Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Easy Aces
Show: Janer's Mother Comes to Visit
Date: Date Unknown

JANE'S MOTHER COMES TO VISIT

MUSIC OUT

ACE:

I learned years ago not to tell mother-in-law jokes. In fact the first year we were married - I made an agreement with Jane that every time I told a joke about her mother, I'd have to pay her a dollar. Barbara Hutton we called Jane that year . . . And besides what happened to me with Jane's mother this week was no joke. It started the other evening after dinner - I was reading the paper and Jane was writing a letter . . .

JANE:

Oh my goodness, this doesn't look right. Dear, how do you spell write?

ACE:

Write?

JANE:

Yes, I'm answering my mother's letter and I'm having one of my bad spells.

ACE:

Yes - which write do you mean - there's r-i-g-h-t and w-r-i-t-e. How are you using it? What's the word ahead of it?

JANE:

Oh, the word ahead of it is last.

ACE:

Oh, last rite! What's r-i-t-e . . . What happened? Why? Who was it? How old was he?

JANE:

No, dear - all I'm saying is Dear Mother, I'm glad I found time to at last write you.

ACE:

Oh! Last write - yes.

JANE:

I'm answering this letter she sent me - would you like to hear it?

ACE:

What's the other choice?

JANE:

OK, I will. Oh, first let me tell you a very funny story I heard today, dear. There was a fellow that found a certain doctor charges ten dollars for the first visit, and five dollars for the second visit. So when he went to see him for the first time he said, "Hello, Doctor, here I am again." Hahaha.

ACE:

You heard that today?

JANE:

Yes.

ACE:

For the first time?

JANE:

Yes, the first time it was ten dollars and the second time-

ACE:

Don't explain it, Jane; I got it.

JANE:

Well you're not laughing.

ACE:

Oh excuse me, Jane. Hahahaha.

JANE:

Hahaha. Well, now that we're all in a good mood, I'll read the letter. I'll get all the pages in order - ten - eleven - twelve - here we are.

ACE:

Twelve pages? They wrote the Declaration of Independence on one page.

JANE:

Well, they had those quill pens then.

ACE:

Look, John Hancock, why don't you just condense what she says. How is your mother?

JANE:

Oh, fair to meddling. She says, "Dear" uh - (oh she writes so badly) - yes - "Dear Jane: How are you? How is your husband? I hope you are both well and happy. I am as happy as can be expected since I've been living with your sister and her husband. Of course, I need a new upper plate, and I need a pair of new arch supports, and I could use a new hearing aid. The only thing I don't need is a pair of new glasses and your sister has to be married to an optician . . . But you know me, I never complain. Even when your sister's husband opened the kitchen door in my face, I kept a stiff upper lip . . . Your loving mother, Mother:"

ACE:

That's twelve pages?

JANE:

P.S.

ACE:

Oh, of course.

JANE:

P.S.: "As I wrote you in my last letter, the doctor said the climate here is not good for me, and I should be near the seashore. So I am asking you if it's all right to come to visit you over the holidays."

ACE:

Wait a minute - she lives in California. Why does she have to come to New York for the shore?

JANE:

Dear - California's three thousand miles from the ocean.

ACE:

Oh yes, I never thought of that.

JANE:

When was I - oh yes - "If it isn't all right for me to come, Ill know it's not your fault, and you can tell him for me" - oh I'll skip this part.

ACE:

No, no - I wanta hear that. And you can tell him for me what?

JANE:

"You can tell him for me that I wouldn't ask to come if you hadn't written me that he said he needed me."

ACE:

Who? When did I say that?

JANE:

Last month - don't you remember when I said New York is so nice this time of year, I wish my mother was here, and you said, "That's all I need, is your mother."

ACE:

Look, Jane - here's what I want you to write her: tell her she could stay in California and that I -

JANE:

Wait a minute, I haven't finished reading the letter. Where was I - oh yes - that he needed me. "I wish you will let me know right away if I can come because I am desperate to get away from here, because this is a matter of life and - life and - I can't read this last word. Oh, she says in the next sentence - "please excuse the shaky handwriting because we have just left Kansas City and the train is going real fast."

ACE:

Oh, no - isn't that awful?

