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This Precious Freedom

Everyman's Theatre

This Precious Freedom

Oct 11 1940



CAST:

HOST (1 line)

JOHN, businessman

MORGAN, pilot

FARMER, scared

DRIVER, uncommunicative

NEWSBOY

REGAN

1ST VOICE

2ND VOICE

OLD MAN

EXAMINER, cold and precise

GUARD (1 line)

JEAN, John's wife

ORATOR

3RD VOICE

and other VOICES


NOTE: This is a transcript of the play only, omitting announcements and commercials. Material from a published version appears in brackets.




HOST: This is a fictional story -- a play about a tomorrow which should never happen here.


MUSIC: BRIEF INTRODUCTION


SOUND: FLYING AIRPLANE INTERIOR


JOHN: (IN A GOOD MOOD) Morgan? 


MORGAN: (OFF SLIGHTLY) Yes, sir? 


JOHN: Can't you make this crate of mine go faster? 


MORGAN: Sorry, Mr. Stevenson. We're bucking a pretty stiff headwind. 


JOHN: Come now -- don't tell me the heavens are conspiring to keep me from getting back to work. Open her up, Morgan -- I've had enough vacation! 


MORGAN: Yes, sir. 


SOUND: AIRPLANE MOTOR CLIMBS ... THEN IN BG


JOHN: That's better. You know, Morgan, I should think you'd be as eager to get back to the city as I am. After all, a young fellow like you -- a month up in the woods with nothing around but those overstuffed squaws. (CHUCKLES) Well, I for one am going to be glad to get back in harness again! Of course, I'm not going to admit that to Mrs. Stevenson. I talked to her for the last ten years about cutting myself off from civilization and having a real vacation and--


SOUND: AIRPLANE MOTOR STARTS TO MISS ... CUTS IN AND OUT INTERMITTENTLY, IN BG


JOHN: Morgan? What's the matter? 


MORGAN: Oil line open! 


JOHN: (QUIETLY TENSE) By George! 


SOUND: AIRPLANE MOTOR CUTS OUT COMPLETELY ... WHINE OF PLANE GLIDING INTO FORCED LANDING, IN BG


MORGAN: Take it easy, Mr. Stevenson. We're okay. Just fasten your safety belt. 


JOHN: But where are you going to land?


MORGAN: Field ahead! Hold on! Don't be afraid! 


JOHN: (TENSE, HALF TO HIMSELF) Don't be a fool. I've been in forced landings before. All I want to do is get down there -- fast. I've got to get to the city. I've got to get back to my business. 


SOUND: AIRPLANE WHINE INCREASES


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR ... NO ANSWER ... KNOCKS AGAIN


MORGAN: Eh, guess there's no one home, Mr. Stevenson. 


JOHN: No one in the fields -- no one to help us. Fine end to a vacation! 


MORGAN: Ah, guess we'd better try to flag a ride into town. 


JOHN: Wait a minute! 


MORGAN: Uh? 


JOHN: Someone coming! 


SOUND: DOOR CREAKS OPEN


JOHN: Well! How do you do? We just had a forced landing out on one of your fields and I-- 


FARMER: (SHARP, SUSPICIOUS) What do you want? 


JOHN: (GOOD-NATURED) But I'm trying to tell you. We had a forced landing out there in your field. Could I use your telephone? 


FARMER: (GRUFF, PARANOID) Wait a minute! Who are you? 


JOHN: (NOT ANGRY, DECLARATIVE) I don't see what earthly difference that makes. All I want is to use your telephone.


FARMER: Go away! 


SOUND: DOOR SLAMS SHUT


JOHN: (AMAZED) Why, you--! (TO MORGAN) Morgan, did you see that? Slammed the door in my face! 


MORGAN: (QUIETLY SURPRISED) Yeah.


JOHN: In my face! Infernal fool! 


MORGAN: (QUIETLY TROUBLED) Mr. Stevenson--? You know, that guy was awful scared. 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: WIND SIGHS SOFTLY, IN BG


JOHN: (PUZZLED) This is the main road, isn't it? 


