Characters Young Wife - Marie; Young Miner: Rusty; Older Miner - Edward; Older Wife - Maggie (Margaret); College Girl - Charlotte; New Wife - Ronnie (Veronica) - New Wife's Husband - Billy; Young Boy - Jamie; Miner 1 - Ray: Miner 2 - Paul; Miner 2 - Jake; Suvivor - Benny; Ohio - Andrew Curry; Pitt 1 - Charles Harvey; Pitt 2 - James Elliot; Store Manager - Sam Gilbert; Fairmont Report: Penny Adams; Rev - Robert (Bob) Beacon; Farmington Preacher - Jack Anderson; Hospital Chaplain - Butch Benson; Young Local Photographer - JR Moretti; Local Editor; Bill Evans: Mother-in-law - Paulene Farley; Older wife 2 - Rose; Rose's son- (was Nate) Chuck Mather; Nurse 1 - Lois Hill; Nurse 2 - Sue Ann Reeder; Trooper - Arthur Clevenger; Cleveland 1 - Howard Newcome; Cleveland 2 - Ilene Newcome: Cleveland 2: Patty Ruth Newcome: Cleveland 2: Lizzy Anne Newcome
Remembering Number 9: Stories from the Farmington Mine Disaster Pre- show - slides listing towns/mines and what happened there beginning in 1839 and finishing with 8/7/68 River Queen, Greenville KY (just before Farmington). These slides will roll until 7:25. Example 1839 Richmond VA Black Heath Explosion 53 killed
Scene 1 Workin' the cat-eye shift
(The screen reveals a slide that says "1968." Then, pictures from events from 1968 come on the screen -- Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Music from that year is playing. Finally, a screen appears in the silence. It says "November 19, 1968 Farmington, WV.")
(Lights up on five locations. Characters in tableau. Lights dim on all locations except location 1)
(A kitchen. Young mother is cleaning up after feeding the kids. Father enters yawning. She give him a cup of coffee and continues her tasks. He picks up a pack of cigarettes and begins to smoke.)
Marie: Did you sleep well?
Rusty: You know I can’t sleep well during the day.
Marie: Were the kids too noisy? I told them. I told them to keep quiet a thousand times...
Rusty: No, no, it’s fine.
Kid voice- (yelling from offstage) Mom.
Marie: - What?
Kid voice- I can’t find my baseball.
Marie: You left it outside. It’s too late now to get it. You’ll have to get it in the morning.
Kid voice- Can’t you get it?
Marie: Not right now.
Kid voice- (Pleading) Mom...
Rusty; Do I need to come up there?
Rusty: Do I?
Kid voice- No sir.
Marie: Did you see the paper today?
Rusty: No, I didn’t.
(_She hands him the paper. He begins to read._)
Marie: Did you make that call?
Rusty: What call?
(_Mom sighs, then moves to speak._)
Kid voice- MOM!
Rusty: That kid is driving me crazy.
Marie: He gets it from your side of the family.
(Lights down on location 1 and up on location 2)
(A boy comes onto the stage with something in his hand. He is looking stage left. He turns stage right and runs into someone who is not seen by the audience and who begins to speak. The boy quickly puts something in his back pocket.)
Jamie: Oh...howdy, Mr. ------. I didn't expect to see you....I thought you done left for your shift. ....I know it's late, but I'm 11 now and I'm allowed out after dark. What's I got in my back pocket? Oh, nothing....just a...a...marker. Yeah, a marker. Mrs. Pratt gave it to me for....for an art project. ....Can you see it? Well, what would you want with an old dried up marker? ....Oh, you need one do you? Well, maybe I can finds you another one. This one ain't no good. ....Yes sir, I know it's a sin to lie.
(Lights down on Location 2 and up Location 3)
(A young woman is working on a project for school. She is talking on the telephone, has a copy of "Stone Soup" under her arm, and the phone chord wrapped around her leg. She looks bored as hell and wants to get off the phone to work on her project.)
Charlotte: No Dad. I swear I'm not lying! (laughs) He looks just like the guy Col. Sanders....You know! The guy from Kentucky Fried Chicken? ...I'm serious! Yes, Dad... No, Dad- I doubt he's going to teach me the physics of Fried Chicken! ...Daaaaaad, I'm not gonna change my major to Mash Potatoes. (Laughs) Oh Dad. I know. I miss you too. I'll try to make it down there the next chance I get. ...I'm just so busy lately. I wish I had more time!
(Lights down on Location 3 and up Location 4)
(Older miner (O.M.) and his wife (OW1) are sitting in their living room. The wife is relaxing. She has on a house coat and comfortable slippers and is watching TV.)
Maggie: Edward, you're missing it!
Edward: (Offstage) I'm getting ready for work!
Maggie: Well, don't expect me to explain it once you get in here.
Edward: I never do. (Pause) Hey honey, where's my lunch pail?
Maggie: In the kitchen. Next to the stove!
Edward: Got it! (enters and sits next to her.) So what did I miss?
(OW1 gives him a playful slap. They watch the show for a while, snuggling and laughing. She continues to watch TV and relizes that he is looking at her with a big grin on his face.)
Maggie: Well if you don't look like the cat who ate the canary.
Edward: Do I?
Maggie: Yeah, what are you ginnin' at?
Edward: Just a little something. I had a dream about you.
Edward: Yes, I had a dream where we danced.
Maggie: Shhh! Quiet dear, I'm trying to watch this.
Edward: We were on the pier of that beach...what was the name of it? The one we went to on our honeymoon?
Maggie: Hmm? Oh. Sandy Beach.
Edward: Yes, that's it. Sandy Beach. Well we were outside on the pier and some music was playing...the stars were out, the moon was full....and we just danced.
Maggie: Honey, this is the only show I get to watch, and I'm missing it. Can't we talk about this tomorrow?
(Lights down Location 4 and up Location 5)
(The mine, above ground. M1 is going to the mine early and passes M2 who is coming out.)
Ray: Hey M2, I about missed ya. What are you doing topside?
Paul: I switched shifts with Ernie for today so I could leave early. Gonna take the family on a little vacation, and wanted to get a head start on the packing and what-not.
Ray: 'S'at so? Where ya goin'?
Paul: Not sure. I wanna take the kids someplace historical.. I'm thinkin' maybe Washington, D.C.
Ray: D.C.'s not a bad drive.
Paul: Yeah. And there's a lot to see. Plus, Danny's really into in the presidents and what-not, so it'd be a treat for him.
Ray: Got yourself a future politician there?
Ray: Just make sure he don't grow up crooked.
M2- If he does, I'll turn him over my knee.I don't care if he's the President of the United States, he aint too big for a whippin'.
M1- I don't think you have to worry. From what you've been telling me Jim's a good boy. Heck, he might be the one who really makes some changes 'round here.
M2- I hope so.
M1- Didn't ya say Hannah Jane's into drawin'?
M2- Yeah, our refrigerator's turning into a regular gallery.
M1- You should take her to the Smithsonian while you're there. I betcha she'd like all them paintings.
M2- Huh...Yeah! Gee, thanks M1, I was wonderin' what to do with her! I want her to have a good time, too.
M1- Don't mention it. How long you taking off for?
M2- Oh 'bout three days.
M1- Three Days! Boy, I'd like to be in your boots.
(Lights down Location 5)
YM- Honey, have you seen my boots?
YW- They're by the door where you left them after your shift. You were so tired last night I swear you must have sleepwalked in.
YM- I swear I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached.
YW- And I'd know where you put that, too. (laughs) What are you doing in your shift today?
YM- Same old. Same old. Did you get the car?
YW- Well, I went down to get it from the shop, but they said that they have something else to do on it.
YM- Something else?
YW- You could say that. (hands him a piece of paper)
YM- (sighs) That car costs us more than it's worth. How am I ever gonna pay for all this? Let’s take a look- Brake and rotors? What does this guy think I’m made of-- money?
YW- Well it’s been a while since we’ve had them checked. I told you we needed to have it looked at the first time it started squeaking.
YM- Can we afford this?
YW- We’ll make it... We have a little left in savings... but that last pay check you brought home... did they cut your hours last week?
YM- You know this place pays good money, but it’s not reliable.
YW- Did you ever call back my brother?
YW- You better get back with him about that job.
YW- Rusty? Remmeber....the last time he and Janie stopped by with the kids- he said that there was this job opening up Spelter, the zinc plant? You were just saying how a change of scenery might do you good.
YM- No, I don’t remember...
YW - I do wish you'd think about it.
Kid voice- MOM! I need a glass of water!
YW-You can very well walk yourself downstairs and get it! I am not running up and down those stairs every five seconds.
Kid voice- Never mind.
YB- Never mind, what's behind my back, sir. How're you doin this evening'? Still going to work at the mine everyday? I betcha that's awful hard work...I'd like to be a miner.... My grandpa started working in the mine at 12...just a year older than me. He drove the mules. No sir, I ain't tryin' to change the subject. ....Show you what's behind my back? Wouldn't you rather talk about the mine? I betcha you got all kinds of good stories. ....No, Sir, you don't have to count to three! I'll show you... I'll show you! ....Yes sir, it's a spark plug. ....Yes Sir, it is from your truck. ....no sir, my Daddy didn't raise no thief... ....Yes sir, I do miss my Daddy a lot...
CG-I do too miss you! I miss everybody back home! ....Oh come on Dad, you're making it sound like I went to school in China. I'm only a few miles away! ....I know...I know...it's hard on me sometimes, too. ....Tomorrow? Well...I’m presenting a project at the Marion county library tomorrow. After that? I'll probably go to bed. I have to get up early 'cause my teacher is going to pick me up- I know, I know “Don't talk to you about getting up early.” ....No, Dad, I can’t come home tonight! I still have to work on that project for tomorrow and by the time I'm done and I get there, it'll be time for your shift to start. There's just not enough time-
(Lights down on Location 3 and up on Location 4)
(O.M. Turns off the TV)
OM - Come on, spend a little time with me before I go to work.
