November 26, 2006

A Play A Day #227

Return Of The Warrior


Setting: Different scenes, representational or mimed set and props.

(enter Miggs, carrying large duffel bag, in military uniform, walks about, looking at everything, enters Potter's store)

Miggs: Doc? Doc?

(enter Potter)

Potter: Just in the back, working on it right now, should be... (looks up) Well, Miggs... Miggs Thompson! How are you?

Miggs: Great, Doc! It's great to be back! I see that Doc Potter's Repairs is still going strong.

Potter: Well, it would be going better if you hadn't just up and quit.

Miggs: Hey, now... had a war to fight in.

Potter: (to him this is a genuine surprise) War? That's your excuse, huh?

Miggs: (thinking Potter is being sarcastic) That's what it looked like to me, Doc.

Potter: A war?

Miggs: Oh yeah. Not pleasant at all.

Potter: You know you just didn't show up that one day, then the next. I got worried.

Miggs: You should have been worried. I saw some heavy combat.

Potter: Called your house. Your Mom said she wasn't sure where you were.

Miggs: Mom's a kidder; you know that.

Potter: Now you come in here... s'pose you'll want your job back.

Miggs: (getting a little put out by what he still perceives as Potter's sarcasm and coyness) No... no, Doc, I just...

Potter: Good, 'cause I'm not willing to just hand it back, after you go missing for, what, two years?

Miggs: Twenty months; say, Doc...

Potter: Got the Andrew's oldest boy working here now... only fifteen, but that kid knows his way around any type of engine...

Miggs: That's great, Doc. I was...

Potter: Fast learner... dang... kid can take apart anything and put it back without any instructions.

Miggs: Listen, Doc. I just got back in town, a day early, my folks don't even know I'm here yet, and...

Potter: Where were you anyway?

Miggs: (demeanor changes, getting much more defensive and upset) Doc! War. I was in a war. I was fighting in a war! You were at my going-away party. You even spoke at it, about how much you'd miss me here at the shop, and...

Potter: Oh, yeah, that thing. Well, if I had any idea you were serious, I would never have...

Miggs: Serious? What's wrong with you, Doc? Is your mind going? I shipped out the next day... I fought in Strangelandistan for nearly twenty months. Now, I'm back! I may have to do another tour in a couple months, but for now, I'm back.

Potter: Well. It's a good story, but I can't just fire the Andrew's boy because you come crawling back here...

Miggs: I'm not crawling back! I don't want the job; I was just visiting old friends around town, waiting for my parents to get home from work. I wanted to say "hi", find out how things were going.

Potter: Really?

Miggs: Yes, Doc. Of course. That's it.

Potter: Well... welcome home then... I guess.

Miggs: Thanks, Doc. I really was in a war; it wasn't fun in any way. I...

Potter: Got a fuel injector to refurbish in the back, needs to be done in about thirty... love to chat, Miggs, but...

Miggs: Uhh... yeah, sure... sure, Doc. (Doc exits) I guess I'll see you... around. (heavy sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, sees Sheila, brightens up)

Miggs: Sheila! Hey, Sheila!

Sheila: Miggs? Ohmigod! Miggs!

(big embrace, adlibs)

Sheila: Wow! I had heard you were coming back, but... well... wow!

Miggs: (releases embrace) So nice to see you, Sheila! You... look great!

Sheila: Oh... thanks, Miggs. You were always so nice to me.

Miggs: Well, it's easy to be nice to a nice girl.

Sheila: Say, Miggs.

Miggs: Yeah... wow, you just look fabulous.

Sheila: Miggs?

Miggs: Yeah?

Sheila: I'm really sorry.

Miggs: Hmmm?

Sheila: I meant to write! I got the address from your Mom.

Miggs: Ahh, don't worry about it... my unit was out of touch with a base for long periods of time... I think a lot of my mail got lost anyway.

Sheila: Still, I should have written to you!

Miggs: No... hey, it's fine. Don't worry...

Sheila: Well, it wa the least I could have done, and I didn't even do that.

Miggs: Okay, Sheila. I'm back now. Just means we'll have more to talk about.

Sheila: I guess your Mom told you already.

Miggs: No, haven't been home yet... told me what?

Sheila: (big sigh) I'm seeing someone else, Miggs.

Miggs: Oh... okay.

Sheila: Like I said: I should've written.

Miggs: No, no... why?

Sheila: It's Olin Werriks.

Miggs: Sure, I know Olin. Good guy.

Sheila: That's it?

