Consider yourself warned: Slash, M/M, yaoi pairing... however you call it, there are (two) gay guys in this play. That said, there are also two het, M/F, however-you-call-boy/girl pairings. A second warning: rather fluffy ending and cute, sappy, romantic lines. I know that the entire thing is fairly unlikely; I tried to keep it as probable- and factual- as possible. Flame only if you must. Enjoy.


Civility

SCENE ONE

(Curtain rises. Backdrop is an open meadow. There are two camps, one at L (Confederate) and one at R (Union). Both camps have two tents, a campfire in front of the tents, and a blanket and pillow (cot) at LC and RC. At UC, there are two houses. The house closer to R displays a flag of the United States of America. It is dark. Sam, the lead Union soldier, is lying on the cot at R; Johnny, the lead Confederate soldier, is lying on the cot at L. They both stir at the same instant, then stand and "wake up".)

Sam: I'm the oldest, so it's not a surprise that I'm in charge of these boys.
Johnny: But I'm not cut out to lead.
Sam: It's not like they're hard to supervise. They are good, loyal, Union boys.
Johnny: These kids, though, they're real nice.
Sam: For instance, there's Benny. He's the youngest and can be quite the complainer. But his usual complaints are that he misses his girlfriend. This girl of his, Martha, must be the most beautiful thing in the world. Benny says he's gonna marry her when he gets home. (Sam glances towards the tent.) I just hope he gets home.
Johnny: William is nice. He's a lot littler than the other boys, but he seems to have the most emotions. I think it's real sweet how he's always talking about his gal, Betsy. Sure hope that boy sees his sweetheart again.
Sam: Michael doesn't really wanna fight. He's a pacifist, as far as I can tell. He's maybe twenty, and definitely homesick. Fiercely protective of the others, though. A few miles back, this cougar was about to attack Benny, and Michael shot it dead without a second thought. For a pacifist, Mike's pretty trigger-happy.
Johnny: Then there's Jim. He must've joined up the second he looked old enough. I have never met a more violent youth. He's the "shoot first, ask questions never" type. I'm a little reluctant to let him use a musket, but I've gotta admit that he's a good shot.
Sam: Charlie is trained as a doctor, which is so convenient. Last week, Michael got sick, and Charlie fixed him up in less than a day. He misses his family a lot, but doesn't let that get in the way of anything—unlike Michael.
Johnny: Tommy's not a good fighter, but he's a good person to talk to when you're feelin' down. The other day, he told me, "Johnny, you need to stop worrying about this war. You're a great commander." It made me feel great. He's a great fellow, just not much in the brains department.
Sam: Roger is the last fellow in our group. He's funny—I mean, he tells good jokes, but then I sometimes see him giving the other fellows strange looks, and I'm not sure what to make of it, Roger's just…different.
Johnny: Dennis is the only other soldier with us. He's a little odd, and—well. It's his turn for guard duty now. (He enters one of the Confederate tents.)
Sam
: Speaking of Roger, he has to take watch. (He enters a Union tent.)
Dennis (exiting from his tent)
: See ya in the morning, Johnny.
Roger (exiting from his tent): All right, Sam, I'm up. (mumbling to self) Such a slave driver.

(There is a pause, in which Dennis and Roger dawdle near their respective cots and wait. They poke at the fire, kick at the ground, etc. Then Roger stares intently at the Union tents. Satisfied with their silence, he takes a step into the middle area (C).)

Roger: Dennis! Psst! (Dennis does not notice him. Louder, and with another step closer to the Confederate camp,) Hey, Dennis! You there?
Dennis (startled): Lord, Roger, y'scared me.
Roger (crossing completely into the Confederate camp): Sorry. Are all of your folk asleep?
Dennis: S'far as I can tell, they are.
Roger: Great. Let's go?
Dennis: You're not gonna be missed?
Roger: Please, Mike snores like a grizzly. They couldn't have heard me sneak off—and no one'll get up at two in the morning to see if the night watchman is there. You free to leave?
Dennis: I think so.
Roger (grabbing Dennis' hand): Perfect. Let's go, we got three spare hours. (He starts off R.)
Dennis
: Wait…Roger. (Roger stops walking and looks at Dennis.) I don't…I don't think we can be doing this any more. Y'know, seein' each other. I mean, it's real dangerous—what if the others catch you?
Roger: It's a chance I'm willing to take. Dennis—
Dennis (cutting him off): And in the Bible it says—
Roger (interrupting): Dennis!
Dennis (mumbling): We'll go to hell.
Roger: I'll still love you there.

