100 Cliff Drive


Home of Mrs. Carlotta Cliff and Mayor Charlotte Cliff

Cliffton's Dowager Empress, Carlotta Cliff is sitting in the drawing room, serving tea to her guest, Judge I.M. Weeke, whose appointment to the bench as well as whose five bedroom house was procured with funds borrowed from Carlotta's very own Cliffton Savings & Loan as a loan secured by the personal guarantee of Carlotta, herself. But, being what passes for aristocracy here in Cliffton, neither of these two people would dream of alluding to such tawdry, not to mention borderline illegal, dealings. In reply to his hostess' gracious query, the Judge answers just as graciously:
JUDGE WEEKE
A little milk, please. No sugar. Perfect. Thank you, Carlotta. And how are the twins doing at school?
CARLOTTA
As ever... Carly is over-achieving and Rad is failing to fulfill his potential. Families are a constant source of mixed emotions, aren't they?
JUDGE WEEKE
Indeed.
CARLOTTA
It's a shame they cannot be controlled as easily as matters of public interest.
JUDGE WEEKE
I'm not certain that I think such matters are any more easily controlled than one's children.
CARLOTTA
Oh, of course they are. For instance, I want the land under Sayers to remain part of Cliff College, and so it shall.
Carlotta sips her tea, keeping her eyes locked on Judge Weeke, watching as the inference of what she has just said sinks in. It takes a moment, but the change in his expression finally bespeaks his comprehension. Carlotta smiles.
JUDGE WEEKE
Are you suggesting that I rule on the case according to your whim, Carlotta?
CARLOTTA
Not at all Henry... I'm strongly recommending that you do so. In order that the things you cannot control remain confidential.
JUDGE WEEKE
What are you talking about?
CARLOTTA
I know how proud you must be of Chip, making Eagle Scout so young. It would be a real shame if his heretofore strong, yet ever so fragile adolescent psyche were in any way disturbed by his mother's little indiscretions...
JUDGE WEEKE
I really should be leaving, Carlotta. And I'm going to have to consider very seriously whether or not to report this attempt to extort my cooperation in the Sayers jurisdictional matter... Besides which, I have no idea what you're implying about Harriet, but I can guarantee you that she's done nothing that might embarass Chip or myself.
CARLOTTA
How do you suppose the community will respond to the headline proclaiming "Judge's wife caught playing hide the salami at the Cliffton Deli!"
JUDGE WEEKE
No one was ever charged!
CARLOTTA
Or how about "PTA President caught with her hand in the cookie jar at Cliffton Bakery!"?
JUDGE WEEKE
This is outrageous! I will not listen to another unsubstantiated word!
As he rises to make his righteously indignant exit, Carlotta flips over several Polaroid snapshots on the tea cart for Henry to behold. When Carlotta snaps...
CARLOTTA
Sit down and shut up, Henry! And I'll tell you exactly how you're going to rule on this case. Or, we can discuss how you'll face down the shame of everyone in town knowing that your wife is a kleptomaniac with a penchant for stuffing stolen foodstuffs into her underclothes!
The Judge sinks back into the Queen Anne chair and conveys his intention of cooperating fully by asking of Carlotta:
JUDGE WEEKE
Of course, Carlotta. Exactly what do you want?
CARLOTTA
That's rather more the attitude I was hoping for from a dear old friend, Henry. Here's what I want -- I want that site opened up for excavation so that we can settle this sacred Indian burial ground crap and you can rule that there is absolutely no legitimacy to the tribe's claim on that land. Do you understand?
JUDGE WEEKE
Yes. It will take just a little time...
CARLOTTA
No, I don't think it will. You can issue your ruling on the police request to exhume the body first thing tomorrow, and that should get the ball rolling toward a speedy resolution of everything. Right?
Judge Weeke stands up and reaches for the Polaroids, but Carlotta, whose lightening reflexes belie her elderly appearance, takes possession of them.
CARLOTTA
I'd so hate for these to fall into the wrong people's hands. I think the only thing that will help my peace of mind is to keep them myself. You're comfortable with that, aren't you?
The Judge simply glares at the woman in whose amoral hands rests the security of his family's reputation. Finally, in obeisance to her expectantly arched eyebrows, he nods his assent and then he leaves her to sip her tea and call after him:
CARLOTTA
Be sure to give Harriet my very best regards. And tell her I'm so looking forward to her contribution to the Junior League Pot Luck Dinner next month!



Other times, at 100 Cliff Drive...