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Long one act

User Thread
 32yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Long one act
This is my first post. I've been working on a one act that I really think could be sucessful. It's rather contemporary and it's definately a political satire.

I'll post it by scenes to make it easier to read.

A Game of Ethics

The entirety of the play takes place in the living room of JUDY and JASON

Scene 1

(JUDY, a woman in her late 30's enters with a cordless phone in one hand and a white button down shirt in the other.)

JUDY: (into the phone) I know Cheryl, but Jason has had this night planned for months. (Pause) Yes, it's the Black and White dinner at the Jones Center. Jason was personally invited by the Mayor after his concert in May. (Pause. During the following, JUDY should iron the shirt) Oh, you know how he is about these things. He always waits until the last minute to prepare. Well, he was asked to prepare a new piece for the evening. He put it off until yesterday morning. He went out into his studio and I haven't seen hide or hair of him since. (Stops ironing) You know, he's been writing a lot lately. (Continues ironing) Just between us, Cheryl, I think it's his nerves. Jason's been looking forward to his 18th birthday since he entered Jr. High. But now that the day is only a week away, he seems awful tense. (Holds the shirt up to examine it) I can hardly believe it myself. He's almost an adult, and I still do his laundry! Well, I have to get ready myself. (Pause) Wednesday night? (Walks to a calendar on the wall) Sounds perfect. Buh-bye. (Hangs up).

(JASON, a tall lanky young man from the garage looking quite disheveled.)

JASON: Did you get my clothes ready, Mom?

JUDY: Yes, dear. They're pressed and laid out on the couch. (Exits into HER bedroom to change)

JASON: Thank you. (Starts to change) Wait ‘til you hear this new piece! I think it might be my best yet! I just hope everyone at the dinner likes it. (Notices a black tie) Aw, Mom! Do I have to wear a tie? I hate them so much. I can hardly get a note out with one on.

JUDY: (offstage) Yes you do! You can't go to the most formal dinner in the entire town and not wear a tie. It makes you look like you come from a single parent, poverty-stricken family.

JASON: (freezes for a second) And what, may I ask, would you call us? (Attempts miserably to tie his tie)

JUDY: (enters in a flattering black dress) We are just your average, twenty-first century American family… minus a husband and a large checkbook. (Walks over and fixes JASON'S tie) There. Don't you look handsome?

JASON: Oh, Lordy. Here we go again.

JUDY: What? I can't compliment my own son's good features. You get them from your father. The only thing you'll ever get from that weasel. Why, if I knew that blonde bimbo was going to…

JASON: I know, Judy! Dad's a bastard who left you for some slutty waitress.

JUDY: You're darn right he di… wait, Judy? When did I become Judy? Whatever happened to Mom?

JASON: The term “Mom” has become outdated. Teens should know their parents on a first name basis. Besides, I'm practically an adult now.

JUDY: The term “adult” loosely means one can fend for themselves. I have yet to see you cook a meal, wash or iron your wardrobe, or manage to finish a simple household chore without having to run into your little studio. (Sighs) What am I going to do with you? (Touches her neck) Oops, I forgot my necklace. I'll be right back. (Rushes into her bedroom)

(JASON sits down in the chair and turns his radio on)

RADIO: …as North Korea has been discovered to have a surprising amount of nuclear power. Experts estimate that within the next few months, the United States and North Korea could become engaged in an all out nuclear war. The President has given no indication that we may be backed up against a wall, but with a number of our troops still in Iraq, things are not looking good for the US. In local news, a man was arrested early this morning for…

(JASON turns the radio off)

JASON: Did you hear about that, Judy? North Korea is building up nuclear power. I so called that one. Remember? Remember what I said when that bone headed “Commander in Chief” said we were declaring war on Iraq? I said, “Why the hell are we going to Iraq? Korea is the country who hates us. They have the military ability to harm us.” Word for word what I said. And now look what happens. We're gonna get ourselves blown to bits because we had to go to the desert to play tag with the Muslims. This is ridiculous. You know, we really should elect leaders who can fix our current problems and NOT get us into more stuff than we can handle. A small handful of terrorists crash into huge, important buildings and we jump right into war with an entire country. Yet when a country with dislike for us starts to build up power, we sit around with our overweight friends, grab a bag of popcorn, and become sitting ducks for a lethal fireworks show.

JUDY: (entering) I remember, Sweetie. But you have to look at it from their point of view. Terrorists from the Middle East killed thousands of Americans in one day. As President, he had to take into consideration all of the emotions running wild through the millions of people he was placed in charge of. The natural reaction is to go into the country and find the responsible party. Which is exactly what he did to begin with. Now, the whole war on the country was a mistake, I agree. But he was just doing the job he was elected to do.

JASON: (thinks a moment) I still think we should withdraw. Politics or not, it's become a game of ethics.

