Red Rover
(a two act drama)

Writing Sample: 
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Copy of entire play is available with consent of author and explicit arrangement.
Contact
michelerittenhouse@yahoo.com

ACT TWO, SCENE TWO:

(It's late at night.  KATIE has been gathering things to take on a trip.  MAY is barely awake and catches her in the kitchen.)

                                                            MAY
Katie….what are you doing up?
                        (Becoming more aware)
Katie!  What are you doing here at this hour? 

                                                            KATIE
I’m….getting some food to take on my trip.

                                                            MAY
Your trip?

                                                            KATIE
AJ’s waiting for me out past the tracks.  He’s taking me down to the Coast to take those pictures.   

                                                            MAY
What on earth, child?

                        (KATIE takes a basket and empties it.)

                                                            KATIE
I can’t just sit around and…and what? Cry?  Listen to my friends say how sad it is and see Robbie’s death in their eyes? 

                                                            MAY
Robbie…?

                                                            KATIE
I have to…fight, just like he’s fighting.  I have to make him feel that I’m doing something at the exact same time he’s doing something.   

                                                            MAY
Now hold on, child.  I assume you haven’t told your mother that….

                        (Starts loading up the basket with supplies.)

                                                            KATIE
Are you kidding?  And get locked in my room for the next two weeks before I’m shipped off to school?  She’s even changed her mind about me going to Ole Miss.  In the morning, she’s calling Frances Anne Patterson who is on the board of trustees at MSCW and finding a place for me there.  A college for women that has a wall around it.  With one gate!  She wants me safe, that’s what she said, safe.  There is no safe, Maymie.  A wall can’t hold back the hates and sorrows of this world.  She can’t force me to sit behind a wall and ignore all the shit…

                                                            MAY
…Katie….

                                                            KATIE
…the shit that goes on every day, every night. 

                                                            MAY
What has that got to do with Robbie….?

                                                            KATIE
Everything!  It’s all connected.  The Klan, Civil Rights, it’s all the same war, only it’s a war going on in our own country.  I…I can’t do anything about all that right now, but saving Robbie is the one thing in this world I can do something about.

                                                            MAY
                        (Overlapping)
Why don’t you sit down and….

                                                            KATIE
I can walk into that storm and take those pictures and I know.  I feel it down to my very bones, I’ll bring him home.  I know it, Maymie.  I know it. 

                                                            MAY
I’ll call your mother and….

                                                            KATIE
Mother thinks he’s dead, you know.  She doesn’t believe I can make a difference.  She’s doing everything in the world to stop me from…

                                                            MAY
Your mother is not your enemy. 

                                                            KATIE
She is the enemy if she doesn’t believe I can bring him home!   

                                                            MAY
Maybe….she just remembers what she saw in the war and she…..

                                                            KATIE
…I know all about how hard it was for her when the Nazis were chasing her family and how great it is to be in such a free country that invades other countries and sends its sons to go fight for what?  What?  There’s no reason for Robbie or anyone else to be over there. 

                                                            MAY
Darling, you’re mixing apples and oranges.  If our president says that the Communists….

                                                            KATIE
I don’t see any Communists invading this country! 

                                                            MAY
That’s because the government has kept them out.

                                                            KATIE
It’s not our war!

                                                            MAY
Is that what you read in the Kudzu?  

                                                            KATIE
That’s what I see with my own eyes, every time I turn on the TV.  How can it be our war when I see children with their skin burned off, villages burned, and .….and it’s Robbie that’s being forced to do that.  He’s the one ordered to do that.  What can that do to a person, Maymie?  What can that do to a loving, sweet guy like Robbie?  And what will the people that he’s doing it to… do to him if he’s caught?  So I have to go!
 (KATIE breaks down crying.) 
It’s just too much to hold in.  Don’t you see?  Don’t you see?

                      (MAY takes KATIE in her arms.)

                                                            MAY
I see, darlin’.  I see.   Oh but to have your passion, to have your fire, and your firm belief that…...

