Scene 2

(Low light. Same setting as previous scene, with FAST FOR WORLD PEACE sign in soft spotlight indicating "DAY 77." NORMAN stands leaning on the FAST sign, keenly observant. JONAH and FEY work on papers on the other side of the sign. In one corner of stage, spotlight rises on 78-year-old SITA AKKA (from ACT I, Scene 1) watching a silent TV while lying on cot in her apartment. She's also listening to the "Hallelujah Chorus" on the radio. Suddenly she sits up and turns up the TV volume, turns down the radio volume. REPORTER appears on TV screen -- and in spotlight on stage being filmed by video crew -- with White House in the background. At significant pauses, the "Hallelujah Chorus" swells briefly (OFFSTAGE).)

REPORTER: "Today the President apologized for 'making a mistake' when he authorized the sale of arms to a terrorist Middle Eastern country to fund Central American terrorist revolutionaries. According to informed sources, advisers fear his apology comes too late. His popularity polls have hit a new low, and even the most staunch Republicans are deserting what appears to be a presidency on the skids."

CHORUS: "Hallelujah!..."

(SITA shakes her head sorrowfully.)

REPORTER: "Meanwhile, in Rome, the Pope called for an international day of fasting for global nuclear disarmament on Christmas day, and asked for a world-wide cease fire. The leaders of 40 third world countries are meeting in New Delhi to discuss an economic boycott on both Superpowers, whose credi- bility has been seriously disabled in the wake of the USSR's Chernobyl disaster and the USA's Iran arms deal."

CHORUS: "Hallelujah!..."

(SITA climbs off the cot, picks up her tambourine, freezes as REPORTER continues.)

REPORTER: "Today marks the fourth anniversary of the death of Norman Mayer, who held the American media's attention for ten hours December 8, l982, by threatening to dynamite the Washington Monument. On the other side of the White House, today marks the 77th day of a fast in Lafayette Park which has captured the attention of the world.
"Dr. Charles Hyder, ex-NASA physicist, has been consuming only water since September 23rd, demanding that the U.S. government commit to nuclear disarmament by the year 2000, and to an end to its aggressive war and weapons policies."

CHORUS: "Hallelujah!..."

(Swells to crescendo. TV camera pans as REPORTER walks over to CHARLES, angular in overalls and heavy coat that hang limp about his frame. His "MR. PRESIDENT: HISTORY AWAITS YOU" sign has been modified by red "X" through "MR. PRESIDENT" and "YOU" and addition of the words "OUR FASTING.")

REPORTER: "I'm sure you've been told your demands are unrealistic."

CHARLES: "Too often."

REPORTER: "Have you received any attention from Congress or the President?"

CHARLES: "Of course not. Indeed, why should they treat the life of a U.S. citizen with any more feeling or regard than they've shown for the lives of citizens in Central America or in the Middle East?"

REPORTER: "I must confess, it seems inconceivable a person could fast 77 days and be as healthy and alert as you seem. Are you sure you haven't cheated?"

CHARLES: (Chuckles.) "Sure, I cheat all the time!" (REPORTER scribbles.) "I'm consuming the energy of everyone who hugs me -- and I'm getting lots of hugs these days." (REPORTER looks up.) "Other than hugs and a little sea salt for electrolyte balance, I haven't taken anything but water into my digestive system for 77 days. Honest. But 300-plus pounds and energy- conservation efforts have kept me going long past the point almost all fasters have been dead or comatose."

REPORTER: "You know, I heard about your fast two months ago, but it's taken me this long to come talk to you because, frankly, I resented what seems to be a growing tendency to hold the press responsible for the survival of any and everybody with a gripe who decides to starve himself."

CHARLES: "I wonder where I got the idea that a democracy requires an informed constituency?"

REPORTER: "Well, you broke me down, Dr. Hyder. What can I recommend my readers do to convince you to eat?"

CHARLES: "You can start by making Christmas a national day of fasting dedicated against the intimidating threat of a worldwide nuclear holocaust. Keep it up -- fast every holiday. Use every means you can to convince the President, Congress, the Supreme Court, whoever will do it, to salvage us from worldwide scorn. The President COULD neutralize his long parade of lies and bungling by setting a leader's example. If he fails to realize this and I die ... then make EVERY holiday a day of national public fasting. It's no longer enough to provide minimum funding and verbal support and 'let someone else' do the job. YOU MUST ACT! Or a holocaust is inevitable."

