turning point

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

(in LAUNDROMAT. LEO is folding laundry. SARAH enters)
SARAH: Leo! I haven’t seen you since spring! Are you doing laundry, too?
LEO: Yeah, I might be leaving in the morning. I’m sure glad they cancelled finals! I was flunking Chemistry!
SARAH: What about the draft? What are you going to do about the draft?
LEO: Go to Canada, maybe. I don’t know.
SARAH: That doesn’t sound like you, Leo, is something bothering you?
LEO: Sarah, I’ll tell you, but you’ve got to promise me you won’t tell anyone.
SARAH: I promise.
LEO: Remember Dwight, our classmate? His brother had a plan to blow up Army Math. They’ve stolen a van and put ammonium nitrate and jet fuel in it. They borrowed their mom’s Corvair to be the getaway car. They wanted me to get the jet fuel, because I work out at the airport.
SARAH: So what’s the problem?
LEO: Well, you remember that Joe guy? I’ve started going to Quaker meeting. And now I’m not so comfortable with what they’re doing.
SARAH: But they’re going to blow the place up at night, aren’t they?
LEO: Yeah. Three in the morning. This morning, Sunday morning.
SARAH: Tonight? Are you going to do it?
LEO: I said I would. All I’ve got to do is unlock the fuel room at the airport. But I can’t do it.
SARAH: Listen, Leo. I think you should. They’ve done all this work, they’ve gotten it all ready. Look at it this way. Army Math is the system. It’s the government. They’re helping out the war. They’re the problem.
LEO: So you think we should do it?
SARAH: Of course! You won’t hurt anybody.
LEO: Well, I don’t know. Another thing is, I might have to leave Madison, go to Canada or something. It’s hard to leave.
SARAH: Leo, you’ve got to do it. Do it for me. I think you should do it.
LEO: But it won’t help anything to blow up that building. It’ll just make everything more violent. There’s been enough violence.
SARAH: Leo, if you don’t do it, I’ll do it. Give me that key.
LEO: OK, you do it. I’ll stay here. I just don’t feel right about it.
SARAH: Well, I’ve got a secret too. You know the chemistry? Well, I got an A in Chemistry. When it came down to it, Dwight and David didn’t know how to do it, but I knew how to do it, and I showed them. So I’m already guilty.
LEO: Really? Well, at least they’re doing it in the middle of the night, so nobody will get hurt, but, somehow I feel like it’s wrong. I know the government is wrong and all, but all of a sudden here I am about to load this van with jet fuel.
SARAH: I’ll take care of the fuel. You wait here. I’ll be back in about an hour.
(LEO puts head down, sleeps, time passes, SARAH returns, breathless)
SARAH: I did it. You’re going to be in trouble, though, you worked there, everyone knows you had the key.
LEO: Sarah, that’s OK. I’m going to Canada anyway, I think.
SARAH: Well, the Armstrongs are bringing their Corvair to your house in about an hour. I just told them that you couldn’t make it to the airport, but that you’d join them when they got to your house. I figured you could get lost with them, I think they might be going to Canada too. You’d better get going.
LEO: Sarah, there’s something I meant to tell you.
LEO: Well, I know it’s not going to work out and all, and, I’ll probably be leaving town, but, I, uh, I kind of like you…
SARAH: This can’t be happening (crying)…Leo, you’ve got to go! They’ll be waiting! (LEO leaves)
(SARAH cries, puts head down, sleeps, is woken up by STEPHANIE)
STEPHANIE: Sarah, what are you doing here?
SARAH: I was doing my laundry. I must have fallen asleep.
STEPHANIE: It’s 3:20 in the morning!
SARAH: Well, what are YOU doing here?
STEPHANIE: We’re leaving for vacation, as soon as Robert finishes up some research work on superconductivity. He’s in his office finishing up his physics research now. And I’m doing the laundry so we can leave.
SARAH: Where are the children?
STEPHANIE: They’re asleep. My parents are up there, helping with them.
SARAH: Wait a minute, where did you say your husband is working?
STEPHANIE: Sterling Hall. You know, the same building that Army Math is in…
SARAH: Oh, my god…
(SARAH gets a look of horror on her face….but loud explosion is heard in background and both get up and run)
NEWSCASTER: An explosion destroyed Sterling Hall last night and damaged 26 other buildings on the University of Wisconsin campus. Pieces of a stolen van were found on top of an 8-story building nearby. One man, Robert Fassnacht, a graduate student in physics, was inside the building at the time and was killed. He left behind a wife and three children. Four men are believed responsible for the bombing. Police are looking for Karl Armstrong, his brother Dwight Armstrong, Leo Burt, and David Fine. They are believed to be heading for Canada.
(Years later….sign says 1974)
POLICEMAN: Things have gotten pretty quiet around here, since that bombing. They don’t riot like they used to. Those brothers, they found them in Canada, after a couple of years. They found David Fine in California. They never found Leo Burt, who knows what happened to him? But hey, I’ll tell you, the bombing kind of stopped the protests. They just stopped. And a while after that, the government ended the war, too. Things change, you know. But you know what? I’ll never say that those days were the good old days. Never.



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