kiss the rain.

This is a short play I wrote in the summer of 2017 on a flight to London.

PROLOGUE

VERNON

You fly enough, you start forming habits to make it easier. Sandals instead of shoes. No belt, so you don’t have to take it off for security. A light jacket for the plane, easy to slip on. You memorize airport codes- MCO to ATL, layover until the flight to LAX. Headphones, not earphones, for your iPod with 2,000 songs on it. Your ID and boarding pass in the front left pocket, your phone and portable charging case in the right. Gum, so your ears don’t pop. Habits make things more efficient, and you waste less time. Takeoff is second nature, you stop feeling your stomach drop, the ground disappearing to the clouds isn’t special anymore, so you keep the window closed. The sky is your home now. You have to get used to it. You can find a bathroom in the airport easier than your own house, because you spend more time there. You fly the same company every time so frequent flyer miles accumulate. The only thing you don’t get used to is how small the seats are… and no one can help you there.

JULIA

Flying, to put it simply, is the greatest thing in the world. The plane builds up speed and all at once lifts off the ground and you see the land and lakes and mountains turns to smudges underneath you. Water drops rush against the windows and get carried away by the speed. A giant metal bird that only eats gasoline carries you anywhere in the world! Dallas to Seattle in four hours. New York to Hong Kong in sixteen. Flight is the greatest pleasure in life, and airport culture is the second.

VERNON

Rule one of airports is don’t say “bomb”, “gun”, or anything else about explosives. Don’t make a scene in any way. Rule two is don’t talk to anyone you don’t know, they don’t care.

JULIA

Everyone goes to the airport. The plane may separate us by class, but the airport can’t. One or two companies may have lounges, but the rest? Mr. Business can slum it in the boarding area with the rest of us. Think about the stories he has to tell, too!

VERNON

I emphasize rule two- do NOT speak to strangers.

JULIA

People in airports can change you.

VERNON

Don’t. Speak.

SCENE 1

(Vernon sits alone, reserving the seat next to him with one of his belongings to make sure no one sits. He wears headphones. Julia enters.)

JULIA

Excuse me?

(she leans into his line of sight, he removes his headphones.)

Is this seat saved?

VERNON

Yes, sorry.

JULIA

No worries, I’m fine standing.

(Vernon puts the headphones back on. She waits a moment and taps him again. He removes the headphones again.)

Where are you going?

VERNON

Away. If I’m lucky, soon.

JULIA

Well everyone is here to go away, that’s nothing new. Who wants to be cramped up inside all day. Traveling?

VERNON

Business. I don’t travel.

JULIA

I don’t know what you expect to remember in life if you don’t see the world… like my dad said, don’t let a day go by you don’t kiss the rain. You never know when the clouds will be gone. He got that from a song, I think.

VERNON

That’s nice, but my carry-on has an umbrella.

JULIA

Lighten up Gabe, you’re killing me here.

VERNON

I’m sorry if you think I’m someone you know named Gabe, I’m not.

JULIA

No, I know, you just haven’t told me your name yet, so I figured I’d guess. I’m Julia. Call me Jules.

VERNON

(finally smiling)

I’m Vernon. You can call me that.

JULIA

Whatever you say, Verne. What are you in the business of?

VERNON

Infrastructure analysis. I make sure buildings and highways don’t collapse.

JULIA

How fun is that?

VERNON

It pays well.

JULIA

And if you spend all day in the air, what good is money? A cheese tray at thirty thousand feet isn’t exactly great riches.

VERNON

We can’t all have the luxury to travel our lives away, excuse me. What work do you have that gets you to your exotic locales with time to play?

JULIA

I’m actually a pilot, what, think women can’t have manly jobs? I’m shocked V, simply shocked.

VERNON

What?

JULIA

I’m joking! Joking, please. Actually, my dad died when my brother and I were pretty young. He had a big life insurance plan set up for us, just in case.

VERNON

I lost my dad young as well, I’m sorry-

JULIA

Don’t be sorry, don’t be sorry! It’s fine, I swear. It may not be if you miss your flight though, aren’t you boarding?