Miggs: Yeah. We played basketball together. Always nice to people. Good shot from behind the arc.

Sheila: But... what about you?

Miggs: Me? I'm better in the lane, medium-range jumpers, that sort of thing.

Sheila: No... I mean, you know...

Miggs: Ummm...

Sheila: I wasn't trying to break your heart! I wasn't, Miggs!

Miggs: Uhhh... okay? What?

Sheila: It's just that you were gone, and I didn't know when you were coming back... if you were coming back, and so...

Miggs: So... you started seeing Olin.

Sheila: Yeah. I really missed you Miggs. I did.

Miggs: I missed you too, Sheila.

Sheila: But, it was so long to wait.

Miggs: What were you waiting for?

Sheila: You.

Miggs: Why?

Sheila: So we could pick up where we left off...

Miggs: Where was that?

Sheila: (pulling engagement ring off finger) I have to give this back, Miggs. I don't want to, but I'm in love now.

Miggs: (taking ring) What's... I never gave this to you, Sheila.

Sheila: I know the memory must be painful now.

Miggs: I'm not sure I have the memory at all.

Sheila: With the war, all that pain, now I load more on you.

Miggs: Sheila. We... we weren't engaged.

Sheila: All this pain can block so many memories.

Miggs: Sure, I suppose, but...

Sheila: Maybe some shell shock from the war; that could effect your memory too.

Miggs: I'm pretty sure I would have remembered if I was engaged to someone.

Sheila: Oh, Miggs, let it out. Don't deny the pain. Yell at me if you have too.

Miggs: I don't have to. Sheila, you're my friend. I'm glad you and Olin found each other. Really, I am.

Sheila: But, our past, Miggs?

Miggs: What about it; we've been friends since you moved to town in third grade. We're still friends, right?

Sheila: Yes! Yes, of course!

Miggs: Like always.

Sheila: But, we can't be... lovers.

Miggs: (pause) Sheila. We've never been lovers.

Sheila: Uhh... what about Emilina's closet?

Miggs: What... eighth grade? Spin the bottle? Seven Minutes in Heaven?

Sheila: You kissed me.

Miggs: Once; it's part of the game.

Sheila: It was so much more.

Miggs: Sheila, we've never even dated.

Sheila: We've been going steady since third grade!

Miggs: I dated several other girls in high school.

Sheila: And I waited on the side.

Miggs: You? Waited?

Sheila: (crying) Always faithful.

Miggs: Sheila, please don't cry. I never realized. I mean, how would I know that you thought we were dating?

Sheila: I thought you would just understand it.

Miggs: You have to tell me things like this, Sheila.

Sheila: Well, I guess we're even. I never told you that we were dating all through elementary, junior and senior high school, but I never told you about breaking up with you and dating Olin.

Miggs: (pause) Right. We'll... ummmm... we'll call it even.

Sheila: Except.

Miggs: Yes?

Sheila: Ummm... you haven't... you know?

Miggs: (long pause) Ahh... no.

Sheila: You know for all those other girls... Marie, Lizzy, Rose... in high school.

Miggs: Ummm... oh yeah, you know I forgot about Rose.

Sheila: (meaningfully coughs) Miggs...

Miggs: Right... (guessing) I'm... I'm sorry?

Sheila: Oh, Miggs, I can't stay mad at you!

Miggs: Good.

Sheila: No hard feelings?

Miggs: No. None.

Sheila: Well, listen, sorry about the engagement, but... well, I've gotta go. Olin's coming over, and...

Miggs: Sure... sure. Nice to see you again, Sheila. We'll have to spend some time together... catch up and stuff.

Sheila: Sure... I'll invite Olin.

Miggs: Right. Right. Of course. (Exit Sheila) Wouldn't want Olin to miss out. (big sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, Headley enters)

Headley: Miggs! Hey, Miggs!

Miggs: Hey! Hi there, Mr. Headley.

Headley: You're back!

Miggs: Yep, got in a day earlier than expected.

Headley: Excellent! They probably didn't need you anyway, huh?

Miggs: Well... they're getting by.

Headley: Getting by? Naah! You guys just kicked ass!

Miggs: Uhh... well...

Headley: I watched the news all the time! Just killing everything in sight!

Miggs: We... ummm...

Headley: Killed all those fucking brainwashed religious nuts! Serves 'em right!

Miggs: Well, we...

Headley: You don't fuck with America! Don't fuck with the U. S. of A!

Miggs: It actually...

Headley: Wish you guys coulda just nuked the whole shithole country!

