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"Just One Rose"



















Dialogue Sample:
















Setting:
 
 Lights come up on a man appearing center stage alone. (Spot light shows only him) He is wearing a mechanics jumpsuit; a slight bit of grease appears on his face -as though he were working on a car. He appears to be slightly emotionally distraught- as he goes into his monologue, he conveys to the audience a feeling of utter helplessness as he speaks of his experience of loss of life- during the September 11th incident. He has a rag stuffed in his pocket that he will use to wipe the tears from his eyes in a later scene. Two end tables appear on the outside right and left of him beyond the spotlight center stage. Empty boxes of NAPA auto parts lie scattered upon the kitchen table (Air cleaner, and oil filter boxes.) A couple of wrenches, an oil filter wrench, as well as pliers- lay next to the boxes. A cell phone lays on one of the tables as well as a bouquet of a dozen roses and one vase with one lone red rose. The interior of the home is not seen at first, but it is a fairly modern home. There is a kitchen sink, (Not necessarily working for ease of construction) kitchen cupboards, (With two flower vases in cupboard) kitchen table with four chairs, couch. Pictures of the family line the interior walls. There are two windows with venetian blinds that open and close. Two doors left and right of center, one has a coat hook on it. An option would be an entrance door at the rear center stage for better visibility. A painted outdoor scene “could be” placed behind these blinds of the false windows. A big screen TV is on stage to be used in another scene. Could use a throw rug onstage as well, just for effect. A dimly lit floor lamp is plugged in and turned on. Other table lamps if desired. (Directors call)
 
 
Act I
 
Scene I
CLIFFORD:
 We met at the subway station of the world trade center, and how it all started, I don't know! She was short on change to ride the subway- I gave her some change-it seemed like the right thing to do. At first it was just small talk-just getting to know each other. The next day she was short on change again, and the next day as well. So I kind of jokingly started to tease her -that for all the change I gave her, that now she owed me a date! You know what? She turned me down! But that day was a breakthrough- she finally told me her name was Dawn, of all things! So I told her that her hair was as golden "as the dawn"! That her name was fitting that day, she just smiled! So I bought a single rose that night and placed it into a vase the night before. I got up for work and brought with me my single rose, in hope, perchance, that she would go out with me! "Guess what?" She says, "I can't take your rose-honey, but I'll take your change!” And so she did! I'm so glad no one else was there when I threw that rose in the garbage, I would be so embarrassed carrying that rose of rejection to work ... I'd said to myself. (Pause)  “Oh ... you'll find the right girl”, she tells me, and laughs like mad! The next day I brought another rose and asked her for her phone number. Her comment was, "if you were going to court me-you're supposed to buy a dozen roses ... not just one!" But guess what? She accepted my rose and gave me her phone number! We started dating and I would buy her flowers, one rose at a time.
(Pause- as he smiles)
I always told her that it was the thought that counts. A month later we eloped, then she wore a carnation- but that was it! When Todd was born, I gave her two flowers; one represented her son I'd said. Then there was Tonya, now I gave her three flowers! I always told her if she wanted a dozen roses she had to have I2 kids! (Pause) Well, we were working on it-she would say! (Pause) This brings us up to date, today, September 11th, 200I! September 11th, was just like any other day, we dropped the kids off at school, and I dropped her off at the World Trade Center. You see we had two cars, and one of them I was to work on this day, while she worked the stock trading. I drove back to our home, jacked up the car and gathered all the parts that were to be replaced. I put the radio on and in a matter of 30 minutes had both tie-rod ends off of the car. I remember that I put the radio on and really liked the song playing, Sound of Silence, so I merely hit the record button to save it. I'll play it back for you so you know what this day was like for me.
 
