(Lights up. It is a classroom in an average midwestern small-town high school. The classroom, however, is anything but average. The walls are festooned with posters, pictures, buttons, cabinets, shelves, all displaying historical artifacts in a garish sensory assault. Upstage left is a door leading into the hallway, and upstage center is a small table with two chairs, some cups, and a coffee maker. SR is a desk, basic teacher fare, adorned with a laptop and other ridiculous historical bric-a-brac. At the desk is a young man, mid-twenties/early thirties, pouring over the laptop, typing animatedly. Every once in a while he will pause, lean back, gesticulate feebly, then continue typing as inspiration strikes. He is dressed somewhat eclectically, but befitting of such a brilliant classroom. In his sweatervest and small glasses, he looks every bit the turn-of-the-last-century scholar.
Behind him stands a man: tall, proud, confident, it is MR. SCOTT HOSIER. In contrast to the portly seated one, he is lankier, but his build also suggests an athletic background. Around mid-thirties, perhaps approaching his forties. He is clean shaven, as opposed to the other’s goatee; and his hair is short, slightly receding in a widow’s peak, opposed to the other’s middle-parted, longer coif. His shoes are enormous wingtips, and he rocks back and forth on them as he watches the other type. Finally, it appears as if the AUTHOR has hit a road block, and he begins to writhe slightly in frustration of a lost term. MR. HOSIER, grinning, leans down and whispers:
MR. HOSIER: Armistead.
AUTHOR: (startled) What?!
MR. HOSIER: Armistead. Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead. You’re trying to ask which three forces lead Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. Garnett, Kemper…and Armistead.
AUTHOR: Right! Armistead. Old–
MR. HOSIER: Old Lo, short for “Lothario–”
AUTHOR: Which was ironic because he was a widower and not much of a ladies man.
MR. HOSIER: (nodding) Kudos to you.
AUTHOR: (grinning) I had a good teacher.
(a beat. The AUTHOR goes back to typing his quiz)
AUTHOR: (after a sigh) I’ve got to say, I always hoped we’d work together, but I never quite pictured it this way.
MR. HOSIER: That’s life. (he points to the screen) Armistead has an “a” there.
AUTHOR: Oh, right! Duh!
(a beat. He fixes the error)
MR. HOSIER: So, Gettysburg…
MR. HOSIER: Whatcha got?
AUTHOR: Oh, the usual: lecture, visual aids, a few letters…oh! And this…
(he reaches into the lower drawer of the desk and pulls out a shoebox, placing it on the top of the desk. MR. HOSIER eyes it quizzically)
MR. HOSIER: …a shoebox?
AUTHOR: (grinning) Guess what’s in it!
MR. HOSIER: I’m going to go ahead and say “shoes…”
AUTHOR: Not just any shoes! (he pulls out two mud-caked sneakers) Recognize these?!
MR. HOSIER: (shrugs) Not really…
AUTHOR: (mock sincerity) Oh, I’m crushed. (nostalgic bliss) No, seriously, I wore these shoes at Gettysburg. Remember how nasty it was that day, all muddy and rainy? Well, I brought my old work shoes just for the occasion, and they got messed up all to hell. Instead of chuckin’ em or cleaning them off, I decided to save ’em for when I started teaching. Gives a bit of a personal edge to the lesson, ya know? Like that old French bolt-action your uncle took off a dead Viet Cong!
MR. HOSIER: I guess that was pretty powerful, wasn’t it?
AUTHOR: Not as much as that Japanese war flag. I swear, that one took my breath away!
MR. HOSIER: You know what? Me too.
(they both smile. a beat.)
AUTHOR: How come you never let me in on any of your stash?
MR. HOSIER: What?
AUTHOR: Your stash of historical goodies. Rifles, outfits, hardtack recipies. When you…when you went out of the game…stopped teaching, I was never even thought of.
MR. HOSIER: Well, everything just got so messed up then…
AUTHOR: Well, it probably didn’t help that I went incommunicado for so long…
AUTHOR: I really am sorry about that.
MR. HOSIER: Don’t worry about it.
AUTHOR: No, I mean it. Here I was, off gallivanting in college, and I just kinda…left you behind. You were my mentor, my inspiration, then I just…forgot about you.
MR. HOSIER: You were busy, starting a new life, you didn’t wanna get bogged down in the old dead-end town with your old teacher.
AUTHOR: (becoming agitated) I thought that too, and I figured you’d always be here to come back to. I figured I could be teaching some day, trying to do what you did for me, and if I was ever really stuck somewhere, I could call you and you could help me out! I was looking forward to create the best damn History classes the world had ever seen, we could have revolutionized it all… but then you quit!
MR. HOSIER: I didn’t quit, I–
AUTHOR: YES YOU DID! YOU QUIT! You were the best teacher I ever had, you were going to make me the best teacher some other kid ever had…then you quit…why?
MR. HOSIER: …
AUTHOR: WHY?! WHY DID YOU QUIT?! WHY DID YOU HAVE TO…TO…
(he stands up suddenly and whirls on MR. HOSIER who, despite being three inches taller, backs away.)
AUTHOR: Why did you have to die?