William and Zera were childhood sweethearts who got married after high school. That’s where the joy in their lives ended! William was off to fight in Vietnam, in service to his country that asked thousands of young men to give up their lifestyles to become soldiers. Like so many other families, William and Zera’s lives were uprooted and changed forever. Torn apart by the war, they tried to hold on as best they could. When news came to Zera of William’s death, nothing could repair the pain she felt. Time seems to heal all wounds and soon Zera met Steve. Although she felt uneasy about it, Zera began dating Steve and they were married. Many years passed before Zera got the shock of her life. One day, there was a phone call, then a visit. When Zera opened her door, of course who should be standing there but William! Zera couldn’t believe it. Neither could Zera’s current husband, Steve, who actually served with William in the war. Zera was forced to make “a hard decision.” Who to continue her life with? Could you make such a choice? So, who does Zera choose? And what shocking conclusion does the author keep hidden until the very end? The book is a tribute to the spirit and strength of every human being and what makes people do the things they do. There is something with which every reader will be able to identify. The book combines love, war, loss, family, friendship, death and all of the elements of daily life that anyone could humanly experience.
|Publisher:||Book Venture Publishing LLC|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.32(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The action of the play takes place during and after the Vietnam War era, on Staten Island in the North Shore Area.
Anyone visiting from the other boroughs wouldn't believe Staten Island to be part of New York City because of the likeness it has to the suburbs and the fact it is surrounded by water, New Jersey, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.
Families were families always sitting down to the dinner table to enjoy meals together. Everyone on the Island knew each family in their neighborhood. Families socialized at church, the beaches, school, bus and boat rides, parties, special events, picnics in the parks, and especially on Friday and Saturday nights, at card parties and places selling chicken and fish dinners.
A historical event is about to take place causing a complete change that will create a heavy impact on American families, for which many were not prepared.
Young men average ages nineteen to twenty-six, will be shipped off to war in Vietnam, in Southeast Asia.
There are many stories to be told and chapters still to be written. Besides friendship this play surrounds the love of two childhood sweethearts, William and Zera.
WILLIAM AND ZERA, MARRIED AFTER GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL, HAVE RETURNED FROM THEIR HONEYMOON.
WILLIAM: (opening the door) I know it's not much but this is our new apartment.
ZERA: (standing in the doorway smiling gleefully) William, it's beautiful!
WILLIAM: (blocks doorway with his arms) Wait a minute, Zera, it has to be done the right way.
ZERA: (dazed) What, William?
WILLIAM: Just stand back and let me carry the bags in first. I'll come back for you. I have to carry you across the threshold.
(hurrying, he takes the bags inside and returns for Zera) See, that didn't take long.
ZERA: You didn't have to come back for me, I could have walked in.
WILLIAM: No, Zera, letting you walk in will bring bad luck.
ZERA: Are you sure you can handle me and our expected addition to the family?
WILLIAM: Sure I can, (carrying her inside, he quickly puts her down) now how was that?
ZERA: That was too fast, you didn't carry me far enough!
WILLIAM: The threshold is from out there to here. (he demonstrates to her by stepping out into the hall and back into the apartment) See, it's not far.
ZERA: So I noticed.
WILLIAM: Zera, come on, let's sit down and relax for a minute on the sofa. Can I get you anything?
ZERA: Yes, you can.
ZERA: I have a craving for pickles.
WILLIAM: (aloud) Pickles! (William laughs) pickles, pickles! Are you kidding, Zera, at this time of the night?
ZERA: Well, what's so funny about craving for pickles? I'm expecting, don't you remember?
WILLIAM: Of course I remember, but we don't have any pickles in the apartment. I'll go to the store right now and buy some.
ZERA: You don't have to go now, it's late, I can wait until tomorrow.
Give me a kiss. (they kiss and she takes William's hand and places it on her stomach) Do you feel that?
WILLIAM: (looking at Zera) I don't feel anything.
ZERA: It's the baby. It's moving. (looking into William's eyes) William our honeymoon at Atlantic City was really beautiful.
WILLIAM: Zera, this is the one day I longed for, ever since eighth grade. I always hoped that you would be my wife and we would spend a happy life together raising our children.