(They look at each other, embrace, and run off while holding hands, exiting UR. After a moment, Benny and William come out of their respective tents. Martha, Benny's girlfriend, walks onto the porch of her house at URC; simultaneously, William's girlfriend Betsy walks out onto the porch of her house at ULC.)

Betsy: Dear William…
Martha: Dear Benny…
William: Dear Betsy…
Benny: Dear Martha…
Betsy and Martha: I hope this letter gets to you.
William and Benny: I hope you are doing well.
Betsy: Today, we got news back from Gettysburg. I heard that your brother Henry died in the battle. Your ma was crying in church today and your pappy wouldn't talk to anyone. I reckon he was too sad to say anything. You haven't written in a while, William. I take up a pen every week to write, and I get nothing back from you. Me and your little sis Louisa are real worried, William. I don't want bad news, saying you're gonna come home in a coffin.
William: Sorry I haven't been able to write. I want you to know that I care for you a lot, Betsy, but it's hard to find writing materials and a courier to take the message back to Richmond. Hell, it's hard to find anyone in this wilderness. It's so quiet, I can hear my comrades' hearts beating. If they can hear mine, I bet it says, "Bet-sy, Bet-sy." I'll be home with you as soon as I can.
Martha: Benny, when will the war be over? Come back home to Boston. We all miss you a whole lot. Your little brother, he doesn't understand that you could die out there, but I know. Pa says that the war ends when the Confederates give in, but I disagree with him. For me, the war ends when my soldier comes back. Kill some Rebels for me, but make sure to come back in one piece.
Benny: It's hot down here. I've been away from home for so long—it's already July. I just got your letter from last week and believe me, Martha, I want to come home as much as you want me to. I promise to be by your side as soon as I can. When I'm home again, I got a surprise for you. Till then, always write. I live for one more letter from you, day by day.
Betsy and Martha: Please stay safe.
William and Benny: Wait for me.
Betsy: I don't want bad news.
William: It's so quiet.
Martha: Come back home.
Benny: Always write.
Betsy and William: I love you.
Benny and Martha: I love you.
All: Good night…and good day.

(Lights go up. It is daytime again. Martha and Betsy go back into their houses. The Union and Confederate soldiers come out of their own tents and gather in a circle around their campfires. Dennis enters DL and joins his circle; Roger does the same at DR. Sam and Johnny give them questioning looks, as if to say "where have you been?", but the other boys are unnoticing of Dennis' and Roger's late appearances. When everyone is in place, lights go down on the Confederate camp and they freeze. Action progresses in the Union camp.)

Michael: What's for breakfast?
Sam: Rabbit.
Benny: Again?!
Charlie: Hey, at least we're eating.
Sam: Exactly.
Roger: Is there any coffee left? I coulda sworn we had some yesterday.
Benny: Long night?
Roger: It's always long for the guard.
Charlie: Sorry, we're out. (joking) Can I interest you in boiling water, anyway?
Roger: No thanks, Charlie. I'll live.

(Lights down on Union camp; up on Confederates. Tommy is serving something from a tin pot into small metal bowls.)

Tommy: Come and get it, boys.
Dennis sniffing at it: What is it, Tommy?
Tommy: Grits.
Dennis: Oh, of course. That's, what, two weeks in a row?
Jim: Quit your whinin', Dennis. It's better than eatin' dirt.
William: I'm not so sure. (pointing into his bowl) Is that a twig?
Jim: They're good for fiber.
William: It's all well and good if you can live offa sticks for a month, Jim, but I need some real food.
Johnny: Then go out and hunt some. (He gestures towards the gun by the cot.) Just don't get shot yourself.
William: No thanks. (He takes a bite of his breakfast and grimaces.) On second thought, I'll just skip breakfast.
Dennis: Lunch isn't gonna get much more edible, Will'm. What is it, resident chef?
Tommy: Probably stale bread and rotten vegetables.
William: I'm goin' huntin'. (He grabs the gun and exits L.)
Jim
: Yes! (He runs out after William.)
Tommy
: Great, we're shot of those two. (He looks after them, considering.) Well, Will'm isn't that bad.
Dennis: If we're lucky, he'll shoot Jim.