OW1-I was spending time with you. WE were watching TV. Remember?
OM- That's not what I meant. Come on, sweetie, how often do we get time to spend together?
OW1- Well... What do you wanna do?
OM- Dance with me.
OM- Dance with me.
(Takes her hand and pulls her up.)
OW1- Oh honey, no...
OM - Come on, just like in my dream. Let's dance-
OW1- This is so silly...
OM- Don't you wanna make my dreams come true?
OW1- Oh....all right. (To Herself) I don't know what's gotten into you today.
(He begins to move the furniture.)
OW1- What are you doing?
OM- What does it look like I'm doing? I'm making us a dance floor.
OW1- Well, don't hurt your back.
(She reluctantly and subconsciously helps him. When they finish, he turns on the radio. A familiar tune begins to play. He begins to dance.)
OM- Here we go! Come on, honey!
OW1- Oh, you old fool.
OM- Come on, this is what we danced to when we were kids!
OW1- Well, we haven't been kids in a looooooong time.
(Lights down Location 4 and up Location 5.)
M2- Yeah, it should be a lot of fun for the kids. Hey, M1, how are your little ones?
M1 -- Growin' up too fast. Enjoy em while they're young, 'cause it don't last long. Annie will be starting high school next year, and I can't believe it. Rob's playing on the Varsity sqad.
M2- That's great. You must be really proud!
M1- You bet I am! Kid's got an arm like a cannon! Might even make quarterback!
M2- How's you're wife?
M1- Still as pretty as the day I met her. Our anniversary's coming up-
M2- M1, you're probably the only man I know who actually remembers his anniversary.
M1- Trust me, you forget enough of them, and she'll make sure you always remember. My Sara has a million dollar smile, and a mean right hook.
M2- (Laughs) I guess you have a point. Speaking of the little lady, what did she pack for you today? If your wife packs as much of a punch as her cooking does, I'm surprised you're not on the moon.
(Lights down on Location 5 and up Location 1)
YM- So, what’s in my bucket today?
YW- Well, I thought we’d start off with some tuna fish-
YM- Tuna? Marie, I’m not one to complain, but this is the third time this week! I’m gonna start callin' you Tuna Fish June!
YW- Brakes, rotors, and a fan belt and you're complaining about the tuna fish! I got some day-old pepperoni rolls.
YM - No, tuna is fine.
YW - Maybe if you’d call my brother back we might have a little more to work with and perhaps we could work ourselves all the way up to… chicken salad?
YM- Chicken is good.
YW- Chicken is very good.
M1- (looks in pail) Chicken Salad. I'd split it with ya, if you weren't clockin' out early, and desertin' me.
M2- Oh, come on, M1. You're not gonna begrudge a man his vacation, are ya?
M1- No, no...go on! I was just jokin'. Lord knows I can do without your bullshit fishing stories for three days, anyway.
M2- Bullshit nothing! I swear that bass was twenty damn pounds! (I think a trout would have been a more desirable fish. - Voz)
M1- You can't even carry twenty pounds of coal!
M2- Look who's talking?
M1- Well...I suppose I better let you get on your way. I got a few things to do myself before I clock in.
M2- Yeah...Janie and the kids are waiting...
M1- (turns back) Hey M2, have a safe trip....
M2- Thanks. I'll see you around-
YM- If I tell you I'll think about it, will you give me more coffee?
YW- If you tell me you'll think about, I'll think a little more about your sandwich.
(she pours some more coffee as he grabs the bill)
YM- Let's see the damage on this bill...
YW- Good thing you're sittin' down.
YM- I could buy a new car for the amount this guy in charging.
YW- I wouldn't go that far...
YM- Bills, bills and more bills...
(He reaches for his coffee)
YW- I know about those gas readings, you know.
Ym - What do you think you know?
YW - Word is that the mine is gassy, can't pass inspection...that it's just an accident waiting to happen.
Ym - Folks talk.
YW - Well, that don't mean it ain't true. I worries me. You remember my aunt? How they threw her outta that house when my uncle didn’t come home?
YM- How could I forget? She lived here for three months.
YW- She was such a brave angel.
YM- She was crazy!
YW- Wanted me to marry you.
YM- Crazy like a fox.
Kid's Voice --- Mom!!!! I can't find it.
YM- That kid is driving me crazy.
YW- He gets it from you. (Yells to kid) Can't find what?
YM- (sarcastically) Funny.
Kid - Found it.
(They look at each other, beat, and burst out laughing)
YM- Well, it’s getting to be about that time. (call up to kid) I'm leaving.
Kid - Bye Dad.
Yw-(Makes a pout/ disappointed face) Your bucket is by the door. What time will you be home?
YM- The usual. Eight-eight thirty.
YW- I’ll be waiting.
YB- Wait...wait...wait....you don't have to tell my Mama! ...Oh, please sir, she'll be awful mad! ....... What if you and me make a deal. Yeah, you punish me instead. That way my Mama won't be disappointed. You won't tell her will you? Oh, Thank you sir! ...A whippin? Don't you think I'm a little too old for a whippin? Oh, you don't, do you. Couldn't I just rake your leaves or somethin'? ....No, no... you're right, a deal's a deal. Just not too hard, Sir. Just hard enough for me to learn my lesson, and its half learned already! ....No sir, my father wouldn't have let me get away with that...
(Lights down Location 2 and up Location 3)
CG- Ow! ...Not you, I just stepped on a pen cap. ...I know I shouldn't leave things lying around if I'm walking barefoot. ...What's that? No, I'm not all tangled up in the phone cord (Looks down and quickly untangles herself). Look Dad I gotta go. I'm working on this project for Chilren's literature. ...I know, but I have to finish it tonight. Well of course, it's a lot to do, it's college! ...I will Daddy. ...I will Daddy! I will—---What? Of course I’m coming home for Thanksgiving! ...Dad, I have to get back to work. The glue is drying. ...Yea, Aunt Mary’s going to drive me in. You won’t have to come. ...I know you would. Dad- I have to get back to work. Yes, Daddy. Love you too.
YB- Yes Sir...Yes...Sir....I'm sorry. I won't do it again. Here's your spark plug back. Thank you for not tellin Mama. You will...you'll show my how to fix a car. I'd like that alot. I will Sir...Ok...I better be getting back home. I will Sir....Have a good shift at work.
CG- Yes tell Mom and them I love 'em too. Ok Dad. I'll see you on Thanksgiving. (laughs) Yes I'll bring the Yams you like. Yes, I'll keep it a secret from mom..ok...ok...I love you, Daddy. Have a good day at work. Bye
OM- Oh you're no fun. Let me see if I can find something else. (Turns radio knob finds semi slow song)(The Ink Blots' "I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire". It's from the Forties, which is when the couple would have been in their young adulthood. Also, adds some nice foreshadowing. - Voz) Oh here we are, you remember this don't you? We used to dance to this song every Friday night...remember I used to hold you real close like?
OW1- You never danced with me to this song...(playfully) who were you holding "real close like"? hmmm?
OM- Oh. Umm, well. Gee...(quickly changes the station,tunes into a station that's playing “Always” by Irving Berlin- more than likely the Sinatra recording. The song was written in 1925 but Frank recorded his version in '42. This gives us a nice range for this couple.)) Ohh now here we are honey, I know exactly when I was dancing with you to this song, it was the happiest day of this old fools life...you remember?
OW1- Yes I remember, our wedding day, you were wearing your charcoal suit. Ohh I always loved you in that suit! We danced the night away back then didn't we? You moved just like Fred Astaire.
OM- Sure did, come on honey. Be my Ginger for just one dance...please.
OW1- Oh alright...you always could sweet talk a girl.
OM- That's why you fell for me, it's part of my charm.(sighs contently then begins to hum along)
(They finish but stare lovingly at each other and then he turns the radio off and they both arrange the furniture back. OW turns the TV back on and sits on the sofa. OM sits beside her. His arm around her.)
OW1 There's fried chicken in your lunch.
(The men leave their houses. Men come in from the house doors. We see them pick up thier tags and get into an imaginary man trip. We have a noise and the lights go out. Then we hear a rumble...the fire barrel come on the immediately the phones begin to ring, sirens begin to sound, a cocophony of sound images and then all is quiet.)
Scene 2 – – The word spreads like a wild fire
Scene 2 (OW, YW, YB, M3, M2, Rev, JR, Ohio, Sec, Penny are on the stage answering phones. YB is in school speaking to invisible class mate and CG is listening to the car radio. A series of rings are heard. Their reactions are from the unseen characters.)
JR - (sleepily) Hello?
Ohio- Plain Dealer.
JR - What? What do you mean, what am I doing? I’m sleeping. It’s 6:00 in the morning.
Sec – Good morning! United Mine Worker’s International.
YW- Anna! This is a surprise!
M3- (picks up ringing phone) Yeah, boss? …Yeah, I can check the rpm’s.
Ohio- Hey Joe, what do you got for me?
JR - How soon can I get out there? Farmington?
M2- Oh hey Glen.
Ohio- Big Scoop huh?
YW- Anna, what's wrong? You sound upset.
M2- Look, I can't really talk right now. I’m getting ready to take my family on vacation.
JR - Slow Down, Bill! I guess- umm... Now? Call Jim.
OW1- Skip doin’ okay? …Well, then, what’s the matter? …Really? He’s not?
M3 – We’ve got a problem here, they’re too high...
JR - I have class at 8 a.m. It's block; I can't miss. What? Wait.
Sec – I’m sorry sir, Mr. Boyle’s not in at the moment, can I take a message?
JR - What do you mean the mine blew?
(radio music for a moment and then turns to an announcement)
CG- Oh, I love that song.... What? Hey! Turn that up!
Ohio: How big we talking about?
