Reality Check: One-Act Play with Narration

“WAY TOO FAR”

by OPOVV, ©2013

What will a soldier do for his fellow “buddies?”

(Sep. 4, 2013) — The curtain slowly rises as the house lights dim. The sound of splashing is intermittent.

The backdrop is a black curtain. Nine men in Navy dungarees are either lying on their stomachs, on their sides or sitting Indian-style around a blanket at the end of a dock, the only prop on the stage. Paper money is being thrown in, and then scooped up from various piles.

The “Old Man,” all of 22 years, calls out, “Ten it’ll hit straight left, 50 yards.”

Choruses of “You’re on” ring out, and money flies through the air to land in a pile.

Sammy the Boot giggles and says to no one in particular, “I can’t believe you guys, bettin’ on where the next mortar round lands. What if it lands on us?”

Catcalls abound. “Then I guess we’re dead,” “There’s no way ‘cause I got a woman waiting for me,” “Shut up and bet.”

As the mortar rounds continue to splash, a spotlight slowly gets brighter, front, stage left, as the sounds of the men turn down to a murmur.

The spotlight is now on an actor, dressed as a Greek philosopher, who addresses the audience:

“Even though mankind has devised weapons of mass destruction, when it’s all said and done, it’s the troops on the ground that determine, at the end of the day, who won and who lost.

Take the Navy, with all of its submarines and carrier battle groups; take the Air Force, with its F-22 Raptors and B-2’s; take all the rear guard, all the way back to the Pentagon, and it always ends up that the most valuable, the most important, yet the most expendable, is a soldier holding the ground because, without the presence of that soldier, that piece of real estate is still up for grabs.

The spotlight dims, and so, too, the splashing, and now the voices of the men can be heard.

“What you think they doing?”

“Tubes got too hot. Maybe it’s fish head and rice break.”

“Maybe they’re being sent to aiming school, and when they start up again they’ll hit us.”

“Maybe we’ll throw you in the drink.”

“Maybe they don’t know what they’re doing any more than we do.”

“No way. Nobody’s dumber than us. They’re home; we’re sure not.”

“Got a point. Hand it to the kid, he’s got a point.”

A faint, high-pitched whine can be heard in the distance.

“Five, 100 yards right.”

Again the spotlight gets brighter, and the men’s voices quiet as the splashes increase in volume and frequency.

Ancient Greek theater in Athens

Our Greek says:

Those guys at the end of that makeshift dock are out there because if they tried getting any sleep laying on the ground they’d be nothing but skeletons come morning: the insects would’ve eaten them alive, or else get snake bit, or just bit.

At least it’s cooler on the water, a slight breeze, and no insects.

The heat lightning show is pretty spectacular with an unconstructive view of the sky.

These nine warriors are celebrating life as soldiers have done for thousands of years, just bonding because we’re all afraid of the unknown; some of us just face it better than others.

By looking at a person you never know if that person is brave or not; there’s just no way to tell.

I didn’t know if I was, never thought about it, until one time I put my life on the line, but I didn’t do it for my country or myself; I did it for my buddies.

This I’ll tell you: those guys will do their very best for their buddies. Some may not measure up; we’ll never know until there is the ultimate test.

But this I will tell you:  none of them, not a one, will lift a finger for our supposed allies in Syria.

Not one.

To put your life on the line for your buddies is one thing, but to expect American troops to give all to help a Muslim in Syria is reaching way, way too far.

The spotlight dims as the Greek leaves stage left.

The sound of the mortar rounds cease as dawn approaches.

The men stand up and stretch.

The “Old Man” says, “Well, that was fun. What do you say we go home?”

As the men quietly exit stage right, the curtain lowers as the house lights brighten.

OPOVV

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