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SCENE SIX (the final scene) of The Breakdown

So, what would you do?

Jim - When trouble comes, I don't know if I can kill a person.

Mark - I guess it depends on whether you want to live or not.

Timmy - Hey Jim. Can I look at yer slingshot?

Jim - Sure. Look at this. It even has a wrist brace to hold your arm straight. It has three bands for extra power. It can even shoot arrows, if you have them. But all I've got is steel ball ammo. They say it can shoot ammo at 117 feet per second velocity.

Timmy - How fast is that?

Jim - They say some baseball pitchers can throw at 100 miles per hour. This slingshot would be about 78 or 80 miles per hour.

Timmy - I've got a slingshot back home, but not as good as this. It's cut from the fork of a hickory branch that my dad found. The rubber band was hard to git. My Pa had to go into town and find an old rubber innertube. I got so I could plink a squirrel with it sometimes, but it ain't easy.

Jim - I'm not out to kill anybody, but I think if you hit a guy in the face with this thing, you might put an eye out.

Timmy - I was out in the woods one day when I was just a little kid...

Ginnylou - Dammit Timmy! Yer still wet behind the ears, and ya talk like yer a hunnert.

Timmy - I saw sumpthin' round up in the Old Indian tree, and I plinked it with my slingshot. Turned out it was a hornet's nest. Some of 'em came after me, and I took off runnin'.

Emma - Kids are always poking at a hornet's nest.

Timmy - I slowed down cuz I stubbed my toe real bad on a rock while I was swattin' the backa my neck. My pa said, "Well, that'll learn ya. In fact, it's yer lucky day, cuz yer gonna learn four things. Don't go pokin' at a hornet's nest; watch where yer runnin'; dab mud on a sting; and wrap a hurt toe up in a rag wet with corn squeezins."

Emma - What do you mean by the "Old Indian" tree?

Timmy - It's a big old oak tree. It must be real real old. Pa said his great, great grandpa found an old Indian one day, just sittin' there in a blanket, leanin' back on the tree. The old Indian said the White Man would destroy himself and the whole world, cuz he had no respect for the land. So we call it the Old Indian tree.

Jerry - I thought people were saying we'd get out of this mess. And now we're talking about killing people, and blowing up the world.

Mark - Nobody likes getting the short end of the stick and losing everything.

The sun was setting. The little campfire was putting out some heat, and people were getting sleepy. But all of a sudden, there was a rumble of shooting coming from the


Jim - That can't be thunder, can it?

Mark - No. It's a battle. I'll bet it's the Goppers from the mall, attacking the camp at the airport.

The shooting lasted about fifteen minutes, and then dwindled down to sporadic gunfire.

Mark - That sounds like mop-up work. I think the battle is over.

Dan - So Soon? That didn't take long.

Mark - These guys are aggressive. Here comes some headlights already.

Carl - You would think they would go home and lick their wounds after all that.

Jerry - Look. They're checking out those houses down on Cadmus Road.

Abby - Look there! There's some people running up Cadmus from those houses. Some of them are headed up here.

Emma - Everybody get to your battle station.

Mark - They're probably just folks like us. Let 'em in. It's the other ones chasing them that I'm worried about.

The string of headlights continued up Cadmus Road in pursuit of the escapees. The end three sets of headlights broke off and started up the hill of Whig Highway.

Mark - Okay people. Take your safe positions. I'll go out and try to talk to them, but if I reach up to adjust my cap, it means we're in dire trouble.

Manuel took a position across the road behind a stout stump. He rested his big 10 gauge goose gun on the stump. He had two shells chambered, and set four more on end up on the stump for quick access.

Manuel - Un ojo por ojo. Este es para mi familia. (An eye for an eye. This is for my family).

Jim - Hand me one of those damned shotguns.

Timmy - Can I use yer slingshot? I can hit squirrels back home. Maybe I can blind 'em.

Jim - Yeah. Here. And take this sack of ammo. I'm tired of lugging it. These guys are gonna be like the hornets.

Mark stepped out to the edge of the road and stood waiting for the trucks to arrive.


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