A Burning Secret

By Meaghan

 

Characters:  STRIKE the Match – Male

                   16 years in match years (365 days)

 

                    THIRSTY the Red “Solo” Cup – Female

                   15 years in cup years (300 days)

 

Setting:        In a garage, on the surface of a homemade wooden tool table. There is loud music playing, people socializing, bright lights and smoke in the air.

 

Time:          10:00 pm on a summer night.

 

At Rise:      STRIKE the Match is on fire, lit and being held above THIRSTY the cup, already full of ashes and used matches, about to be put out. 

 

 

STRIKE

(Confident) It’s really me. Can you believe it?! I am the lucky, last, match.

 

THIRSTY

(Monotone) Yup it’s you, Strike. Congratulations, your flame looks amazing.

 

STRIKE

(Flattered) Thanks, I feel amazing and more alive than I ever have.  My life will have meaning after all… Once this guy makes his wish, I’ll be put out and on my way to match heaven.

 

THIRSTY

(Hesitant) Yeah… ya know, this probably isn’t the best time to bring this up, and I really am happy for you – being the lucky match and all – but – you know I want to be a drinking cup. Every little bit of ash dumped into me, every cigarette butt spoiling my plastic, and every match sizzling in my water, ruins me.  Do you realize that helping you is hurting me? I can’t be a drinking cup with thousands of chemicals polluting me. Once the damage is done, there’s no going back.  The worst part is I’m not in control of my own state of being.

 

STRIKE

(Upset/unwanted) Why tell me now?  This entire time I’ve been depending on you. We were going to grant this boy’s wish.  You think I wouldn’t have cared how you feel?  You are my best friend, Thirsty, and now at the very last flicker you decide to break the news that you’re actually not in this with me?

 

THIRSTY

I have been supportive because I know that being the lucky match is the highest honor in a match’s life.  But I have also shared with you my dream of being a drinking cup once more.  I hate being a dirty, smelly, trash-filled cup.  Back when I was a punch-pong cup I was happy.  Now I feel like an ash tray.  This is not who I am.  Understand where I’m coming from.

 

STRIKE

(Burdened) I’m sorry Thirsty; I know you don’t want to be used as an ash-trash cup.  You’re better than that, with your shiny red plastic. It’s just that this is how I met you, and I think it would be wonderful to share with you my only chance to grant a wish.

 

THIRSTY

I don’t want to help you; I want to be a drinking cup!!

 

STRIKE

(Stressed) I’m halfway burnt out. Ouch! These kids should know not to play with fire.  In a few seconds I will need to be dropped.  Since you think your dream of being a drained out, old drinking cup is soooo much more important than making a young boys wish come true, tip yourself over.  I’ll die in the dirt – outside – by myself.

 

THIRSTY

Oh Strike, don’t put me in this position.  Even if I do tip myself, they’ll probably just fill me back up for more ashes.  It would be pointless not to help you, but in the bigger picture: I don’t want to help any match.  (Mesmerized) Your flame is truly beautiful, the biggest I’ve seen – would be a sweet sizzle in my murky water. 

 

STRIKE

(Troubled) What’s that supposed to mean?? You say you don’t want to help any match, and yet it sounds like you love the feeling of our smoke rising…

 

THIRSTY

(Embarrassed) Um … Uhh … that is not what it sounded like.  I was complimenting you.  This is the moment you’ve been waiting for, for an entire 365 days.  It’s incredible to see you in this light.

 

STRIKE

(Awkward) I’m not drinking’ that… (Understanding slowly) I think you like the way putting out fire feels!!  You may not like being the cup used for ashes and matches, while you’re other friends are always full of delightful, tasty, slurps, but you definitely enjoy the hot feeling inside.

 

THIRSTY

(Harassed) Seriously?! You know I wouldn’t ever be able to enjoy killing matches. How dare you! Usually I’m full of fruity punch and ice cubes.  Is it that bad to find peace in some warmth?  Like I said though, I do not, and will not ever enjoy killing a match.

 

STRIKE

I think you should tip over now spill all that nasty goo you’re filling up with.  I will be better off in the dirt.  I’ve had enough heat for one night.  I can grant this wish on my own, without your infamous punch-pong luck. (Proud) I AM THE LUCKY MATCH!

 

THIRSTY

(Puzzled) Strike, that’s a very harsh thing to say.  I know you are able to grant the wish on your own, you are a strong-willed match, with a lot of power.  But maybe I can help you.  I want to be a part of this… of your purpose in life.

 

STRIKE

(Sarcastic) HA-HA. Now you want to help? Be a part of my “purpose” in life? Just cause I found out about your strange enjoyment of my species death.  Uhh, I don’t burn that way.

 

THIRSTY

(Mad) You’ve got no choice.  I’m not tipping myself, and we’re not outside. Your flame is going out in my water whether you like it or not anymore.  We are going to grant this kid’s wish together.  Don’t give up on your life’s meaning because of me.  I can’t let you die mad at me.

 

STRIKE

You’re a selfish, slimy, sorry excuse for a cup AND a friend. To ashes with you!

 

(A young girl knocks into the tool table. Thirsty’s rim becomes unsteady, she is falling.)

 

THIRSTY

(Yelling) STRIKE!

 

(She is spilled. The finger holding Strike start to burn he drops the match on the water covered table.)

STRIKE

(Overwhelmed) This is it! Thirsty, I’m ready… but ready for magic, not just death.  My life as a match has been so stressful and finally the deciding moment has come.

 

(Thirsty is rolling around on the floor.  Magical smoke is spiraling in the air from Strike’s left over wood.  He is soaked in the puddle.  The boy who dropped Strike picks up Thirsty.)

 

THIRSTY

(Defeated) Oh my Solo! He is gone.  (Realization) The smoke – my water – the wish – it worked!!

 

(The girl, who knocked into the table, tipping Thirsty, grabs her and announces that this must be the new lucky cup for the next game of punch-pong and heads to the kitchen to be washed.)

 

THIRSTY

(Perplexed/excited) Did I just hear what I think I heard?!?!  I’m playing in the next game of punch-pong??  I guess it’s me and Strike’s lucky day!

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