ZERA: But, how can we, William? You have to go fight in that stupid, stinking war. (hugging William) I really wish you didn't have to go. I'm afraid, (rubs her hands together) I'm afraid you might get hurt, killed, or come back crippled.
WILLIAM: (with assurance) Everything will be alright, you'll see.
ZERA: (speaking in a girlish voice) You promise, do you really promise?
WILLIAM: I promise, (crossing his heart) I cross my heart!
ZERA: William, I love you.
William: (he kisses her) I love you too, Zera. (they stand up) You know something? Right now, I feel like the happiest man in the world.
ZERA: William, when you leave next week to join your Air Force comrades over in Vietnam, will you be thinking about me?
WILLIAM: (holding her shoulders) You know I will, Zera. I'll write to you every day.
ZERA: What about the baby? Have you chosen a name?
WILLIAM: (smiling) Yes, I have chosen two names.
ZERA: (enthused) You did?
WILLIAM: Zera, if the baby is a boy, I want you to name him Tayari or "T" for short.
ZERA: (looking at William) That's beautiful, and what about the girl?
WILLIAM: If it's a girl, we'll call her Ti'Isha or Mariah.
ZERA: Those names are so beautiful, I love them all. I can't wait.
WILLIAM: And I love you, my proud and expecting lovely wife. (they embrace)
ZERA, AT HOME, READS LETTER FROM WILLIAM. HE IS IN VIETNAM. SHE IS WORRIED BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE LAST HEARING FROM HIM.
ZERA: (reading William's letter)
I miss you and I hope you're doing well awaiting our bundle of joy. Give my love and regards to the family and our dearest friends. I did promise you I would write every day. If you don't hear from me for awhile, don't worry. I'll be okay and drop you a line as soon as I can.
We're about to step up our air operations because we've been constantly on red alert. "Charlie's" been dumping barrages on the air base pounding us morning, noon and night. Marble Mountain was hit last week and the perimeter at China Beach was stepped up to prevent Sampan Sniper Teams from coming ashore.
The barrages were hot last night. This place lit up like a Christmas tree. Our Commander called in the Marines from Marine Headquarters Group One Reactionary Force. They formed a perimeter around the air strip, in the event that "Charlie" would attempt to overrun the base. "Charlie" is a shrewd operator and will desperately do anything to take out our aircraft so we must constantly be on our P's and Q's.
Well, Love, I'll close for now. Love always and forever.
Your husband, William
DURING A MISSION OVER THE HAIPHONG AREA, CAPTAIN STEVE ROGERS AIRCRAFT WAS SHOT DOWN AND HE WAS CAPTURED BY THE (VC) VIET CONG. ROGERS AS A CAPTURED PRISONER OF WAR, IS AIDED IN HIS ATTEMPTED ESCAPE BY A (VC) VIET CONG TRAITOR.
VC/INTERROGATOR: Soldiers, bring in the traitor Bong. (VC/ Soldier #1, pushes the Viet Cong traitor into the interrogation room) Bong, so it was you that aided Captain Steve Rogers in his attempted escapes. What do you say for yourself? (pause) So you have nothing to say, huh? Soldier, bring in the next prisoner.
VC/SOLDIER #2: (agitated forcefully pushing prisoner Captain Steve Rogers into the interrogation room, he is blindfolded, hands tied, dragging his feet trying to walk) I said, move! You're not moving fast enough, move!
VC/INTERROGATOR: So it is you again, Captain Steve Rogers. Aren't you tired of trying to escape?
CAPTAIN ROGERS: (very arrogant) What's it to you? You're nothing but a bunch of Viet Cong assholes.
VC/SOLDIER #2: (grabs Rogers in the face) You call us assholes? Shut up your filthy mouth before I show you how we treat asshole prisoners like you. You Americans are a bunch of fools.
VC/INTERROGATOR: Captain, do you know what we do to traitors?
VC/SOLDIER #2: (agitated, poking Rogers, and pushing him into the chair because he does not respond) Speak when you are spoken to, don't you hear the interrogator talking to you?
VC/INTERROGATOR: (angrily demanding) Who was it this time that helped you attempt your escape? Was it that Marine? If it was, he will be in for a rude awakening. Don't you fools know you can't escape our prison grounds?
