By Sherry Marshall
(Caroline is in high school and is on a cordless phone in the kitchen. The table is set for breakfast and has a newspaper at one end, a Bible at the other and a radio in the middle. Anthony, her younger brother, comes in without her knowing.)
CAROLINE: I know Chris! I thought the pastor's message last night was awesome! I'm going to pass these tracts about the rapture to all of my friends at school. I bet it will really get their attention! (waving one of the brochures) And his message about salvation really got me pumped, too! I just wish I could get my family to come and hear it with me. (Anthony enters) You know, I've been praying for my folks' salvation for years, and I know that God will open their hearts someday. He can touch anyone’s heart and use any medium to do it. Maybe I could slip one of these tracts into Dad's newspaper or Mom's People magazine. (pause) Oh, that’s a good idea! I’ll try that. (has a sudden off-topic thought) Hey, have you studied for that science test for Wednesday yet? (hesitant yet flirty…while twisting her hair) Well, maybe we could get together tomorrow during lunch and compare notes. (Anthony rolls his eyes and imitates her, mocking her…she now sees him and tries to hit him, but he ducks and dashes out of her reach…then stops at Chris’ answer) Cool. It’s a plan then! (pause) OK, don't miss your ride. See you at school. Bye! (Caroline hangs up the phone)
ANTHONY: (in a flirty girl’s voice) See you at school…bye!
CAROLINE: (she tries to grab him while Anthony stays across the table at all costs) You little…when I get my hands on you!
(their mother enters)
MOM: Good morning, kids. Did you have fun at church last night?
ANTHONY: (shouts out as he slumps triumphantly into a chair at the table) YEAH!
CAROLINE: (enthusiastically and all the while Anthony is nodding in agreement) Oh, yes! The pastor's message was so awesome! It was about the rapture. You know, it's really going to happen….just like God says in His Word. And look this is really cool (opening the tract). This shows you everything that's going to happen and what to do if someone isn’t saved and misses it. It’s really kind of scary, ‘cause you don’t want to get left behind! But of course the idea is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and NOT to miss it! And the pastor really does a great job of explaining everything. I would really like for you and Dad to go with us.
MOM: Well, if you can talk your father into going, I'm sure we could come sometime.
ANTHONY: How about next Sunday?
MOM: Well, I don't know. Your father hasn't had a very good week.
CAROLINE: Well, you and I and Anthony could always make a night of it. And then you could come back and tell Dad how great it was and I'm sure he'd go.
MOM: Kids, now just isn't a good time.
ANTHONY: Why not? Anytime is a good time to go to church!
MOM: Caroline…Anthony, (pauses) your father was laid off on Friday.
MOM: Yes. I'd really rather that you not bother him with this right now, OK?
CAROLINE: OK. We understand. (she looks at Anthony as he nods)
DAD: (enters) Dear, your laundry buzzer just went off back there.
MOM: OK, thank you. I don’t want your nice shirts getting wrinkled. I’ll be back in a minute.
ANTHONY: Hey Dad. How's it goin'?
DAD: Well, not great. (sits at the table and opens the newspaper)
CAROLINE: Mom told us. I'm sorry about what happened.
DAD: Yeah…well I guess things are gonna be a little different around here, so be prepared to tighten your belt.
ANTHONY: Dad, you'll find another job, I just know it. God will provide.
CAROLINE: Yeah…I'll even have my friends at church start a prayer chain for us.
DAD: You don't have to do that. I don't want you to feel embarrassed around your friends about having a Dad that's unemployed.
CAROLINE: Hey, my friends are cool. They would never judge anyone that way. You should come to church and meet them sometime. I know you'd like ‘em.
DAD: Well, maybe sometime.
ANTHONY: (encouraged) How about next Sunday?
CAROLINE: Yeah…the pastor is giving this really great message right now about salvation and the end times. It could happen anytime, you know! Jesus is gonna come back and take his church, and we will rise to meet him in the air!
ANTHONY: Yeah…have you ever heard the song “Midnight Cry”?
DAD: Yeah…by Patsy Cline.
ANTHONY: Patsy Cine?