JUDY: Just relax; you're not even 18 yet. You don't have to worry about it for whole week still. (Remembering) Oh, you got a letter today.

JASON: Who from?

JUDY: (smiles) Boston.

JASON: (falling over the back of the couch) Where is it? What's it say?

JUDY: I didn't open it. I wanted you to be the first to read the verdict.

JASON: (tearing open the letter) I can't look!

JUDY: Of course you can!

JASON: But what if…

JUDY: Oh, for Pete sake! Here, I'll read it.

JASON: NO! I'll do it. (Big over-dramatic breath) “Dear Jason. After reviewing countless auditions and watching the tapes over and over again… blah blah blah get to the good stuff… we would like to congratulate you on being accepted into the Conservatory of Music.”

(Silence. JUDY and JASON stare at each other for a moment. Then dance about the stage.)

JUDY: (teary eyed) Oh, Honey! I'm so proud of you. Just think, my little boy being accepted into a highly praised conservatory. I've got to call Cheryl! (Grabs the phone and runs into the bedroom)

JASON: (crossing back over to the couch) (Aside) I can't believe it! You know, I've been writing for so long. I was starting to think that everything I did was only mediocre. I went and auditioned at Boston almost half a year ago. I had a really good audition, too. But when I didn't hear anything I just assumed the worst. But now, now I'm in! Everything is working just as I hoped. Maybe I'm not so mediocre after all. I've just got this feeling that some day my name will be all over the headlines!

(ROBERT, JASON'S best friend, knocks on the window. ROBERT is older than JASON and knows how to keep a cool head in intense situations. ROBERT also keeps JASON down to earth about things. JASON lets ROBERT in.)

ROBERT: Hey Jay! Jason!

JASON: Rob, what are you doing here?

ROBERT: I heard you and your mom screaming. So I came over to see what the fuss was all about.

JASON: (handing ROBERT the letter) Read it!

ROBERT: (reading the back) This paper was recycled at…

JASON: Wrong side! You're a funny one. (Turns paper around for him.)

ROBERT: (playful smile) I try. (Random mumbling as he speed reads through the letter) DUDE! THIS ROCKS! When did you find out?

JASON: Just now, hence all the excitement. Just think, I'll start off in Boston, make a name for myself with the Boston Pops before I graduate, then start booking gigs all over the US, and before you can say “30th birthday,” I'll have at least one Grammy!

ROBERT: In your dreams, Jay!

JASON: Well, I always thought I was a nothing. But maybe I'll end up a Cinderella, rags-to-riches story. Poor kid from some run down home in a sleepy little town no one's ever heard of where nothing ever goes wrong grows up to be a huge somebody on the A list.

ROBERT: Slow down, Cinderella. In order to go to Boston, you have to pay. I don't meant to kill your happy, but unless your “fairy godmother” comes bearing large sacks of money, you're in some serious financial troubles.

JASON: Well, I've been working at the Burger Joint for a while now. And I'm sure I'll win a truck load of scholarships; either through my music or through bullshitting my way through some essays.

ROBERT: You don't have much time, Jason.

JASON: I'll be fine. I always am.

ROBERT: (sighs) What ever you say. (Flops on the couch) So what's with the penguin's attire? Planning a gig in the Antarctic?

JASON: You're just full of ‘em tonight. It's the Black and White dinner. The mayor asked me to play a new piece tonight. Who knows? Maybe he'll end up paying for me to go to school!

ROBERT: That withered up has been that we call our mayor doesn't have a decent bone in his body! He'll play the nice guy card to your face, but the second you leave the room, BAM! You're the new topic of bad conversation.

JASON: So you tell me. I think you're just a tad bit bitter that I asked my mother to come to the dinner with me and not you.

ROBERT: Puh-lease. I'm no good at fancy shin digs like that. Plus, the closest I come to formal wear is pressed jeans and a shirt that's not covered in some kind of stain.

JASON: (pulling up a chair) How'd we ever get to be such good friends, Robert? I mean, I'm not complaining or anything, but we're so different you and me. I'm a city boy born out in the middle of nowhere and you're a town bumpkin the whole way through.

ROBERT: Well, this is the way I see it. We hang out all the time. You do dumb stuff that gets you into trouble. I end up saving your butt on a regular basis. In return, you've been the closest thing to a sibling I've ever had. Who knows why we meet the people we do. But I know this much, you don't go putting your own neck on the line for someone if you don't care about them.

(JUDY enters)

JUDY: Why, Robert! What brings you here tonight?

ROBERT: Nothing interesting. I heard you two celebrating in here and I thought I ought to join.

JUDY: Isn't it wonderful?

ROBERT: It sure is. Things seem to be looking up for you two lately.

JUDY: I sure hope so. It's nice to think about at least. When is orientation, Jason?

JASON: It says it will be towards the end of August. It's got a bunch of different dates. I'll go mark them all down on my calendar. (Exits)

JUDY: (as an afterthought) Grab your nice sports jacket while you're in there.