                      (Car lights shine in the back as a car pulls up.)

                                                            KATIE
Oh, god, it’s Mother.  I can’t escape.  She’s going to make me go home and I’m going to live the rest of my life with Robbie’s blood on my hands.

                                                            MAY
That is the most foolish thing that I ever heard. 

                                                            KATIE
Please help me, Maymie.  Please help me escape.

                                                            MAY
Now let me get a wet cloth for those eyes.  Aunt June would be horrified to see them so puffy.

                        (From the porch, BUDDY hastily enters.  He takes in the room.) 

                                                BUDDY
Katie!  Thank God.  I got home and your mother said you’d sneaked off with AJ….  Come here, Sunshine.

                         (Holds out his arms to KATIE who looks away.)

                                                            BUDDY (continued)
I guess I deserve that, huh.

                                                            MAY
I had better call Jeannine, let her know everything is fine.

                        (MAY goes to the phone and dials.)

                                                            BUDDY
Where’s AJ?

                                                            KATIE
                        (Gives MAY pleading look.)
He’s….gone.  You didn’t see his car out front, did you?

                                                            BUDDY
It’s a good thing.  Did he talk you into this?

                                                            KATIE
You just don’t get it, do you?

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
Hey!  ……  Yes, she’s here.  They’re both here.  …….

                                                            BUDDY
Tomorrow I’m going over to talk to his parents.

                                                            KATIE
Why are you and mother so blind about what’s really going on!

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
 Fine.  Everything is fine.  ……….. 

                                                            KATIE
I asked AJ to take me away.  He’s the one that said no.

                                                            BUDDY
Then why are you here?  He obviously said ‘yes’!

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
I know you’re too tired to rest.  You need to take one of those pills, ….

                                                            KATIE
You don’t know anything!

                                                            BUDDY
Then enlighten me!

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
….maybe two of those pills that Dr. Monte sent over for you. You need to sleep, Jeannine.  …….. 

                                                            KATIE
How about you enlighten me?  Why did you run off when you found out about Robbie?

                        (BUDDY is stunned.)

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
I think everybody needs to sleep and calm down. 

                        (BUDDY gets up and starts to back door.)

                                                            BUDDY
Come on, Sunshine.  I’m too tired to argue right now.

                                                            MAY
                        (On phone)
Goodnight.
                        (Hangs up phone)
She wants you both to get home….soon….of course. 

                                                            KATIE
                        (Looks to MAY)
No.  I….I want to stay here. 

                                                            BUDDY
Katie, I’ve had a long two days and now it’s time to….

                                                            KATIE
I don’t want to go home and listen to you and mother yell at each other.  Whatever she has to say to you about…..about…abandoning us, then it goes for me too….I just don’t want to be there to hear it.  So, no, I am not going.  No. 

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Snaps)
Get outside in the car, NOW!

                                                            KATIE
What are you going to do, beat me?

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Overlapping dialogue)
You’re damned straight if you don’t get…

                                                            MAY
                        (Going between them)
Whoa, whoa….

                                                            BUDDY
….out there right now! 

                                                            MAY
                        (Overlapping dialogue)
Both of you simmer down….

                                                            KATIE
                        (Overlapping dialogue)
I’m eighteen, an adult and you….. 

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Grabs KATIE’S arm)
You’re acting like a child1

                                                            MAY
                        (Overlapping dialogue)
Robert John Marshall Delaney!!
                        (Breaks his arm away and pushes him back)
Now stop all this nonsense!  Now!  You are not too old for a good switching,

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Stands back)
I will not have my daughter talk to me like that.  Not after what I….


                                                            MAY
She has every right to be angry.  And so do I for that matter.  Fishing!  Fishing, for the love of Jesus!!
                        (Pause and get control of herself, moves to the icebox.)
How about a bit of lemonade before you two go.  Calm things down a bit. 

                        (BUDDY sits and puts his head in his hands.)

                                                            MAY (continued)
No?  Well then…
                        (Sits down too)
Land’s sake, Buddy, what were you thinking? 