MORGAN: That's what the sign says. 


JOHN: Then where's the traffic? We've stood here for an hour! Doesn't make sense that; on a main road.


SOUND: FADE IN TRUCK APPROACHING DOWN ROAD, GROWING CLOSER IN BG


MORGAN: Wait, Mr. Stevenson! Here comes a truck! 


JOHN: Well, about time! 


MORGAN: If he don't stop-- 


JOHN: We'll make him stop! (CALLS) Driver! Driver!


MORGAN: Driver! Hey, driver!


JOHN: Stop!


MORGAN: Stop! Stop!


SOUND: TRUCK PULLS TO A STOP 


JOHN: (UP) Driver -- er, my plane -- I had a forced landing out here. Could you drive me into the city? (NO ANSWER) Did you hear me? (NO ANSWER) I'll give you twenty-five dollars. 


DRIVER: (SLIGHTLY OFF) Okay. Jump in! 


JOHN: Morgan, you'd better stay here with the plane. I'll send someone back. 


MORGAN: Yes, sir. 


SOUND: TRUCK DOOR OPENS ... JOHN CLIMBS IN


JOHN: (GRUNTS WITH EFFORT) 


SOUND: TRUCK DOOR SHUTS


JOHN: (WITH RELIEF) Ah!  


SOUND: TRUCK ENGINE IN GEAR ... RUNNING TRUCK BACKGROUND


JOHN: I hope you're a fast driver! 


DRIVER: Fast enough. 


JOHN: (AWKWARD PAUSE) Well, for a while there I thought there weren't any trucks on the road any more! 


DRIVER: Not many. 


JOHN: But this is the main highway -- now it's practically empty. Why? 


DRIVER: Mister, I'm just a driver.


JOHN: (REALIZES) Oh, some sort of labor disturbance, eh? 


DRIVER: You kiddin' me? 


JOHN: What're you talking about?


DRIVER: I'm not talkin', mister. You are. 


JOHN: Look here, I've been vacationing up in the woods for weeks. I deliberately haven't read a newspaper or heard a radio in all that time. But now that I'm back-- Ah, well, I might as well start taking it again. What's up? (NO ANSWER) Well, why don't you answer me? 


DRIVER: Mister, I'm just drivin'. 


JOHN: (IRRITATED) What is this, anyway? All I want is a civil answer! 


DRIVER: I don't know any answers, mister. You'll find 'em out for yourself. 


SOUND: TRUCK UP AND OUT


MUSIC: TRANSITION 


SOUND: TRUCK ENGINE IDLES


JOHN: (COUNTS MONEY) Fifteen -- twenty -- twenty-five. There you are. 


DRIVER: Okay. 


JOHN: Well, I certainly didn't get any conversation for my money! 


DRIVER: Are you gettin' off, mister? 


JOHN: Yes -- of course. (WITH CONTEMPT) Huh -- manners certainly haven't improved while I've been away! Goodbye! 


SOUND: TRUCK DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES ... TRUCK MOVES OFF ... CITY STREET BACKGROUND 


NEWSBOY: (SLIGHTLY OFF) Paper? Paper, mister? Paper? 


JOHN: Yes, yes. Of course, boy. Let me have one of each.


NEWSBOY: Huh? 


JOHN: I said, one of each. (NO RESPONSE) Each newspaper! 


NEWSBOY: (GLUM) Who ya kiddin'? 


JOHN: Say, what's come over everyone? Here -- give me a Tribune, a News, Times -- all of 'em. (NO RESPONSE) Well, don't stand there! I'm in a hurry!


NEWSBOY: (TENSE) Mister, don't you know?


JOHN: Know what? (NO ANSWER) What? (BEAT, CALLS AFTER HIM) Boy! Boy, come back here! Where are you going?! Come back here!


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: JOHN'S STEPS TO OFFICE DOOR


JOHN: (TO HIMSELF) Well -- at least my office is still here. 


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR RATTLES


JOHN: Door stuck.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR RATTLES AGAIN


JOHN: Fine business. Can't even get into own office. 