VERNON

God, I am. I have to go. But… would you take my card? Here, maybe we’ll see each other again.

JULIA

If you’re lucky. See you around… and don’t forget- kiss the rain.

END OF SCENE 1

SCENE 2

(Julia and Vernon stand on their phones on opposite sides of the stage)

VERNON

You wouldn’t happen to be at ORD?

JULIA

Verne, I have no idea what the codes of the airports are, I need a city.

VERNON

Chicago.

JULIA

No way, you’re in the Windy City too? …I have a brother there!

VERNON

Does he have a sister here right now?

JULIA

I fly out of Vancouver next week, I’ll try you then. Kiss the rain, V.

(they hang up, and redial)

Coming at you live from Portland, Oregon, it’s the Jules Variety Hour!

VERNON

Can I tune in from Phoenix?

JULIA

Sorry listener, we only cater to all the greatness Portland has, like coffee shops and vinyl records!

VERNON

Those still exist? I’ll try again Friday.

(hang up, redial)

Newark, New Jersey! You?

JULIA

No way, no way! I’m at Newark later today! I’ll get there in an hour, when’s your flight?

VERNON

It’s a layover, so no more than 30 minutes, I’m at the gate now.

JULIA

Aww, fate fell short this time, huh? Whatever Verne, just make sure you kiss the rain.

VERNON

Yeah… just like always.

(hang up, redial)

JULIA

How’s Juneau, besides cold?

VERNON

There isn’t a besides cold. Hold on, I’m about to go through security.

JULIA

I can call back, talk soon!

VERNON

Wait, Jules.

JULES

Hey, you called me it! Did I finally melt that heart of ice?

VERNON

What? No… last week, you said something about fate, what’d you mean by that?

JULES

That was just from some song. Guess lots of what I say is.

VERNON

But what did you mean, fate?

JULES

I’m just kissing the rain Verne. You know why.

VERNON

Cause you never know when the clouds may leave. What’s the name of the song that’s from?

JULES

No idea, I think hearing it may ruin it at this point. Hope today goes well for you.

VERNON

Yeah… yeah, thank you. See you soon.

END OF SCENE 2

SCENE 3

(Vernon sits alone again, dials his phone and talks to an offstage Jules)

VERNON

Jules-

JULES

Hey! Guess what I’m looking at right now!

VERNON

Can we talk?

JULES

Is that what this is called? I’ve heard of it once or twice.

VERNON

I’m being serious.

JULES

I’m being Jules, what’s new?

VERNON

Knock it off for a moment-

JULES

Knock what off Verne, my personality? I know you’ve never been a fan, but geez.

VERNON

It’s Vernon. We need to stop this.

JULES

Stop what?

VERNON

This emotional affair we’re playing around with.

JULES

I-

VERNON

No, just listen. I don’t want to know where you are, I don’t want you to know where I am. The world is a huge place, but if you wanted to see me again you know you could’ve, instead of stringing me along like this.

JULES

You’re putting an awful lot of thought into this Verne.

VERNON

It’s Vernon

JULES

Are you just scared to open up? It’s alright, just kiss the-

VERNON

Stop saying that! That’s not the name of the song, it’s glycerine, Julia, glycerine, do you know what that is? Nitroglycerin is what makes dynamite explode, it’s the powder in bombs! Packed all tight until it’s set off! Bang, bang, get it?! It’s not romantic, it’s a chemical, and it ends things before they have half a chance to even get started! Your dad added that nonsense about clouds after he misheard some lyrics, it’s meaningless!

JULES

The way you described glycerine… who does that remind you of?

VERNON

No, no. I need you to just stop. Don’t call me, don’t contact me, don’t look for me. Goodbye, Julia.

JULES

Kiss the rain, Verne.

(beat, hangup)

VERNON

She made me feel like I could fly… and I blew up on her.

(he puts his head in his hands. Waits. He picks up the phone and redials.)

Please.

(as it rings, slow fade to darkness. Stops ringing at total blackout. Beat. Lights flash back on, and Jules is standing next to him.)

JULES

You called?

END

kiss the rain.

If you’re interested in staging your own production of this script, contact us at MisfitMementos@gmail.com.