ROBERT: Judy, can I talk to you a minute? It's about Jason. I'm really concerned.

JUDY: Really? Why? (Sits on the couch)

ROBERT: He just seems, oh, I don't know, different lately.

JUDY: How do you mean?

ROBERT: He's just more distant now-a-days. I swear he's going to request to be buried in that studio of his. Have you noticed he's losing weight?

JUDY: So it's not just me then? I was convinced it was just my over-reactive mother senses in need of a tune up. But I have noticed that he keeps wearing longer clothing, even though it's getting warmer out.

ROBERT: Today he asked me why we were friends. It was one of those things you don't expect to hear when you're extremely concerned for a person's well being. I don't know what it is, but something is amiss.

JUDY: I agree, but I'm not sure that proves much. You know how much your friendship means to him. He's probably just tired. He's been up for almost 2 days straight just sitting in there composing.

ROBERT: That's the thing. All he does any more is write music. It's almost like his cop out. He can't go out tonight because he has to write a song for the mayor. He can't do his English paper because he needs to finish a composition for Boston. I'm no psychologist, but it's almost like he's hiding something else behind the music.

JUDY: Like what?

ROBERT: I told you I'm no psychologist, but maybe he's depressed or something like…

JUDY: Don't be daft! Jason is happier than I've seen him since his father left. And it's not like he has a father that tried to be a part of his life like yours.

ROBERT: (indignantly) He doesn't try at all! Why do you think I moved out on my 18th? He and his step wife were… no ARE horrible, horrible people!

JUDY: You're just jealous because he's…

(JASON enters, wearing his jacket)

JASON: How do I look?

JUDY: (exasperated) You look wonderful, dear.

ROBERT: Yeah, you look good, kid. I have to go. You two have a good time at your dinner. (exits out door)

JASON: What were you two telling about? Robert sounded really upset.

JUDY: Don't worry about it. Do you have your music?

JASON: (holding up a folder) Yep!

JUDY: Good. I'm excited to hear it. What's it called?

JASON: The War at Home.


BLACKOUT

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"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."
 32yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Scene 2

(Later that night. JASON and JUDY return home after the dinner. Both enter through the door.)

JASON: A full ride! A full ride! I can't believe it!

JUDY: I know! I'm so proud of you. Your new song really won the mayor over.

JASON: And Robert keeps trying to tell me that the mayor is such a terrible guy. I wonder what he's got against him.

JUDY: You don't know?

JASON: We've got some messages!

PHONE: *obnoxious woman's voice* JUDY! I just saw Jason playing on the news, don' cha know! The news lady said that Jason's getting a full scholarship to Boston in honor of his skills, courtesy of the mayor, himself! I'll call you tomorrow morning! (Pause) Oh, this is so exciting! This reminds me of the time when I was a girl and I won the award for… (JASON hits the skip button)

JASON: Sorry, I couldn't stand her any more!

PHONE: *ROBERT'S VOICE* Hey, Jay. I just saw on the news that the scum bag gave you the full ride after all. Shocked me, but I'm proud of you. I'll take you out to celebrate next week. I got a call from some agency in the city I have to go see tomorrow. Otherwise, I'd see you then. Call me back if you get this before midnight. Take care of yourself, kid.

JASON: It's 12:30. Do you think it's too late?

JUDY: You could give it a try, but he might be asleep. I have no idea what agency would be calling Robert of all people.

JASON: I'll call him. (Grabs phone and exits into his bedroom)

JUDY: (picking up JASON”S acceptance letter and sits on couch) Just think. My little boy growing up to be a big time musician. (Aside) You know, I remember when he first started to love the piano. His father and I had taken him to see a symphonic concert, featuring a pianist as the guest soloist. He was only 7, but he was still enthralled. He wanted to take lessons, but they were so expensive. When I finally decided to spring for them, his father and I got into such a huge argument. We had so many arguments over money issues. But now, I finally have the last laugh. I knew form the start Jason would be talented. And now, I've proved that low life I once married wrong. (Enter JASON) Did you get a hold of him, honey?

JASON: No, he must be in bed already. I wonder who wants to see him. He sounded a little concerned, don't you think?

JUDY: Maybe, but don't worry about it tonight. This is your night to celebrate.

JASON: Thanks, Judy, but I'm exhausted. I think I'm going to go right to bed.

JUDY: (sighs) Again with the “Judy” thing? Just a reminder, you aren't 18 yet.

JASON: I know. But I will be in 6 days now. And, I've been accepted into a prestige college with full admission, compliments of the mayor. I think that qualifies me for adult status.

JUDY: Almost, but not quite. You still cannot vote, go to war, buy cigarettes, or gamble.

JASON: Yes. Well, that's a minor detail.

JUDY: Weren't you going to bed?