YW- No- I didn’t hear about any problems at the mine...
Ohio- Farmington, West Virginia? Where's that?
YB- Hey, Jake, why is Mary Ann crying?
Ohio- An explosion, huh?
M3- Signal evacuation?! I'm on it. (Blaring loud warning (flood) horn is heard- gradually grows fainter upon the next speaker)
YB - Number 9? Are you sure?
Sec – Did you say Number 9?
CG - Number 9!
M2- What happened?
Ohio- (Taking Notes) Mod's Run and Lewellyn Portal.
YW – They said Number 9?
OW1 - I don't know what's taking him so long he's usually home by now.
Ohio- How many casualties?
OW1- He's never been late before, at least not without calling first.
M3- Ok- I signaled the miners and radioed the fire bosses.
Ohio- Ninety-Nine miners? Any survivors?
YB- That’s the cat eye shift ‘aint it? ...My neighbor works the cat-eye shift!
CG - What should we do? They’re waiting for our presentation.
JR - I’m on my way.
Ohio- The Gazette is sending someone? No, don’t worry I’ll cover it.
YW- We'll go down to the company store and see what we can find out. There's no sense in worrying about it without knowing for ourselves. I'm sure he's fine...he's got to be fine....
Ohio- Provided I can find it on a map.
Sec – I’ll tell him the moment he gets in.
JR - Of course, I'm bringing the Midget. You'll just have to squeeze in.
OW1 - I’m gonna see if I can get off work early. I’ll be there right away.
CG- Okay, okay. As soon as we’re done I’ll find a way out there!
M2- I was...I was...supposed to be there. I was scheduled to work that shift...Everyone I know is down there!
YB - But he’s gonna teach me how t’ fix a car.
Ohio- This is a big one, Joe! Real Big! This'll make headlines for sure!
M2- They'll just have to go without me!
JR - I'll be there in 10 minutes.
Rev – Hello? (Pause) I’m on my way.
( all exit except JR)
JR - (To audience) - I got a phone call that morning from Bill Evans, the editor or the Times. He said, “JR, I need your help,” and I said well what’s up. And he said, “We got an explosion out in Farmington, I need a photographer.” And I said, “Well Bill, call Jim”, who was my replacement. I had just quit because I getting ready to do my student teaching. And he said, "I can’t call Jim, I need a photographer. I need you." He said Doc called and said there was a major, major explosion at Farmington. “”I need you. And I said, well how soon do you want me? And he said as soon as you can be there.
And so I had to drive down and I had to pick up Bill. And I drove an MG Midget at the time. And Bill you have to understand, was 5’2’’ and he was as round as he was tall. And he hated that damn pregnant roller skate that I drove. And the first thing he said to me was, “well, which damn car are you driving” And I said, Well all I’ve got is the MG. And I just heard a big sigh on the other end of the phone like oh, shit. It took Bill about 2-3 minutes to get in that car and about 4-5 minutes to get out. It was not a pleasant drive. And I got to Fairmont and picked Bill up and we drove to Farmington. We were the first newspeople there.
And we went down to the Champion store. And there were a couple of the local guys there and one of them said, "well they just brought a crane into Lewellyn and there’s stuff going on up there." And this local guy volunteered to drive me around. He had a jeep and he knew the roads. And we got in his jeep and we took off. So we rode up to the Lewellyn portal and the crane was there and they had just lowered the bucket. And one person rode the bucket down and would assist anyone once he got down there- he was the weight man. And then he helped two men up into the bucket and they pulled the three of them back up. And they asked him, and the guys, when they got him out, if they knew of anybody else down there, and the two survivors said that they had gone as far as they could and lost good air and they felt that just going back down right now was just suicidal. They didn’t make any more attempts to go back down into that portal. The state police started to block off roads around mid-morning. By the next day all the big presses were there. But by noon it was just a mess of newspeople.
Scene 3 - Waiting at the Champion Store
We see a lone photographer on stage. He is taking pictures. Pictures show up on the scene of the smoke rolling out of the portal. Picture of Champion Store. Then lights come up on the Champion store.
(Store manager, Sam, enters.)
Sam- Company Store. This is Sam. Oh hey Boss. Oh I'm doin ok. Bout as well as can be expected, considerin'. Have you heard anything new? Still too early to tell, huh? (pause) Yeah I'm getting ready to open now. Has anybody told the families yet? Yeah well I don't envy you. Do they know what caused it? Not yet? I saw you got the state trooper at the road. Well that'll keep things from getting too crazy. What are you gonna tell people when they start showing up? You’re sending them here!? Uh Boss, with all due respect, I’m not equipped to deal with- I couldn’t possibly! This hard for me too. I saw them every day for Christ-sakes! ( Knocks are heard at the door.) You sent them here already? What am I suppose to--I know....I understand that but- a reverend from the clinic board? Well that should help a little...Ok...ok...I’ll see what I can do. Don't worry about it, boss. Bye.
(A knock is heard at the still-locked front door before more can be done. Three women enter. Marie, Maggie, and Pauline, Mother in law of Marie, enter.)
Marie: Sam! Have you heard any news?
Pauline: Have you seen any of our boys?
Sam: No,Pauline. no, no. I’m sorry. I don’t know any more than you do.
Maggie: What do you mean?! You don’t know anything?
Sam: Maggie, listen here- I got a call from my boss not five minutes ago. They just told me to fix the store up ‘cause they were gonna send anyone who came wantin’ to get into the mine right here. I can’t tell you anything more than that. I’m sorry.
Maggie: This is ridiculous! I’m sorry, too, Sam... I just can’t believe they would send us all down here without telling us anything!
Pauline: It’s ok... it will all be okay. They probably sent us all down here to wait together until they have some news.
Marie: God, I hope so...
Sam: Would you ladies like something to drink? Coffee or tea, maybe?
Pauline: Thank you. That would be nice.
Marie: Tea for me, please. Thanks, Sam.
Pauline: Let’s go sit over here. That okay?
(Sam waves in acquiesce to the women and retires to the back of the store room to prepare the coffee and tea from his supplies.)
(Rose, Chuck enter followed by Paul. Rose has just picked up her son, Chuck, from the high school.)
Paul: Hey Rose, how're you holding up?
Maggie: I'm okay, it's just the waiting that kills you. After the last two I'm getting somewhat used to these scares.
Marie: You've been through this before?
Mother in Law- (To Herself) I told him not to work in the mines. I told him it was too dangerous.
Maggie: (Comforting) Shhhhh...It’s always like this.
Rose: Yup. But every once and a while, you get one like this that scares you. My husband's been in two already. The first one in '54, it turned out was late for work, and then the one two years ago there was a fire, but he managed to get out okay.
Chuck: I don't know how you can be so calm about this Mom!
Rose: Cause your father's a survivor, honey, and I'm sure he'll come out of this one okay too.
(Ronnie enters confused and distraught)
Pauline: ( Calling her over.) Over here, honey.
Ronnie: I...um...they told me to come here. I'm looking for my husband...
Paul: You're the new kid’s wife.
Ronnie: Y-Yes, have you seen him? Was he in the....mine?
Paul: I'm sorry. I haven't seen him.
(Ronnie becomes visibly upset.)
Paul: But that doesn't mean he is in there. I'm just getting here myself. I know, Billy. He's a good man. He talks a lot about you.
Marie: Do you two work together?
Paul: Yeah...we're both in Mod's Run...I was supposed to be there this morning...
Pauline: I know what you're doing Paul. You can't blame yourself for this. This would have happened whether you had worked that shift or not.
Maggie: (Joining the conversation) Why...Why didn't you work today?
Paul: I was taking my family on a weekend trip...D.C....
Marie: But why haven’t they told us anything?
Pauline: I'm sure the Sam'll let us know something as soon as he finds out.
Paul: Yeah, he's a good man. We used to work together until he hurt his leg in a roof-fall.
Maggie: Um- did you get your little one taken care of?
Marie: Yeah- just sent her over to my sister’s. Didn’t want to scare her. Hopefully she just went back to sleep. She’s too little for a scare like this right now.
Rose: Yeah- I hope they waited to tell the kids at the grade school. I don’t want them to worry the kids if it’s nothing serious. I don’t know what to think... I just got this feeling in my gut...
Paul: Don’t talk like that now-
Marie: I know what you mean... This morning - a little before 5:30- I just got this wave of nausea. I had to sit down!
Rose: It was worse than when I was pregnant with Jimmy. I got sick right before the call.
Ronnie: Call? Who called you? No one called me!
Rose: I got a call from my sister-in-law. (Young Wife) Her husband didn’t come home from his shift so she called me to see if my son or my husband was home. I told her no-
Marie: I looked at the clock. My husband was always- always- home from work by eight o’clock at the latest and I realized it was coming up on 8:30! So I got in the car and drove to the bottom of the hill. That’s when the trooper stopped me, and I came down here...
Maggie: The babysitter called me. Told me my husband hadn't come home yet. Sometimes they just get held up- you know how men are... but no. I took off work early to go and to see what was going. Tried to drive up to the mine, but the state trooper stopped me said that no one was allowed up there. He sent me here.
Rose - Me too. I tried to argue with the trooper. Didn't work.
(Sam enters with tray)
Sam- All I had was Lipton.
(catches sight of the newcomers)
Hey there Nate- Looks like you grow a foot taller every time I see you! You’re gonna be one tall boy- just like your pap.
Nate- Oh, I guess so...
Sam- When he comes home you’ll have to measure up against him, and see who’s taller?
OW2- Thank you, Sam.
Sam- I’ll be waitin by the phone. I’ll be sure to tell you all whatever news I hear.
(exits to the door, but is stopped by Penny)
OW1- Thanks again for the drinks, Sam.
Penny- Hey, Sam. How are you holding up?
Sam- Penny! What are you doing here?
Penny- The newspaper sent me. The West Virginian got a call this morning-
Sam- The West Virginian? The paper knows already? What’s happening, Penny?
