By: Courtney Taylor
In Luis’ yard. LUIS and JACK, both seventeen, sit on lawn chairs at center. Behind Luis, on stage right, is a plastic flamingo. It is late at night in the summer. They sit looking up at the stars.
LUIS looks over at Jack, then looks away.
When Luis isn’t looking, JACK looks over at Luis.
After a moment, LUIS smacks a bug on his arm.
LUIS: Christ, the mosquitoes have been huge this summer.
JACK looks over lazily.
LUIS: My grandma said she thinks these are the biggest mosquitoes Florida’s ever had. I don’t know about that, but . . . You know. You never know.
JACK stares at him for a moment before starting to laugh.
LUIS: Are you laughing at me? Man, I’m trying to have a serious discussion.
JACK: That was, uh, that was really something. Thank you for that.
LUIS: Screw you.
JACK: (squinting at the sky) You see anything tonight?
LUIS: (slowly) Not really.
JACK: (rapidly) Me neither. And it’s a pretty clear night. I already checked about the chances of a thunderstorm or just like clouds in general—
LUIS: A meteorologist now. Add that to the list after UFO-specialist.
JACK: Should look good on the college app.
JACK: (joking) You could put that on yours, too. We both saw the UFO, so. If I am, then so are you.
LUIS falls silent.
JACK looks up at the sky, impatient.
JACK: It’s like, the summer’s almost over. It’s stupid that we haven’t seen another UFO.
LUIS: I don’t know. I mean, we only saw one, it’s not like—I don’t know.
LUIS sits back in his chair, deflated a little.
He glances at Jack, trying to bring something up.
JACK: Yeah, but we’re out in your yard every night. I’ve spent all this time reading online about—
JACK: We should have seen something by now.
LUIS: Amara called last night.
LUIS: I know. I was like. . .
He breaks off and laughs.
LUIS: Do you remember how mad she was after the UFO thing? I thought I’d never hear the end of it.
JACK: I remember.
LUIS: Between her and my mom, it was like . . . Shit. You know? I mean—
JACK: (scoffs) Yeah.
LUIS: Of course you know.
JACK: I think my leg’s falling asleep.
He gets up and begins pacing around.
While pacing, JACK looks over at Luis,
trying to bring something up.
JACK: So, what’d she say then?
LUIS: (shook from his thoughts) What?
JACK: Amara. When she called.
LUIS: Oh. Oh, um, I don’t know. She wants to get back together, or something.
JACK stands by the plastic flamingo.
JACK: Are you going to?
LUIS: Well, my mom thinks I should.
JACK: She’s just glad you won’t be one of the alien freaks anymore.
LUIS laughs, turning to look at Jack.
LUIS: She’s never been so pissed at me in my entire life. (imitating her voice) Don’t go around telling people you saw a UFO, Luis. You think this is going to make you look smart? Everyone in this neighborhood is going to think you’re a complete fool.
He upsets himself as he speaks, slumping over in his chair.
JACK stops to look at him before he continues pacing
the stage, crossing in front of Luis and staring up at the sky.
JACK: You know, I read last night—I was up till five, couldn’t even sleep, but like—did you know there was an alien sighting reported in Delaware this week? Like, what?
JACK: What even happens in Delaware?
LUIS: You were up till five?
JACK: Yeah. You know, I couldn’t . . . sleep.
In the silence, LUIS begins shifting positions in his chair:
putting his legs over one arm, over the other, both feet on the seat.
JACK is still pacing behind the chairs, trying to look casual.
JACK: Are you gonna do it?
JACK: (frustrated) Get back together with Amara.
LUIS: (defensive) I don’t know. I mean, she’s hot. You liked her at the beginning of the summer.
JACK: Yeah, we both did.
They look over at each other for a moment.
JACK: You wanna get something to eat? Like . . . call for a pizza, or something?
LUIS: I’m not really hungry.
JACK: Dude, you’re like, never really hungry anymore. (teasing) It’s really ruining the whole pizza and alien-hunting thing we’ve got going on.
LUIS grows silent. JACK looks over at him, confused.
JACK: Hey, Luis, it—it was just a joke. I was getting hungry, it’s not—you don’t have to get weird. You look kind of—
LUIS: (spitting it out) Jack, I don’t think we should do this anymore. Look for aliens and all that.
JACK stops in his tracks, stunned.
LUIS gets up, coming to meet Jack at center stage.
LUIS: Okay, don’t freak out.
JACK: What do you mean, don’t freak out? This is—this is what we—
He shakes his head, trying a different tactic.
JACK: Look, we’ve seen a UFO at this location before, right? So I’d bet—I bet we’re going to see one again tonight.
Frantic, JACK jumps up, standing on top of his chair.
LUIS: Jack, what are you doing?
JACK: Look, it’s gotta be tonight, I know it. There’s something about this spot—like the perfect altitude, the perfect—
He jumps off the chair, frenetic.
A light flashes in the sky. JACK freezes.
JACK: Did you see that?
LUIS: (exasperated) See what?
JACK nearly explodes.
JACK: The sky, are you really—there was a light, just now, in the—
He approaches Luis.
JACK: I don’t get it. Do you not want to see it, are you just fucking—
LUIS: Look, we’re almost out of high school, right? Just one more year and we’ll be, like, adults. You know what my mom says, we can’t be running around like—
JACK: Are you gonna listen to everything your mom says? Forever? And then you tell me I need to act like an adult.