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR RATTLES AGAIN


JOHN: Well! 


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR


JOHN: (CALLS) Open up! 


SOUND: KNOCKING ON DOOR


JOHN: (CALLS) Open up! (BEAT, TO HIMSELF) No one in there? (BEAT) Door locked. Where's my key? Nice business -- eleven-thirty and they haven't even opened the office. 


SOUND: JANGLE OF KEYS ... KEY IN LOCK ... OFFICE DOOR UNLOCKS BEHIND--


JOHN: That's loyalty for you. Didn't expect me back so soon, I suppose.


SOUND: OFFICE DOOR OPENS


JOHN: Entire office staff decided to take a vacation while-- (STOPS SHORT, SEES EMPTY OFFICE; DISBELIEF) What in the--? Desk -- files gone! Office empty! Where in the--? 


REGAN: (APPROACHES) Are ya lookin' for somethin', mister? 


JOHN: Wha--? Regan! 


REGAN: Huh? 


JOHN: Regan! 


REGAN: Who are you? 


JOHN: Regan, don't you know me? What's going on here? 


REGAN: (ASTONISHED) Wha--? Mr. Stevenson! 


JOHN: What's happened to my office? Where are all my things? What's going on here? Don't stand there with your mouth open! Tell me! 


REGAN: Dead. I - I thought you was dead! 


JOHN: What are you talking about? Everyone knew I was going on a vacation! What's happened to my things? Where are all my people? Answer me! 


REGAN: You - you don't know? 


JOHN: Know what? Talk words, man! What's happened to my business? 


REGAN: (NERVOUS) Oh, Mr. Stevenson-- I - I can't tell you. 


JOHN: What do you mean you can't tell me? You're the manager of the building! Who moved out my office?! Where are all my things?! Answer me! 


REGAN: (HALF-CHOKED) You're hurtin' me! 


JOHN: Answer me! 


REGAN: (RELEASED FROM CHOKE HOLD, QUIETLY) You - can't ask questions, Mr. Stevenson. 


JOHN: What?


REGAN: Go home, Mr. Stevenson. Please -- go home, quick.


MUSIC: TRANSITION


SOUND: JOHN'S HEAVY BREATHING AND HURRIED STEPS TO FRONT DOOR ... KEY IN LOCK ... FRONT DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS ... JOHN'S STEPS INTO HOUSE


JOHN: (CALLS) Jean! Jean?! Where are you? Jean! (NO RESPONSE, UP) Jean


1ST VOICE: (OFF) Lookin' for somebody, fella? 


JOHN: (STARTLED) Who--? 


1ST VOICE: (CLOSER) Stand still. Frisk him, Joe.


2ND VOICE: Yeah. 


JOHN: Who in the devil--? 


1ST VOICE: Keep your mouth shut. 


JOHN: How dare you?! Get out of my house! 


1ST VOICE: Start walkin', fella. 


JOHN: Walking? What do you mean? 


1ST VOICE: Somebody wants to talk to you. 


JOHN: Wha--? What are you? Police? 


2ND VOICE: Sure. Start movin'. 


JOHN: But - but why? 


1ST VOICE: Mister, get goin'. 


JOHN: No! If you're police, where are your warrants? Yes, where're your warrants?


1ST VOICE: Here! 


JOHN: No, don't--! (CUTS OFF SHARPLY WITH--)


SOUND: TAP OF GUN AGAINST HEAD 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


JOHN: (WAKES, GROANS, CONFUSED AND IN PAIN) Ahh-- Head-- Room-- Where--? What--?


SOUND: DOOR OPENS ... OLD MAN'S STEPS APPROACH ACROSS FLOOR 


JOHN: (TO HIMSELF) Old man-- What does he--? 


SOUND: OLD MAN'S STEPS COME CLOSE AND STOP


OLD MAN: You all right?


JOHN: Yes. (GROANS) 


OLD MAN: No, no, no. You better not try to stand up. Take it easy. 


JOHN: (WITH EFFORT) Are they - police? 