Penny- Honestly, we were hoping you’d be able to answer that question...
Sam- Sorry, Penny. All I know is I got a call this morning telling me people would be coming to wait here. We’re in the dark as much as you.
Penny- Who told you to let people wait here, Sam? (flips open her notepad)
Sam- My boss. (sees she is about to write) Don’t quote me on that one Penny.
Penny- Notta worry.
(closes the pad)
Thanks anyway, Sam. Would you mind if I sat with some of the ladies and waited things out here as well?
Sam- No problem Penny. And help yourself to some tea. I’m going in the back to see if we have some Archway oatmeal cookies or at least some Hostess cakes. I imagine it's been a long time since some of these people had breakfast... Oh- and Penny just be careful with ‘em- Okay? (exits)
Penny- May I join you?
YW- Penny, what you doing here?
NW - You know her?
YW- Yeah it's Penny from the West Virginian. We went to school together. Are you covering the explosion?
Penny- Yes, I got the call from my editor this morning.
OW1- This morning?
Penny- Yes, as soon as I got in around six?
NW- Nobody called me. I just noticed NH (new husband) was late.
OW2- Why are they telling the media before they tell the families?
Penny- Well sometimes, it's easier to let the media know first so they can tell everyone at once.
MIL- I hardly think it's anyone else's business!
NW- We have a right to know before you!
Nate- Yeah that's not fair!
OW1- Now everyone calm down...
YW- What else do you know that they haven't told us?
Penny- Nothing, just that there was an explosion at the mine this morning. I wish I could tell you more, I do. I didn't come here to fight or intrude or anything. I just wanted to see if anyone's heard anything?
Ohio- (To himself) I'd like to have never of found this backwater town! (Suddenly sweet) Pardon me, but who's in charge here?
Penny- And you are?
YW- Are you from the company?
Ohio- No, I'm from Ohio. I'd like to speak to whoever's in charge here.
Penny- I'll go back and get him.
(Penny disappears in the back.)
Ohio- Can one of your fine ladies perhapse tell me what happened?
NW- The mine exploded this morning.
YW- I'm sorry, who are you again? Are you from the company?
Ohio- I'm sorry. How incredibly rude of me not to introduce myself. I'm Ohio from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Ohio- One and the same? So what happened this morning?
YW- That's an awfully long way. Why are you here?
Ohio- I'm covering the explosion and I want all the details that you can provide.
- I was looking online at dates and information about mining incidents and stuff to check this information, but most sites only list the ones that killed people. I just think that at some point we need to go through and make sure these references to past problems in the mine are all 100% accurate. I know we mentioned a roof-fall and then this fire. Let's just make sure these facts are right.* (Eliza)
OW1- Did you cover the fire two years ago?
Ohio- No, I'm sorry, sugar, but that just wasn't news. Would any of you care to comment on what's happened here today?
(Sam and Penny enter)
M2- This guy says he's from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sam.
Ohio- Are you in charge?
Sam- I guess you could say that. Who are you?
Ohio- I'm Ohio. I'm covering the disaster. Stu, is it?
Sam - It's Sam.
Ohio - Sam, how did you find out the mine had exploded?
Sam- I'm two hundred yards away from the mine! The blast damn near knocked everything off the shelves!
Ohio - That bad huh? What else can you tell me?
Sam - Not much.
Ohio - Maybe some of these fine upstanding young ladies would know?
Sam - Now with all due respect, Ohio, and I do appreciate you comin all the way down here, but these people have loved ones in that mine, and they need some peace and quiet.
Ohio: I dig you man, but I didn't come all this way just to turn around and leave without a story.
Sam- Fine, come to the back with me and I'll tell you everything I know. Just leave them out of it.
(Ohio and Sam exit, with Penny following behind opening her notepad.)
MIL- I don't like the look of him.
(helicopter noise starts)
OW2- (looking out the window) Looks like more of them comin'. Vultures, absolute vultures.
Nate-What the hell is that?
OW2- Watch your mouth.
Nate - No...really. That noise. Sounds like a helicopter.
MIL: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
M2 - It's startin'
Nate - What's startin'?
OW2 - (Still looking out the window) The feeding frenzy.
Nate - What are they feeding on?
MIL - Our suffering.
(Pitt1 and Pitt2 enter)
- Since we now have a Pitt 3, who has a video camera, should we add him/her into this scene just videotaping? No need for lines.* (Eliza)
Pitt1- (to Pitt2, pointing at women) There they are. ( Pitt2 starts taking pictures rapid-fire.)
Nate - More of them?
Pitt1- (to OW1) Excuse me Miss! Miss! Can you tell me about the explosion?
OW1: Wha-- I—
MIL- 1ST Paul verse 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
Pitt1 – (To Nate) Hey son, who do you know who’s down there in the mine?
OW2: You don’t have to talk to him. Pay him no mind.
Pitt1: Is that your mom, son? Where's your dad?
M2: Let the boy alone.
Pitt 1: Okay, what do you know?
M2: I don't know a thing, but I if I did, I wouldn't tell you.
MIL: Just move right along. We've seen your kind before.
Pitt2: (Trying another tactic) Hold you horses. We're just here to get some information. That's all.
MIL: If that's really what you want, you can just wait here with the rest of us.
Pitt2: (to Pitt 1, whispering and pointing at NW) Hey, get a loadda that young one. We can crack her.
Pitt1: (to NW) Hey sweetie, is your daddy in the mine?
NW: Yes and my husband.
Pitt1: Oh, well don’t you think they could be doing a better job saving them?
OW2: Don’t let him get to you.
(Ohio, Sam, and Penny enter. Ohio spots the reporters and joins them. JR enters, and snaps pictures from a distance. Penny goes over to calm the women.)
Ohio: Ladies, what did the company tell to you, exactly? It's very important to me.
Pitt1: What are your relationships with the miners?
Ohio: Do you think the rescue teams should be trying harder to save the miners?
(Rev enters, sees Sam.)
Rev: Excuse me, I’m Reverend [Surname]. Are you the store manager?
Sam: I hardly know anymore. I’m Sam [Surname].
Rev. Sam, I'm Rev. I'm a pastor in Fairmont, and I'm on the board of a clinic that has an agreement with the United Mine Workers Association, UMWA.
Sam: Oh, yeah, I went there for some follow-up after my accident a few years ago.
Rev: Well I got a call to come out here. Is there anything I can do to help?
Sam: Well these reporters started showing up here a while ago and started asking all kinds of questions. These women are lucky to have one nerve left, and these news guys are on ‘em like (white on rice)/(a pack of wolves). We gotta get these guys outta here.
Pitt1: Is it true that the company ignored the methane gas levels? Can you give us just one statement? One statement? One—
YW: If you want a statement so bad, then why don't you start telling US some things? Why don't you tell me where my husband is?
MIL: Alright, calm down. There’s no need to yell.
M2- Isn't there a place where we can wait in peace?
YW: Just get them away from me!
Sam: Rev, don't you think we should try to make some room just for the families.
Rev: Yes I do. You're right. Help me move (these tables)/(this furniture). (motions to the men)
(They rearrange the furniture to form a blockade.)
Rev. (To the reporters.) Fellas, I’d greatly appreciate it if you stayed out of this area.
Pitt1: But the world has the right to know!
Rev: And these women have the right to breathe.
Pitt1: (Yelling past Rev) The public has a right to know.
OW1: We don't know. (Faints. JR comes over to take a picture. Women rush to her side to care for her.)
Penny: Is this the story you’re looking for? (Disgusted.) You fellows just don’t get it, do you?
M2: (noticing OW1) Can we get some water over here?
Penny: I’ll get it. (Exits.)
Rev: (Spots JR) Hey you, stop!
(M2 Grabs JR’s wrist.)
JR: Hey, listen here. I don't mean any harm. I know these people.
Rev: You know these people? How?
JR: I can point out at least four cars in that parking lot over there. One of those men drove me to school almost every morning. I grew up with his son.
Rev: Still, you can see these women are upset.
JR: Look, I know you're just doing your job, but so am I. Just like those men in that mine.
M2: Listen kid. You lift that camera again and I'm going shove it where the sun don't shine.
JR: Hey pal, you may not realize it, but I'm documenting history here.
M2: History my...
Rev: Wait...wait...settle down. We've got enough problems with those fellows over there without fighting among ourselves. I think you need to do your documenting with a little respect. Just back off a bit.
(Penny enters with the water, hands it to Rev, who helps OW1 drink.)
Pitt2: (to Pitt1) Pfft, that Podunk photographer almost lost his camera. What an amateur.
Penny: Yeah, well, you’d give your left arm for that shot he got.
Pitt2: Beginner’s luck.
Preacher: Excuse me,
Pitt 2: Are you from the company?
Preacher: No, I’m looking for the reverend from the clinic?
Rev: Yes, that’s me.
Preacher: Oh, yes. I'm Preacher, the pastor at James Fork. I see you've got quite a mess on your hands here.
Rev: You could say that. These reporters are relentless. Keep asking questions... trying to make these women cry. I guess that looks good on the evening news.
Preacher: Maybe I can help. I just wanted to offer you my sanctuary. It's just a short walk from here, and it will give these people a little peace and quiet.
Rev: Thank you, and God bless you.
(Preacher starts to leave and then remembers)
Preacher: Oh, one more thing. You think we better have a little prayer service? I suspect some of these folks are looking for a little peace right now.
Rev: Yes, I'm sure you're right. Thanks again.
(Rev. goes back to group and begins...)
Rev: I have some good news...
