August 24, 2006

A Play A Day #133

Hail On Earth


Setting: In a picnic shelter at a public park

(Tornado sirens going off, Sever is sitting at a picnic table inside the shelter, Rip runs in, taking his coat down from his head. Note: You can do this play with full sound effects, or run it without. The hail, thunder and wind would be enormously loud, of course, but it could be done.)

Rip: Woooo! It's starting to come down!

Sever: Yep! Looks like some bad stuff coming in too.

Rip: Yeah, that sky's nasty looking!

Sever: Just listening on my portable here; they say rougher stuff is on its way.

Rip: Sure does look that way!

Sever: Yep.

Rip: Yes. Pretty bad rain.

Sever: Windy too.

Rip: Yeah, guess that's the bad stuff blowing in, huh?

Sever: Oh yeah! Definitely.

Rip: Yeah, it's coming from that way.

Sever: Most of the bad storms do.

Rip: From that way, yep. That's true.

(long pause)

Sever: S'pose I should call my kids in.

Rip: Well, I would, but they're having so much fun getting soaking wet.

Sever: Yep, guess you're right... there's my two little ones in that puddle by the slide.

Rip: Hey, mine must be playing with yours, at least... I think those two with the muddy faces are mine! Hard to tell! (laughter)

Sever: Yeah! I'll leave'm out there, they're having a blast.

Rip: MIne are Cody and Jessica... Cody's six, Jessie's four and a half.

Sever: Hey, my little boy is Cody too. He's seven. Little girl is Diane. She's three.

Rip: Cute.

Sever: Yeah, cute.

Rip: Real cute.

Sever: Sure. As cute as can be.

Rip: As a button.

Sever: (pause) I don't find most buttons to be that cute.

Rip: I guess you're right. Cute as a... teddy bear?

Sever: I think we've covered this topic enough.

Rip: Granted... granted. (pause) My name's Rip. (extending hand)

Sever: Rip? Really? Rip!? That's... if you don't mind me saying so... that's an awfully strange name. Rip?

Rip: Yeah... I know... I'm used to it, of course, most people say that, or, at least, think that. It's an old family name.

Sever: Rip? Wow! Old family name, huh?

Rip: Yep... yep... uh... well... it was the name of an old family lived next door to my mom when she was a girl.

Sever: So... uh... what's gonna happen when you die?

Rip: What?! I... uh...

Sever: I mean, your headstone...

Rip: I... don't get what...

Sever: Is it gonna be R.I.P., R-i-p?

Rip: What... Ohhh... Hey! Good one!

Sever: Thanks... really no one ever said that to you before? With a bizarre name like Rip?

Rip: No... I don't belive so... what's you're name?

Sever: Paul.

Rip: Paul. Nice name.

Sever: Yep... Paul...

Rip: Hey, wind's really...

Sever: Oh... man... I'm joking with you, and you bought it...

Rip: What?

Sever: Totally suckered you in!

Rip: Ohh... uhhh...

Sever: With my name! You fell for it!

Rip: Huh? Ummm... Paul, you mean?

Sever: (laughing uproariously now) Oh man! Paul! Yeah... that's a good one! Woooo!

Rip: So... Paul ... it's not your real name?

Sever: You kidding? Who'd want a stupid name like that? Rip? Paul? Gimme a break!

Rip: So... Paul's not your name?

Sever: No. Not even close!

Rip: Ummm... O.K.

Sever: Well... don't you wanna know what my name is?

Rip: You know... if... ahh... if you want to tell me, I guess, sure.

Sever: No... That's o.k.

Rip: Ummm... Ummm... yeah... uh... fine...

Sever: Wind's really picking up!

Rip: Uhhh... yes.

Sever: Uh oh! Hear that?

Rip: No, what?

Sever: Hail.

Rip: Really?

Sever: There... look...

Rip: Oh! Yep, I see it there. Cody! Jessie! Co...

Sever: Whadya doing?

Rip: Calling my kids in from the hail.

Sever: Hey! Look at 'em though having fun with my kids there.