JASON: I'm getting there.

JUDY: Wait. (Licks her finger and wipes something off of JASON'S cheek) (triumphantly) I can still clean your face; you are not yet an adult.

JASON: MOM! (Furiously wiping his cheek) Was that really necessary?

JUDY: Yes it was. Now go to bed.

(Exit JASON)

JUDY: (sinking into a chair) Sometimes I wonder whether he's 18, 8, or 48! (Sighs) At least I don't have to worry about coming up with the money to afford Boston.

(ROBERT sneaks out from the kitchen)

ROBERT: So the bastard is really going to shell out thousands for Jason.

JUDY: (screams) Dear God, Robert! What the hell were you thinking? I nearly had a heart attack!

ROBERT: I'm sorry, but I didn't want Jason to see me here.

JUDY: And why not? I thought, of all people, you'd be the first person in line to congratulate him. But you seem so wrapped up in your hatred for your…

ROBERT: Don't even start with me on that. Have you heard the news yet?

JUDY: What news?

ROBERT: (crossing to the radio) Check on any station; it's all over. (Turns radio on)

RADIO: …With tensions rising in the middle east, the President made a statement tonight where he announced that the draft has been reinstated. After a lengthy discussion with his cabinet, he says he feels that it is the best course of action to… (ROBERT turns radio off)

JUDY: What does this mean, Robert?

ROBERT: I don't know yet. But I do know this: nothing good will come from it.

JUDY: This is all very tragic, yes… But why sneak into my house in the middle of the night to tell this to me and not Jason?

ROBERT: You heard my message didn't you? (JUDY nods) I think it was a recruiting agency. I don't have the heart to tell Jason. Especially on his special night.

(Long pause)

ROBERT: What am I going to do, Judy? I'm not meant to go to war. The only time I've ever held a gun was at a shooting gallery. But now they expect me to go overseas and start taking the lives of people I don't even know?

JUDY: You don't know that for sure. For all we know, that agency could be for something completely irrelevant to this. One thing is for certain, though; you must keep a steady head. If, in fact, you are sent to fight, you cannot lose your stability.

ROBERT: I know. I just can't stand the thought of fighting for something I don't even believe in.

JUDY: Regardless of your beliefs, look at it this way; this could be your chance to prove to your father that you're more of a man than he thinks you are,

ROBERT: What on earth makes you think that I give a crap about what he thinks about me? His new wife, uni-brow, facial hair and all, is more of a man than he'll ever be.

JUDY: (chuckling) I thought it was appropriate that her face matched her dress; all white with a full black stripe at the top!

(BOTH laugh emphatically. Long pause)

JUDY: Well, I need to get some rest. You probably should too. You could be in for a long day tomorrow. You're welcome to sleep here on the couch if you like.

ROBERT: Thank you, but I don't think I'll be able to sleep a wink tonight.

JUDY: Just make sure the door is locked when you leave. Having you break in is one thing; I'd prefer to not have any other unexpected visitors.

ROBERT: I will, Judy. Thank you. Good night.

JUDY: Good night, Robert.

(Exit JUDY)

(ROBERT paces for a bit. Eventually, he sits down on the couch, buries his face in his hands, and starts to cry.)

ROBERT: (lifting his head upward) Oh, God! What am I going to do now?

BLACKOUT

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"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."
 32yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Scene 3

(JASON'S 18th birthday. JUDY is finishing frosting a cake.)

JUDY: (Assuming the same position as she was while ironing the shirt) Oh no! Cheryl, that's so disappointing. (Pause) No, it's quite alright. I'm sure burying Mr. Dimples is very important as well. (Pause) Well, I guess I'll only be baking for three tonight then. For Jason's big day, not many people seem interested. Robert will be here, but that's it. No one else could make it. I know people are up in arms about the new draft policy. But still, a birthday should be celebrated right? (Pause) Well, I best finish this dinner before Jason and Robert get here. (Pause) Yes, I remember card club was moved to Thursday this week. Alright. Buh-bye. (Hangs up) I swear that woman has diarrhea of the mouth sometimes.

(JASON walks in the front door)

JASON: Hey Judy. I'm officially an adult today. Judy is finally appropriate.

JUDY: (sighs) You make me feel so old sometimes. (JASON goes to make a comment) That was a rhetorical remark, not an open invitation for you to comment.

JASON: Fine. I'll keep my comments to myself... today. So who is coming tonight? Did you call the mayor? I know Robert hates him, but it would still be cool if he came. What about your friends?

JUDY: I'm afraid it will just be the usual tonight, party of three. The mayor is having a meeting tonight and Cheryl has to bury her cat. (JASON throws her a funny look) Don't ask.

JASON: I won't. I have a feeling I don't really want to know. What time is Robert supposed to get here?

JUDY: Wait a minute, weren't you with him all day?