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Laughs)
I wasn’t thinking, mama.  It was a bad story. 
                        (Pause)
When I got the telegram……  I contacted one of my old army buddies and he said that Senator Stennis was at home in Jackson…so…I drove all the way there to see if he could do anything.  He’s Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Katie….

                                                            KATIE
I know, Daddy.  I know a lot more than you think I do.

                                                            BUDDY
Well….  I thought….surely he could do something…. He would do something if….if he sees a desperate father…he could get a special force to go into that jungle….and…and look for my son.  Find my son.  And bring him out maybe.  He could do that.  I….
                        (Pause)
I don’t know what got into me.  What made me think that….anything could be done.  My son’s not the only one that….  But I had to try.  I had to do….something.  I couldn’t….just sit here.  I couldn’t just sit here. Could I, Katie?

                                                            KATIE
No, Daddy. 
                        (Looks to MAY pleading)
You couldn’t just sit here and do nothing.  You…had to try…to get him home….no matter what. 

                                                            BUDDY
Senator Stennis saw me.  He was…very sympathetic.  Took me to lunch. 
                        (Pause)
It wasn’t until I was half way back here that it struck me….I hadn’t even said anything to you or Maymie….or your mama.  I…I don’t even remember what I did, except…leave.  I’m sorry, Katie.  Mama.  I’m so sorry.  I just wasn’t thinking straight.   Can you understand?  Can you forgive me? 

                        (KATIE runs to his arms.  They hold each other tight.)

                                                            KATIE
You tried, Daddy.  You tried to do something. 

                        (BUDDY cries in her arms and she comforts him.)

                                                            KATIE (continued)
We won’t give up hope.  Robbie will come back to us.  I know he will.  I just know it.  It’s going to be all right. 

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Pulls himself together)
Hey, little girl.  How did you grow up so fast on me?

                                                            KATIE
You and me, Daddy.  We’re two peas in a pod, aren’t we?  You have your way of bringing Robbie home….and….I have mine. 
                        (Quickly)
Some of my friends, Amy and them, are going to hold a candlelight vigil tomorrow night at the Youth Center.  That’s so sweet, isn’t it? 

                                                            BUDDY
That’s the only way we can fight.  Hope is the only way. 

                                                            KATIE
Do you have hope, Maymie?

                                                            MAY
                        (Looks away)
Of course.

                                                            KATIE
If there were a way to….to…reinforce…hope…would you…do it?

                        (He gets up and pulls KATIE with him.  KATIE looks to MAY.)

                                                            BUDDY
Come on.  Let’s go home, Sunshine. 

                        (BUDDY crosses out to porch.)

                                                            KATIE
If someone knew for certain…that the….that the….universe…had a way to….to make that hope…real….would you do it?

                                                            BUDDY
Mama, we’ll drop by around lunch tomorrow.  I’ll get Hedley to take the store in the morning, free me up a bit.  

                        (KATIE reluctantly follows BUDDY to porch)

                                                            MAY
Buddy….I…oh never mind.

                                                            BUDDY
                        (Comes back to kitchen)
What, mama?

                                                            MAY
After all that’s just happened, I’m too embarrassed to ask.

                                                            BUDDY
Whatever you need.  You want to come with us?  I’m sure that the guest room is….

                                                            MAY
Oh no, on no.  I…couldn’t stand being away from my house tonight.  Besides, your ceilings are too low, makes me nervous. 

                                                            BUDDY
Well then….

                                                            MAY
Would it be too much to ask if….  Oh, just go on.  I’ll see you at noon tomorrow.

                                                            BUDDY
Mother, what?

                                                            MAY
It’s nothing.  Please, just go on.  I’ll be fine here…alone. 

                                                            BUDDY
You want Katie to stay with you tonight, don’t you?

                                                            MAY
Well, you made such a fuss before and I’m sure you want your whole family under one roof and…

                                                            BUDDY
You’re family too, mother. 

