EIGHT MINUTES – A Play for Monday 04/28/14


A Play for Monday

By David Lee White

(Scene – a corn field somewhere in middle America. Midnight. MAGGIE is  running through the field pulling BILLY by the hand.)

BILLY: Where are you taking me?

MAGGIE: Come on! I gotta show you something.

BILLY: What is it?

MAGGIE: Look. Up there. (points to the sky) Beautiful, isn’t it?

BILLY: Yeah.

MAGGIE: You know, they say that it takes so long for the light from those stars to reach us, that they may have actually died out years ago and we just don’t know it yet. Our own sun could go out completely and we wouldn’t know it for about eight minutes. Kind of makes you feel small doesn’t it?

BILLY: Eight minutes.

MAGGIE: Billy…we’ve known each other since we were kids, right? Well, I gotta tell you something –

BILLY: Whoa. Is that true?

MAGGIE: Is what true?

BILLY: That the stars might be dead? Where did you hear that?

MAGGIE: I read it. Somewhere. Anyway, this thing I wanted to tell you –

BILLY: Oh, man… this is freaking me out.

MAGGIE: Yeah, I know it’s weird but I’ve felt this way about you for a long time –

BILLY: So, seriously… some of those stars may be completely dead? But it’s just the light we’re seeing?

MAGGIE: Uh… yeah.

BILLY: That’s effed up. I mean that is…effed. Up.

MAGGIE: Okayyyy…

BILLY: And like… the sun could go out and we wouldn’t know for eight minutes? Did you make that up?

MAGGIE: No. It’s science.

BILLY: That is… (puts hands on head) Aaaaaa… I’m just… how would we know, then? If the sun went out?

MAGGIE: We wouldn’t. We wouldn’t know for eight minutes.

BILLY: Then how would we get someplace safe in time?

MAGGIE: There wouldn’t be… there’s no… it’s the sun. There would be no safe place.

BILLY: What? Wait…WHAT?

MAGGIE: Could we talk about something else?

BILLY: Hold on. We would just have to go someplace warm, right? Where there’s heat. I mean it would be dark and everything…

MAGGIE: No… without the sun, we’d all, you know, die.

BILLY: Holy Shit. Hooooo! Holy Shit. This is really upsetting. I mean this is really upsetting.

MAGGIE: I didn’t mean to –

BILLY: It’s like we’d just freeze to death, right? Is that what you’re saying? That we’d all freeze to death?

MAGGIE: Pretty much right away.

BILLY: Goddamn. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s…can’t…breathe…

MAGGIE: Are you hyperventilating?

BILLY: Can’t…catch…breath…

MAGGIE: Put your head between your knees.

BILLY: We’d freeze? Jesus…why did you tell me that?

MAGGIE: I don’t know. I was just being poetic.

BILLY: Freezing to death because the sun is gone? That’s poetic???

MAGGIE: Well… because we’re all gonna die someday.

BILLY: OH MY GOD! I mean, I know… But OH MY GOD! Have you ever thought about that? Like what if it’s just nothing? And you fall asleep and you don’t wake up? And you don’t know what it’s like to experience nothingness because you can’t experience something that’s nothing. CHRIST! I gotta sit down. I feel nauseous. Why do you think about this stuff?

MAGGIE: I don’t know. I just said it. I was looking for a way to tell you –

BILLY: HEEEEEEEEEE! HEEEEEEEEEE! Sorry. It’s like my ears are blocked! HEEEEEEEEE! Is this what a heart attack feels like? Am I having a heart attack?

MAGGIE: I don’t think so.

BILLY: I think I smell toast. Do you smell toast? I mean is someone making toast somewhere because I shouldn’t be smelling toast.

MAGGIE: I don’t –

BILLY: Feel my arm. Is it tingly?

MAGGIE: I don’t think I’d be able to feel –

BILLY: Because I definitely feel like there might be a tingle. HEEEEEEEE! It’s like there’s blood in my brain! I can hear my own blood! (puts his hands over his ears) Yayayaya I can hear myself yayayaya…

MAGGIE: Look, I’m sorry I brought it up. Can I get you some water?

BILLY: No. Don’t touch me! Just sit there and don’t move. Am I breathing? Can you see me breathing?

MAGGIE: You’re definitely breathing.

BILLY: Am I breathing too much? Sometimes I over-breathe and hyper-oxygenate. What does my face look like?

MAGGIE: It looks like… I don’t know… your face.

BILLY: (playing with face) Is this my face? Can I feel my face?

MAGGIE: I want to go home.

BILLY: Well don’t just leave me here to stare at the dead stars, for crying out loud.

MAGGIE: You’ll be okay.

BILLY: Okay… I’m fine… I’m fine… (pause) I guess they are kind of pretty. I mean… as long as you don’t think about the fact that they might be dead. (pause) What did you want to tell me?


BILLY: You wanted to tell me something.

MAGGIE: Oh! Uh… nothing. Nothing.

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