JASON: No, he left a note on his apartment door with an envelope with some cash in it telling me he'd be here tonight at some point and to have some fun today. I went to the movies and saw a double feature. It was pretty cool.

JUDY: Any reason he didn't show up?

JASON: None that I know of. He wrote that he'd have news tonight and told me not to freak out when he gets here.

JUDY: (realizing) I see. Well, I'm sure he must have a very good reason. I just hope it's nothing serious.

JASON: Why should it be? Do you know something?

JUDY: (answering almost too quickly) Nope. Not a thing. No idea in the least.

JASON: Uh-huh. Whatever. I'm just so excited. Finally becoming an adult. I'm surprised Dad didn't send a card.

JUDY: You are? I don't see how. I mean, he's done such a good job raising you these past 18 years. Oh wait, that wasn't him. That was me. My mistake.

JASON: Bitter much?

JUDY: (Tartly) Not in the least.

(JUDY starts to set the table for two people.)

JASON: Here, I'll help. You forgot a plate.

JUDY: I did?

JASON: You said there would be three of us but you only put out two plates. What? Is Robert going to eat off the floor? (Laughs)

JUDY: Right, how foolish of me.

(JUDY and JASON finish setting the table. There is a knock at the door. JUDY looks out the window.)

JUDY: Why don't you go put your sports jacket on? I think it'll look nice with your casual outfit and I want to take pictures of an event for a change!

JASON: (eyeing her oddly) Ok. (Exits into his bedroom.)

(JUDY opens the door to reveal ROBERT in full military attire.)

JUDY: So your number was called in the first pick.

ROBERT: (entering) I leave at midnight. I have my car loaded up. But I wouldn't miss this for the world. I just hope this doesn't ruin his birthday.

JUDY: Well, we're going to find out.

JASON: Hey Robert. I'm glad someone could'what's with the commando attire?

ROBERT: You know they reinstated the draft. Well, my number was one of the first called. I leave tonight.

JASON: (hurt) No. You can't go over there. You never even signed up.

ROBERT: Well, not until I got that phone call. The agency was the local reserves. They told me if I signed up, they could get me placement in something other than front lines. When I went in to consult with them, they told me it might be too late. (Referring to his attire) I guess they were right.

(Long silence)
JUDY: Well, we should eat before it gets cold. (Sits at the table.)

ROBERT and JASON: (Sitting) Thanks Judy. (JUDY throws her head up, giving up arguing with JASON.)

ROBERT: Did you have a good time today? I'm sorry I couldn't be there.

JASON: (looking down at his plate) I guess it makes sense now.

ROBERT: So you're not mad at me?

JASON: How can I be mad at you? It's not your fault our military is screwed up.

ROBERT: I'm glad you feel that way. (Bitterly) I'd rather be dead than fight in this nonsensical war.

JUDY: Bite your tongue! If you go in with that mindset, that's exactly how you'll end up!

ROBERT: (indignant) Put yourself in my place, Judy. Here I am, some corn-fed hick who barely managed to get a high school diploma, trying to keep to myself and follow my own beliefs. Then our high and mighty government steps in and tells me what I can and can't believe and then, on top of that, I'm being sent over to fight for THEIR war, not mine!

JUDY: Is that all you ever think about? Yourself? Why did you get thrown out of your house? Because you didn't like your step mother and treated her poorly. Now you're all but going AWOL because you don't like the reason that you're being sent overseas for. Sorry to break the news to you, but the world doesn't revolve around you! Maybe your father was right about you after all.

JASON: (stunned) Mom.

(Long silence. JUDY and ROBERT stare intensely at each other. JASON is torn.)

ROBERT: Well, I should probably be on my way.

JASON: (stands and approaches ROBERT) Good bye, Robert. It's not gonna be the same without you around here. (THEY embrace.)

ROBERT: I'm gonna miss you too, kid. Take care of yourself. I'm not gonna be able to pull you out of anything for a while.

JASON: Stay safe.

(ROBERT crosses to the door before stopping and turning back. JUDY sits back down, shocked by her own harshness.)

ROBERT: (bitterly) I put a notice in at the post office to have my mail delivered here. (Opens the door, then turns to say) Happy birthday, Jason.


BLACKOUT

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"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."
 32yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Scene 4

(Four months later. JUDY sits on the couch reading the paper, listening to the radio in the background. JASON is in his studio. Mail falls through the slot in the door. JUDY gets up to get it, but JASON comes bolting out of his room.)

JASON: (picking up the mail and tossing the ones he doesn't want) Bill... bill... you may have won twenty five thousand dollars... bill... YES!

JUDY: (trying to catch the remaining mail) Something from Boston?

JASON: No. A letter from Robert. He finally responded!

JUDY: Oh. Can I have the rest of the mail please?

(JASON tosses it at her without looking. JUDY rolls her eyes and picks it up.)