(ENTER MONK, BO and LUTHER carrying new 4' x 4' signs onstage:


After depositing the signs, they all surround Charles and embrace him. REPORTER steps back for camera crew. Enter USPP ROOKIE; MONK and BO quickly step over to their signs and sit down. LUTHER leans against sycamore tree; pulls small leather hackiesack out of his pocket, bounces it in his hand and from his knee and foot awkwardly during scene. NORMAN's interest is piqued. STUDENTS 1 and 2 enter, wearing backpacks; they too hug CHARLES and kneel beside him as SITA, in her corner of the stage, dons her coat, hat, gloves, singing.)

"World Leaders, please:
"We are all one human family!
Must now learn to live together happily,
And shine, shine, shine, just as we are!"

(SITA exits. One of LUTHER's hackiesack kicks lands in front of NORMAN, who steps forward, having watched LUTHER'S efforts with wry amusement.)

NORMAN: "Luther. Let me show you how that's done. Now look. This little bag is the repository of the wisdom of the ages. Hackiesack is civilized. No competition. Everybody wins. It's a game of cooperation. Here's how it works: Each player can kick it many times before lobbing the sack on to the next player...."

(NORMAN expertly bumps the little leather bag from his left instep to right knee to left heel to right hip, e.g. (Improvise.))

"A 'sack' is when each of the players has kicked it at least once without the sack hitting the ground. A 'hackiesack' is when each player kicks the sack twice."

(Norman lobs it gently over to LUTHER, who unself-consciously kicks it back.)

"That's a SACK!"

(NORMAN taps the sack back over to LUTHER, who kicks it back lustily. NORMAN receives the sack by kicking it back to Luther, who kicks it straight up. Norman catches it.)

"And that, dear fellow, is a HACKIESACK!"

(STUDENTS 1 and 2 look up from CHARLES.)

STUDENT 1: "Hackiesack, did you say? How ZEN!"



(STUDENTS l & 2 shed their backpacks, and with MONK, LUTHER, and NORMAN form a circle.)

NORMAN: "Perfect! A Pentagon!"

(All face each other individually, place hands together as in prayer, bow solemnly and greet each other.)

ALL (together): "Shanti ... Shanti ... Shanti ... HACKIESACK!"

(LUTHER kicks the sack in the air and a choreographed game ensues. As they play, they make up lyrics to a song*, each player receiving the sack as he/she finishes speaking/ singing his/her line.)

[*lyrics by ANDHI HAMMERMAN]


MONK: "I am a taxpayer!"

ALL (one-by-one):
"I watch TV,
I eat preservatives,
I work for money,
I pay for the military,
I am a whore!"

NORMAN: "Sack!"

ALL (one-by-one):
"I wear make-up,
I have mind-rot,
I want a raise,
I'm Rambo!"

NORMAN: "Drop!"

(Player groans. Some laugh. Players join (one-by-one) after greeting Charles, as cast assembles onstage.)

ALL (one-by-one):
"I like pro wrestling,
I have tunnel vision,
I support the local police department,
I go to church on Sunday, sometimes,
I have a college degree,
I am happy,
I am rich,
I am brainwashed,
I have new clothes,
I drink lite-beer,
I eat wonderbread,
I go to the movies,
I don't want a nuclear war,"

NORMAN: "Sack!"

ALL (one-by-one):
"I don't want to be a communist,
I'm married,
I'm a prostitute,
I am a mindless pawn, I am in love,
I love money,
I have insurance,
I have a flag,
I have guns,
I love my family,
I love Big Macs,
I own property,
I rent property,
I eat meat,
I have cancer,
John Wayne is my hero,
Ronald Reagan rides a horse!"

NORMAN: "Sack!"

ALL (one-by-one):
"I want my M.T.V.,
I want a swimming pool in the back yard,
I don't know how to swim,
I am a slave,
I am racist,
I am a vegetarian,
I am proud of my country,
I am Santa Claus,
I am both Rambo and Buddha,
I work 40 hours,
I use contraceptives,
I eat Ritz crackers,
I'm an alcoholic,
I'm average,
I think I'm GOD,"

NORMAN: "Drop!"

BO: "Ain't it great to be free?"

