copyright © 2003 Dwayne Yancey


By Dwayne Yancey

Copyright 2003; all rights reserved.

(Jimmy and Ricky run on stage, crouch down, and look back where they came from.)

JIMMY: – five, four, three, two, one –

RICKY: Nothing’s happening.

JIMMY: Maybe I counted too fast. Just wait.

RICKY: I still don’t think anything’s happening.

JIMMY: Maybe the fuse died out. Sometimes when you light it, it won’t burn all the way down.

RICKY: So what do we do?

JIMMY: Come on.

(They run back off-stage. Maggie enters. She’s got binoculars, a small telescope and some astronomical charts. She sets them up, as if ready to look at the moon. Jimmy and Ricky run back on stage.)

JIMMY: – five, four, three, two, one –


RICKY: Get down!

MAGGIE: What’s going on?

RICKY: Sssh.

MAGGIE: What are you doing?

RICKY: Nothing’s happening.

MAGGIE: Will somebody tell me what’s going on here?

RICKY: What happened?

JIMMY: I don’t know.

RICKY: Maybe the fuse died out again?

JIMMY: I don’t know why it keeps doing that. I lit it good.

MAGGIE: What are you two doing up here?

RICKY: Oh, hi Maggie.

JIMMY: Yeah, hi.

MAGGIE: Why do I get the idea you’re not up here to watch the fireworks tonight?

JIMMY: Oh, we’re here to watch the fireworks, all right.

RICKY: Our fireworks.

MAGGIE: Your fireworks, huh?

RICKY: We’ve got some bottle-rockets over there.

JIMMY: Sssssh.

RICKY: Oh, Maggie’s cool. Aren’t you, Maggie?

MAGGIE: Cool about what?

JIMMY: You’re not going to tell anybody are you?

RICKY: We got a whole row of ‘em. We were going to set ‘em off right before the real fireworks get started.

MAGGIE: Oh, I see.

JIMMY: What are you doing up here anyway?

MAGGIE: I’m up here to look at the moon. Look how big and bright it is tonight. It’s nearly full. I don’t think I’ve ever see the rays of Tycho this well before. I wasn’t counting on finding somebody doing something illegal up here.

JIMMY: We’re not doing anything illegal. Much.

(Jimmy and Ricky laugh.)

RICKY: Exceptin’ we can’t get ‘em to launch. So technically we ain’t done nothing illegal yet.

JIMMY: Come on. Let’s figure out what’s wrong.

(Jimmy and Ricky start to exit, but don’t get off-stage in time.)

MAGGIE: Well, don’t blow yourselves up.

JIMMY: I don’t know what’s wrong with ‘em.

MAGGIE: Which kind you using?


MAGGIE: What kind of bottle rocket are you trying to launch.

JIMMY: Pepsi. Why?

RICKY: You know, those 2 liter bottles. They say they’ve got the best shape for flying.

MAGGIE: No, I meant are you doing liquid-fuel or pressurized air and water?

JIMMY: What’s she talking about?

MAGGIE: What you using for fuel?

JIMMY: Just some stuff. Come on.

MAGGIE: What kind of stuff?

JIMMY: Come on. We ain’t got time for this.

RICKY: Wait a minute. Maggie knows all this science stuff.

MAGGIE: Bring it here.


(He exits.)

JIMMY: What are you doing? Hey, wait.

MAGGIE: You’re probably just doing the liquid-fueled version, right?

JIMMY: Just using some chemicals we mixed up.

MAGGIE: You’d have more luck with air pressure, but it’s more complicated. You’d need a tank and some hoses.

JIMMY: We just got some matches.

(Ricky returns with some bottles.)

RICKY: Here you go.

MAGGIE: Let me see that.

JIMMY: Man, what are you doing?

(Maggie studies one of the bottles.)

RICKY: We mixed up some bleach I nicked from my mom and some hydrogen – what’s that other stuff called?

MAGGIE: Hydrogen peroxide.

RICKY: Yeah, that’s it.

MAGGIE: And you’ve got some isopropyl alcohol in there, too?

JIMMY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, we did all that. The fuse just won’t light, OK?

MAGGIE: Where’s your hole?

JIMMY: My what?

MAGGIE: The hole.

JIMMY: What hole?

MAGGIE: How are you planning to light this?

RICKY: With a match.

JIMMY: You light the fuse, OK? It’s just dying out before it can burn through. Come on, this ain’t no science fair.

MAGGIE: Here’s your problem. You need to poke a hole in the bottle cap.

RICKY: What for?

MAGGIE: So the flame can light your fuel. Otherwise, how’s your fuel going to ignite?

RICKY: I don’t know. How’s it going to ignite, Jimmy?

JIMMY: When it burns through the plastic. How else?

MAGGIE (sighs in disgust): You know what’s going to happen if the flame burns through the plastic?

RICKY: No. What?

JIMMY: Well, I do. It’ll blow right up to the moon!

MAGGIE: It’ll blow right up in your face is what it’ll do.

RICKY: Really?

JIMMY: Oh, man, don’t give us that safety crap. It’s just a bottle rocket.

MAGGIE: It’s not safety. It’s science. Now poke a hole in the bottle cap. You want the flame to shoot up into the bottle. That’ll ignite the fuel, and then the gas will shoot back out here. That’s where your propulsion comes from. Then you’ll have lift-off. Otherwise, you’ll just have a launch pad explosion.

RICKY: Huh. Did you know that, Jimmy?

JIMMY (disgusted): Come on.

RICKY: Thanks, Maggie. See, I told you she knew all that science stuff.

JIMMY: I just forgot, OK? I got all the other stuff together. Just forgot the stupid hole, OK?

(Jimmy and Ricky exit. Maggie looks at the moon. Lisa and Alice enter, giggling.)

LISA: Let’s sit here.


LISA: We should have a really good view here.

ALICE: What’s she doing?

LISA: Hey, Maggie.

MAGGIE: Hey, Lisa. Alice.

LISA: What’s up?

(Jimmy and Ricky run on stage, crouch down, looking back where they came from.)

JIMMY: – five, four, three, two, one –

RICKY: Lift off!

JIMMY: Look at thing go!


ALICE: What was that?

RICKY: Bottle rocket.

JIMMY: Made ‘em ourselves.

ALICE: Neat. How’d you do that?

JIMMY: Oh, we figured it out. Didn’t we, Ricky?

RICKY: Yeah. We got a whole bunch of ‘em right over there.

LISA: You gonna shoot off any more?

JIMMY: Maybe. Why?

LISA: Can we come see? You wanna come see, Alice?

ALICE: Yeah!

JIMMY: Come on.

(Jimmy, Ricky, Lisa and Alice move toward exit.)

LISA: That was like, so, cool.

ALICE: My brother used to fool with those but he never could get them to go off.

JIMMY: Oh, it’s easy once you know what you’re doing.

(Jimmy, Ricky, Lisa and Alice exit. Maggie remains, looking at the moon.)

----- THE END -----







CAST OF CHARACTERS: 2 male, 3 female



Maggie, science nerd



First performed Nov. 7, 2003 at No Shame Theatre, Roanoke, Va. by a cast recruited from the audience.

Dwayne Yancey

1791 Mount Pleasant Church Road

Fincastle, VA 24090


Website:; search under "playwrights."


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