MUSIC BRIDGE

ACE:

The next morning at breakfast, a telegram came from Pittsburgh: "Arriving New York this afternoon at three o'clock your time. If it's too much trouble don't bother meeting me at the station, as I will probably not have one of my fainting spells right in the middle of the station, and if I should, some stranger will probably find me eventually, and besides I only have just the three bags and a small steamer trunk. Collect Mother - uh - love, Mother."

(SOUND OF DISHES)

 

JANE:

Well, I guess you're gonna be too busy to meet her, so I will.

ACE:

Yes, I'm too busy. Have you broken the news to our maid yet that your mother's coming?

JANE:

Mrs. Bell? Oh she'll love Mother. They have so much that's common.

ACE:

Yes, I know, everybody loves your mother. But you better break it to Mrs. Bell gently.

JANE:

All right. Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

(OFF) What is it, Jane?

JANE:

Can I see you a minute?

BELL:

(OFF) I'm busy, Jane. I'm listening to the radio.

JANE:

Oh. When you're finished, will you come in?

BELL:

(OFF) OK, Jane.

ACE:

Listening to the radio - is that all she does out there in the kitchen?

JANE:

Well, she has her favorite radio programs. When she first came to work here I promised her she could listen to the radio.

BELL:

(COMING IN) OK, Jane, what is it? I was just listening to The Story of Laura Winthrop which poses the problem can a mother-in-law find happiness having three children and visit each one of them four months a year, or will she have a better chance at happiness with four children and visit each one three months a year. How that mother-in-law has loused up Laura's life, they'll do it every time. What is it, Jane?

ACE:

Well, Mrs. Bell, my mother-in-lous - mother-in-law -

JANE:

Quiet, dear.

BELL:

Yeh, quiet, dear - what is it, Jane?

JANE:

Well, we're expecting a visitor.

BELL:

Well, congratulations. Where's the cigar?

ACE:

No, no, not that kind of a visitor. It's my mother-in-law.

BELL:

Mother-in-law - not for me!

JANE:

Wait a minute, Mrs. Bell - it's not his mother-in-law, it's my mother.

BELL:

Look, Jane, when I took this job here you said there would be only two people. It's in my contract.

ACE:

Contract. What kind of a contract?

BELL:

I got it right here - I carry it around all the time - here's clause three - "party of the first part agrees that party of the second part will not have to wait on, serve, clean up after, cook for, make the beds of, and/or empty ash trays from more than two people at one time."

ACE:

Who signed a thing like that? Not us.

BELL:

I signed it.

ACE:

You signed -

BELL:

I'm the one who empties the ash trays, so why shouldn't I be the one who signs it.

ACE:

But I didn't sign it.

BELL:

Why should you? What do you do around here?

ACE:

I'm the one that dirties the ash trays. Without me you'd have no job.

BELL:

Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

ACE:

Well, I gotta get to work. See you later, Jane.

JANE:

But dear: what are we going to do about Mrs. Bell?

ACE:

You girls work that out between you. (GOING) Good-bye' Jane - goodbye, Mrs. Bell.

(DOOR OPENS . . . CLOSES)

 

JANE:

Now, Mrs. Bell-

BELL:

There's no use talking, Jane. I like to work for you, as long as there's two of you, but if you're gonna ring in a party of the third part, I'm going to strike.

JANE:

Wait a minute, Mrs. Bell - where are you running to like a chicken with its hat off?

BELL:

Jane which is it - me or your mother? One of us has to go.

JANE:

Well, after all my mother is my own flesh and bones.

BELL:

OK, Jane, I'm on strike. I'm going downstairs and picket.

JANE:

Picket?

BELL:

I'll walk up and down in front of the apartment and tell everybody you're unfair. And you can finish ironing those shirts in there yourself while I picket.

JANE:

All right - if you're gonna strike, do it now; strike while the iron is hot.

MUSIC BRIDGE

ACE:

Jane was having a problem at home with her maid, I was having a problem with my secretary at the office, Miss Anderson. She is Jane's cousin, and I'm stuck with her. Around two-thirty that afternoon, Miss Anderson buzzed me on the inter-office phone she had just returned from her lunch hour and a half:

(SOUND OF BUZZER . . . CLICK)

 

ACE:

Yes?

