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Thank you for your comments - and for liking and sharing this site!Apr. 11, 2014 Day #58 Operation Firefly Monologue Mania
Operation Firefly (c)
(from the movie Operation Firefly – in planning now)
by Janet S. Tiger
© all rights reserved 2014
Black soldiers – under the leadership of Walter, their commanding officer, teach themselves to be paratroopers, and are chosen to be the 555 - Triple Nickles – the first black paratroop infantry troops. But their goal of fighting in Europe or Asia has been diverted, and the man who helped train them is about to tell something vital.
Act 1 consists of 3 parts – the first an intro to the characters, the second will be the training of the men, and this is the last part of the final scene of Act 1-
(We see two men in military uniforms drinking in a darkened field, one black - Walter -with sergeant stripes, the other white, with master sergeant rank. Both are drinking from bottles, their hats are off, and we see a stack of empties near them.)
You are probably wonderin why I brought you out here…..obviously we can’t be seen fraternizing together in public….and you are leavin tomorrow, and mebbe I wanted to thank you for what you did for me last month……..
(Walter just lifts his bottle)
Mebbe not........Tomorrow you get your next rank, promoted above me, leadin a whole battalion of men to fight far away…..somethin I always wanted to do….but they keep me here in this damned swamp.....because I am so good at what I do? Naw, because one day, two years ago, I opened my big fat mouth to a colonel and he made sure I would never, ever get what I wanted…..funny in’t it how things work in life?
(He gets up and throws a bottle in the air, shoots it, it shatters in the dark.)
But that’s not why we’re here….
I’m gonna tell you something I’m not supposed to – in fact, if anyone finds out I told you, I will probably be court-martialed for revealing top secret information, so listen good, Walter, I only tell you this once.
(Takes a deep breath, then a deep swig of the bottle) Okay, you think you flyin west and you gonna fight the Japs, well, you goin west, but you ain’t goin to fight the Japs, you are goin to Washington. And not Washington, D. C., but to the great state of Washington…. where it rains 370 days of the year. (Thinks) Funny how that is – it rains, but there are still forest fires!
Anyhow, that’s what’s gonna happen to you and your ….troops.
(The other man moves to stand and speak, the sergeant pushes him down.)
For God’s sakes, just listen! I’m tryin’ to tell you something that could save alla your lives!
(Deep sigh) No one wants you as paratroopers, Walter, and that’s the sad truth of it. You know, and I know, you and your boys are damned good, but it ain’t like the boys from Tuskegee – you’d have to be fightin and landin with the white boys, and worse, eatin and sleepin with them…. and no one wants that. Not now, at least.
So they have found something for you boys to do……you are goin to …..fight fires.
Now before you get mad, and start yellin’, listen!
The Japs are sendin over …..(hard to say without laughing)….they are sendin over balloons.
(They laugh together.)
Funny, huh? Well, those balloons are filled with explosives….and incendiary devices. And when they land in our forests, our forests do not do well, especially since most of the firefighters are …guess where, Walter? You guessed…they are in the Army. All that’s left to fight these fires are old men and….girls!
So what does the government do? It has to stop these fires before they start getting big, so they have chosen a group of boys who are trained to jump into …difficult places…that’s you, Walter. And these men are going to be trusted with makin sure these fires do very little damage.
And for the honor of doing this, you will never be able to tell anyone what you did, because this is top secret. And you boys are the ones.
(Walter sits, stunned, shakes his head)
Before you shake your head, I want you to know that fightin fires is not such an easy job. You are gonna be dropped in…by plane….in to very rough areas, and all you will have is a shovel, maybe one canteen of water, and a prayer….and lemme tell you, you are gonna need those prayers.
I see the way you lookin at me – what the hell do I know about fire?
Ooh, I really didn’t want to do this….
(He puts down the bottle and unbuttons his shirt. Walter pulls away.)
Don’t be an ass, Walter, I ain’t no queer, I just want you to see something on my back….
I call it my ‘fire tattoo’…..
(In the moonlight, we see the sergeant has his entire back covered in burn scars. Walter gasps, then takes a deep breath)
Pretty, ain’t it? Girls just love it, you know? I tell em I got it from a Nazi flamethrower…..some girls‘ll believe anything…..
(He pulls the shirt back on quickly)
How’d you think I really got that, Walter? You know how in every small Southern town there’s one ‘fire bug’….well, I was the young one. Ol man Hawley was my teacher. He was the old fire bug….and he lived out by the dump, which was truly a great place for fires.
(We see the images of the sergeant as a young man, lighting a fire in a darkened dump.)
There were so many great things to burn! Old couches – they were impressive…..
(A couch is blazing, the boy’s face is illuminated, smiling)
And the rubber tires, boy did they stink – and they burned forever!
(We see the boy and an older man covering the burning tires with dirt.)
But sometimes, you can make a mistake……..
(The boy is seen setting an old empty cabin on fire, which gets out of control and spreads to the trees nearby. The boy is afraid, and starts to run. As he looks back, the fire is chasing him, with tall flames. It is terrifying)
And lemme tell you, those flames – they can get really high…higher than the mess hall, and that’s like four –stories! (He is remembering, starts to sweat.) And a fire is just like a human- it needs oxygen and something to eat, and it will do anything to….. satisfy those needs!
(The fire is out of control, and the young man comes to the edge of a bank - will the fire catch him? but he escapes by jumping into the river. Now we see the militia has been called in to stop it. Old man Hawley and the boy watch from a distance as the fire burns, fought valiantly by the firefighters and military men)
You’d think it woulda taught me a lesson, but, you know how kids are….
(The boy has lit something on fire in the dump, and he backs slowly away, watching it. Hawley yells at him to run, and the boy turns, just in time, as an explosion rips through the dump – fire tongues lashing out so that one of them hits the running boy and lights his shirt on fire. He screams, and rolls on the ground.)
Someone musta left something like kerosene in a container and I didn’t see it….I ended up havin to go to the hospital…..
(We see the boy in a hospital, face down, covered in bandages, with police around the bed.)
After that, somehow…..they figured out how I must’ve been involved in the other fires, and I got a choice – prison, which you know in Georgia means a chain gang….or the Army, where I get to blow things up and make fires and get paid for it. Guess which one I chose?
(We see the young man, now in a uniform, boarding a bus, old man Hawley and others waving goodbye.)
Now there is one other little thing…..
(We see the sergeant in a room with other officers, who are called away, and, after looking around, the sergeant reads the files in a briefcase…..his face changing.)
One thing that they are not tellin you – not only will these devices have bombs and fire bombs, but they may also have something our government is afraid the Japs might use on us, something they have used to kill entire villages in China. It’s bugs…not like cockroaches, but fancy (pronounces the word slowly)….bio…logical bugs – diseases, things like that. So you and your boys may be the first defense…..and the fires might be the easy part of it. After a few months of where you going, you may be wishin you was sent over to get foot fungus and a bayonet in your gut……..
(Walter sits, takes a swig from his bottle)
Why am I tellin you this?
Because when you get there, and they spring this on you, you will need to be prepared. Now that you know, you will have the entire flight to Washington to think of a good way to make your boys feel like they are doin something important.
Because they will be – only no one will ever know.
Just like you and me, Walter, like no one will ever know about this little talk….right?
(Walter nods, and the Sergeant sits, they both drink, as the night fades into dawn.)
End of scene
(The light becomes the sun over Walter’s shoulders as we hear him explaining to his men just how dangerous fire is – using the sergeant’s words)
The rest of the screenplay is coming soon. For more info, please contact-
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8