They get to Aunt Edie's in an hour.
"How did you get here so fast?"
"It was a shortcut."
People love to brag about making good time. It's like getting 1500 on your SATS. I'm telling you, these maps are a million-dollar idea. You give me your drawings, and we can get these babies on the street right away.

KRAMER

Tom!

SCENE - JERRY'S APARTMENT

(A knock is heard in the hall. Newman begins calling for Kramer.)

JERRY

Hello, Newman.

NEWMAN

Hello, Jerry.

JERRY

Kramer's not here. I don't know where he went.

NEWMAN

Oh, that's too bad. Because I just picked up the latest installment in the Firestorm series. Starring a Mr. Tom Berenger.

JERRY

Firestorm II. That just came out yesterday. I've been dying to see it. I heard it was an action-packed thrill ride. Or an edge-of-your-seat roller-coaster ride. Or some kind of ride.

NEWMAN

I know a certain someone in the mail room of a major Hollywood studio that shall remain unnamed. He was kind enough to forward this copy to me with his, regards.

JERRY

Well, hey. Why don't you come in and we can watch it together.

NEWMAN

Come in? Is this some kind of trap. You know they're expecting me at the chocolate factory in a few hours. If I don't show up, they'll call. What's in your hand?

JERRY

The remote control. Look, I've got nothing to do. I'm kind of not talking to George and Elaine. Come on. It'll be fun.

NEWMAN

Can we have popcorn?

JERRY

Yeah, I'll microwave some.

NEWMAN

And pound cake?

JERRY

I'm all out.

NEWMAN

Well, alright.

(Newman enters and removes his shoes on the doormat)

JERRY

Hey, you're taking off your shoes.

NEWMAN

Of course I am. I'm a normal guy.

SCENE - NEWSSTAND

KRAMER

Hey.

TONY

Hey.

KRAMER

You Kugelmim?

TONY

Kugel-MAN. Who wants to know?

KRAMER

I'm a friend of George Costanza's. I've got these maps, you know, shortcut maps. They're just like regular maps, only they only give you shortcuts around the city.

TONY

Yeah? That's a good idea.

KRAMER

I was wondering if you'd be interested in selling them here.

TONY

You give me 15% and we got a deal.

KRAMER

Deal!

(Kramer gives him a copy of the map)

TONY

What is this?

KRAMER

That's the map.

TONY

The pages are all red. I can't read this thing.

KRAMER

Well red's my favorite color.

TONY

No one's gonna buy a red map. And look at this thing, it's in pieces. What is this? You bring me back white ones and we'll talk.

SCENE - JERRY'S APARTMENT

SHIRLEY

Do you think we're going too fast? I'm kind of an old-fashioned girl, you know.

JERRY

No.

SHIRLEY

Well, maybe you're right.

(They start kissing)

SHIRLEY

Maybe we should go into the bedroom.

JERRY

That was fast.

(They go into the bedroom. Frame cuts and we see Jerry running out into the main room. Shirley runs out after him)

JERRY

Whoa!

SHIRLEY

What? What?

JERRY

(Rinsing out his mouth and spitting) I think you should go.

SHIRLEY

Why? I don't understand.

JERRY

Hey. I heard what you said. You're sick sister.
Really old fashioned? Hey, I don't think they ever did THAT in Little House On The Prairie. I'll tell you something, there's not enough soap in the world...You know what? I bet you're a great worker. I bet you're there working overtime! You're probably the best employee they've ever had.

SHIRLEY

I thought that's what you wanted.

JERRY

I was thinking about rounding third base. You've got me doing laps around the stadium.

SHIRLEY

I'm sorry. I'm...sorry. I thought...

JERRY

Hey, I'm just a normal guy. Alright.

SHIRLEY

But that's normal.

JERRY

THAT'S not normal. And if THAT is normal, then bring on the padded walls!

SHIRLEY

I'm leaving. If you change your mind, call me.

JERRY

(Muttering) Yeah. Right after I burn my sheets.