ANDERSON:

(FILTER) Mr. Ace, this is Miss Anderson.

ACE:

Miss Anderson, I think I've explained to you before that this is an inter-office phone which connects your desk out there with mine in here - nobody else uses this phone. There are no party lines, no extensions and no co-axial cables. I know it's you, and if I answer you know it's me. You don't have to say, Mr. Ace, this is Miss Anderson speaking. Just say what you got to say and hang up quickly.

ANDERSON:

Are you quite finished?

ACE:

What do you want?

ANDERSON:

Mr. Ace, if I weren't Jane's cousin, whom is your wife as well -

ACE:

Whom is -

ANDERSON:

I would really resent that you misconstrue everything I say and do. And unless I am sadly misconstrued, you deliberately misconstrue everything I say and do.

ACE:

There seems to be a lot of unnecessary misconstruing going on around here. What is this misconstrue business?

ANDERSON:

Learn a word a day by using ft every way - It's in the newspaper every morning. Today's word is misconstrue. And if I choose to better my vocabulary are you gonna deliberately misconstrue that too?

ACE:

Look, Miss Constru - look Miss Anderson -

ANDERSON:

Every time I buzz you on this inter-office phone we come to a complete misconstruction.

ACE:

We do?

ANDERSON:

I always make a supreme effort to construe you, the least you can do is construe me.

ACE:

Isn't that awful?

ANDERSON:

Answering an inter-office phone should in no way be mis-construable. Your misconstructive attitude is breaking down our whole construction.

ACE:

Construction - what are you building up to? What did you call me for?

ANDERSON:

Jane is on the phone.

ACE:

I construe you - put her on. What I go through here with that -

JANE:

(FILTER) Hello.

ACE:

Hello, Jane.

JANE:

This is Jane.

ACE:

I know who you are - you've been announced - I said, Hello Jane - now what is it?

JANE:

Mrs. Bell is striking.

ACE:

Oh, I wouldn't say striking. "Attractive," maybe.

JANE:

No, I mean she's striking - she says I'm unfair.

ACE:

Oh, Jane, I think you're the fairest in the land.

JANE:

You do, dear? Oh you do not.

ACE:

Yes, I do.

JANE:

You do? Oh you do not.

ACE:

Yes, I do.

JANE:

You do? Oh you do not.

ACE:

OK, I don't.

JANE:

I knew it wouldn't last.

ACE:

Jane - what is it - what's on your mind?

JANE:

I told you - Mrs. Bell went on a strike - she's picketing - she's walking to and from in front of the apartment. She's got a big sign that says Mrs. Ace is unfair. Don't you think that's terrible?

ACE:

Yes, I do.

JANE:

You do? Oh you do not.

ACE:

Don't start that again.

JANE:

What shall I do about Mrs. Bell? I have to prepare dinner - she quit work. And I can't find the roasting pan. I looked high and dry, I can't find hide or seek of it. It's behind me where she put it.

ACE:

Have you looked in the refrigerator?

JANE:

Refrigerator - oh stop being silly. I'll have to go downstairs and ask Mrs. Bell. But dear, you'll have to go meet my mother at the station.

ACE:

Me?

JANE:

She gets in at three o'clock, now you be there.

ACE:

OK, Jane - I've got a full calendar of appointments and everything, but I have to drop everything and go meet your mother. This is certainly going to misconstrue up my whole day.

JANE:

Do what?

ACE:

Learn a word a day - use it every way. Goodbye, Jane.

MUSIC BRIDGE

ACE:

When I got to the station I found the train would be two hours late. It seemed they had to back up at Altoona to pick up a car which had been uncoupled by a little old lady who had complained the train was going too fast. And while I was waiting for her, Jane was down on the street in front of our apartment trying to find out where the roasting pan was.

(SOUND OF STREET NOISES)

 

BELL:

Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids . . . Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

JANE:

Mrs. Bell, for the last time, will you tell me where the roasting pan is?

BELL:

In the refrigerator. Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

JANE:

Please, Mrs. Bell - people will hear you.

BELL:

I want 'em to hear me. Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

JANE:

Do you have to holler it like that? That sign you're carrying says the same thing.