JASON: (tearing open the letter) Maybe he's being sent home early! “Dear Jason. Sorry I took so long to get back to you, but I've scarcely had time to (ROBERT'S VOICE takes over) sit and collect my thoughts. You know the old saying war is hell? They weren't kidding! Every day I hear gunfire nearby, knowing that any minute it could be my vehicle being attacked. I'm scared daily of what's to come. There's rumor flying around that another draft is being considered for almost immediate action. I hope your number isn't called. This is the last thing I want for anyone, especially you. I enjoy getting your letters and look forward to coming home. (ROBERT'S VOICE drops out as JASON finishes the letter) Tell Judy that I've been thinking a lot about what she had to say. I don't hold anything against her. You can't hold grudges over here. Take care of yourself. Robert.”

JUDY: Well, he seems to be handling himself well. At least his base hasn't been in the news yet. And with this, I guess no news is good news.

JASON: I guess. (Pause) Mom, I'm scared for him.

JUDY: I know. I am too. But we have to keep pulling for him here.

JASON: Yeah, but is that really enough? I mean, I send him letters all the time, and he knows we support him, but it sounds like he's changed so much. I never remember him being afraid of anything before.

JUDY: (with caution) Well, he is in a constant battle over there.

JASON: He was here too. I still never understood why he hated his father so much. I mean I know he was thrown out of the house because his step mother was a complete witch. But how did it all deteriorate so much?

JUDY: I can't believe you've known him for so long and never figured out who is father is. Well, if he never told you, it's not my place to say. But if you knew, you'd understand.

JASON: Well, that's about as clear as mud.

JUDY: No one ever said life was clear.

JASON: No one ever said you had to be secretive either.

JUDY: Who's being secretive? All I said was that it's not my place to say anything.

JASON: But you could still tell me. So what if it's not your place. Robert isn't here and won't be back for a while. You could quite easily substitute for him.

JUDY: Cute and creative. (Pause with mouth open, pretending to think about telling him) But no.

JASON: (sighs) I suppose I'll just have to find out one way or the other. Do you think there could really be another draft call coming up?

JUDY: I don't know. But you're already going off to school, so I'm sure you'll be fine.

JASON: Yeah, I hope so.

JUDY: Besides, what use would a pianist be with a rifle?

JASON: (gravely) About the same as a small town boy with no will to fight.

(Long pause)

JASON: I'm going to go write to Robert. Let him know we got his letter and all. (Exits into his room)

JUDY: (calling after him) Be sure to tell him that I have no hard feelings here as well. (Aside) I hope Jason's enrollment at Boston will be enough to keep him out of the draft. But this draft already includes woman so I'm sure it won't be. I already know that there is to be another number calling next week. I just don't have the heart to tell him. If he can make it through this calling, he'll be in classes and won't be eligible by the time they need another batch. (Looking heaven-wards) I'm just going to throw this one up to you and pray he doesn't get picked. And I do hope Robert is ok. I know we've had our squabbles in the past, but I really do care about him.

JASON: (entering from his room with an envelop) Well, I just wrote to him again. I hope he gets this one soon.

(JASON opens the door to a MAN IN UNIFORM who was getting ready to knock.)

MAN IN UNIFORM: Beg your pardon. Is this the residence of Judy and Jason Stallward?

JUDY: Yes. Is something wrong sir?

MAN: I'm afraid so. I was sent to deliver this message to you. (Hands a letter to JUDY) I realize the address is incorrect, but the post office said this was where all letters were to be sent. (Turns to leave but turns back) My deepest sympathies. (Closes the door as he leaves)

JASON: (Looking at JUDY with concern) What is it, Mom?

JUDY: (tears open the letter) To whom it may concern: It is with our deepest condolences that we send you this letter today. We regret to inform you that Robert Panlos was killed this past week in an attack on his base. (pauses) Robert was with a large group of soldiers when a grenade was thrown in there direction. Acting as trained, he covered the grenade with his own body, saving the lives of everyone else in his camp. (JASON drops his letter) For Robert's heroic efforts he will be awarded the highest honor in... (JUDY begins to break down) Oh, Robert!

JASON: (fighting tears) It's not true. I can't be. Robert said he'd come home.

JUDY: (her own tears flowing) Jason, I'm sorry.

JASON: No! It's a lie. There was a mistake. There must be hundreds of Roberts in the military, how can they be sure it was him?

JUDY: (tearfully) Jason, sit down with me.

JASON: He just wrote to me. I know it was sent last week, but there was no one even close to his camp.

JUDY: I'm sorry, Jason. But it's true. Robert's gone. The letter is stamped and notarized. It's authentic.
JASON: (collapsing to the ground in tears) NO! He promised he'd be okay. He promised not to get himself hurt.

JUDY: That wasn't very fair of him, promising something he couldn't keep.

(THEY embrace and cry for a while.)

JASON: He was a hero? I mean, officially?