Rip: Yeah...

Sever: Kids gotta have experiences like this... hail's tiny... don't take away the moment from them, man. Kids are too protected now, you know?!

Rip: Well...

Sever: Remember when you were little? Just running around! Leave the house in the morning and just run like crazy all day. And you did stupid things, right? Climbing huge trees, riding your bike down deadly hills, no frickin' helmet on, whatever. No big deal, right? Nowadays, we're all so hyped up about kid safety... it's gotten so bad, kids can't take a piss without being required to wear shoulderpads... it's ridiculous. What do we end up with? Kids that have healthy, safe and completely boring childhoods! Screw all that, man! What's a childhood without a few dozen scars? Nothing. It's nothing. So don't deny them a little rain, wind and hail. They'll remember it much better than the next time they have to put on a helmet at the spelling bee.

Rip: Yeah... yeah! You know what? You're completely right!

Sever: I know I am.

Rip: Let'em play! Screw it all!

Sever: There ya go, Rip!

Rip: Ohhh.. hey... hail's getting a bit bigger...

Sever: That happens.

Rip: Let'em have fun, though, huh?

Sever: You got it!

Rip: Hey... look at the limbs on that tree!

Sever: Yep, getting torn right off...

Rip: Yeah... um... what was that?

Sever: Hail's hitting cars.

Rip: Man! Window just smashed right out! Another!

Sever: (quietly) Yikes.

Rip: I gotta call the kids in!

Sever: Shoulderpads, man, shoulderpads!

Rip: No, this is truly dangerous!

Sever: What... softball-sized hail hitting the ground at over a hundred miles per hour? Nonsense!

Rip: I can't see the kids! The hail, the rain!

Sever: Yeah... too heavy to see.

Rip: Arrgghhh! Did you see that?

Sever: Hmmm... canteloupe-sized hail... pretty big...

Rip: Where are the kids!!!??

Sever: I don't know. Looks like giant ice heads falling everywhere.

Rip: You gotta help me! Your kids are out there! Here, we'll carry the picnic table over our heads!! (trying to lift his end) Help me!!!

Sever: Why?

Rip: Your kids are out there!

Sever: No... I don't have any kids.

Rip: Wha... what? What? I... help me... who... what... my kids... help me! Help me! Help my kids!!

Sever: In this weather?

(lights out immediately)



ShOI said...

I can't imagine what inspired this ;)
How bad was your damage?

Brendon Etter said...

Pretty damn bad.

Minivan is a disaster, the Saturn did alright, west side of the house and part of north side has siding chipped away all over the place. The roof... I can't look...

So this was a play definitely inspired by current events...

I actually don't do that very often. But as a lifetime Minnesota boy, I've seen a lot of very bad storms, lots of hail, but nothing that bad. I had to incorporate it into a play somehow.

I was outside, in a sheltered spot downtown, when the serious hail (some of them had doctorate degrees) hit. I watched cars' windows, lights, everything just get destroyed.

Don't let anyone tell you that the biggest hail was baseball-sized. There were softball-sized chunks that hit too. I picked some of them up from flower beds and mulched areas downtown. They were huge.

I've seen golf ball-sized hail a couple times. This was just plain insanely-large hail. The National Weather Service Radar System runs on a scale of storm severity from light gray - for essentially little to no storm activity - to white - for completely, absurdly powerful systems. I spoke with a man who had been tracking the storm that morning. He told me there was a small circle of white in the center of the system that passed dead center over Northfield.


Felt like I was in a disaster scene from a movie...

Hail On A Plain?

I'm surprised there weren't any serious personal injuries from the hail. Ice that hard, that heavy, hitting the ground at, what?, 130 mph? Crush a man's skull, or at the very least crack it.... What if a chunk hit you directly in the face?

ShOI said...

A 3-inch object has a terminal velocity of about 90 mph, but a downdraft adds to that. According to this, 2-inch diameter hail typically hits the ground at 95 mph and 3-inch hail at 120 mph. So a softball-sized hailstone must be at least 130 mph. I've been doing some research...