SMOKE

It is nighttime. A wounded man islying on his back, wearing a grimy, tattered military uniform. He slowly opens his eyes. He sees the sky, ringed by shattered buildings.

The man staggers among the ruins of a city. He climbs up a ruined slope, his feet kicking loose a slide of concrete, dust, torn magazines, and other debris.

At the top of the slope, he finds himself in a fairly wide open area. Directly across from him is a woman. She wears a military uniform as well. Both immediately draw their guns. They stare at each other intensely.

The man and woman embrace each other, clinging desperately to one another. The woman digs her fingers into his ripped and dirty shirt. Tears run down his face.

They wander together through the ruins for some time, finally seeing the glow of electric lights. It is a club, mostly intact.

They go inside, looking around. A record is on a record player in one corner; he puts the needle down. Music fills the empty club. She looks at a propaganda poster on the wall of proud soldiers walking on the bodies of the dead enemy. ("They ask me how I knew . . . my true love was true")

("Oh, I of course replied . . .") She looks down at the insignia on her clothes, fingering it delicately, as he comes up behind her. ("Something here inside . . . Cannot be denied . . .) She suddenly realizes the insignia on his clothes is different from hers. She turns and strikes him in the stomach. He reels backward, in shock. Her hand automatically goes for her gun, but the holster is empty. ("So I chide them / And I gaily laugh") Panicked, she runs for the door before he can react. ("To think they could / Doubt my love")

He runs out of the club, to find her standing ready with a chunk of broken wood as a weapon. ("Yet today . . .") They are distracted by the sound of planes coming, close now, and flying low. She turns to face them, and tries to signal. The planes dip down so that they are just above the ruins, and open fire. ("My love has flown away . . .) He knocks her out of the way, but bullets catch his back. He falls against her, and they flee the oncoming planes together. He stumbles and falls to the ground, and she is hit from behind. ("I am without my love . . .") They are both on the ground now, and struggle to drag themselves towards one another. He puts his head in her lap.

They are facing each other across the ruins. The echo of gunshots rings across the open space. They both collapse to the ground. ("Now laughing friends deride. . .") A: They lie amongst the broken remains of the city, each dying alone. ("Tears I cannot hide / Oh, so I smile and say . . .") B: They lie together, hands clasped. ("When a lovely flame dies / Smoke gets in your eyes . . .")

The man and woman dance alone in the club, in their dirty military gear. ("They said someday you'll find / All who love are blind . . .") We see them closer, with the background unclear.

They dance alone in the ruins, in crisp, clean civilian clothes. ("Smoke gets in your eyes . . .") (END)

<< back