(The lights come up as HE walks over to the tape-player and places it into the play mode. The recording has the song "The Sound of Silence" playing, and eventually they interrupt with a lady DJ clearing her voice-for effects to simulate September 11th, 200I. HE grabs two wrenches from one of the tables and walks back to center stage to speak to the audience again)
 
CLIFFORD Cont.
You see the radio was playing and they interrupted it. I was lying under my car, stunned at first, that they would have the audacity to interrupt "that song"! I was in the middle of changing the oil on the car!
 
 (The DJ clears her throat, then we hear a faint whimper over the air waves- from her voice, as the recording plays and then abruptly stops! As she begins to regain her composure, she speaks with a slight quiver in her voice. Just then- Clifford looks stunned! Recording has to be timed perfectly)
 
LADY DJ (voice-over)
“I interrupt this song, "The sound of silence", for a moment of silence and national prayer for the people that have perished in the World Trade Center disaster.
 
CLIFFORD:
 So here I was, trying to get out from under my car, because I know that's where my girl works!
 
(He drops “one” wrench on the stage floor)
 
 LADY DJ (voice-over)
As you know, a 747 from American Airlines that was hijacked earlier today, has crashed into the World Trade Center. We will keep you posted as to the outcome of this national emergency.
 
(Radio goes dead and you hear a distant hum in the background, like a warning signal.)
 
CLIFFORD:
 I am re-living it now! As I climbed out from under my car, all I could think about was my girl and her safety. Was she alive or injured? I could put off working on this car, her safety was more important than changing the oil on this car!
 
(He drops the second wrench on the stage floor, then walks over to the big screen TV and turns it on. A recording of the twin towers is used to show the towers collapsing from a big screen TV set. It has to be set -up ahead of time for this scene to work of course.)
 
 CLIFFORD:
 So I turned on the TV set, all I could see was one of the twin towers collapsing, I prayed that it wasn't the tower that she works in! I couldn't believe my eyes ... And then they announced it to be the very tower she was in at the time-or so I thought at the time! My heart just sank, as my world was being shattered before my eyes.
 
(Walks over to one of the end tables to pick up his cell phone –dials a number 2X)
 CLIFFORD:
I call her on the cell phone, repeatedly, only to get her voice mail…

(Slams the phone down-flustered)

Damn it! So I call her place of employment ... and oh ... all the phones are down! So I guess that includes the tower.

(Slams the phone down in frustration, and then picks it up as the phone is ringing)

So the phone rang next... it was her own mother…I am reliving it! I can't forget it…I won't forget it! She wants to know "where is her little baby?" “Are we having a funeral,” she says? “Can't I look at her one last time before she's gone from my life?” Mom I said, I'm going out there to find her! (Pause)

She says to me, "Are you glad now-that you bought her “just-one-rose” ... son? Is it still the thought that counts-son? I was stunned… I couldn't answer her! I just wept and drew the shades closed-then turned off the TV.

(Which he does, then turns off the table lamp and the lights fade to black as the monologue continues from center stage)

“What are you going to do”, she says to me? “What are you going to do about my little baby? Where is she?” Right now ... I'm just crying mom, I tell her. It's not fair mom ... you're just not fair! She tells me "oh my baby's gone now” ... and starts crying too! (Pause) And then click-she hangs up!

(Pause ... He picks up the bouquet of roses from the vase that lays on one of the tables, and then continues speaking to the audience from center stage, spot light comes up)

 So I went to a flower shop that day and bought a dozen roses to give to her, if and when I found her –I would give them to her!

(HE lifts the bouquet as evidence to show them of his sincerity. Special effects of smoke cloud (Dry ice?) if desired and a howling wind. If used-you would pause here.)

Or lay them on her grave site I said to myself! Instead, they wouldn't let me into the area-period! You have to leave now son! You have to leave now!

   (Whimper -pause)

 I have to find my wife I told them, “she's gone buddy… she's just gone,” the policeman told me! You mean to tell me that heap of rubble is my girls’ burial site? I said! You come back to me Dawn, now I bought you a dozen roses! Just like you said Dawn! I'm over here Dawn, can you hear me? Can you hear my spirit? A part of me is dieing with you Dawn, I said! Don't you cheat me now! I brought you flowers, a dozen roses, come back to me baby-I know you're out there some where! I started to choke on the dust!

