Alice and Hal

from The Grippe of October by John P. McEneny

Genre: Drama
Cast Breakdown: 1 female, 1 male

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Hal, 18, has just returned from fighting overseas in WWI, to find that Alice, 16, the girl he liked before he left, has moved on without him.

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ALICE: (Excited:) Did you kill anyone?

HAL: What do you mean?

ALICE: I mean did you have to "click" anyone when you were over there? 

HAL: Yes. 

ALICE: I can't imagine you killing anyone. You used to cry when Jack would shoot a jaybird. 

HAL: I didn't cry.

ALICE: I suppose you had to do what you had to do.

HAL: I knew what was expected of me. I signed up.

ALICE: I remember. You and Jack signed up together.

HAL: Yep. But they didn't keep boys together if they came from the same city. No more pal units. So we got separated right away. 

ALICE: Did they do anything to you, Hal? Did they hurt you? 

HAL: I got out. I'm back here in Albany. And I want life to be the way it was before the war and I'm just glad there ain't going to be no more wars after this one. 

ALICE: You deserve a parade.

HAL: (Laughs.) Don't worry, I'll get one.

ALICE: But why would you want to stay in such a dreary place like Albany? It belongs to your parents and their dreams. Why not start somewhere fresh and exciting? Like New York. Or Boston.

HAL: Albany is good enough for me right now. I've seen Paree. 

ALICE: Paris? How exciting. 

HAL: And all I thought about while I was there was getting back to this block and being with my family, my friends, and you. I missed you, Alice. I thought about you some. I wish you had written me. I had some feelings for you before we left. 

ALICE: I know. 

HAL: Alice? 

ALICE: I was only 15 when you left. And I never thought you were really going to go away. When I was in grammar school, everyone was against the war and United States involving themselves in a foreign war. We were isolationists. And then the world shifted in what seemed overnight and everyone, almost everyone was reversed and gung ho for joining up with the war. Everyone was sending out their sons and brothers to Europe. Even you. And before I knew it, you and Jack went away. You can't imagine how scared we all were. 

HAL: Do you still have feeling for me? 

ALICE: No. Too much time has passed, Hal. Now that the war is almost over, we all have a fresh slate to create and I don't think I'm really the type to fall in love with the boy next door. I'm sorry. I suppose I could have put this all down in a letter. I've had these feelings for months but how would that have helped you? I knew what you were going through. We heard reports about the trenches, the barbed wire, gas warfare and even some violent moving pictures from Somme at Harmanus Bleecker. We bought Liberty Bonds. We've even had three gold star mothers in this neighborhood alone. I knew what you were going through. 

HAL: You have no idea what I went through. 

ALICE: I never asked you to go fight. 

HAL: You haven't changed at all, Alice. 

ALICE: Yes I have. I'm going to be an actress. I'm a girl with dreams now. I'm going to New York City. Professor Beauman from the Guild says I have great potential but that theatrical careers have to be started young for an actress and I'm going to be 17. 

HAL: How is Jack?

ALICE: Not good. He's coming back. But we're told he's not right. So we're all wary of what is to come. Especially Mother. But who can blame her? Jack always was the favorite.

HAL: You think?

ALICE: He could charm a smile off of sunshine. Everyone knows it.

HAL: You were always my favorite.

ALICE: I don't want to fight with you, Hal. I really am ever so happy that you're alive and safe. But I think you should go now. I feel a particular nervous tension between us that makes me uncomfortable.

HAL: My parents aren't home.

ALICE: Then you should wait for them on the porch. Think how happy they'll be to find you waiting on their doorstep like a dearly desired postal package.

HAL: Tell your brother I stopped by.

ALICE: Yes, and when he gets back, we'll make him play your mother's piano and we'll all sing and drink mint iced tea.

HAL: I'd like that. Just like when we were children.

ALICE: Yes. Goodbye, Hal.

HAL: Goodbye, Alice.