(Lights down on Confederate camp; up on Union camp.)

Benny: I think this is rotten.
Sam: Your call. Eat it or go hungry.
Benny: If I die of food poisoning, it'll be your fault.
Roger: I don't think that's gonna bother Sam too much.
Michael: Knock it off, you two.
Charlie: Yeah, let's not do the Confederates' job for 'em—leave killin' us to them.

(Reflective, awkward silence.)

Roger: Right, and you can kill the mood.
Sam: We'll hunt some more today. Benny, you wanna guard the camp?
Benny: And miss catching what we're gonna eat for the next week? Never.
Charlie: It is your turn, Benny.
Michael: I'll do it.
Benny: Aw, thanks, Michael!

(A shot is heard (from L).)

Sam (looking off R): What was that?
Charlie: Let's go!

(Benny, Sam, Charlie, and Roger run off R. Michael stands near the fire, dropping twigs into it.)

Michael: I bet it's raining at home. It always rained every other Tuesday, and Momma wrote and said it was raining a month ago. I like the rain, but it doesn't rain down here a lot. Closest thing to thunder that I hear is canister-shot. The rain is one of the things I miss most about home. Another was the cooking. Momma made the best chicken dinner in the Union. Christmas was my favorite holiday, if only for the food.

(A shot is heard. Michael looks off R. Lights down on Michael in the Union camp and up on the Confederate camp. William and Jim run on L, William still holding the gun and Jim with some kind of dead, small woodland animal.)

Tommy (with mock enthusiasm): Hey, that's gonna hold us for two days.
Dennis: Better than eating your rock soup.
Johnny: Nice job, boys.
Jim: We heard somethin' bigger movin' in the bushes. Took a shot at it, but Will'm got scared and said we had to run off.
William: Anything makin' that much noise was probably stronger than two soldier boys and one gun. Must've been a bear or something, it was makin' a lot of noise.
Jim: What if it was a deer, huh?
Johnny: I wouldn't think about that. Every deer in the continent's been hunted down by starving soldiers like us. Tommy, take it off an' skin it.

(Tommy takes the dead animal and pulls out a knife. The Confederates freeze as the lights go down on them. Lights up on C, where Michael has walked to.)

Michael: When I was a kid, my Grandpa used to tell me stories about war. He was a veteran from the War of 1812, and he was the kind of soldier who was in a war for the fighting. I don't wanna be that kind of person. The only reason I'm here is to protect my family. I'm afraid that one day, the Confederates will come marching into our town. I hafta protect my family—I have five little sisters, and a brother. When I left, my brother was a few months old. He's probably three years old by now. I wanna make it back so my whole family can be together again. That's why we gotta win this war.

(The lights on R and L (over the camps) change to blue; it is raining. The sound of rain is heard from both sides of the stage. The Confederates' scene is still frozen. The four Union boys run on. Roger looks strangely nervous.)

Benny: Michael, we think there's Rebel scum around here!
Sam: Something took a shot at Ben when he was pickin' berries!
Michael (crossing back to the camp and holding his hands out to feel the rain): It's…it's raining! My God—rain, in these parts! (He laughs and lifts his face to the sky, totally oblivious to the others. The fire goes out.)
Benny
: Michael, did you hear what I said? There're enemy soldiers around here!
Michael (shaken out of his reverie): What? You saw—Southerners?
Roger: We didn't see them, per se.
Benny: All I know is that something fired at me when I was in the bushes. A bullet went past my nose and I just scrammed straight away.
Sam: We gotta prepare for battle.
Roger (looking at him sharply): R-really? Battle?
Sam: Better prepared than dead.
Charlie: Let's go into the tents. Pneumonia is not something I'm gonna die from.