JUDY: (smiling slightly) Yes, dear. He saved hundreds of people. Hundred of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. His own death prevented so many others.

JASON: (suddenly realizing) Why did they bring it here, to the wrong address? Where was it supposed to go?

(The RADIO suddenly cuts out of music)

RADIO: We interrupt our program to bring you an announcement from our mayor. *MAYOR'S VOICE* My fellow citizens, I come before you today with a heavy heart. I have just received word that the war over seas has claimed one of our own, someone very near to my heart. My son was sent to fight in the draft. He will not be coming home to us. But, it brings me great pride to say, he is a hero of top honors. He bravely sacrificed his own life so that others in his... (JASON shuts the radio off)

JASON: Robert is the Mayor's son? (JUDY nods) (Indignant and emotional) Where does he get off glorifying Robert like that? He wouldn't even look at Robert when he was here. But now that his son is a war hero, he's all proud? No. He threw his son, his own child out in the cold and now feels the right to claim his parental duties. This is ridiculous. How dare he mock Robert like that!

JUDY: Robert always said he was an ego-maniac. I guess this proves it. The mayor treated you more like his son than Robert. All those things I said to him before he left. I feel horrible. (crying again) I'd give anything to go back and erase those comments I made before he stormed out the door. I should've hugged him. I should've told him we loved him. But instead I reprimanded him for speaking lowly of his father. Now I see I did nothing but protect a hypocrite.

JASON: (bitterly) Well, he got his wish alright.

JUDY: What do you mean?

JASON: He said it himself; he'd rather be dead than fight in the war he didn't believe in. Well, he got what he wanted.

JUDY: At least we know he's in a better place.

(Long silence)

JASON: I'm going to bed. I can't stand to be conscious any longer today.

JUDY: It's only 6 o'clock.

JASON: I know. (Crosses to his door)

JUDY: Is there anything I can get you?

JASON: Yesterday would be nice.


BLACKOUT

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"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."
 32yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Here it is... the fifth and final piece... let me know what you guys think of it.



Scene 5

(One week later. JUDY is, yet again, on the phone with Cheryl. This time, however, she sits in her chair and is less enthusiastic.)

JUDY: I'm glad you could make it. It seemed like the whole town came out for Robert's memorial service. It was such a lovely day, too. The sky was so blue, not a single cloud, except one that seemed to block the sun from your eyes the entire time. Robert would've loved to be out on a day like that. (pause) And Jason's piece. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. I get teary just thinking about it. I'm surprised he was able to get through it. He loved Robert so much. If you didn't know any better, you'd swear they were brothers. (JASON enters and closes the door, then trudges to his room) Ooh, he's home from his walk now Cheryl, I'll call you later. (pause) What? Friday? (This time, opting not to reschedule) You know, I think I better sit this one out. Jason and I need some time to recoup. (Hangs up) Jason?

JASON: (from his room) Yeah?

JUDY: Can you come out?

JASON: No.

JUDY: How was your walk?

JASON: Fine.

JUDY: Is one word all you can say at a time?

JASON: No.

JUDY: Jason, please come out here.

(Long pause. JASON finally opens the door and trudges out. HE is completely changed, slumped posture, disheveled appearance.)

JUDY: I was going to actually cook for supper. What would you like?

JASON: I'm not hungry.

JUDY: You haven't eaten in two days, Jason. That's not healthy.

JASON: I said I'm not hungry.

JUDY: I know you're hurting. But Robert wouldn't want you to hurt yourself like this. You need to eat. I'll make you anything you want.

JASON: Fine. I guess pasta sounds pretty good. I am kinda hungry.

JUDY: Good, I'll go put some noodles in right now. (Walks to the kitchen and starts pulling out pots and noodles) Cheryl called. She thought your piece was brilliant.

JASON: Really? Brilliant? I didn't know that word was in her vocabulary.

JUDY: Be nice. To be honest, half the neighborhood has called. Apparently, most of them have never heard you play before. But they all agree that it was simply amazing.

JASON: Robert would've come up to me and said, “Eh, not bad. Would've been better had you let me play it.”

(THEY laugh wistfully.)

JASON: He probably would've been upset that everyone dressed up so nice.

JUDY: That's the truth. His idea of “dress pants” was a pair of jeans that didn't have a hole in the knees.

JASON: I remember the night of the Black and White; he kept poking fun at my suit.

JUDY: I must've missed that.

(Silence. JUDY continues to work at the stove.)

JASON: I really miss him, Mom.

JUDY: I know you do. I do, too.

JASON: You think the Mayor will go back on his word? Now that he acknowledges the fact that he has a son?

JUDY: No, there were too many important people at that dinner for him to pull out now. He's in it for the long run.

JASON: Well, at least I still have that to look forward to. Everything else just doesn't seem to matter any more.