BELL:

I have to holler it for people who can't read. Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

JANE:

Well you're unfair to me. You hid that roasting pan, and the least you can do is go in and find it so I can get dinner.

BELL:

I can't go in now, Jane. I'm busy picketing. I gotta carry this sign.

JANE:

Oh, all right. give me the sign. I'll carry it.

BELL:

Well - OK, Jane. But hold it up high.

JANE:

Like this?

BELL:

That's it. Jane - way up high so everybody can see it. And you've gotta talk it up.

JANE:

What?

BELL:

Keep saying Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

JANE:

Oh all right - Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids - Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids.

BELL:

Louder.

JANE:

Want me to strain my yokel chords? Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids. Is that better?

BELL:

That's the ticket, Jane - keep walking and talking

JANE:

Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids. Mrs. Ace is unfair to maids. Well, why don't you go up and find the roasting pan?

BELL:

I'm sorry, Jane, I can't. I can't cross a picket line.

KEN:

Hey, what's going on, Jane?

JANE:

Oh hello, Ken. It's Ken Roberts, Mrs. Bell.

KEN:

Hello, Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

Hi, Ken.

KEN:

What's the trouble here - what does that mean you're unfair to maids?

BELL:

It's in my contract. I only have to serve two people - and now she rings a mother-in-law on me.

JANE:

She's my mother - not mother-in-law - she's coming to visit me. And Mrs. Bell is on strike:

KEN:

Oh now, wait a minute - you shouldn't strike about a thing like that. How about a little mediation?

BELL:

Never touch a thing in the middle of the day.

KEN:

No, Mrs. Bell, I mean you can reach some agreement. Jane, can't you make some concession?

JANE:

I can't make anything. I can't find the roasting pan.

KEN:

You don't understand, Jane - I mean you can bargain collectively. Like this. Mrs. Bell, suppose Mrs. Ace gave you something extra for the extra person, would that be all right?

BELL:

Something extra - like what?

KEN:

Well, let me see - you don't live with the Aces now, do you, Mrs. Bell?

BELL:

No, I have a room - I pay rent.

KEN:

Well, if they gave you a room to live in with them - that would save you rent - would that be OK, Mrs. Bell?

BELL:

Oh sure, Ken.

KEN:

Well, how about it, Jane?

JANE:

What? What happened? I wasn't listening. I just noticed on this sign she's got "Mrs. Ace" in smaller letters than "maids." That's unfair.

KEN:

Jane, Mrs. Bell says if you'll give her a room with you, she'll come back to work.

JANE:

We only have one guest room. My mother was gonna sleep in there.

BELL:

Mrs. Ace is unfair to -

JANE:

Oh, wait a minute; I didn't say no. Now let me see if you took that guest room, my mother could sleep with me - and then he could have the couch in the living room - it is a little small - yes, I guess it would be all right. OK, Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

OK, Jane. That's a deal. Shake on it.

JANE:

What?

BELL:

Shake hands on it.

JANE:

Oh. How do you do, Mrs. Bell.

MUSIC BRIDGE

ACE:

Well, I finally got 'em all home, the old lady and the three other bags - I mean the three bags and the steamer trunk. We got home rather late. We had a little trouble in the taxi. She wanted to uncouple the meter, because we were going too fast. Then she asked me if we got her telegram, and I said no, I always go down to Penn Station and watch the trains come in. And all the way home she kept saying what a lucky coincidence it was. And I kept telling myself she'll only he here till after the holidays. When we got home Jane was so happy to see her.

JANE:

Oh, Mother, I'm so happy to see you.

MOTHER:

Happy. If it makes you happy to he happy, you be happy.

JANE:

How was the train trip, Mother?

MOTHER:

I got train sick. I should have taken a plane.

JANE:

Well, why didn't you?

MOTHER:

I get plane sick.

ACE:

Well, why didn't you stay ho -

MOTHER:

What did you say?

ACE:

I said did you have nice accommodations on the train?

MOTHER:

Oh yes, very nice. My daughter who I was staying with in California's husband got me a very nice compartment.

JANE:

Oh that's nice, Mother.

MOTHER:

They must have told the conductor to take good care of me. Because every time the train came to a station he locked me in my compartment.