(Roger and Sam go into the tent closer to C, taking the blanket and pillow of the cot with them; Benny, Charlie, and Michael enter the tent closer to R. Action resumes at the Confederate camp.)

William: Aw, shoot, it's raining.
Johnny: Alright, let's go inside. (The fire goes out. Johnny picks up the blanket and pillow and balls it up under his arm.) C'mon, everyone, nobody's gonna get sick while I'm in charge. Mainly 'cause we don't have a doctor…go on, into the tents.
Tommy (holding up the dead animal): What do I do with this?
Dennis: Bring it inside. Just wait 'til we're outside again to skin it.
Jim: I still wanna have another shot at that bear or whatever.
Johnny: Not till the rain stops. In the tent, go on.

(The Confederates retreat to their tents: Johnny and Dennis in the tent closer to C and the other three in the tent closer to L. The rain continues. Martha and Betsy come onto their porches, where it is still "sunny daytime". They walk forward to DC.)

Betsy: When William went off to war, he promised not to be gone too long. Now, it's been more than a year, and I think that's an awful amount of time. I gave him my handkerchief to always carry, but sometimes I wonder if he's plain forgotten me. I can't remember when I got the last letter from him. It's always with me, though. There ain't a date on it 'cause he didn't know what day it was, him bein' out in the wilderness. And I guess the letter don't say much, just that he's scared about the war, and that he misses me and sends his love. I love him, too. I don't know what I'll do if he don't come home.
Martha: I believed Benjamin when he told me he was going off to war to fight for me. He said he would always carry my picture with him, but it's been a long time since he left. I do love Benny, but it breaks my heart every day I wake up and know he's off fighting in some godforsaken war, or that today might be the day they tell us that my Benny's never gonna come back. Now Timothy, who lives down the street, wants to court me. Papa says I should stop pining for Benny and chose a boy here who can support me, but I don't want any other boy in the world. Only Benny.

(The girls turn around and walk back into their houses as Jim exits one of the tents. He walks to DC.)

Jim: I'm number nine in a family of nine sons. Our dad fought in the last war, and my eight older brothers all went off to fight. As soon as I could, I signed up for the Confederacy's army. I'm not gonna be the one to disappoint Dad. He says that when conflicts like this arise, the only way to work 'em out is with bullets. That's how I was raised. My dad bought me a new pair of shoes the first time I got in trouble for fighting during class. "Atta boy," he told me. "Don't take anything lying down." That's what the men who trained us said. No mercy, they taught us. That suits me just fine. If people like my dad were in charge of the Union, we wouldn't have a problem with them Yankees. I can't wait to get a piece of the action. Then I'll write Dad, and he'll be proud of me for protecting the Confederacy, like my brothers. Being the youngest, it was hard to get any attention, 'cause my brothers did everything before me. This war is my chance to prove myself to Dad, and I'd never miss out on that. No mercy.

(The rain stops. The stage is completely lit as the soldiers file out of the tent and line up horizontally, facing the opposite camp. From R to L, the lineup is Charlie, Roger, Benny, Michael, Sam, C, Johnny, Jim, William, Dennis, Tommy. Johnny and Jim have guns, as do Michael, Sam, and Charlie. They begin to march in place. Sam and Johnny turn around and face their lines. Union soldier stop marching.)

Sam: Men, the only thing I can say is good luck.
Michael: You, too, Sam.
Sam: Benny, don't jump into it so fast—I don't wanna have to explain to Martha what happened.
Benny: Don't worry, I'll be fine.
Roger (praying; he is referring to Dennis): Let him be okay…
Benny joking: Praying for me? Roger, I'm touched.

(Roger laughs nervously. The focus shifts to the other group as the Confederates stop marching and the Union soldiers begin.)

Johnny: Be brave, boys.
Jim: We're always brave!
William: Just ease up on your trigger finger, buddy. If I get shot, it's not gonna be by one of the fellows on our side—especially you, Jim.
Jim: What's that supposed to mean?
Dennis: It means "watch where you shoot". Just 'cause you've got a gun don't mean you can start a massacre.