VC/SOLDIER #2: (arrogant, loud, shaking his fist and poking Rogers) You Americans don't learn very well. This is a war you'll never win.
VC/INTERROGATOR: Captain Rogers! I ask you again, what was the purpose of your mission?
CAPTAIN ROGERS: I told you the purpose already! How many times do I have to repeat myself?
VC/INTERROGATOR: (angered and intimidated by answer) You gave the wrong answer, Captain. I demand to know the purpose of your mission?
CAPTAIN ROGERS: To kill Gooks! You assholes!
VC/SOLDIER #2: I told you to shut up your filthy mouth.
VC/INTERROGATOR: Get this prisoner out of my face, his days are numbered.
AFTER ESCAPING THE PRISON COMPOUND CAPTAIN ROGERS IS HIDING IN THE BUSH WITH BONG WHO IS PLANNING AN ESCAPE ROUTE.
BONG: Captain Rogers the escape route has been set, contact has been made with those who will help you get back to your American installation.
CAPTAIN ROGERS: Thank you, Bong. I am very grateful for all your help.
BONG: I wish you well, Captain Rogers. I just want you to know that your escape means my death. If you make it back to your side across American lines, then I and my family can rest in peace. I was forced to fight this war and I am tired of all this killing. (they depart running in opposite directions) FADE OUT
AFTER BEING CAPTURED BY THE VC/SOLDIERS, BONG AND CAPTAIN ROGERS ARE BROUGHT BACK TO THE PRISON COMPOUND, THE INTERROGATOR IS OUTRAGED.
VC/INTERROGATOR: Soldiers, please bring in the traitor Bong and Captain Rogers. (they enter) Captain Rogers I have someone here that you might recognize. (pause) Soldier, remove the Captain's blindfold. Captain Rogers, this is Bong, the traitor. He continues to go against us to help Americans escape. We want you to see what happens to traitors. Bong what do you have to say now, Bong? You still have nothing to say? Huh! Bong here's a weapon, if you are not a traitor, shoot Captain Rogers. All you have to do is pull the trigger, shoot the Captain and we'll let you go. (Bong takes the weapon. Pondering, he holds it in his hand)
FADE OUT / (sound of gunshot)
WILLIAM'S AIR RECONNAISSANCE MISSION IS UNDER A HEAVY CONCENTRATION OF ENEMY ANTI-AIRCRAFT FIRE. HIS AIRCRAFT IS SEVERELY HIT.
WILLIAM: Mayday! Mayday! Red Leader! Red Leader! This is Dickenson, I've been hit. I'm losing cabin pressure, I'm losing altitude. My gauges are going haywire, the heat and smoke are building up inside my cabin. I'm going down. Over and out! (He ejects and descends, his feet touch the ground and he is surrounded by Viet Cong.)
VC/SOLDIERS: (yelling out) Dun Li! Dun Li!
TWO MEN IN MILITARY UNIFORM COME TO ZERA'S APARTMENT.
ZERA: (doorbell rings) Who is it?
AIR FORCE REPRESENTATIVE #1: We are looking for a Mrs.
ZERA: Just a moment please, (she opens the door) yes I'm Mrs. Zera Dickenson, who are you?
AIR FORCE REPRESENTATIVE #1: We are Representatives from the Air Force Casualty Services. (extending the envelope) We are here, Ma'am to present you with this envelope, and to inform you ...
ZERA: (interrupting, takes the envelope) What is this? Is this about my husband?
AIR FORCE REPRESENTATIVE #2: Yes it is Ma'am. We have been asked to inform you of the tragic loss of Captain William Dickenson. Details and information are enclosed inside the envelope.
ZERA: No! No! No! William! William! William! Oh no, not my William!
AIR FORCE REPRESENTATIVE #1: We are very sorry Ma'am for the loss of your husband, we extend to you and your family our condolences.
ZERA: Thank you, Sir. (they leave, she closes the door and sits down to open the envelope, she breaks down crying) No! No! No! William! William! William! Oh! No! Not my William, my baby, my baby, my baby, my baby! (yelling) William! William! I love you, I love you.