                                                            MAY
Well, of course, but…

                                                            BUDDY
Katie?  You still want to stay?

                                                            MAY
Maybe for a few days? 

                                                            BUDDY
A few…

                                                            MAY
Just through the weekend.  Maybe?  Katie?

                                                            BUDDY
You want to stay that long?

                                                            KATIE
Are you sure, Maymie?  Are you….absolutely sure….you want me here this weekend?

                                                            MAY
I am….absolutely sure. 

                                                            KATIE
Is it really okay, Daddy?

                                                            BUDDY
I think the two of you should stay up all night playing dominoes.  Be good for you.

                                                            MAY
Last time she almost won the deed to the house.

                                                            KATIE
That game is on-going, if I remember correctly.  We might tie it all up by the end of the weekend. 

                                                            BUDDY
Well all right…I’ll tell your mama.  Goodnight, ladies.  Mama, I’ll call in the morning to see if you need me to pick up anything for lunch.

                                                            MAY
You know?  I just had a thought.  Tomorrow….maybe…Katie and I could go out to Farmsdale and see Cousin Effie.  I promised her a visit and…I’m sure all our family out there have heard about Robbie and…well, it would be…decent to visit right now.  Is that alright with you, Katie?
                                                            KATIE
I can take some pictures.

                                                            BUDDY
Well, then, I’ll see you on Sunday after church. 

                                                            MAY
That’s sounds like a better plan.  Sunday after church, you hear that, Katie?

                        (BUDDY exits out back.)

                                                            KATIE
Goodnight, Daddy!

                        (Car starts and leaves driveway during the following action. KATIE grabs the candles
                         and matches.  MAY puts the chicken in a bag, and cookies from the jar
                         and hands them to KATIE.)

                                                            MAY
Promise to call me when you get there.  And promise to come home if it gets too dangerous to be there.  And promise….

                       (KATIE flies into her arms and holds MAY tightly.)

                                                KATIE
I promise, Maymie.  I promise.

                                                MAY
Then you go do what you need to do.
                        (Reaches into a flour tin, pulls out some cash.)
And don’t let AJ pay for anything.  That’ll put you in his debt and no woman with Clayton blood will ever be in any man’s debt.

                                                            KATIE
                        (Takes the money and hesitates)
You think they’ll take a switch to you when they find out? 

                                                            MAY
They won’t find out….not for a long while at any rate. 

                                                            KATIE
How…?

                                                            MAY
You just do your part and get back here before Sunday around noon.

                                                            KATIE
Oh, Maymie, I love you so much.

                                                            MAY
Now go on before AJ takes a notion to go home and go back to bed.  Let’s hope he’s still parked on the other side of the tracks.  Your grandfather would do that when he came courting.  My papa scared him to death, I suspect. 

                                                            KATIE
Oh, Maymie, I know we’ll bring Robbie home.  I know it. 

                                                            MAY
I know we will too, dear.  Now go.  Oh wait!  Remember…  a sure sign a storm is coming is when the birds leave.  So keep your eyes and ears out for that. 

                                                            KATIE
I will, Maymie.

                                                            MAY
Shall….

                                                            KATIE
Shall. 

                       (KATIE exits off the porch.  MAY watches out the back to see her off,
                       and then turns out the lights. 

                       She stands in the moonlight.  The night sounds are comforting. )

                                                            MAY
Go, little girl, and find some hope for both of us.  Because the Lord knows I have none at all right now.    

                      (Moonlight fades to black.    In the dark the radio announcer is heard.)
 
                                                            RADIO ANNOUNCER (VO)
This is WCLO in Clover, Mississippi and we’ve got a wild gal heading for the Mississippi Coast.  The National Hurricane Center just upgraded that tropical storm to a little ole hurricane.  No evacuation announcements have been released at this time.  So sit back and relax as I dedicate this next song to Hurricane Camille.    

                       (A popular song , mellow and romantic, comes on as the house lights go up.)

                                    END OF ACT ONE, SCENE TWO: