War and History Script posted December 2, 2013 Chapters:  ...12 13 -14- 15... 


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Warren makes a startling discovery.

A chapter in the book Depleted Uranium

Career Change.

by Tomes Johnston



Background
Harry Laing is a veteran of Iraq who is dying of cancer. His wife, Debbie, brother, Warren, and sister, Louise discover it may be linked to Depleted Uranium from the Iraq War.
HARRY
(HE HAS BEEN STANDING AROUND THE CORNER FOR SOME TIME.)
I was getting too old for the Army. My body couldn't take it anymore. Who won the football match?

WARREN
Arsenal won of course. Who else? Do you always sneak up on people like that?

HARRY
I'm in my own house. What do you want to know, Warren? Did something out of the ordinary happen to me? Well...

WARREN
You know I don't think that...

HARRY
Well, nothing happened to me. I just fancied a change, that's all. My own brother is scheming behind my back.

WARREN
No, I'm not.

HARRY
I decided on a career change. It's as simple as that.

WARREN
That was a big step to take after twelve years in the Army, Harry.

HARRY
Well, that's what I did. Now, what else do you need for this thesis of yours?

WARREN
I need to know everything. I want to understand your thinking, and not just because of the thesis. I care about you, bro, and I want to help you in any way I can. We are brothers after all. Maybe if I help you, I can help myself as well.

HARRY
There are some things that you are better off not knowing. You might understand, and you might not. I've done some things that I'm not exactly proud of, Warren, and I would prefer not to think about them.

WARREN
You can't...

HARRY
I can do any bloody thing I like. This is my life.
(SPITEFULLY.)
Louise, are you planning to spend the night here, or what?

LOUISE
Not a chance. I'm leaving.
(HESITATES AT THE DOOR.)
Sometimes you can be so hateful, Harry.

HARRY
You have your moments too.
(LOUISE EXITS, AND WE HEAR A CAR LEAVE.)
(TO WARREN.)
Are you planning to stay?

WARREN
The sofa is fine with me. Why were you near that minefield? You were an infantry soldier, not an engineer.

HARRY
Of course I wasn't an engineer. I was a front-line soldier. I was there because my battlegroup was there. I'll get you a pillow and duvet.

WARREN
No, this is fine. Tell me more, Harry.

HARRY
You have the pictures and videos. Work it out for yourself.

WARREN
I want to hear your version.

HARRY
You want first-hand material for this thesis; is that it?

WARREN
That's not what's important here. Things need to be recorded for posterity, that's all. If it makes the grade, that would be great. If it doesn't, that's all right as well.
(PAUSE.)
I'm not sure if I can get this approved by the university. It's a touchy subject for the authorities as well as you, but I'll do it if you help me or not.

HARRY
You're still bull-headed, as always.

WARREN
What else can I do, Harry?

HARRY
(AFTER A PAUSE.)
People say... that hell is a burning fire. They think that hell is somewhere deep under in the earth. I know differently. It is a place on earth, and I've been through it... Hell is being suspended between this world and the next, not knowing whether each moment is going to be your last, or whether you will live to see your loved ones ever again. Hell is seeing things that no human being should ever see, or touch, or taste, or smell, like burning human flesh. Yes, Iraq was hell on earth all right.
(HE SIGHS.)
Hell is going days and weeks on end without sleep, and trying to fight an enemy when you can't even see the hand in front of your face.
(PAUSE.)
Hell is seeing your friends getting killed, and having to clean up the mess that used to be their bodies afterwards.
(HE LEAVES AND WARREN IS LEFT ON HIS OWN. WARREN LOOKS AT THE PHOTO AGAIN. WE SEE IT ON THE SCREEN. IT IS THE PICTURE OF THE THREE SOLDIERS. HE TURNS THE PHOTO OVER AND READS THREE NAMES.)

WARREN
Sergeant Harry Laing, Corporal Mark Burge, and Lance Corporal Marcus Steele... Harry and his comrades... Wait a minute... I know those other two names... Harry went to their funerals recently.

(THE IMAGE SLOWLY FADES ALONG WITH THE LIGHTS.)

(END OF ACT 1)


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