MARGARITE IS AT THE HOME OF HER BEST FRIEND ZERA. THEY ARE AWAITING THE LIMOUSINE TO GO TO WILLIAM'S FUNERAL SERVICE.
MARGARITE: I'm so sorry, Zera! I can feel the pain and hurt you're going through. I can imagine how unbearable your pain must be and your love for William. We know God will make your pain go away and take away your sorrow.
ZERA: Margarite, I don't know what I'd do if it weren't for your support. I know I wouldn't be able to make it alone.
MARGARITE: That's why I'm here, girl. You can count on me at any time, that's what friends are for.
ZERA: (nervous) I'm afraid. Margarite, I don't feel right. My William is gone, my William is gone. How will I make it without him? He'll never see his baby I'm carrying. I don't know if I can take going to William's funeral.
MARGARITE: (doorbell rings, Margarite opens door) Zera, the limousine is here. Are you ready? We have to go.
FUNERAL SERVICE CONDUCTED BY REVEREND FORREST MITCHELL (SERVICE BEGINS WITH CONGREGATION SINGING, READING OF SCRIPTURES, AND TESTIMONIALS BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS)
REVEREND MITCHELL: Brothers and Sisters can we please observe a minute of silence for our fallen hero (pause) thank you. I will now deliver the eulogy. It is with deep regret that we are gathered here today in sympathy with the bereaved family of our late dear Brother William Dickenson, killed in action in Vietnam. Brother Dickenson was a warrior in arms. The hearts of family, friends and relatives, go out to our Brother William's lovely wife, Sister Zera Dickenson.
For many of us this is a very sad occasion. Seems like the only time we get together, family or otherwise, is at a happy or sad occasion such as marriage or death. Although at this time, we all know we are gathered here to give our total support to Sister Zera.
Brother William and I were very dear friends. I never thought the time would come when I would be asked by the family to render his Home-Going service.
My heart was saddened when I received word of Brother William's death. I said "Lord, why?" Why did it have to be Brother William? Being a Reverend and the Senior Pastor of the Faith Tabernacle Baptist Church, I asked the Lord to reach deep down into my heart and soul. I asked him to lift me up and give me strength from my frail weakness to help me through this service.
So I'm here today with your prayers and my trust in God. I know everything will be alright. Can I get an Amen, Brothers and Sisters?
Now let's think about all the good things that Brother William Dickenson represented throughout his life. He would not want us to grieve. He would want us to all go on and live our lives to the fullest. I want you to know and remember that William's spirit lives on in all those hearts that he came in contact with. I want you to know that Brother William has fought his last fight and he doesn't have to fight anymore in Man's earthly Army, Air Force, or whatever. He is a warrior in God's Army of Spiritual Angels who has entered into the pearly gates of heaven and eternal life.
We must prepare ourselves for our day is coming. Life on earth in this physical world is but a temporary thing.
So I ask you my Brothers and Sisters, isn't it wonderful how God has prepared a place for Brother William. I want you to remember that just as Brother William was called upon, there will be a time when you'll be called on too, and rewarded in heavenly glory.
Now I'd like to ask all of you to please stand as the flag is presented to Sister Zera. (Reverend Mitchell a former Air Force Chaplin presents the American Flag to Sister Zera)
As the officiating clergy and on behalf of the family, I want to thank all of you for your presence here today. This concludes the Home-Going service of Brother William Dickenson. The family requests your presence at the burial which will be at the Frederick Douglass Cemetery, on Staten Island.
THE DAY AFTER THE FUNERAL, MARGARITE CALLS ZERA ON THE PHONE.
ZERA: (answers telephone) Hello
MARGARITE: Hello Zera, it's me, Margarite. (pause) I'm calling to see how you are feeling today?
ZERA: I'm afraid, Margarite. My baby doesn't feel the same inside me as it did before. It feels like something is wrong. I have stomach cramps and I'm bleeding. It's like the baby wants to come out.
MARGARITE: Girl, I don't know what's wrong but you sound terrible. Why didn't you call me? Hang up, I'll call our doctor. (pause) I have the number. Don't worry Zera, you'll be alright. I'll call you right back. Bye.
Excerpted from "A Hard Decision"
Copyright © 2018 Westley Thomas.
Excerpted by permission of BookVenture Publishing LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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