JUDY: It's a natural thing to feel that way. You've experienced a great loss. Have you been taking the sleeping pills the doctor prescribed? (Indicates the pill bottle on the counter)

JASON: Yeah, but they aren't working. Every time I close my eyes, I see him. But I don't just see him. It's like I become him. In that last moment, having to make the split second decision. That's how I wrote my piece. I just took on his persona. Something he told me when I first started to write music was, “Music can only live if you give it a heartbeat.” I thought he was just being dumb, because he never did anything musical. But I realize now that he knew all along. Without giving real life to a piece, it can't succeed.

JUDY: Robert knew more than we gave him credit for.

JASON: Do you think he was right about the upcoming draft he mentioned in his letter?

JUDY: We'll find out tonight.

JASON: Why tonight?

JUDY: (realizing she's been caught) The truth is, there is. The drawing is tonight.

JASON: Why didn't you tell me?

JUDY: I didn't want to upset you any more than you already were. But you're already enrolled in Boston. There's no chance you'll be called.

JASON: But I'm not. I've sent the down payment and tuition. But I'm not enrolled yet. I'm still here and completely capable of being called.

JUDY: I still doubt you'll be called. Don't worry about it. You have enough on your plate to worry about. I'll turn the radio on in a bit and you'll hear for yourself.

JASON: I hope you're right. I can't imagine going over there. Not after Robert.

JUDY: You'll see. You'll make it past this one and then you'll be enrolled officially and you won't have to worry about it for another four years. Oh shoot. I'm out of sauce. I'll just run to the neighbors and see if they have any. (exits)

JASON: (Crossing and sitting on the couch) I can't believe it's been over a week since Robert died. I always knew there was that chance when he went over. But I never thought it would happen. I think the worst part is knowing that I'll never be able to hear his voice again. I'll never get to hear him call me “kid.” That was always his name for me. Kid. It made me feel like his little brother. There were times I was annoyed with it because I know I never acted like a kid. But it was still his name for me. No one else's. Sappy, I know. But it's one of those little things you never appreciate when they happen to you all the time. Simple things. Like saying “thank you” or “good-bye” or “I love you.” Had I known he wasn't coming home, I would've told him all of those things and more. I guess everyone who grieves over losing a loved one wants just one more day. One more chance to see them. One more hour to talk with them, not to them. One minute more to embrace. But we'll never get that. We have to live with what we're dealt.

(JUDY enters again)

JUDY: Sorry I took so long. I swear, I can't go anywhere without hearing praise about you any more.

JASON: No biggie.

JUDY: Well, I guess we should listen to the radio. Do you know your number?

JASON: 124-859.

JUDY: There are millions of people out there. What are the odds that your group will be called?

(JASON switches on radio.)

RADIO: ...thank you for tuning in. Now, we will begin selecting the numbers. If your number is drawn, you will be required to report directly to the nearest armed services center. In the event that you do not show up, an army representative will be sent to retrieve you.

JASON: I'm nervous, Mom.

JUDY: (nervously) You'll be fine.

RADIO: From the 882 series: 156, 945, and 534.

JUDY: One down, two to go.
RADIO: From the 429 series: 235, 333, and 734

JASON: Almost home free.

RADIO: And finally, from the 124 series: 645, 132, and 859. Again, if your number has been called, please report immediately to your local armed services center.

(The RADIO is silent as JASON numbly turns it off.)

JASON: I thought I was safe.

JUDY: Oh Jason. (Starts to cry. Embraces him) I love you. (Runs into her room)

JASON: (staring numbly for a while) I was sure I was safe. I was just one number away. But now, now I'm off to war. All because of six stupid digits. This isn't right. This isn't my war; it's their war. I don't believe in fighting these people. Just like Robert didn't believe in fighting these people. (JASON stands angrily) I never signed up to fight. I can't even hold a gun. How do they expect me to kill people I've never even met? It's... it's... inhuman. How can I possibly go over there and fight? (HE starts to pace frantically) I can go away. I'll go somewhere else, Canada maybe. I'll be safe there. But then I can't come back. And I'll never go to Boston. And I'll never play the piano in concert halls across the country. How can this be? In one simple moment, all my dreams are gone. Slashed into pieces by six measly digits. (Falls back onto the couch) If I went over there, it would go against everything I stand for. Society always told me to be who I am and keep with it. But now they want me to betray myself? How can I do that? (emotion starts to sink in) Robert, why did you leave me? I need you here now! You always helped me out with these things. You helped keep me in check. You protected me. You promised me you'd be here! But you're not. You're gone. (JASON starts to wander the room) I can't go over there, but I can't run away. What do I do now? (long pause. stops and looks up) Good-bye, Robert.

(JASON walks into the kitchen and pours a tall glass of water. HE then grabs the bottle of sleeping pills. HE calmly walks back into his room and closes the door.)


BLACKOUT

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"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."
Long one act
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