(The Confederates start marching. Charlie and Tommy step forward out of the line, to DR and DL. Lights fade out as spotlights come up on both Charlie and Tommy. All other soldiers continue marching silently in place.)

Charlie: Honestly, I would rather be anywhere else than here. I became a doctor because I wanted to save people; soldiers kill. I became a doctor because doctors couldn't save my little brother, George. When I was ten and my brother was four, we both got sick. I was older, so I got better by the second time the doctor visited. But after four or five visits, it was clear that my brother wasn't gonna make it. We buried him next to the red maple where we used to sit and play Scissors, Paper, Stone. It's been twelve years, but I still remember my little brother. I remember that he always seemed to know when I was sad, and he would come up and hug me around the legs 'cause he couldn't reach higher than that. George always knew how to cheer me up, so that's why I fight. To save other kids' brothers. For George.
Tommy: I was the kid in my town who everyone knew and—apparently—liked and trusted. A lot of people came to me for advice on personal topics—relationships and suchlike. It's kinda surprising that they'd ask me 'cause I dropped outta school. The other kids were always better than me, an' it was hard bein' the dumbest kid in the class. I got more respect as an advisor, and people started payin' me for it after a while. Then the war came. I signed up of my own free will, but not for myself. I used to have this brother, see. He was six years older than me an' his name was Richard. Went off to fight a while ago, came home in a coffin. He was always lookin' out for me, 'specially when I got into fights. Richard would always patch me up or take care of me when I was sick. We buried him next to the river where he used to take me fishin'. I fight in honor of my broth—
Benny (unknowingly interrupting Tommy): Rebels!

(The two groups look at each other. All shift position into some form of defensive grouping. The boys who have guns lift them; those who do not raise their fists in a fighting stance. Jim fires a shot without waiting for an order. It misses, but before anyone has time to react, he reloads and shoots again. This second shot hits Roger, who collapses.)

Dennis (panicked): Roger! (He shoves the other guys out of the way and runs to Roger's side.)
Jim
: Ha! Got 'im!
Johnny (calling after Dennis): Dennis, what are you doing?

(Charlie also bends down next to Roger, still holding his gun. Michael raises his rifle and fires at Jim, hitting the other boy in the stomach. Jim reloads and shoots Michael in the heart. Michael instantly falls over, dead. Tommy bends down next to Jim, but it's too late; Jim collapses, also dead. Sam fires at Johnny and hits him in the foot; William holds up his hands in surrender. Sam turns back to Charlie.)

Sam: What's the damage?
Charlie: We gotta get him back to camp.
Sam: I'll carry him. (He hands his gun to Benny and gestures at the Confederates.) The rest of 'em are prisoners. Let's go.
Benny: What about Michael?
Charlie: Benny, he took that bullet to the heart. No way he's gonna make it. Roger's got a chance. (He grabs Michael's fallen gun.) C'mon, we gotta get back, it's the only way I can save him.
Johnny: Tommy, is Jim—?
Tommy (shaking his head): Sorry, Johnny. He bled out 'fore I could do anything.
Johnny: You did your best.
Tommy: We just gonna leave 'im there?
William: There's nothing else to do for him…'cept one of us'll have to write his fam'ly.
Tommy: I'll do it. Jim was my friend an' I owe him that.

(Benny and Charlie move behind the Confederates, guns aimed at them. Charlie takes the Confederates' weapons. Sam stands up, supporting Roger, and they all start walking off left, the Confederates except Dennis being prodded by Benny's and Charlie's guns. Dennis trails right behind Sam, staring at Roger with an anguished look. The curtain closes on the bodies of Michael and Jim.)


SCENE TWO

(Curtain opens. The bodies of Michael and Jim are no longer on the stage. The lights are up on the Union side of the stage. Roger is lying on the cot. Dennis is kneeling at L of Roger; Charlie is on the other side of the cot. Sam is standing near the fire pit, watching those three. The others are in a Union tent.)

Dennis: How is he?
Charlie: I've done everything that I can.
Dennis: Well, yeah, but—is he gonna be okay?
Charlie: We'll have to see. (Suspiciously) How would you know Roger?