(Kramer opens his apartment door)

KRAMER

Hey, I've got a souffle in the oven. What's going on?

JERRY

Shirley left...

(Kramer immediately jumps to the conclusion that Jerry's sexual advances caused Shirley to storm out)

KRAMER

Oh, You didn't! She's a nice girl, Jerry. But NO, you had to get fresh with her. You couldn't control yourself. You saw unspoiled beauty and couldn't take it.

JERRY

Look, I'm not the problem. It's not what you think.

KRAMER

Oh, yeah, well then what is it? Could it be that your heart is as black as night? That you're propelled by lust; a Marquis De Sade of the 5th floor. Insatiable!

JERRY

Oh, forget it. OK. I don't want to talk about it.

KRAMER

No. No. I thought you were a normal guy and then you go and pull a stunt like this. I'm never gonna look at you the same, you know that? You're tainted in my eyes. Sex, is all that matters to you and your dirty, DIRTY, little mind? (Points at Jerry) UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!

JERRY

ALRIGHT! I'll tell you. But this is the last time I ever want to hear about it. Understand? She wanted to...(whispering in Kramer's ear)

(Kramer hears what Jerry has to say and goes absolutely spastic. He lies, writhing on the floor. Jerry goes to help him up, but Kramer refuses)

KRAMER

No. Leave me down here for a while.

(Kramer slithers back into his own apartment)

SCENE - STREET

GEORGE

So what made you decide to call?

JERRY

I don't know. I guess I missed you.

(Kramer looks over at Jerry and winks at him)

GEORGE

'Cause I thought, maybe, there wasn't room for me in your life anymore.

JERRY

You? Please. As long as I don't have a wife, family, pet, hobby...there'll always be room for you. Besides, Newman...dumped me. I found crumbs all over his collar. I think he found someone else.

GEORGE

That's sweet of you to say. Hey, there's Tom.

JERRY

The fake me.

TOM

Hey, Jerry.

JERRY

Hey Tom. How are you doing?

TOM

I'm alright. Elaine just sent me down to get the paper. Can you believe she doesn't get it delivered?

JERRY

So things are still good with you guys?

TOM

Actually, I told her I thought it would be better if we were just friends, but she said no. Something about doubles. I don't know.

Kramer, I was right about those shortcut maps. We just sold a truckload to the city yesterday. Big money.

KRAMER

Yeah? 'Cause I'm just dropping some off right now.

Tony. Hey, I got the goods right here.

(Gives Tony a package wrapped in brown butcher's paper)

GEORGE

Hey Tony!

TONY

George. You know that girl you set me up with is a nut. She keeps calling me, popping in. I had to disconnect my phone.

GEORGE

Well I'm sorry. I didn't know.

TONY

Is it all here?

KRAMER

Pure white and uncut. The good stuff.

COP 1

Police, freeze.

KRAMER

What's going on?

COP 1

That's it Kugelman. We've been watching you for months. You finally slipped up.

TONY

Hey, I didn't do nothing.

COP 1

Save it. We've got this place wired. (To Kramer) So Mr. "pure white, and uncut." You're going away for a long time.

KRAMER

Hey, you've got it all wrong.

(Tony bolts, but as he leaves he dislodges the awning on the news stand, which falls and hits Tom in the head, knocking him out)

SCENE - AMBULANCE

(The ambulance is driving around, going nowhere. The driver and the paramedic in the passenger seat are looking at each other confusedly)

JERRY

Hey, we were just here. We're going in circles.

DRIVER

It's this map. It's junk. This is supposed to be a shortcut.

MEDIC

Hey, this is a one-way street.

DRIVER

Where are we anyway?

JERRY

Hey! This is kind of an emergency.

DRIVER

Turn West. West!

MEDIC

We are going West.

DRIVER

West is left!

MEDIC

We're going left.

JERRY

What does that mean?

MEDIC

Yield! YIELD!

(We see Newman crossing the street with Shirley. Freeze on their frightened expressions)

THE END
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