ALL (one-by-one):
"Happiness is a warm gun,
I got a bus transfer,
I am a number, I work hard,
I don't sweat,
I have a microwave,
I feed my dog Alpo,
I can't afford S.D.I.,
I begin bombing in five minutes (harde har har),
may the force be with you,
I am born again,
I am who I am,
I'm waiting for the Messiah,
I'm waiting to punch out,
I wasn't born yesterday,
I wear polyester,
I live the American Dream,
I am impoverished,
I have 2-1/2 kids,
I have season tickets,
I'm on a paid vacation,
I demand respect,
I respect authority,
I believe in the death penalty,
I'm a member of the National Rifle Association,
I sold arms to Iran,
I smoke pot,"

LUTHER: "Hackiesack?"

ALL (together): "Naaww...."

NORMAN: "Sack!"

ALL (one-by-one):
"I fly like an eagle,
go fly a kite,
I fly the friendly skies,
I eat wheat bread,
I drive a big car,
I am constipated,
I am a tourist,
I am not crazy,
I pay my bills,
I am hung over,
I am hung up,
I shave my legs and my face,
I read the paper,
I write on walls,
I am a wishy-washy stockbroker picking my nose,
I support the military-industrial complex,
I have a complex, I wear sunglasses,
I am doing time,
I am the Pepsi generation,
I drink Classic Coke,
I have a white picket fence,
I want a nose job,
I want a sex change,
I am a Contra,
I am a Peacekeeper,
I'm a lover,
I'm a peacenik,
I'm a beatnik,
I am Uncle Sam,
I am homeless,
I don't read the writing on the walls."


(The players congratulate each other. ENTER a group of PEACE MARCHERS bearing a variety of anti-nuke, anti-Star Wars banners, their own Great Peace March flag ("3,800 miles and 9 months, marching for global nuclear disarmament"), and a newly-created PEACE PARK flag, which they plant in the ground next to the FAST sign. FEY and JONAH, remaining within three feet of their own signs, pass out flyers, then produce bullhorn.)



FEY: "Please, stay! Stay and help us ring the White House so Mr. and Mrs. President can't exit through ANY gate without being reminded:
We're TIRED of being held hostage to nuclear terrorism! And we INSIST the U.S. and all other nuclear powers STOP NUKING AROUND!"

(Loud cheers)

JONAH: "In honor of your arrival, the vigilers now lining Pennsylvania Avenue renew our pledge that PEACE PARK is a NUCLEAR-FREE WORLD TERRITORY, open to all species, peacefully governed by co-occupants under the laws of logic, physics, and compassion."
"We assume as our Constitution the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS."

(PEACE MARCHERS cheer, dance. CHARLES beams at them, mouthing the words "I LOVE YOU!" PEACE MARCHERS begin setting up pup tents. A police siren wails, and MARCHERS look up, confused.

Suddenly, what sounds like a missile taking off freezes everyone. NORMAN silently points at the backdrop. The cast turns in that direction. House/stage lights fade to accentuate slide/backdrop at rear of theater showing the tip of the Washington Monument -- poised cobra-like above the White House roof, two malevolent red eyes winking in the night sky....

All voices join in spontaneous "Ohmmmmm." Hands grope for each other. As the sound builds in power, stage lights fade; the malevolent red lights blink out; the White House continues to glow for a moment. REPORTER steps forward from the shadows.)

REPORTER: "OF course, in real life The Story doesn't end that way. Although Charles Hyder did his best, he announced the end of his fast 217 days after it began."

(Spotlight rises briefly on FEY)

FEY: "Thank God THAT's over!"

REPORTER: "Shortly after a treaty to eliminate short-range nuclear missiles in Europe was signed by Gorbachev and Reagan in the White House, five Peace Park vigilers were sentenced to spend the winter in prison."

(Spotlight rises on JONAH, MONK, BO, STUDENT 1, and FEY, in prison uniforms and chains, being led to cells. Reporter turns and addresses question to JONAH.)

"Jonah, you said back in '84 the First Amendment was being nickled and dimed to death. Got anything to add?"

JONAH: (JONAH swivels, cuffed hands behind him, and peers impatiently at the REPORTER. His impatience dissolves as the REPORTER returns his stare.)
"Okay. One more time.... Hooliganism carries three years in Red Square. Presently camping carries only six months in Lafayette Park, but under new sentencing guidelines a repeat camper can increase his imprisonment, making Lafayette Park more equal to Red Square ..... Of course, we DO have a choice. We can knuckle under to police state tactics and continue to allow the governments to hold us hostage.
"I prefer to imagine a more perfect Earth."


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