(Dennis looks between Charlie and Sam, at a total loss for words.)

Sam: I think I know.
Charlie: And how is that?

(Lights go down; Sam and Charlie freeze. A spotlight comes up on Dennis.)

Dennis: I told him. I told him, I knew this would happen, it was too risky… now I got the rest of the unit captured, but I somehow feel that if Roger's okay, everything will be fine. Only it won't be, of course, because what am I gonna say when they talk to me? I sure can't tell 'em the truth, they'd execute me or something. But what lie will they believe? And if he's not okay…then, Lord, I'd rather those Union fighters just shoot me. If I go to hell…at least I'd see Roger again. He promised. (He starts to pray.) God, I know you're prob'ly not too pleased with me right now, but if You let Roger live, I'll read the Gospel ev'ry Sunday for the rest of my life. Amen.

(He turns back to Roger, the lights come back up on the Union camp, and the scene continues.)

Sam: I think they—

(Before he can speak, Benny walks out of one of the tents, with Johnny, William, and Tommy behind him. Johnny's foot is bandaged.)

Benny: How's he doin'?
Charlie: He's not dead. No sign of improvement, but he's not getting worse. It's a start.
Benny: Lord. I heard stories about fights like this, but I never thought I'd end up in one of 'em. Poor Michael.
William: As much as I hate to say it, I'm glad it was Jim and not me. I mean, I ain't cruel or nothin', but I got people countin' on me to come back home.
Tommy (sarcastically): Yeah, like your girlfriend.
William (embarrassed): Shut up.
Benny: I got one, too. Her name's Martha. I'm gonna marry her, soon as I get back. (He glances at Roger.) If I get back.
William: I know what you mean. My gal, Betsy, is waitin' on me, too. I don't want her to be the girl who ends up a spinster 'cause her fiancée died on the battlefield.
Benny: It's just too unpredictable. I just didn't see any one of us dying. Now…
William: …I don't wanna risk losin' my life for this.

(They share a look of understanding. There is a long pause, and then…)

William: I'm outta here! (He takes off running and exits L. The others stare after him incredulously but make no move to stop him.)
Benny
: Me too, fellows. (Sam and Charlie protest at the same time.)
Charlie
: What do you mean, "you, too"?
Sam (simultaneously): You can't just walk out!
Benny (cutting them both off): I'm going, you two. There's someone waiting for me at home, and I'm not hanging around this graveyard any longer. Best of luck—to Roger, too.
Sam: If you leave, it makes you a deserter.
Benny: If that's what it takes to get me back to Martha, so be it. (He walks off R.)
Johnny (disbelievingly to Sam)
: You gonna let him walk off?
Sam: Sure. Nothing I say is gonna keep him here. What else could I do, shoot him? I want that boy to go home to his sweetheart.
Tommy: It's his life; I guess he's allowed to do whatever he wants.
Charlie: Think he'll make it there?
Sam: I'm sure of it.

(Lights go down on the Union campsite and come up C. Martha and Betsy walk onto their porches. Martha does not react to the conversation between Betsy and William.)

William (yelling from off L): Betsy!
Betsy (looking over): William? (He runs onstage and onto the porch.) William, you're—you're back!
William (embracing her): And I'm not going away again, either. (He picks her up bridal style and carries her inside the house.)
Benny (yelling from off R)
: Martha!
Martha (suddenly alert): Is that…it couldn't be…Benny?
Benny (running onstage and coming up to her): Martha Davison, I love you and I want to know—(He drops to one knee) Would do me the honor of becoming my wife?

(Martha runs down to Benny, hugging him.)

Martha: Yes! Yes, of course, a hundred times "yes"!

(He kisses her on the cheek and they walk into her house, arms around each other. Lights go down at C and come up on the Union camp. Johnny, Sam, and Dennis are closely watching Roger; Charlie has stood up.)

