Captain Spaulding on Skull Island

Summer Apples

August 22nd, 2012

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Happy Birthday Ray Bradbury!

Here’s a short play with Bradburian influences.

SUMMER APPLES
By John Weagly

(Lights up. A pick-your-own apple orchard. REBECCA and JENNIFER, both in their late-twenties, watch their children play.)

REBECCA: Look at those kids go, weaving between the trees.

JENNIFER: So much for coming to an apple orchard to pick apples. We should’ve just taken them to a park.

REBECCA: Summer’s winding down. They need to release that last warm, golden burst of energy.

JENNIFER: The cramped backs and sore feet of middle age are a million miles away. How old is your Peter?

REBECCA: He’s eight next month.

JENNIFER: Right. I knew that. Six months older than Doris. I think. Yeah, that sounds right. Six months.

REBECCA: They have their whole lives ahead of them.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

REBECCA: What do you think they’re thinking of?

JENNIFER: Who knows? The imagination of a child? It could be anything.

REBECCA: Sinister skeletons.

JENNIFER: Diabolical dwarves.

REBECCA: Foghorns calling to sad sea monsters.

JENNIFER: Magical jars.

REBECCA: Illustrated men.

JENNIFER: Traveling back in time.

REBECCA: Captivating carousels.

JENNIFER: Rocketships.

REBECCA: Outer space.

JENNIFER: Martians.

REBECCA: It could be anything.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

REBECCA: Have you ever had dandelion wine?

JENNIFER: What’s Dandelion Wine?

REBECCA: Wine. Made from dandelions, I suppose. John brought some home. Apparently it’s a summer treat.

JENNIFER: Sounds disgusting.

REBECCA: You’re right. It does.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

REBECCA: Your Doris looks just like you.

JENNIFER: She does?

REBECCA: Yes.

JENNIFER: That’s odd.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

REBECCA: I don’t think I’ll try it.

JENNIFER: Try what?

REBECCA: Dandelion Wine.

JENNIFER: Dandelions are weeds.

REBECCA: I know. That’s why it sounds so unappetizing. Weeds fermented and turned into alcohol.

JENNIFER: Yuck.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

REBECCA: Look at your Doris try to climb that tree!

JENNIFER: Be careful honey!

REBECCA: Such a wonderful child. You’re very lucky.

JENNIFER: She’s not mine, you know.

REBECCA: She’s adopted? How special of you! John and I considered adopting when it looked like I couldn’t conceive, but then we got lucky.

JENNIFER: I didn’t adopt her. I stole her.

(Pause.)

JENNIFER:  I was hoping we’d pick some nice apples to take home. Then we could have some good, sweet apples whenever we want. Fresh-picked apples are definitely a summer treat. Maybe you and John could make cider. That makes more sense than making wine from dandelions.

(Pause.)

REBECCA: I’m sorry, what did you say?

JENNIFER: Nice sweet apples are more of a summer treat than wine made from weeds.

REBECCA: No, about your daughter. About how you didn’t adopt her.

JENNIFER: I stole her. I was at a mall and she was wandering around. This was…. Let’s see… four years ago. There wasn’t anyone watching, so I just snatched her. Doris. She’s been mine ever since.

REBECCA: But… that’s… I don’t know how to respond to that.

JENNIFER: It’s all fine.

REBECCA: You kidnapped a child!

JENNIFER: I didn’t kidnap her. I never asked for any kind of ransom, I never threatened to harm her. I just took her and gave her a wonderful home.

REBECCA: But her family must be worried sick!

JENNIFER: It’s been four years. I doubt they even remember.

REBECCA: But…

JENNIFER: I have given her a fantastic life – love, support, she’ll never want for anything. She doesn’t even remember the time before she came to live with me. It’s all fine.

REBECCA: She doesn’t remember anything? Her old house, her friends? She doesn’t remember her real parents?

JENNIFER: She doesn’t remember a thing.

REBECCA: I… I suppose it’s okay then.

JENNIFER: Yes. It’s all fine.

(Pause. They watch their kids.)

JENNIFER: What could they be thinking of?

REBECCA: Assassin infants.

JENNIFER: Curious crowds.

REBECCA: Literary parrots.

JENNIFER: Celebrating all of summer in a single day.

REBECCA:
I dreamt of summer
And picked apples in the sun,
Their yellow skin a weekend in June
Each bite a July firecracker
Their cider tasting of August rain
I dreamt of summer
And apples and warmth
But when I woke
Childhood memories chilled my bones

JENNIFER: What’s that?

REBECCA: A poem I read when I was in grade school, about Doris’ age. I liked it so I memorized it.

JENNIFER: It’s nice.

(They watch their kids as the lights slowly fade.
Lights down.)
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