(HE coughs a couple of times, then resumes)

 

CLIFFORD:

And then I cried and looked down at the dust covered roses and threw them as far as I could throw them!

(HE throws the roses out to a woman in the audience, then addresses the one who "catches the roses"- within the audience)

CLIFFORD:

 Give her the whole bouquet if you find her! They won't let me look for her! That's her burial site now ... some where out there in the midst of smoke and ash! I can't buy her "any" roses- any more! So why don't you just take those flowers home if you can't find her! I attached a simple card to the bouquet that read: "To the recipient of this bouquet of flowers, whoever you may be: To the Dawn of hope, may it always be in your heart, may that "hope" be the one thing that you pass along to others ... "hope and freedom for all life". May you pass that "hope" along to your children and your friends. And may they pass it along to “their” children and “their” friends. You'll see that I placed a card on the bouquet ... "just for her!" I told them! You could read it now if you'd wanted to! I shant stop the wind!

(Pause- to see if they will read it-or this could be set up ahead of time)

 If not, give her my farewell kiss good bye ... ‘tis fitting for her heart and mine! I pray to God, would you make sure she gets’ them? Would you? As far as any hope was concerned for “me” ... on this day, it was lost! I’d lost my hope when I’d lost my Dawn. Just then, the policeman yelled at us, “run for your lives”, as the second tower was falling! It seems like I've been running ever since! (Pause) Whatever meaning there was in my life-it was lost to a pile of rubble! I couldn't find my wife; they wouldn't let me look for her! But she was my hope ... and she was an answer to my prayers! But now the wind will scatter her dust and to where I do not know! I couldn't lay any flowers on a grave ... the world trade center became her gravesite!

 (Effects used: The howling wind that abruptly stops as the lights fade to black ... pause)

 CLIFFORD

So I threw those flowers out there into the darkness of my despair....I’d felt so cheated ... I’d felt so cheated! And yet I feel that I’d cheated her too and cheated myself! Now that she was gone, I couldn't give her those dozen roses like she'd wanted! Hell ... there was no more courting days ... there were no more days for her ... period! I couldn't right any wrongs, what those terrorist had done to the Dawn of my life, I couldn't mend and I couldn't fix! It's not to say that flowers could ever "fix a broken heart", and yet I thought to ease her pain with those flowers. (Pause) I wept so bitterly, yet in the darkness -no one could see me, including my children! A man wasn't supposed to cry, so their father had to stand his ground-in the midst of so much sadness and so much fear!

(Lights up and pause- as the audience has "caught" him wiping the tears from his eyes with a rag from his pocket. He then wipes the grease from his face as well.)

I’d found problems inside of engines that you couldn’t see inside of… I wasn’t afraid of getting dirty or greasy. Sometimes the problems were found in the bottom of a greasy oil pan- in the form of metal fragments from moving parts that had failed. When the parts failed- the engine had failed! Yet I feel somehow, I had failed my wife in not looking for her! She wasn’t trash to be buried in a heap of rubble! I didn’t mind getting dirty and greasy looking for her either, I’d said to myself! Yet I don’t know where she could be! And where to begin to look! I had to have an answer for my children, where was their mother? I have to be “the man”… I have to carry on…carry on- in some unseen battle against terrorism!

(He sits down at the kitchen table to take off his coveralls. Brushes the auto parts onto the floor in his anger)

(CLIFFORD Cont.)

 I'll sell that car ... I’ll sell her… I will! Dawn never liked that car anyways! And yet for me to do that, I felt that I would be selling a part of myself as well! (He hangs up the coveralls over a hook attached to the door) I have to pick up my kids from school…I know that they will be worried because I am late! I know…I know that one! I just hope that they haven’t heard the news already!

 (HE makes his exit through the outside door and the curtain falls)

 

End of Scene One

 

 
















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