Tommy (to Charlie): I can't help thinking you remind me of someone. Yer from the north, a'course, so I don't know how that could be…
Charlie: No, you seem familiar to me, too. What's your name?
Tommy: Tommy—it's short for Thomas, Thomas Grant.
Charlie: My name's Charlie—a nickname for Charles Bishop.
Tommy: Y'remind me of my brother—his name was Richard, an' he was a doctor like you. Well…he wanted to be a doctor. Died fightin', though.
Charlie: Isn't that strange—I had a brother who died as well. How far apart were you in years?
Tommy: Six—he was older than me.
Charlie: There's another coincidence. My brother was six years younger. His name was George. And something about you…just makes me think of him.
Tommy (changing subject): Well, God, I don't wanna hang around here no more. I'm not gonna die like Richard. Ma and Pa would be real happy if I came home now—they was scared the second I went off. Didn't want me to end up like my brother. You got a family to go home to?
Charlie: As of last year, I'm an orphan.
Tommy: No relatives?
Charlie: Nope.
Tommy: Well, then, how'd…how'd you like to come back with me?

(Sam and Johnny look at Tommy sharply, but he doesn't notice. Dennis is too preoccupied with Roger to look around. Charlie looks surprised.)

Charlie: Would—would they want someone like me? A Northerner? I mean, they wouldn't shoot me when I walked into your town or something?
Tommy: Not my parents. They don' even care 'bout the war. Only reason I went off is 'cause my brother did.
Charlie: And the other townspeople?
Tommy: I guess you'd have to convince them you'd switched sides, or at least that you didn't care. An' hey, our town needs a new doctor. I got a letter from home not too long ago saying the old doctor died.
Charlie: Well…all right. Better than hanging around here. (Waving) Bye, Sam, hope everything works out for you. Roger, too.
Dennis: Wait—you're the doctor! (Gesticulating at Roger) You have to make sure he's gonna be okay!
Charlie: I've done everything that I can. If he wakes up in the next two hours, I can tell you he's gonna be just fine.
Dennis: And if he doesn't?
Charlie: It's out of my hands.
Tommy: Bye, Dennis, Johnny. If ya wanna come visit, we'll be in Greensboro. C'mon, Charlie, let's go.

(Tommy and Charlie exit L. There is a pause in which Dennis returns his attention to Roger, and Sam and Johnny look at each other awkwardly.)

Johnny (suspiciously): So, uh…how do you know this kid, Dennis?

(Dennis looks at Johnny nervously. He opens his mouth and then closes it without speaking, unsure of what to say. He looks back at Roger.)

Johnny (knowingly): I thought that was it.
Sam: You picked up on it?
Johnny: Wasn't hard.

(Roger stirs. All attention shift to him. He suddenly sits up and opens his eyes.)

Roger: Dennis! Dennis, what're you—?
Dennis: Roger! (He hugs Roger.) Lord, Roger, I was so scared, I thought you was gonna die.
Roger: What happened? How are you here—in our camp? In—in daylight… (He looks up at Sam and Johnny.) With them here?
Sam: What's the last thing you remember, Roger?
Roger: Well…We were going into battle, I remember that. I was really worried for Denn… (catching himself) us, 'cause I was scared he… someone would get shot. And we marched up and I saw Dennis—then a gun went off and he yelled something I didn't quite hear… next thing I know, I'm waking up here. (Looking between Sam and Dennis,) What happened? Is anyone dead? Where is everyone else? Are…are we the only ones who survived?
Johnny: Ev'ryone else ran off. Least, four of 'em did.
Roger: Who're you?
Dennis: Oh—Roger, this' Johnny. He's in charge of my unit.
Johnny: I was, anyway.
Roger: Sam's the head of ours. (To Sam) What happened to the others?
Sam: Benny ran off home to his girlfriend. Charlie decided to go to Greensboro with one of the…Confederate kids.
Johnny (nodding): Tommy.
Roger (still to Sam; nervously): An' Michael?

(A pause.)

Sam: Michael…Michael wasn't as lucky as you, Roger.
Roger: You mean—? (Sam nods.) Poor Michael.
Sam: I'll send a letter home to his fam'ly soon as I can.

(Roger nods.)