ACE:

Hm. How's everything in California?

JANE:

Ethel writes me they're very happy out there.

MOTHER:

Happy. Everybody's happy.

JANE:

Do you ever see any movies stars, Mother?

MOTHER:

Movies stars. Greer Garson lives one block from us. I wouldn't walk across the street to see her. Irene Dunne lives around the corner - I wouldn't walk across the street to see her. Clark Cable lives eight miles from us. Janie, I have to get some new arch supports.

JANE:

All right, Mother - but how about Gregory Peck - ever see him?

MOTHER:

Yes, I see him.

JANE:

You did? How about Jimmy Stewart?

MOTHER:

Yes, I see him too.

JANE:

How about Ava Gardner?

MOTHER:

I see him too.

ACE:

Ava Gardner happens to he a woman.

MOTHER:

If it makes him happy to he a woman, let him be happy.

JANE:

Mother don't you wanta lie down before dinner - take a little sneeze?

MOTHER:

Oh you don't have to bother about me, Janie - I won't be a bother - I've never been a bother - you can ask your sister - I never bothered her - she never bothered about me - what can you expect from children? So if it's gonna be any bother, don't bother, because I don't wanta be a bother.

ACE:

Is that the word for today?

JANE:

Oh, Mother, you misconstrued me -

ACE:

That's the word.

JANE:

It won't he a bother. I won't have to bother. We got a maid that bothers. Mrs. Bell. I'll call her. Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

(OFF) What do you want, Jane?

JANE:

Can you come in a minute and meet my mother?

BELL:

(OFF) Just a minute, Jane.

MOTHER:

You've got a maid, now, Janie?

JANE:

Yes, Mrs. Bell.

MOTHER:

Are maids expensive, I suppose?

JANE:

Well -

MOTHER:

They don't work for nothing.

JANE:

Oh no.

MOTHER:

Do you pay her out of your allowance?

JANE:

Yes, I pay her out of my allowance.

MOTHER:

Then it must be a pretty big allowance, is it, Janie?

JANE:

Yes, I think it -

MOTHER:

Then if he gives you a big allowance, I suppose he's doing pretty well.

JANE:

Oh yes, pretty well.

MOTHER:

Well, when you pay your maid, the money you have left, what percentage is it of your allowance?

JANE:

Percentage?

MOTHER:

I mean like if you paid her thirty dollars a week, for instance, do you have thirty dollars a week left over?

JANE:

Well, something like that

MOTHER:

Something like that - then that would be sixty - well what percentage would you say sixty is of his salary every week?

JANE:

Percentage?

MOTHER:

Well, let me put it this way - How much does -

ACE:

A hundred and fifty dollars a week . . .

MOTHER:

Before or after taxes?

ACE:

Isn't that awful.

BELL:

(COMING IN) Yeh, Jane, here I am.

JANE:

Oh come in, Mrs. Bell - this is my mother, Mrs. Sherwood, Mrs. Bell.

MOTHER:

I'm pleased to meet you Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

Hello, Mom. I'm happy to meet you.

MOTHER:

Happy. Everybody's happy. With your money I'd be happy too.

BELL:

What?

JANE:

Mrs. Bell, Mother has to have something special for dinner.

BELL:

Special? Like what?

MOTHER:

I don't want to be any bother - if it's going to be a bother, don't bother. Just a boiled egg, that's all.

BELL:

A boiled egg? That's all you want for dinner?

MOTHER:

That's all - on top of the spinach.

BELL:

Spinach? What spinach?

MOTHER:

The Spinach that goes with the boiled tongue.

BELL:

Boiled tongue? We haven't any boiled tongue.

JANE:

We're having a roast for dinner, Mother.

MOTHER:

Well, I'll take roast. I don't want to be a bother. There are only a few things I'm allowed to eat - tongue, roast chicken, hamburger steak, veal chops, duck, and once in a while a little corned beef and cabbage.

ACE:

What can't you eat?

MOTHER:

Peanut brittle. But if it makes you happy to have peanut brittle, be happy. I don't wanta be a bother.

JANE:

Come on, Mother, I'll show you to your room and you can lie down a while.

MOTHER:

(GOING) All right, Janie. Maybe I better rest a while.