Scene 3A The suvivors
Slide --- Wednesday evening
Young Boy (enters and calls to an unseen character) Ma….I’m back. I told you, I went cross the street to see if Ms. Jackson had the West Virginian. ….the paper. Yes ma’am, I’ll said please and thank you. (Looks through paper but is interrupted by mother) ….Yes, ma’am, I’ll told Ms. Jackson you sent your regards. Ma…just listen. (He reads from the paper) “Plans to start rescue operations at Number 9 mine were in progress early this afternoon, but Elmus L. Snodderly, treasurer of Mountaineer coal Co said there might be a stalemate for hours or days before there are any developments.” (Calling) Ma…what’s a stalemate?.... what? Huh…. Snodderly said the records of the men working in the mine today were located at the Llewellyn portal, which was damaged in the explosion. He said it would probably take several days to determine how many men and which men were actually at work in the mine.”
Slide of men in bucket
Young Boy - (Turns pages frantically and continues to reads from the newspaper paper) Twenty-one men were safe in the disaster with 11 of them able to walk out various exits near the mine and eight were rescued from the Mohan shaft by use of an emergency hoist bucket.
Slide- the newspaper list of the names of the survivors
Young Boy -- No, no, he’s not there….(call out) his name isn’t there….he’s still in the mine.
Scene 3 B The press conference
Slide with date Thursday, November 21
Slide with picture of press conference
Actors move into Tableau that matches picture.
Young boy: (on edge of stage picks up the paper and begins reading) -- Spread of the raging fire in the huge Farmington No. 9 mine and an increase in carbon monoxide during the night dimmed hopes today for the rescue of 78 entrapped miners.
Company Rep: Since last evening, all attempts to reduce the fire have failed.
Young boy: Smoke was still pouring out of it today, as well as from the Llewellyn portal, where the first explosion took place early yesterday morning.
Company Rep : Our immediate problem is to reduce and contain the fire which spread during the night. We cannot endanger the lives of rescue teams until we are certain the fire is contained and that there will be no danger of additional explosions.
Reporter: Sir, how long will you continue the rescue efforts?
Company Rep: As long as we feel there is still a chance to reduce and contain the fire, we will not give up. We are still running the mine ventilation fans so that if the men are still alive they can get oxygen.
Surviving Miner: Are there any plans to seal the mine like you did in ’54?
Company Rep: Only if all other attempts to contain the fire and rescue the men have failed.
(A faint sob is heard from someone... Murmurs in the crowd begin...)
Company Rep: (recognizing the potential danger) We are doing constant monitoring at all portals and shafts to determine air volume, air pressure, carbon monoxide and methane gas.
Young Boy: Hey, Ma...look here. It says there’s all kinds of reporters and TV cameras at the mine…from all over the place...Pittsburgh... New York...London...
Company Rep: No more questions please. I’d like to introduce Mr. Tony Boyle. Mr. Boyle has come all the way from Washington and would like to say a few words.
Tony Boyle: (steps to the microphone) – I am here to express the sympathy of the United Mine Workers to the families of the trapped men.
Reporter: Does your expression of sympathy indicate you’ve given up hope?
Tony Boyle: I am the last person in this room to give up hope.
Young boy: Despite the fact that he admitted that the prospect (struggles with word) of rescuing the men still in the mine
Tony Boyle: Looks very dark to me.
Scene 4 The Church
(The people begin to disperse. The actors rearrange the furniture as a picture of the James Fork Church appears on the screen. The actors take their places in a tableau at the church at the prayer service. The familiar hymn, In the Garden, plays underneath the scene as the young boy continues to read from the paper.)
Young Boy – About 30 people trudged down the muddy hill at Number 9 mine to the James Fork United Methodist Church today to pray for the fathers, brothers, and husbands now missing from their ranks. The little brick church, only a short distance from the tipple leading to the mine where 78 men are trapped, will remain open all day and night, and another prayer service will be held there tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.
Preacher: I hope as you pray here, in your homes, and in the company store, or where ever you may be that you will remember that Christ said, I am with you always.
(Two women go to the alter to pray. Some stay in the pews. Some are crying.)
Young Boy: (reads) The little congregation, mostly women, were dressed warmly against the bitter cold outside.
(People begin to leave.)
Young Boy: Present in the congregation were Consolidation Coal’s director of public relations James McCartney and state director of the Farmer’s Home Administration, A. James Manchin, several members of the media, families, and friends of the trapped miners.
(There are nameless volunteers setting up medical supplies. NW, YW, MIL, OW2, and OW are sitting silently and worried. Nate and M2 are helping the volunteers by moving things. Rev is talking with Preacher.)
Preacher - I’m going to make some rounds at the houses. Let some of the Wives know the Salvation Army and some of the church women have made food so they don’t have to cook tonight. They can drop off their kids or come here to wait for news.
Rev. - That’s a good idea. There might be some that can’t get out of the house. And it’ll be good for you to just get on the road for a little bit. Clear out your head.
(Preacher leaves. Rev sees nurses)
Nurse 2 - I'm sorry we couldn't give you more people, Rev. But they need as many hands as they can get at the hospital. Where do you want us?
Rev - Um...I guess just help out the volunteers for now, and sort of keep an eye on things.
(Notices M2 and Nate with boxes and runs to them.)
Rev - Whoa, whoa, whoa, you guys don't have to do that. We got plenty of help.
M2 - I know, sorry Rev, I just gotta stay busy.
Rev - I'm not saying you can't help...
M2 - Maybe I should get some fresh air. (exits)
Rev - Okay M2.
Rev - Butch! It’s good to see a familiar face.
Butch - I had a heck of a time gettin' past that trooper. He's got this place more secure than Fort Knox.
Rev - That's not necessarily a bad thing.
Nurse 2 - Who's this?
Rev - Oh I'm sorry, this is Butch Bower, he's one of the chaplain's at the hospital. (To Butch) I thought you weren't going to be able to make it down.
Butch- I moved some things around. I can't stay too long though. Hey I bumped into a Red Cross guy, and they said they have plenty of folding beds...
Rev- That's great!
Butch- In Phillipi.
Rev- That's not so great. How are we gonna get them here?
Butch- I don't know. I'm gonna try to scrounge around for a truck. There's a mass of people at the gate surely one of them have one. I mean how hard is it to find a truck in West Virginia? I'll keep you posted. Oh and your wife called. She says she thinks your kid might have a fever. He’s feeling a little warm.
Rev- She'll have to take care of him. I'm not at a point where I can leave. I'll try to call her later. (Butch exits)
(Rev looks over and sees nurses putting box on alter)
Rev – What are you doing with that?
Nurse 2 – We needed a place to put the supplies, so we don’t have to go runnin’ up to the store or the clinic every five minutes.
Rev – But this is their alter, you can’t put it there!
Nurse 1 – Well, then, where do you want it? Do you have a table?
Rev – Well, I don’t see one and the Preacher went to see if any other women in the area want to wait here...
Nurse – So then where do you want to put this?
Rev – (looks around) I guess...you’ll have to put it there...
(Lights fade down on the altar and medical scene and fade up on the wives, sitting around talking and comforting one another in a semi-circle.)
NW - When do you think they’ll come? Haven’t we waited long enough?
YW- Nobody's said anything! Nothing! This is ridiculous!
MIL- Calm down, YW, they said they'll let us know as soon as they can.
NW - She’s right, but still... I just feel like I’m getting that weird feeling in my stomach again- like when I woke up.
YW- I bet those bastard reporters know! They'll probably hand us the article after they've written it!
OW2 - How ya feelin’, dear?
OW- It's OW, and much better thank you. I'm so embarrassed; I can't believe I fainted.
OW2 - Don't be. I'm surprised more of us didn't. (Laughs) I think even M2 was getting weak in the knees.
OW- (Smiles) You're so sweet.
(YW begins to cry)
OW2 - Oh honey, don't do that.
YW- It's just that...maybe if I talked to him sooner...he'd be there instead of here. This is all my fault.
MIL – No need to think like that.
OW2 - You don’t know that!
MIL - Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
YW- I do know that. It's my fault. We could have found him a different job! I could have gone to work! I did this! I killed my husband!
(Begins to get a little hysterical. Nurse 1 rushes over with a sedative.)
YW- What is that? What are you doing?
Nurse 1- It's just a nerve pill. Swallow it down now with some water.
YW- I don't want a pill!
Nurse 1- It's just to calm your nerves.
YW- I don't want to be drugged! We may get news soon...
Nurse 1 - Relax.
OW2- She said she doesn't want it! Leave her alone!
Nurse 1- Nurse 2! I'm gonna need another one!
OW2- You're not coming anywhere near me with that stuff!
Chuck: Rev....a little help here.
MIL– Hey, leave them alone!
(Rev and Nurse 2 notice the commotion)
Rev- What's going on here?
Nurse 1- These women are hysterical. So I was helping them.
OW2- We don't want to be helped!
Nurse 2- Nurse 1, you can't force drugs on these people without their consent!
Nurse 1- But, she was really upset and it's only going to get worse. Might as well give them a little something to make them feel better now. Who knows what might happen if they get bad news. I'm just doing my job the best way I know how.
Rev- Listen Nurse 1, if you give drugs to everyone who gets upset the whole church will be comatose.
Nurse 1- I’m just trying to prepare in case the worst happen. Beside, it’s been a long day for everyone, and sometimes we just need a little help to get through.
Rev.-Nurse 1, I appreciate what you are doing, but just let them talk it out. I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job, but sometimes talkin’ can do people a world of good.
Nurse 1 – I mean no disrespect Rev. But I have been in this situation many times and I think I know what's best for these woman.
Rev - I'm sure you're doing all you can, and I appreciate that. You’ve been here for several hours without a break?
Nurse 1- Well, I have been on my feet quite a few hours.
(Nurse 1 walks away.)
Nurse 2 - Sorry about Nurse 1. She means well. but sometimes she gets a little drug happy.
Rev- We're all learning how to handle this.
Nurse 2- You can say that again. I’m gonna make a round and see what everybody needs.
Rev- Okay, thank you. (To the women). Sorry about that ladies. Is there anything I can do for you?