LUIS: You know what, I can’t reason with you when you’re like this—
LUIS starts to walk off.
JACK: When I’m like what? When I don’t want to—hey, wait!
LUIS turns back.
LUIS: I already told you. We need to get our shit together, for once. We’ve been the weirdos at school our whole lives, and now we need to focus on—
JACK: The weirdos at school? Do you hear yourself?
JACK: (with spite) Hey, what did your mom say that’s got you so scared you’re running back to Amara and turning your back on me?
LUIS: Turning my back on you? Do you hear yourself? All this over some stupid UFO bullshit—
JACK: I don’t understand what your problem is. You and I are excited about something for once, doing something important, together, and you’re just gonna—
LUIS: It was a light in the sky, that’s it, you douchebag. You don’t need to act like some drama—you know what? I’m out of here. Get your chair off my lawn. I’m going to Amara’s.
He turns, walking out in the direction of the plastic flamingo.
JACK: Yeah, okay, run back to Amara. That’s the kind of shit you always do when you get scared.
LUIS turns back slowly.
LUIS: When I get “scared?”
JACK picks up his chair.
JACK: I’ve been dicked around enough for one night. When you’re done acting like a little bitch, give me a call.
LUIS, ignited, grabs the plastic flamingo from the ground.
JACK: (tired) What are you doing, Luis?
LUIS: What exactly do you think I’m scared of, Jack?
JACK: I don’t want to do this.
LUIS: I’m not scared of you, if that’s what you’re trying to say.
LUIS approaches, holding the flamingo tight in his hand.
JACK: (slowly, with meaning) You know that’s not what I’m saying here.
LUIS: Put the chair down, Jack.
JACK: Are we really doing this?
LUIS holds the flamingo like a bat for a moment.
LUIS: You wanted a fight, you got one.
JACK: I don’t want a fight, asshole. I just wanted—I don’t know, I thought—
LUIS: Put the chair down and fight me, then.
He waves the flamingo menacingly.
JACK: Man, get a grip for a second. You really think you’re gonna hit me with—
LUIS: You want to be a man for once, instead of some stupid pussy who thinks he can just—
JACK drops the chair, charging Luis.
JACK: Fuck you!
LUIS swings the flamingo; JACK dodges.
JACK: You want to hit me, bash my brains in with a plastic flamingo, that’s fine—
LUIS swings; JACK dodges, grabbing the flamingo’s head.
A light flashes in the sky overhead.
JACK: But if you think that’s gonna solve all this, then you’re dead fucking wrong.
They struggle for a moment.
JACK yanks the flamingo out of his hands.
LUIS stares at him, blankly, breathing heavy.
JACK: Are you done? Or should I start swinging now?
JACK looks down at the flamingo in his hands.
JACK: I can’t believe you just tried to hit me with your mom’s lawn flamingo.
LUIS looks up at him slowly, cautiously, before letting out a laugh.
LUIS: She would have killed me.
JACK: Yeah, she fucking would have.
They look at each other for a moment.
JACK sets the flamingo down gently in LUIS’ chair.
LUIS: Did you see a light just now?
LUIS: Before, when we were . . . “fighting.”
JACK: Yeah, some fight.
LUIS: I thought I saw something. Could have been heat lightning, I guess.
JACK: Yeah, I guess.
JACK smacks a bug on his arm.
LUIS: Why’d you even like Amara at the beginning of the summer? You barely know her.
JACK: I don’t know. Because you did?
JACK picks his chair back up, setting it up in its original spot.
JACK: She barely knows you, anyhow.
JACK: You’re not really gonna give up the UFO hunt, right?
LUIS: I don’t think I can now, you know? It’s what we do.
JACK looks up at Luis.
LUIS looks back up at the stars, turning away from Jack.
LUIS: I could have sworn I saw something, though.
Slowly, JACK walks over, standing next to Luis and staring ahead.
LUIS: (after a moment) I’m not really gonna call Amara, by the way.
LUIS lets out a long breath.
Then, suddenly and loudly, he slaps a bug on his arm.
LUIS: Just won’t leave me alone.
JACK laughs a little. LUIS smiles.
LUIS: (starting to move) I should put the flamingo back on the lawn before my mom—
JACK grabs his arm. LUIS turns.
They lock eyes, and JACK draws him in closer, then stops.
LUIS: (overwhelmed) I need to clean up the lawn, before. It’s the least I can do—
JACK pulls him in closer.
JACK looks at LUIS with intensity before glancing at the sky quickly.
He stops, his eyes widening. A spotlight falls upon them.
JACK: (looking at the sky in awe) Luis.
LUIS is gathering his courage, still looking at Jack.
He takes a breath. JACK turns to him, taking Luis’s cheeks in his hands.
It looks like they’re about to kiss when JACK
turns Luis’s head towards the sky.
LUIS looks up with a mixture of awe and fear.
JACK: We found it.
LUIS: Oh my god.
JACK: Just look, Luis. Look.
LUIS looks back at Jack.
End of play.
Courtney Taylor is a writer from Massapequa, New York. Lights in the Sky was first presented by Stony Brook University’s Theatre Arts Department and was originally produced by Stony Brook Pocket Theatre. Lights in the Sky has recently been produced by Stray Dog Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri, and by River’s Edge Arts Alliance in Hudson, Massachusetts. Courtney’s work has appeared in Weasel Press’s Vagabonds: Anthology of the Mad Ones, The Stony Brook Press, and The Shakespeare Standard.