JANE:

(OFF) We'll have dinner late, Mother, so you can rest. We'll eat any time you want to.

MOTHER:

(GOING) Oh it doesn't matter to me, Janie - I'm never hungry - what time is it now?

(DOOR OPENS)

 

JANE:

Five-fifteen.

MOTHER:

All right - so wake me up at five-thirty. But if it's gonna be a bother, don't bother. I don't want to be a bother.

(DOOR CLOSES)

 

ACE:

You See Mrs. Bell - she doesn't want to be a bother. And it's only till after the holidays.

BELL:

Oh, don't worry about me; I'll be able to handle Laughing Girl.

ACE:

I'm happy to hear you say that, Mrs. Bell.

BELL:

If it makes you happy to be happy -

ACE:

Oh no - not you too.

MUSIC BRIDGE

ACE:

Well I wanta tell you something - it did my heart good to see that sweet little old lady pack away that dinner. Be cause if she packs it away like that three times a day she'll never last till after the holidays. I still didn't know about this arrangement Jane had made for Mrs. Bell to live with us. I should have suspected something when we were sitting around the living room after dinner - and Mrs. Bell had finished the dishes - and she walked in, sat next to me on the love seat, put her feet on the coffee table, took out a cigarette, and turned to me and said:

BELL:

How's about a match, dear?

ACE:

What?

BELL:

A match.

ACE:

Oh - yes - here -

JANE:

Oh, I didn't tell you, did I, dear?

ACE:

Tell me what?

JANE:

Mrs. Bell is gonna live with us while mother's here.

ACE:

Gonna live with us?

JANE:

She was on strike, and Ken Roberts made up the meditation.

ACE:

Meditation -

JANE:

Yes - you know - when two people disagree, they have to meditate. So Mrs. Bell is gonna live with us.

ACE:

Just a minute - let me meditate on that.

MOTHER:

Thirty dollars a week and she lives here besides.

ACE:

But Jane, we only have one guest room.

JANE:

A very good question, dear. And the answer is the living-room couch.

ACE:

What about the living-room couch?

JANE:

Well, somebody has to sleep on the couch . . .

(PAUSE)

 

MOTHER:

I think I'll go to my loom and lie down.

ACE:

Room -

BELL:

Just a minute, Mom, we're still meditatin'.

ACE:

We certainly are. Who sleeps on the couch, that's what I want to know.

JANE:

Now just a minute, dear, don't jump at convulsions. let's figure it out - we'll put our heads together.

ACE:

That's fine - that puts you and me in our bedroom.

JANE:

Yes. Now Mother takes the guest room, and Mrs. Bell sleeps on the couch.

BELL:

Not me, Jane.

MOTHER:

With the money you make, you can get a penthouse at the Waldorf.

JANE:

Well, now wait a minute - we'll figure out another way. Dear, you and Mrs. Bell will - no that won't do. Dear, if you and Mother - no, that won't do. Well, Mother and Mrs. Bell.

MOTHER

AND BELL:

Oh no.

JANE:

No, that won't do. Don't worry, dear, I'll figure it out, Mrs. Bell doesn't wanta sleep on the couch, and mother can't sleep on the couch - and I go without saying - so that leaves -

ACE:

No!

JANE:

But, dear, it's only till after the holidays.

BELL:

Yeh, dear, only till after the holidays.

ACE:

Only till after the holidays - isn't this awful - well, all right, I don't wanta be a bother - if I'm gonna be a bother, don't bother bothering. I'll sleep on the couch.

JANE:

You see, dear, it was so simple.

ACE:

Yes, I am. Mother, you are going back after the holidays aren't you, Mother?

MOTHER:

Yes, I got my return ticket already.

ACE:

You wouldn't mind showing it to me?

MOTHER:

If it'll make you happy to see it, here, be happy. There's the ticket. You can see the return date is punched on it.

ACE:

Where?

MOTHER:

Right there - July fifth.

ACE:

July fifth. Jane, you said only till after the holidays.

JANE:

Yes. Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Washington's Birthday, Lincoln's Birthday, April Fool's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Decoration Day -

ACE:

(FADING) Yes, till Doomsday. Isn't that awful?

MUSIC PLAYOFF