OLD MAN: Yeah -- in a way. 


JOHN: (STILL DAZED) Someone made a mistake. 


OLD MAN: No, no -- no mistake, Mr. Stevenson. 


JOHN: My name. You know it?


OLD MAN: Yeah. I used to do business with your company once. Always treated me fine. 


JOHN: Who - are you? 


OLD MAN: Me? Oh, nobody. Just sort of clean up. 


JOHN: Where am I? 


OLD MAN: Mr. Stevenson, there are some things I can't tell you. 


JOHN: (WEAKLY) Mistake -- horrible mistake. I'm John Stevenson -- I'm a respectable citizen -- I -- (SUDDENLY REALIZES) My wife! I've got to get in touch with Jean. She'll be worried. She wasn't home. She-- 


OLD MAN: Now, take it easy, Mr. Stevenson.


JOHN: No, wait! The mayor! Yes, the mayor! He's a friend of mine! Got to get to the telephone and tell the mayor what's happened! 


OLD MAN: (OVERLAPS WITH ABOVE) No. No, Mr. Stevenson! Please -- keep your voice down! If they come in here again-- 


JOHN: Let them come in! I've got nothing to be afraid of! I've done nothing! Come into my house without a warrant -- they've got no right! 


OLD MAN: Now, Mr. Stevenson, you don't understand. Please, Mr. Stevenson.


JOHN: Understand what? Tell me! 


OLD MAN: (UNEASY) Things are - different.


JOHN: Different? What do you mean? What's it got to do with this? With me? 


OLD MAN: Mr. Stevenson-- Somethin' I don't understand -- where've you been? 


JOHN: Been? Out of the city -- in the woods! Don't waste time, man! Call up the mayor! Tell him--!


OLD MAN: But that won't do any good.


JOHN: Why not? There's been a mistake.


OLD MAN: There's been no mistake, Mr. Stevenson! I - I guess maybe you're the only one in the whole country don't know about it. 


JOHN: Talk sense, man! 


OLD MAN: Well, I'm tryin' to! I -- I don't know exactly how to say it-- 


JOHN: (IMPATIENT) Well? Well? 


OLD MAN: Well-- First, they-- Well, that part of the Constitution-- They - they threw it out. 


JOHN: (BLANKLY) Part of--? What the devil are you talking about? 


OLD MAN: The part of the Constitution-- You know -- about rights. Threw it out. Yeah, the way I got it figured out, when the others ganged up on us -- all them battleships and airplanes-- Well, there wasn't much we could do now, was there? Had to sort of-- Well, throw in the towel. 


JOHN: Are you trying to tell me that while I was away there's been - an invasion?


OLD MAN: Invasion? Well-- They ain't gone all the way. I mean just this piece of the coast-- [but here they're runnin' things the way they want them to be run. And Mister -- it's only been two weeks, but if I was to tell you all that--] 


JOHN: (INTERRUPTS, FURIOUS) Get out of here! 


OLD MAN: What? 


JOHN: You heard me -- get out! Haven't I had enough today without listening to you, you crazy old fool?! 


OLD MAN: But, Mr. Stevenson, I-- 


JOHN: (EXPLODES) Get out, I tell you! (UP, CALLS WILDLY) Listen -- someone out there! Get this crazy old fool out of here! If this is a jail, get me my lawyer! What am I being held here for?! What are the charges?! Get me my lawyer! Get me my lawyer! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


EXAMINER: So you still insist on having a lawyer? 


JOHN: Certainly. [It's my right! 


EXAMINER: Is it? 


JOHN: You know mighty well it is!] If there's some criminal charge against me, I have a right to have a lawyer! 


EXAMINER: Right -- right -- right! What right are you talking about? 


JOHN: (TRYING TO RESTRAIN HIMSELF) You-- You're obviously some sort of police official -- [and very obviously think you're doing your duty.] Well, let me tell you, a horrible mistake has been made. I'm no criminal. I'm John Stevenson, an ordinary businessman. Call Mayor Alden -- he'll tell you. 


