(The next thing heard is the gentle clack and roll of train tracks, and as light begins to filter in as HENRY opens his eyes, the first thing he sees is MR. BROWN, sitting next to him on a train car as it trundles through the countryside. There are only a few other passengers in the car, dreary and docile, nearly asleep themselves. It appears that Cecelia’s father is the only one fully conscious. HENRY, in a bid to match him, rockets up to a seating position and promptly becomes lightheaded.)
MR. BROWN: Easy, son, (he helps steady HENRY, still battered and bruised from just a few hours ago. HENRY lays back in the seat and rubs a raptorial arm across his lumped head.)
HENRY: Ugh, my head…
MR. BROWN: (opening a newspaper) Sit for a bit. You’ve had a rough night.
(HENRY thinks back to the attack and hangs his head.)
HENRY: Suppose so.
(a beat. The train keeps rolling.)
HENRY: So we’re on a train.
MR. BROWN: (unimpressed from the other side of the newspaper)
HENRY: Are we going somewhere?
MR. BROWN: You are.
MR. BROWN: You should know. Seventeen-nine-thirty-one.
HENRY: (thinking a moment)
I’m going home?!
MR. BROWN: Consider it a vacation.
(another beat. The train keeps rolling.)
HENRY: Cecelia asked you to keep on eye on me, I suppose.
MR. BROWN: (still behind the newspaper)
HENRY: I did all this for her, you know. I really do lo–
MR. BROWN: (putting the paper down, his face serious.)
Listen, kid. I like you. You’re fun. But this crusading stuff, it’s gotta stop. You’re not going to help anyone. You’re not going to change anyone’s minds. When something like this happens, when its in so deep, it takes a long time, and I mean LONG time, to get it out. You’ve gotta start small, be quiet about it. You can’t just go shoving it in people’s faces, or they’ll shove their fists into yours, got it?
(HENRY nods, a little stricken. He answers like a scolded schoolboy.)
HENRY: Yes, sir.
(silence reigns for a little bit. The train keeps rolling.)
MR. BROWN: Don’t think I haven’t thought what you think, Henry. Cecelia’s mother married a fake fella, sent him packing, told the neighbors she scoffed him like it was Christmas dinner, and married me. She’s not the first to do it. She won’t be the last. Cecelia’s done it seven times already, you know that. It’s the way it is, and soon everyone will notice that they’re lying, and things will change, but you won’t help anything if you try to force it.
HENRY: (supremely frustrated) But…it’s stupid!
MR. BROWN: That’s life.
(the train begins to hiss as it slows down. MR. BROWN gazes up at a rising sun to the right.)
HENRY: (bitterly.) Perfect timing.
(The sun begins to illuminate the veritable forest of wild grass. We are now on the edges of the farmhouse yard, next to where the fields begin. No plow touches here, no lawn trimmer cuts the grass. A country haven, and decidedly rustic. The three remaining bugs shuffle to the station. MR. BROWN waits patiently for the next train back to the big city. HENRY is behind him, still not sure how to feel.)
HENRY: So what do I do?
MR. BROWN: Take a few days. Sit. Think.
HENRY: Am I supposed to have some great revelation?
MR. BROWN: Maybe.
HENRY: What if I don’t?
MR. BROWN: If you don’t, you don’t. That’s life.
HENRY: “That’s life?!” What kind of answer is that?
MR. BROWN: A real one.
(the train pulls in with a great hiss and clangor. MR. BROWN hops on and hollers from the doorway as the train pulls away.)
MR. BROWN: I’m pulling for you, kid. You and Cecelia could really be something. Just remember: you don’t always have to be the hero. See ya.
(the train pulls away, leaving HENRY: groggy, a little sleepy, and rather depressed, his bruises shining in the early morning light. After a few moments, and after the train has completely gone, he shuffles back into the station to the payphone.)
HENRY: (hearing a pickup) Mum? It’s me…I’m home.