Miggs: We found that...

Headley: Bastards! No fucking idea how deadly you boys are! Just run in there destroy everything; show them who's a real superpower!

Miggs: Mr. Headly, we...

Headley: And none of our boys ever getting killed, absolutely amazing how perfect our armed forces are!

Miggs: No! Guys died, Mr. Headley.

Headley: No, that's what I'm tellin' you, no one! Amazing!

Miggs: It would be amazing it it were true, Mr. Headley, but it's not.

Headley: No flag-draped coffins for America, no sir! Never had any of them on the news.

Miggs: Maybe not, but we lost soldiers, Mr. Headley! Some of my friends! I saw it happen. Saw four guys in my unit die on the same day, damnit!! Where are you getting this shit?!

Headley: I listen to the radio, the unbiased media.

Miggs: They lie, Mr. Headley. The war's not like that, at all.

Headley: You guys won so easily though.

Miggs: According to some. But talk to any soldier over there, they'll tell you that the war is still on. No one's won. No one even knows if we will ever win.

Headley: Who are you to say such shit? We won, for sure!

Miggs: We're still fighting, we're still dying. Innocent civilians are getting killed everyday... sometimes it's by us.

Headley: You're not helping our troops saying this kinda garbage, Miggs!

Miggs: Reality sucks sometimes, Mr. Headley, but lies kill.

Headley: I can't believe you're so unpatriotic! You sure you're even fighting the same war?

Miggs: I'm definitely not fighting the one you're watching.

Headley: Good thing you're not there now, demoralizing everyone doing the Lord's work.

Miggs: What? The Lord has nothing to do with this.

Headley: Jesus wants us to win this fight. It's Us versus Them.

Miggs: Jesus is crying, Mr. Headley. Crying for us and for them. Crying for people like you who love war so much, they'll watch anyone fight it.

Headley: You always were a smartass kid!

Miggs: And you always were a dumbass adult. (Headley moves off angrily, Miggs says to himself) I never realized how dumb until you tried to take my side. (heavy sigh)

(lights change, Miggs wanders, sees Tillits, seated on the ground, bottle at his side, leaning against a wall, Miggs approaches, Tillits is drunk, he's always drunk)

Miggs: (leans against the wall) Hi, Tillits.

Tillits: (without looking up) Miggs?

Miggs: Yep... it's me.

Tillits: Back a day early?

Miggs: Yeah. (slides down to sit next to Tillits) How'd you know?

Tillits: Sources.

Miggs: Yeah.

Tillits: It's not what you expected, coming home?

Miggs: No. Not at all.

Tillits: People forgot about you?

Miggs: No... not really.

Tillits: They didn't really remember you though.

Miggs: Yeah... yeah... that's it, Tillits.

Tillits: They remember what they want about you. What fits their world.

Miggs: Right. They seem to.

Tillits: Just like my war.

Miggs: Yeah?

Tillits: This war is your war. The war I fought in was my war.

Miggs: Yeah, but...

Tillits: For both of us, see, we didn't have the luxury to be fighting in the country's war... we fought for ourselves. They sent us there; said there was a goal...

Miggs: Yeah.

Tillits: Made it seem real. But, the goal? Just a myth. Someone else's myth, and we had to fight for it.

Miggs: I never thought of it like that.

Tillits: What happens when you fight someone else's battle? It never becomes yours. No matter how hard you try, the goal melts away, and you're left fighting for yourself. You have no goal, except saving your own ass.

Miggs: It did feel really empty, at times.

Tillits: Of course it did.

Miggs: When did you realize this?

Tillits: 'Bout twenty years ago... day I started drinking.

Miggs: Oh.

Tillits: Miggs, go home now. Do whatever you can to make your war have meaning to you, even if you have to invent a bigger purpose. Do it now before the empty spot gets too big.

Miggs: How?

Tillits: Try believing the official reason, or reasons, however many they're throwing around today. Believe it all. Let it fill you. Think of your buddies. Believe it was for them. Do it. Believe it.

Miggs: I will... I mean, I'll try. (gets up)

Tillits: If it doesn't work, Miggs... come visit me from time to time.

Miggs: Thanks... I will. (turns to leave)

Tillits: But just to visit, Miggs. I don't want you staying for too long; not in my world.

Miggs: Okay, bye Tillits.

Tillits: Bye, Miggs. Oh, hey, Miggs... you did the right thing. You did.

(Miggs leaves slowly, lights fade out on Tillits, takes a drink, shakes his head slowly, starts to cry)


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