EXAMINER: He'll tell us nothing. The man is of no importance. 


JOHN: No importance--? But the mayor-- 


EXAMINER: The mayor of what? The worms? 


JOHN: (BLANKLY) Worms?


EXAMINER: The man is dead. 


JOHN: (QUIETLY STUNNED) Oh. 


EXAMINER: But that, too, is of no importance. What is important to me is you -- and your activities. 


JOHN: I-- I don't know what you're talking about! 


EXAMINER: Your so-called vacation trip. (SHARPLY) Whom did you meet? 


JOHN: Meet? What do you--? 


EXAMINER: Don't ask questions. Answer them. You've been out of the city for weeks. Suddenly, you return. Where were you? 


JOHN: On-- On my vacation, of course! Is there any law against that? 


EXAMINER: For the last time, don't try to be clever with me. 


JOHN: (WEARY) Once and for all, will you tell me what the charges are against me? There's been some kind of terrible mistake -- all right! But tell me what the charges are! Give me a chance to clear myself! 


EXAMINER: I have wasted quite enough time with you, Mr. Stevenson. 


JOHN: Let me post bond -- let me call my lawyer -- you've no right to keep me here! My wife -- she wasn't home when I was taken away -- she'll be worried. She-- 


EXAMINER: Yes! Yes, of course, your wife! Have you any idea where your wife is, Mr. Stevenson? 


JOHN: Why-- Home, I suppose. Yes, she must be there now! If you'll hand me the phone-- 


EXAMINER: She is not home -- believe me!


JOHN: Why do you say that? 


EXAMINER: (CALLS) All right, sergeant! 


SOUND: DOOR OPENS


GUARD: (OFF) In there! 


JOHN: (SURPRISED) Jean? Jean! 


JEAN: (WEEPS, THEN IN BG) 


JOHN: Jean, what are you doing here? What is it? Jean, stop crying! I'm all right! There's been some crazy mistake, but-- (SLOWLY) Jean, why should you cry like this? You never cry. (REALIZES) Jean! The children! Are they all right? Jean, talk to me! Stop crying and talk to me! 


EXAMINER: She knows better. 


JOHN: Better? What are you talking about? (GENTLY) Jean, lift your face. What's happened? What's wrong? 


EXAMINER: Take her away! 


JOHN: No! She'll stay here. (TO JEAN) Jean, you tell me what this is about! Has everyone gone crazy? What--? (TO GUARD) No, let go of her! You blasted--! 


JEAN: (CALLS, TERRIFIED) John! 


SOUND: DOOR SHUTS, CUTTING OFF JEAN


JOHN: (HYSTERICAL) Let go of me! Bring her back here! Bring her back here! I'll kill you! I'll-- (CALLS DESPERATELY) Jean! Jean! 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


EXAMINER: (SOOTHING) You, uh, will be quite calm now, eh, Mr. Stevenson? Yes. Yes, I am sure you will. Well, we have quite a technique for calming down unreasonable people, haven't we? 


JOHN: (WITH EFFORT, HE HAS BEEN TORTURED) You -- you -- 


EXAMINER: So you still persist in talking. 