Roger: But when you said Michael wasn't as lucky as me…?
Dennis: You got shot, Roger. I was afraid you'd die.
Roger: Well, how come I'm here and Michael's not? That's…it's not fair.
Sam: He got shot in the heart. You'd only been shot in the stomach—an' Charlie was able to stop the bleedin' before it got too bad.
Roger: Wish I could thank him. (Another pause.) So…so now what? Are we just gonna stay here? (Looking at Dennis and Johnny) All of us?
Johnny (to Dennis and Roger): Wouldn't blame y'all if you two deserted. Might as well—trust me, there ain't nothing for ya on either side of this war.
Dennis: We could go west.
Roger (repeating numbly): West…
Dennis: Yeah! There's no one much out there—we could live however we want!
Roger: You mean… you'd wanna come with me?
Dennis: I'd go anywhere with you.

(Sam and Johnny look at each other awkwardly. Dennis helps Roger to his feet.)

Dennis (to Sam): Thanks for… for havin' that other soldier help Roger. I don't know what I'd do if somethin' happened to him.
Sam: You take good care of him, all right?
Dennis (cheerfully): Yes, sir!
Johnny (to Roger): Same goes for you. Break my boy's heart, you'll have me to answer to.
Roger: I could never do that.
Johnny: I trust you, kid.
Sam (handing a gun to each Dennis and Roger): Take these—you'll need 'em in the wilderness.
Dennis (reluctantly accepting): I've seen enough 'a these… but thanks. We'll need 'em.
Johnny: Neither of your fam'lies gonna mind that you're runnin' off?
Dennis: My fam'ly disowned me for… (He grins at Roger) Personal reasons.
Roger (dawning smile): I'm an orphan.
Johnny: Best of luck, then.
Dennis: Bye, Sam, Johnny!
Roger: Thanks for everything!

(Dennis and Roger exit R, holding hands.)

Johnny: So…how long did you know?
Sam: What—about Roger? (Johnny nods.) I dunno…maybe four, five months?
Johnny: Lord. I only figured it out three weeks ago. Somethin' in the way he looked at th'other fellows tipped me off.
Sam: How long has your unit been campin' here?
Johnny: Two months.
Sam: We've only been here a month. They must've met up at night—Roger always seemed a little too excited to go on guard duty.
Johnny (nodding): Dennis was our night guard, too.
Sam: So what're you gonna do with yourself now?
Johnny: No clue. General Greens is s'posed to come an' check our base sometime soon.
Sam: Same with our general—General Jennings. Wonder what he's gonna do when he shows up an' it's just me here.
Johnny: Greens'll have my head if he finds out I let the rest of 'em desert.
Sam: Why didja do that?
Johnny (shrugs): This is a stupid war. I don't care what they do, long as they've got their life. An' I've gotten pretty fond of these kids. Don't wanna see 'em die at this age…like Jim.
Sam: Same…sorry about Jim, by-the-by.
Johnny: Sorry about your kid, too. Name was Michael, right?
Sam: Yeah… (thoughtfully) Y'know… we could just go home.
Johnny: Leave the generals to find nothing?
Sam: It's not like my gettin' scolded is gonna help anyone.
Johnny: I like the way you think. (Offering a hand to Sam,) Nice meetin' you, Sam.
Sam (shaking his hand): You, too, Johnny.

(They exit: Johnny leaving L and Sam exiting R. Full lights up. There is a pause; then, two men enter. General Jennings, a Union general, comes on R, and General Greens, a Confederate general, enters L. Both have guns. They look around the camps in confusion, wandering towards C. When they see each other, they march up to and aim their guns at each other.)

Jennings and Greens: Attack!

(They look around, realize that there are no soldiers, and lower their guns, standing awkwardly facing each other. There is a pause.)

Jennings: So…I've never really fought without an army before.
Greens: Same goes for me. (A pause. Making an offer,) We could just…shoot.
Jennings: Where's the honor in that?
Greens (surprised): You're right—I never thought about it that way. (Another pause.) We could go to the pub.
Jennings: Sure, that sounds fine.

(They each start walking off on their own side. Realizing the other is not with him, both men turn around and start yelling at the other to come to the pub on his side. Curtain closes on them arguing about whose pub is better.)

THE END.