MIL - (pulls out a cigarette) Is there anyway you can find out anything? Surely, they have some information by now...just something? It just doesn't seem right that we are waiting here all this time without any information.
Rev - I realize it's frustrating.
OW2 - It's infuriatings what it is. I called my neighbor and she knows more than I do from reading the newspaper. It just seems that nobody cares that we are down here waiting....it's the waiting....the not knowing.. the wondering that's setting us crazy.
Rev - Sometimes our imaginations are our own worst enemy. (waves away the smoke)
OW2 - I just can't take it. I can't take it.
OW - You can take [Name]. You've been through this before and you are going to get through it again.
(Rev notices Nate, who seems to be at a loss.)
Rev - Hey son, what's your name?
Chuck - Chuck Mather, sir.
Rev - You seem like a pretty strong guy. You play football?
Nate - Yes, sir. I play first string at Farmington High.
Rev- Yeah, I could see that. I bet you're pretty good.
Nate - I'm alright, I guess.
Rev- I’m sure you’re better than alright. Hey can you help me out with something?
Nate- Sure. Anything you need, Rev.
Rev- Right now, I need you to take care of your Mom.
Nate - I...I don't know what to say to her?
Rev - You don't have to say anything. Just sit with her.
Nate - Yes, sir. I will
(Nate goes over to OW2 to calm her.)
(Preacher enters with. He stands there in shock at the sight of everything. Rev notices Preacher and approaches him)
Rev- Are you okay?
Preacher- (Distant) It's just...I'm just having a hard time taking it in. So many of my church folks are in that mine.
Rev- Why don't you sit down, and I'll have one of the nurses get you some water?
Preacher- No! I'm okay! It's just a little troubleing. I can do something! I promise. I have to do something! They need me...
Rev- I understand, Preacher, but we're okay right now. Just have a seat, and as soon as I need you, I promise I'll get you.
Preacher- Okay...Thank you.
(Preacher goes and sits down with the families. Some of the women, maybe OW2, MIL, and YW are praying – OW is softly singing a hymn maybe “In the Garden”. Nurse 2 comes over with water and puts her arms around Nate to comfort him.)
Preacher – You ladies holding up okay?
OW2 – Hm? Oh, I guess so...
Preacher – It’s...it’s tough on all of us...I know it's hard, but you just gotta know that it’s in God’s hands now...
NW – Yeah, I guess.
YW – I feel so helpless...
Preacher – We all do. I knew so many of those men. I know it’s been hard..... And when I think I may never see them alive again...
YW – Oh, God!
OW2 – They’ll come out all right, I’ve seen it before...
Preacher – So many good men... It’s hard to stay strong... I don’t blame you a bit...
NW – What if I never see them again?
YW – It’s all my fault!
MIL – How can they leave us stranded for so long without news?
YW – I just can’t help thinking this is all my fault...
Preacher – Why do you say that?
YW – I could’ve told him to call my brother sooner... I could’ve told him not to go to work today... There are a million things I could have done...
Preacher – Now, now...It’s nobody’s fault here....
MIL – Preacher, do you think God punishes us for our sins?
Preacher – I’m sorry? I...
MIL - I wonder. Why else would He let this happen?
Preacher - I'm afraid can't answer that question.
MIL - I made a promise and I broke it. I promised my boy I would quit smoking. It's the one thing he ask me to do and it's the one temptation I can't seem to resist. I've prayed and prayed about it. "Resist the Devil and He will flee you." But, I'm just not strong enough.
Preacher - I don't think...
MIL -- I know he did. Admit it, God is punishing me, isn't he? He's punishing my son because of me, isn't he?!
Preacher – I don't think God would abandon 78 men...
MIL - You don't think...it's not enough to think. I need some real answers. We've been waiting so long.
YW: MIL, don't get yourself all worked up.
Preacher - I know all of this is very upsetting, but
MIL - Has God forsaken us? Nobody has any real answers. Not the company, not the press. Just tell me preacher, honestly, is this God's punishment? Please,
Preacher (answers a little to quickly) - I don't know.
MIL - But you have to know. I need your help.
(Rev has heard the commotion and comes over.)
Rev - Preacher...preacher...is something wrong?
(Preacher is at a loss for words.)
(MIL turns away. She moves to another part of the room and get out her cigarettes. YW follows her, but stops short as MIL waves her away. She returns to other women. The other women are uncomfortable. Preacher is obviously shaken. Young wife looks at him as if to question how he could upset her MIL so.)
Rev – Hey, Preacher, can I borrow you for a second? (pulls him to the side)
Preacher – I—I’m so sorry, Rev, I didn’t mean to fall apart like that, it’s just that, I—
Rev – I understand. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re too close to this, to these men, these families...
Preacher – But I want to help them, I can do it, I swear, just give me a minute...
Butch – Hey, Rev, I can’t believe it, but I couldn’t find a truck. Any other day, the parking lot’d be full of ‘em...
Preacher – I have a truck.
Butch – Fantastic! Preacher has a truck! God answers prayers after all!
Rev – Is it okay? Do you mind going down to the Red Cross in Phillipi and haulin' some beds?
Preacher - (Smiling now that he feels useful) Sure, no problem, I’d be glad to do it!
Rev - You're a good man, Preacher. We certainly do appreciate it.
Preacher - No, I’m just glad I can help! Just give me the directions, and I'll be back before dark!
Butch - Rev, here are some papers that the company wanted me to bring down for the families. Come on, preacher lets get you on the road.
(Preacher and Butch exit)
(Scene focus pulls back to the women – NW has re-joined them)
YW – (Moves over to NW for change of scenery) What do you got there?
NW- Hm? This? Oh it’s my Rosary
YW- Oh you’re Catholic?
NW – Uh...yes.
YW – It's very is pretty.
NW – It belonged to my mother.
(Nurse 2 comes over to join the women)
Nurse 2 – You gals doing better now? (Places hand on one or a few of the women’s shoulders)
YW - I think so...
NW – Thank you.
Nurse 2 – Let me know if you need anything.
OW2 - We will.
(Nurse 2 leaves)
OW2 I guess, This your first time? (NW nods) I remember the first time I had to deal with an accident in the mines. My oldest was just starting school.
OW – How many kids do you have?
OW2 – Three. Two sons and a daughter. Nate here’s my youngest. We started young.
OW - I still have a little one. He's with my sister right now. Skip was quite a little surprise. Thought I was done having babies. Doctor said there was no way I could be pregnant. Then one night I was snuggled up against my husband in bed and the baby kicked him in the back.
OW2 - You're kidding?
OW - Oh, no. My husband said, "We're going to a different doctor."
(They chuckle for a moment just to release some of the tension. But then Company man comes in and is posting yellow sheets of paper on the wall.)
Rev: Can I have everyone's attention. I know many of you have been upset by the lack of information. The company has sent down a list of the men and their work location as well as readings they have recorded on the methane gas and carbon monoxide.
Nate: Mom, do you know where Dad was working?
OW2: Don't worry Nate. I know. I always know.
NW: NH just changed shifts. I hope I can remember.
OW: You'll know when you see it.
NW: (Looking at the list) What does this mean?
OW2: (Looks at list) Come on Nate. Let's go.
NW: Hey...why where are you going?
YW: Come on. Don't you want to see?
YW: (To OW) Did you find your husband?
OW: (not hearing...lays hand on list) Oh, OM.
End of Scene 4
Scene 5 JR's antics
JR - (To audience) All these company men and federal mine inspectors, mining companies and Bill were all going up to the portal. And I wanted to go, but there were no photographers allowed. It was not a news/media thing. And so, this guy that was driving me around in his jeep, I said to him, “Man, I’d like to get up there.” And he said, "I can get you there. But, you’ll have to cross the creek. I’ll get you to the creek and then you’ll have to cross the creek."
So, the guy takes me up there. And there’s this big airshaft there. And I climbed up into the airshaft and I was taking pictures from there. And all these guys are around talking about pointing and I’m just out there taking pictures. And then after they left I got out and crossed the creek and this guy was waiting for me. And he drove me back to the town. I went up to the news/media place that they had set up there and I saw Bill and I said, (To Bill) I’ll be back I think I got some pretty good shots. And I went down to that darkroom that they had in Fairmont. And I get all my pictures done and I put all my pictures in this envelope and came back and gave it to Bill.
(Bill has come onto the stage...news people milling around.)
And at this point all the media was just milling around doing nothing. And I went and gave him the pictures and he took them out. It was like bees to honey. The media just flocked around looking at these pictures.
Pitt 1: Where did you get these?
Ohio: How did you get these pictures?”
Pitt 2 we want those pictures! (To official) You can’t do this. You gave your local guy some special permission. We want some for the wire.
JR - Cause no one had any pictures for that day. And they almost started a riot down there. And of course Bill Evans is there just with the biggest old smile on his face and he says,
Bill: Guys! We just scooped you. Let me explain how this works.
JR; And everybody just got real quiet, and Bill looked and he said,
Bill : “I give RJ a dollar for gas and give him a roll of film and he just does his damn job. And if you people just want to stand around here and do nothing then that’s your business. We just scooped you.” (He put the pictures in the envelope)You don’t get until we run them tomorrow then you can have them. Cause they’re going in my paper first.
JR: It's funny how in the midst of all this tragedy, I have some really good memories. Bill Evans was a good editor, a great man. He hired me when I was just 15 years old. I took my portfolio down to him and he looked at my pictures and said...
Bill: I suppose you can drive...
JR: Yes, sir. I can drive.
Bill: Good. You can start tomorrow.
JR: But I don't have a license.
Bill: How can you not have a liscense?
JR: I won't be 16 for another month.
Bill: You're 15 years old?
JR: (to audience) Bill takes another look at my photographs.
Bill: But I need you now. I need a photographer and you're as good a one as I've seen. Are you sure you're just 15?