SOUND: SLAP OF OPEN HAND AGAINST FACE


EXAMINER: So. Discipline -- that is the first lesson you must learn in this new state of ours. Discipline. Always discipline. (BEAT) It is very strange, Mr. Stevenson. You've been here now over an hour and yet there is very little fear in your face. I wonder why. Astonishment -- yes, yes -- a sort of astonished wonder in your face, as if you can't believe-- (REALIZES) Could you possibly be ignorant of the facts? This glorious new state that we are planting here. This fulfillment of the dream some of us have had since the day we heard a voice telling us of our destiny -- a dream that will come true. This will soon be our nation now, Mr. Stevenson -- ours -- all of it. Your men are fighting, yes, but we will win. Wonder in your face? Yes. (INCREASINGLY CARRIED AWAY) Sometimes [even] I ask myself can it be true? The wonder of it -- yet, no wonder of it. The plan, Mr. Stevenson -- the plan -- always it was there and always we  followed it! We poured our propaganda in on you -- yes, we used your own [sentimental democratic] weaknesses against you! We cried, "Let us speak! It is our right!" How simple it was to use your own rights against you! So now you have no rights, Stevenson! No one has rights but we who are leaders! [Leaders of the Blood! This is our America!] (RECOVERS HIMSELF, CHUCKLES, RESUMES QUIET TONE) I was quite carried away, wasn't I? I must not forget to let you speak. (BEAT) We want to know many things: every detail of your airplane trip -- whom you saw -- which of our enemies are hiding up there where you were. I warn you -- answer quickly, Stevenson! Who are your friends? Which of our enemies did you meet? (FASTER, MORE MECHANICAL -- AS HE FADES OUT) Who were your friends? Whom did you meet? Where did you go? Whom did you meet? Where did you go? 


MUSIC: TRANSITION


1ST VOICE: (WITH EFFORT, CARRYING JOHN'S BODY) Put him here. 


2ND VOICE: Yeah. 


SOUND: THEY GRUNT AS JOHN'S BODY THUDS TO FLOOR


2ND VOICE: Dead yet? 


1ST VOICE: No. Not yet. 


MUSIC: BRIEF TRANSITION ... THEN IN BG, IN AGREEMENT WITH THE FOLLOWING--


JOHN: (STREAM-OF-CONSCIOUSNESS, HALF-DEAD, DAZED, DISJOINTED) Dead yet? -- No. Not yet. -- Who said that? I can't see. All mixed up. -- Vacation -- Enemies of the State -- Airplane -- I don't know -- (STARTS TO CRY) All mixed up -- (WEEPING FILLS A LENGTHY PAUSE) No, no, no -- Got to stop -- Got to think -- Oh, pain -- No -- Got to think things out -- What's happened to me? -- What? 


EXAMINER: Our glorious new state! 


ORATOR: We who are the leaders! 


EXAMINER: This will be our nation soon! 


JOHN: Voices in my head -- All mixed up. Think things out -- Got to -- Go crazy -- From the start -- Yes, from the start -- Vacation -- Coming back from my vacation -- landed plane.


FARMER: (TENSE) Go away! Go away! 


JOHN: Yes. That farmer. 


MORGAN: (TROUBLED) That guy was awful scared. Awful scared.


JOHN: Yes. Morgan, you said that.


DRIVER: I don't know any answers. You'll find 'em out for yourself. 


JOHN: Yes. Truck driver.


NEWSBOY: Mister, don't you know? Mister, don't you know? 


JOHN: Yes. The newsboy. He, too. 


REGAN: You can't ask questions, Mr. Stevenson.


OLD MAN: Things are different. 


REGAN: You can't ask questions, Mr. Stevenson.


OLD MAN: Things are different, Mr. Stevenson. 


JOHN: Yes, yes, they said that! Everyone said that! Everyone talking to me! Trying to tell me! I didn't know! I don't know! 


EXAMINER: This will soon be our nation! 


JOHN: It isn't true! No! It's all in my head. -- Jean! Jean, where are you? Jean, where are the children? Jean! (BEAT) Did I - just cry out? Cry out? Why should I cry out? (FLAT, DECLARATIVE) My name is John Stevenson. I have a business in the Central Building. I have a house on Arcade Street. I have a wife -- two children -- a boy and a girl. We have a good life. A good life. 


2ND VOICE: Is he dead? 


1ST VOICE: Not yet. 


2ND VOICE: Dead? Dead? Dead? (FADES OUT)


JOHN: Why do I keep thinking that? Who said it to me? 


2ND VOICE: (FADES IN AND OUT FAST) Dead? Dead? Dead? 


JOHN: Yes. I know. I remember. Going to kill me. I'm an enemy of the state!


EXAMINER: Our glorious new state! 


