THE LAST DAYS OF MARS
By Dwayne Yancey
Copyright 2004; all rights reserved.
(A roughneck laborer from a well-drilling crew is dejected. Crew boss has clipboard and a water jug or canteen.)
ZEB: Man, this aint gonna work.
CREW BOSS: Come on now, Zeb, I dont want to hear that kind of talk round here. Dont go getting everybodys spirits down. (To an imaginary work crew). All right, people, lets take a break. We gotta replace a drill bit. Ephraim, lets hustle now, OK? Were working 25 hours a day until we hit something. 25 hours a day. Sooner we hit something, sooner we can all hit the sack.
(A pause, then he remembers something else to shout.)
Dont forget to get your ration cards punched. Nobody gets water til you get your ration card punched. Thats the new rule. Gotta live by it.
ZEB: Gonna die by it, is more like it.
CREW BOSS: Aw, come on, Zeb, lighten up, will ya. Youre just tired.
ZEB: Lighten up. Hell. Do you know how many drill bits that makes weve busted this week?
CREW BOSS: You drill wells long enough, youre gonna break a few drill bits. No big deal.
ZEB: No water, either. Weve been out here digging for how long? And all we get is dirt red, choking, dry as a dust storm, dirt.
CREW BOSS: The waters down deep. We just gotta get to it.
ZEB: Dont you get it, man. There aint no water.
CREW BOSS: Of course, theres water. Well hit it eventually, just gotta replace this drill bit.
ZEB: The waters gone, man. I dont know where its gone, but its gone. Its like its all just dried up or something.
CREW BOSS: Its just a drought, Zeb. Things get dry in a drought. Seen a million of em before.
ZEB: Yeah, and you notice how theyre all coming one right after another? Oh, this aint no drought. This is more than a drought. This whole planets drying up, man. Drying up. Cant you feel it?
CREW BOSS: Its just one of those cyclical things. Water just doesnt evaporate off into space. Its got to go somewhere. Its down in the ground. Trust me, Zeb, well find it. Just gotta dig a little deeper.
ZEB: No, man, I been doing some reading. This is a whole lot worse than theyre letting on. You know that government survey crew that came through last week?
CREW BOSS: You mean them engineers talking about building all those canals?
ZEB: Yeah, them.
CREW BOSS: Damn fool crazy idea, if you ask me. Building canals all over the place.
i Say they can water the whole planet that way, bring water down from the poles. (He snorts.) Do you know how big those canals would have to be to do that, Zeb?
ZEB: Dont really see how it matters much. See, I was reading
CREW BOSS: Those canals would be so damn big, they say you could see em from the planet Earth. Can you believe that, Zeb? From the planet Earth.
ZEB: I reckon.
CREW BOSS: That is, if there was anybody on earth to see em.
(He laughs to himself.)
ZEB: It aint funny, Luke. It aint funny.
CREW BOSS: You know what the real problem is, Zeb? Its the politicians. They just want some kind of big something they can dedicate, cut a ribbon for, give a name to. Hell, thats why they want to build all these canals.
ZEB: If you say so.
CREW BOSS: They just dont believe in groundwater, Zeb. Cause they cant go out and have a big to-do over a wellhead, no matter how many gallons per minute shes pumping. Theres no money in it for the engineers, no glory in it for the politicians.
ZEB: There aint no groundwater.
CREW BOSS: Come on, Zeb, you know thats not true. How long we been drilling wells together, now?
ZEB: No. its true. I was helping show one of them engineers around last week. Rode in his truck up into the canyon while he was doing some surveying. He had this government report laying there in the dashboard, marked all "top secret and stuff. But it was just laying there, right? Out in the open, all yellowed and stuff from being in the sun, right? So when he was off looking around, I snuck a look at the thing. You know what it says? It says the waters drying up everywhere. Says its only a matter of time before the whole planet goes dry.
CREW BOSS: And you believe what the government tells you?
ZEB: I believe it when I can see with my own two eyes that it hasnt rained in, what, at least a year? Thats 780 days right there. I cant remember the last time it rained.
CREW BOSS: Well, Ill admit, it has been a while since we had ourselves a good gully-washer, but that dont mean its stopped raining for good.
ZEB: And you know what else that government report said? It said the airs getting thinner too. Cant you feel it getting thinner?
CREW BOSS: Youre just winded from working hard. You a hard worker, Zeb, you know that, dont you?
ZEB: And they say its getting colder. Cant you feel it getting colder?
CREW BOSS: I dont believe that global cooling nonsense. Thats just some crackpot theory somebody made up. Theres no proof of it.
ZEB: Well, it sure feels cooler to me.
CREW BOSS: Thats cause your sweating, Zeb. Sweat cools you down. Its what its supposed to do.
ZEB: I reckon.
CREW BOSS: Come on, Zeb, lets go get ourselves some water before we go back to work.
CREW BOSS: Why not?
ZEB: Done used up my ration card, man.
CREW BOSS: Oh, come on, Ill give you a punch off mine. What say?
ZEB: Oh, all right. I am right thirsty.
(Crew boss poins to something off in the distance.)
CREW BOSS: Will you look at that, Zeb. A double moon rise. Its not every day you see a double moon rise.
* * *
Cast of two males
Zeb, a laborer
1791 Mount Pleasant Church Road
Fincastle VA 24090THIS SCRIPT IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
performed by Todd Ristau and Simon Adkins