JR: Yes, sir. I've been taken pictures since I was in the 6th grade when my mom bought me a Polariod.
Bill: Well, can your mom drive you?
JR: I'm sure she would.
Bill: Well, if you'll work with our photograher for the next two weeks, and if you mom will drive you around until you pass your test, the job is yours. (to himself) I must be crazy... hiring a 15 year-old photographer...
JR: And that's how I got the job. And now I'm taking pictures that are going out on the AP wire and being seen all around the world...documenting history. Who woulda thought?
Scene 6 - facts, ficion and folklore
(At the fire barrel) ((A few minutes before. There's a crowd of reporters and general public gathered at a barricade. Trooper (The trooper) is doing his best to keep them back. M2 and some of the miners are gathered at the fire barrel.) Butch- I'm back!
Trooper- It's about time. I'm having a heck of a time knowing who to let in and who not to. This is maddening!
Butch- Yeah, but what did you expect? It's hell on earth and it's all over the news.
Trooper- Still, I wish I had called for more back up.
(The four from Cleveland show up to the barricade and rudely push themselves to the front)
Cleveland 1- Good morning!
Cleveland 2- I’m so sorry- excuse me!
Cleveland 3- Pardon me, please.
Cleveland 4- I’m sorry!
Cleveland 1- Okay where do we start?
Trooper- Who are you?
Cleveland 1- I'm Cleveland 1, this is my wife Cleveland 2 and ours daughters Cleveland 3, and Cleveland 4.
Cleveland 2- The good Lord sent us a message through the footage on the news and told us to come and help.
Cleveland 3- We are ready and willing to do whatever good work needs to be done!
Butch- I’m sorry. That’s very kind of you. We already have enough volunteers for the moment. Truth be told any more people in that church and the building might just pop.
Cleveland 4- What?
Trooper- You heard the man.
Cleveland 1- I don't think you understand! God told us that we are needed here. We came all the way from Cleveland
Cleveland 2- Ohio!
Butch- I'm sorry, the rescue workers are trained professionals, and the chapel has enough. There's just no room for you guys.
Cleveland 1- But we are trained and here to help counsel people through this time of misery and woe. The Lord told us that you need help being lead through these dark and miserable hours and the only way to that hallowed salvation is through the God Almighty.
Trooper- I'm sorry, sir- but I was given very specific instructions on who to let in and who not to.
Cleveland 1- Please brother, this is the Lord’s word. May I please talk to somebody in charge.
Butch- Well that'll be me.
Cleveland 2- I’m sorry friend, but would you happen to have another minister or supervisor available with whom we might be able to please speak?
Butch (To M1)-Can't you do something here?
Trooper- Unfortunately they're not breaking any laws as long as they're behind that line. You better get Rev.
(Butch goes to make the phone call. Pitt 2 and Pitt enters with camera. Pitt 2 tries to cross the barricade. Trooper stops him.)
Trooper- Whoa, there fella, where do you think you're going.
Pitt 2- I'm going to get shots of the portal.
Trooper- Sorry, no press past this point.
Pitt 2- Yeah, but I'm with the Post Gazette. (Trooper doesn't budge) The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette?
Trooper- Sorry, no press.
Pitt 2- I'm an award winning photographer!
Trooper- And I'm a state trooper, and if you try to cross that line again. You'll be an award winning photographer in handcuffs.
(Pitt 2 sulks back to the crowd with Ohio)
Penny- Nice try, kid. Now let me show you how a real news hound does this.
Pitt 2- Yeah, like some local yokel is going to teach me how to get a story.
Penny- Watch and learn, sonny boy.
(Penny approaches trooper.)
Penny- Hey, Name, it’s Name right?
Trooper- Yeah, can I help you with something, miss?
Penny- No, not really…just making small talk. It’s just so boring just standing around like this. I’m Penny, Penny (Surname)
Trooper- It’s nice to meet you Penny…so where you from?
Penny- Fairmont. Born and raised.
Trooper- No kidding, me too!
Penny- Really? Wait a minute, where did you go to High School? East or West?
Penny- (Playfully) Boo, polar bears!
Trooper- You’re just mad cause we bet you every season.
Penny- We’ll get you guys this year.
Trooper- You know, a good drinkin’ buddy of mine went to East.
Penny- Ah fraternizing with the enemy.
Trooper- You could say that.
Penny- What year did he graduate?
Penny- Me too! What’s his name?
Trooper- Chris Bonnasso.
Penny- Chris? Oh my God! We dated in sixth grade! I was his first kiss! God I haven’t seen him since we graduated! How is?
Trooper- Good…good…still rowdy as ever.
Penny- What a small, small, world. So they’re not lettin in any press huh?
Troopers- That’s what the big wigs. Tell me.
Penny- I left my glasses case back at the store. (Coyly) Oh well I’m sure they’ll let us up there eventually.
Trooper- Well…if you just need to get your glasses case…
Penny- Oh no! I don’t want you to bend the rules on a count of lil ol’me.
Trooper- I think I can look the other way for Chris’s old girl. Even if she was a bee.
Penny- Thank you! Thank-you so much!
(Trooper lets her through barricade, she looks back at Pitt 2 and winks. Pitt 2 huffs and exits)
(Butch enters with Rev)
Cleveland 1- Finally. Is this your boss?
Butch- Um, yes sir, this Rev SURNAME, Chief Chaplain Coordinator.
Rev- (Confused) Yes, I'm Chief Chaplain Coordinator, what seems to be the problem.
Cleveland 3- We drove all the way from Cleveland to help out and they won't let us in.
Rev- Well folks I'm sorry. We appreciate your time and efforts, but the truth is we have limited room, with the families of the victims . So we're only allowing immediate family and authorized personnel in at the moment, but you are welcome to help yourselves to some breakfast at the Red Cross station.
Cleveland 1- Are you sure? We are coming here to bring the good news to the saddened and lost lambs of this community. These people need to hear the word!
Rev- I and my staff are ministering to their spiritual needs. I thank you sincerely for your time and your willingness to help, but we just don’t need any more people. Thank you.
Cleveland 1- I’m sorry we can’t help.
Cleveland 3- Does this mean we are driving back home now?
Cleveland 1- I guess it does sweetie, but who knows. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Thank you for your time Rev. and if you find you need any more help down here- you know where to call. (exit family)
Rev- Chief Chaplain Coordinator?
Butch- Sometimes, you just need a title. Well there goes one problem. I'm going to check up on the miners, if that's ok with you Trooper.
Trooper- Sure, No problem, Butch.
Rev - I’m going back to the chapel.
(Lights down on barricade(gate). Lights up on the interior of the church.)
OW - You know after all these years, it never even occurred to me that I'd be here. I mean, I knew what OM did was dangerous, but he always, always came home. And I guess after a while I thought this sort of thing was impossible.
YW- I know what you mean, we've had a couple scares, and I used to just wrote it off as one of those things. Something that'll never happen to me. But now...
NW - How long have you been married?
YW- NH and I have been married for twelve years. We got married young. I was probably about your age.
OW – Yea OM and I were pretty young, too. I met him when he was in the Navy. He was on shore leave, and I went to this dance with my girlfriends. They were having a good time but I was a bit of a wallflower. Then this handsome sailor comes up to me, and asks me to dance. I thought he had made a mistake.
MIL- That's so romantic!
OW- I was so plain and mousy back then, but he took my hand, and then we danced.... all night long...We spent pretty much the next three days of his leave together. And when he left to go back to sea, we wrote each other every day. I still have the letters!
YW- Love letters. How sweet?!
OW- When he came back he proposed...that was twenty-three years ago.
NW - Oh my goodness! 23 years is half a lifetime! Do you have any children?
OW- Four sons. What about you?
NW- Oh, not yet. NH and I grew up together. We were best friends, and high school sweethearts. Our parents said we were too young to get married, but we didn't see the point in waiting.
OW- Yes, when you're young you never do.
NW- All my life I loved NH, and I knew I wasn't going to love anyone else. NH felt the same way. He proposed to me in the tree-house we built, out in the woods near our house. I begged him not to go to work in the mines. But the money was good, and he didn't go to college.
OW- The mines are dangerous, but there are whole families who make a living off mining. OM came from a line of em'. His father was a miner, and grand-father was a miner. He used to say he had coal dust in his veins. I got him to go to work at Owen's for six months though.
YW- I was trying to get YM to take a job up in Spelter. He was going to call my brother about it when he came home.
OW- I don't know how long he'd last. If he's anything like my OM, he wouldn't do it for very long. OM always says “Once a miner, always a miner.”
YW- Ain't that the truth!
OW- But despite it all, I wouldn’t give up our memories for anything...a few nights ago, the old fool rearranged the furniture and we danced.
(Lights down on the interior of the church. Lights up on the fire barrel.)
Butch- Hey M2, how're the efforts?
M2- Bout' the same, if not worse, Butch. This is M1 and Survivor.
Butch- Nice to meet you. What are they doing now?
M2- I heard they were gonna drill down little holes into the ground and put microphones to listen for any breathin' or talkin'
Survivor- Or singin’? Microphones! What do those college boys think this is? American Band Stand? We need to stop piddlin around here and just get some gas masks and just go in there and get ’em out ourselves- steada standing round here talkin like a bunch a woman at a bridge club!
M1- Survivor? How much black damp did you inhale before they dragged your butt outta that damned bucket? Excuse Survivor here, Butch. He’s just angry cause the doctors won’t let him back in.
Butch - Black Damp?
Survivor- Methane. And none- I was one of the first groups hoisted out. Not a scratch, thank the Lord.
M2- Yeah Survivor, you know that there’s too much gas- had to turn back as soon as they went in.
M1- Lord, this is twice as bad as '54. I was workin above ground when it happened. Saw the whole damn thing! The elevator shot out of the shaft like a God damn shotgun! The gas readings are through the roof and every time we start to get somewhere another explosion happens, and it sends us four steps back! I imagine they'll seal it up soon. Which is a damn shame. If the mine closes, the town goes off the map.