JOHN: But it's so funny! John Stevenson -- Eight-Three-Two Arcade Street -- enemy of the state. I went on a vacation -- I came home -- and I'm an enemy of the state. Yes -- my wife -- the children -- that's what he said -- everyone, enemies of the new state. (TENSE) No! It's madness! I'm me -- I can do what I want -- I can get up out of here! Yes, I will get out of here! I'm John Stevenson! You hurt me -- blood -- (INCREASINGLY OVERWROUGHT) No! I will get out of here! You can't accuse me and not give me a trial! You can't come into my house! You can't take away my business! I'm a free man! I'm an American! 


MUSIC: OUT


EXAMINER: This will be our nation soon. Ours -- ours -- ours! (FADES OUT)


JOHN: But how could that be? 


OLD MAN: Seein' as we weren't ready, there wasn't much we could do, now was there? (FADES OUT)


MUSIC: RESUMES, IN BG


3RD VOICE: Let's mind our own business. Nothing to do with us.


JOHN: Who - who said that? 


3RD VOICE: Let's mind our own business. Nothing to do with us.


JOHN: I remember. I said that! Yes, all the time-- I said that! 


ORATOR: Men have no rights! 


JOHN: None of my business? 


ORATOR: We spit on freedom! 


JOHN: None of my business? 


ORATOR: Might is right! 


JOHN: None of my business? 


ORATOR: Our Leader -- our people -- our world!


JOHN: None of my business? How could I--? Why did I--? 


VOICES: (WHISPERING, FAST) 

Don't antagonize them! 

We'll have to do business with them! 

Let them talk! 

Mind our own business! 

Don't antagonize them! 

(ET CETERA, FADES OUT) 


JOHN: All the things I said! 


OLD MAN: Seein' as we weren't ready, there wasn't much we could do, now, was there? 


ORATOR: Our glorious new state! 


2ND VOICE: Dead yet? He will be. Dead yet? He will be. Dead yet? He will be. (FADES OUT) 


JOHN: (GRIM REALIZATION) I do understand now. I wanted everything and I - didn't want to risk anything to keep what I had. What I had. (TENSE) What I had.


VOICES: (FRIENDLY)

Your home is your kingdom. 

Your own god is your god.

Say what you want to say. 

Write what you want to write.

Trial by jury. 

Sanctity of person.

Due process of law.

(FADES OUT) 


JOHN: (BROKENLY) What I had. 


JEAN: (CALLS, FROM OFF) John! 


JOHN: (WEAKLY) Jean? Is that you? No -- in my head. So dark-- There's blood in my-- So dark--


2ND VOICE: Dead yet? He will be. Dead yet? He will be. (FADES OUT) 


JOHN: Jean, I'll tell you something very funny. I'm not afraid to die. No. I'm afraid to go on living. If all this isn't really a dream -- bad dream -- then I don't want to go on living. Everywhere I'd turn, they'd be there. 


VOICES: (HARSH)

Shut your mouth! 

You can't do that! 

Come with us! 

We accuse you--! 

Shut your mouth! 

Give us that! 

Keep moving! 

Attention! 

Shut your mouth! 

Shut your mouth! 

Shut your mouth! 


VOICES &

MUSIC: ALL OUT SHARPLY WITH--


JOHN: No! I can't live with that! All my life I lived with freedom. Jean -- we didn't know it was freedom, did we? Living in our house -- a good life -- our neighbors -- not hating anybody -- and driving in the country with the kids wherever we wanted to go -- and feeling sure of the future for the kids, because whatever was wrong here, we, ourselves, could fix with work and with our votes and with what we knew was right in our hearts. I never said, "This is freedom." But it was. It was. When they talked to me about losing it, I said, "Don't be fools! No one will take it from us!" I thought freedom was like the air -- always with me as long as I lived! I thought I didn't have to do anything about it! Jean, I was wrong. I - I've got the words now to say it! What I had wasn't a gift. It was a victory! And I can't live without it! 


(CALLS) Do you hear me out there?! I won't live without it! To say what I think is right -- to do what I think is right! That's the only life I want! It is life! I'll live for it! I'll fight for it!


This - precious - freedom!


MUSIC: CURTAIN ...


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