M2- Never were on the map.
(Lights down on fire barrel. Lights up on the interior of the church.)
CG – NW!
NW – CG!
CG - Calley called over and said people were gathering at James Fork. I tried calling your house and when you didn't answer, I knew you'd be here. Any more news?
NW- Nothing yet. You?
CG – I was on my way to class when I heard the news on the radio so I bummed a ride home. Dad was sitting in his chair with his head in his hands just mumbling to himself. I could hardly understand him but as far as mom could make out he had been working on a fan and as he was walking away, the blast knocked him down. Mom heard the news on the radio and was scared half to death. He must have been so shaken up that he just got in his truck and drove around for a couple of hours. He looked so scared sitting there.
NW – Oh, my! But at least he's alive. Does he know what went wrong?
CG – No. He didn’t see anything. He got in his truck and just drove around for hours. Mom searched for him for a while until he finally came home. He won’t stop talking about it...
(Lights down on the interior of the church. Lights up on the fire barrel.)
Survivor- You know the crows are back.
Butch- Crows? What crows are you talking about?
M1- Don’t pay any mind to Survivor. He’s still a little light headed.
Survivor- Go ahead and laugh, but it’s a death omen. They’ve always come. Back in '26 my pappy and I were standing right outside the portal when I was a kid. Saw the crows perch on the wooden support beams and just stare at everyone waiting for the bodies to be brought out. 19 crows...19 bodies.
M2- Yea- In 54 same thing happened-
M1- Not you too M2!
M2- I remember those crows just sittin there and everytime they brought a body outta the mine a crow would fly away.
Survivor- And I counted ‘em today. There are 78 crows sittin on top of that portal.
M1- Survivor you damned fool you can’t even count past ten.
M2-There are still seventy-eight men down there and 78 crows.
Survivor - Or seventy-eight corpses.
M2 - You take that back!
Survivor- I'm just being realistic! You weren't there when it happened! You didn't see!
M2 - I don't care what you saw! If there's the slightest chance one of those men are alive! Then we keep looking! You hear me! We don't give up until we find all seventy-eight. Crows or no crows.
(Lights down on the fire barrel. Lights up on the interior of the church.)
NW – Excuse me...When do you think we might know something?
Rev– I don’t know...
NW – I hate all this sitting around and not knowing...
Rev – Well, what time did you get here this morning?
NW – Around nine...
Rev – That’s a long day...would you be more comfortable at home for a while?
NW – But I don’t want to be alone!
Rev – Isn’t there somebody at home you can wait with? Mom? Dad?
NW – I never knew my mother.
Rev – Nurse 2, can you make sure there’s some fresh coffee?
Nurse 2 – Sure, Rev (she leaves)
Rev – You never knew your Mom?
NW – Well, it’s not like she ran off and left us or anything... She died when I was born.
Rev – I see. So your dad raised you?
NW – Yes, but he wasn’t home a lot because he was working in the mines. Really, I guess, my Grandma raised me. But my Dad is a huge part of my life.
Rev - Daddy's little girl.?
NW - I guess you could say that....more like daddy's little tom-boy. You know, going fishin' with him. Trying to make up for his not having a son.
Rev - Fishing huh?
NW - Yep and hunting too. He bought me my first gun when I was 12. A 4-10. It wasn't much of a gun but the first time I shot it, it kicked back and bloodied my lip. When I started to cry, my dad said, toughen up girl. Ain't no boy gonna want to kiss a cry baby.
Rev – Your Dad?
NW – He...he’s in the mine...
Rev: Oh, I see. Well...do you have anybody else around? Sister? Husband?
NW – My husband’s in the mine, too.
Rev – Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize.
NW - No need. You couldn't have known. Who would have thought that one girl's whole world would be down in that hole?
Rev - You're a very brave young women. You're father would be proud.
NW - I don't know how much longer I can be brave. (bites her lip)
NW – Rev, will you pray with me?
Rev – Of course. (They pray)
(Lights down on the interior of the church. Lights up on the fire barrel.)
Survivor - You always knew it would happen, but never like this...
M3- (Offstage) Hello?
(M1 and M2 look offstage and see a familiar figure.)
M3- I just got back from the bathhouse.
Survivor- Well what happened to ‘em? They find anyone else?!
M3- Nah- They tried like hell. The methane was too high- penetrated right through the filter on their gas masks. Didn’t get more than twenty feet down.
Survivor- Well when they gonna send another team in?!
M3- It doesn’t look good, Survivor. The reporters came, and they jumped on the team like you wouldn’t believe. Quite frankly, I think I would have rather faced down those fires.
Butch - That’s probably why they have this place on lockdown.
M3- You’re right about that. I’m sorry friend. I don’t think we’ve been introduced.
Butch - Butch Surname.
M3 - M3. I know for sure that they started drilling holes for the microphones- but I don’t know. Methane is so high they don’t want to risk another team.
M1- Did they ever get those fans calmed down?
M3- We had one explode this morning.
Survivor- A fan exploded?
M3- Luckily the man repairing the fan was able to get out before the blast. The others are still running full tilt to try and get some of the gas out.
M1- It’s dangerous to leave them running at such a high RPM.
Survivor- I know, sometimes coal dust is worse than gunpowder.
Scene 6 a - more JR
(We see JR taking pictures.)
JR - (To audience) One other incident, they were going down with the rescue guys, they had just broke the seals on the mine. They had sealed everywhere but this one. They picked some still photographers and a motion guy from BBC. And it was only 5 people. And I was mad. I was the local guy, I’d been there through it all, and they didn’t pick me. So I go to my friend with the jeep. And he said, "I can get you there again.It’s up to you to get in. How you gonna get in?" I dunno just get me there.
So he drives up and stops away from the place. And I walked down this little hill toward the building where they were gonna have their mantrips where the rescue trips where gonna be. And just as I got to the corner of the building here come the three news/media truck comes around and all the officials were already in the building So as they are all walking in I just got in with them. Then one of the officials says
Official - Wait a minutes I was told five There’s more than five here.
JR - Yea, (counting) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (including himself in the first 5 and then pointed to the last guy) SIX!
Pitt 1- What the...
Pitt2 - (talking over Pitt 1) Wait just a minute
Official - Oh the hell with it. Just go do your thing. We got work to do. Just stay out of the way.”
JR: So I got to stay in. One other time, I had climbed back up around the hill and was crouched down in the bushes taking pictures of a portal near the church. And when I came back out the police were there waiting for me.
Trooper - Hey, give me that camera, boy.
JR - You can't have this camera
Ohio - It’s that kid, it’s that kid from Fairmont. He’s been doing this.
JR - And they took me down to Bill Evans.
Bill - What’s the matter? JR's okay. He's with me.
Trooper --Bill I’m tellin ya, if you let him do this again he’s going to jail. We’ve got the place blocked off. He’s going to jail.
Jr (To audience) Needless to say I was always kind of in trouble.
Scene 7 -- Company, the union,the state and the feds
(A room in the Champion store, A meeting is taking place on the decision on what to do with the mine. In the group are William Poundstone, John Cocoran, James McCarteney for Coalition Coal, Cecil Urbaniak, and Joseph Sedrick of the United Mine Workers, and Guy 1and Guy 2 from the other side. The men are arguing as the scene opens.)
John Cochran- Fellas. Fellas. (bang he hits the table) Quiet. Listen up. Thank you. Now Gentlemen, we're going to have to make a decision here.
Federal- I don't even know why this is up for debate. The survivors got out because they weren’t caught up in the blast. We can only assume the other seventy-eight men are dead—
Cecil- But even if one of those seventy- eight men is alive, You just murdered that man. That means his blood is on Your hands.
State- What about the lives of the rescue workers? It is getting more and more dangerous to send them in there with all that gas.
Joseph Sedrick- But we're not talking about one or two miners here. There are seventy-eight men down there. The odds of at least one of them being alive are high—
Federal – And they’re getting lower and lower every second. You've seen the gas readings. And the fires are only going to cause more explosions.
(A Trooper enters with a letter. John reads it and becomes visibly more and more upset as the dialogue continues.)
William- Well it sounds like we're responsible for endangering lives either way.
James- We're damned if we do, and we're damned if we don't.
Federal- The key difference is this. We know the rescuers are alive.
Cecil- We aren’t asking them to do anything they aren’t ready to do. Those men deserve more than to die thousands of feet below the earth, because we gave up!
State- How long are we suppose to risk the rescue workers lives? How long are we suppose to halt business? How long are we suppose to make these families wait? Until you come to the realization that no living thing could have possibly survived that blast.
Joseph- Tell that to the twenty one survivors.
Federal- Oh come on, we've been over this. They were either far enough away from the blast sight or close enough to the portals to avoid the blast. The majority of those men walked outta there without any help from us.
Cecil- These are human beings, for God sake, real men, with families. No man deserves to die like that—
State- I agree, but eventually you’ve got decide what you’re going into; a mine or a mausoleum.
John- At this point, I'm not sure what the difference is. Gentlemen, I'm sorry, but I believe we should postpone this discussion for a while; we aren’t going to be deciding anything today.
( The men exit Cochran and Poundstone remain. A long pause.)
William- What is it John?
(Cocroran hands the letter to Poundstone)
Voice over- I remember ‘54 and I’m still liv’in with it. You sealed up those boys before they was dead. My daddy was in that bunch. You seal them boys up before I think you’ve done everything huminly possible to save ’em and I promise you I’ll be up’ere on that ridge with my huntin rifle. I’ll be shootin anyone who tries to seal them boys up. That I promise.”
William- Do you think he's still out there?
John- I don't know
William- Who should we tell?
John- I don't know?
William- John...this is...54' was very bad.
John- This is worse.
End of Act 1
End of Act 1