DAD: Oh never mind, that’s “Walking After Midnight”.
CAROLINE: But it's really going to happen, Dad….just like God says in His Word. And look this is really cool (opening the tract). This shows you everything that's going to happen and how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ! The pastor really does a great job of explaining everything. It's such a powerful message, Dad! I just know you’d like it!
DAD: Kids….you've told us all of this before, but right now I've got other things on my mind. OK?
ANTHONY: (disheartened) But Dad, really….
DAD: You'd better eat your breakfast. You don’t want to miss your buses to school.
CAROLINE & ANTHONY: Yes sir. (both sit at the table)
MOM: (offstage) Honey, it's Jack on the phone for you.
DAD: OK. I'll take it in the study. Thanks. (grabs the cordless off the table and exits)
ANTHONY: They just aren’t listening, sis.
CAROLINE: (looks at the tract and puts it in her Bible) I know. There’s only one person that can change their minds.
CAROLINE: God! Come on…let’s pray right now! (take each other’s hand and bow slightly at the table) Father God, we know it's Your Will for all to be saved. We just pray that You would open a door for our folks to see the truth, so they will want to know You and follow You. We know that your return is coming soon, Lord and we know that we can't change their hearts, but You can. Please, we pray that You will open their eyes to the truth, somehow….so they will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
ANTHONY: Also, if You could help our Dad find a job, that would really help us out, too.
CAROLINE: (cheerfully…Anthony just looks at her and rolls his eyes) And if You could possibly let Chris ask me to the movies Friday night, I would really appreciate it! We ask these things in Jesus' name. Amen.
(Dad enters with a sigh and mumbling about a "dead lead" from Jack. He sits at the table and picks up the newspaper. Mom enters.)
DAD: This sure feels strange. I'm usually reading the sports page…not the 'want ads'.
MOM: Don't be discouraged, dear.
ANTHONY: (Encouraging) Yeah…keep your confidence up, Dad!
MOM: Caroline, I heard you talking in your sleep last night. Did you sleep OK?
CAROLINE: Not really. I had this strange dream.
MOM: Do you want to talk about it?
CAROLINE: Well, it was about you and Dad.
DAD: Let me guess….the unemployment agency blew up!
MOM: Dear…. (shakes her head)
CAROLINE: We were all at the airport trying to catch a plane…I’m not sure where. You and Dad said you'd be back in a minute and you asked me and Anthony to wait at the gate till y’all got back. Soon they announced our flight and I couldn't find you two anywhere. I looked at the snack bars, the gift shops, the ticket counter….I even looked in the mens’ room.
DAD: Definitely a dream…(Mom gives him a "shush" look)
CAROLINE: Finally they gave the last call and Anthony and I had to get on the plane. I remember that I had my Bible with me the whole time until I dropped it behind me running toward the gate, but the announcer was calling, so I had to keep going. Just as the plane was taking off into the air, I could see you and Dad below waving and calling after me and Anthony. But the plane wouldn't stop…it just kept going higher and higher into the air until we couldn't see you anymore. They left you behind.
MOM: Well, we aren't planning any trips in the near future, so you have nothing to worry about.
DAD: That's the truth. There's no way we could afford it now.
CAROLINE: But I don't think that's what the dream meant. I believe that God was trying to say something to us as a family.
DAD: You think God gave you that dream? What for?
CAROLINE: (pleading) To tell us that time is getting short and that we need to seek Him more. We need to go to church as a family.
DAD: We went through this. I told y’all this wasn't a good time to discuss this right now.
MOM: Kids, I asked you not to bother your father with this with everything that's going on.
ANTHONY: But why not go? What will it hurt?
CAROLINE: Yeah…I think you’d really find it interesting and….
DAD: This conversation is over! Now go get your books for class or you'll miss your buses. (Caroline and Anthony exit frustrated) I hate to yell at those kids just before school….but they both just seem to have a one-track mind.
MOM: I know, but they’re only trying to help.
DAD: (softer, regretful) I suppose. They really seem to be set on us going to church with them. (Mom helps him with his coat) Maybe after all of this is over, we can talk about going. (flips on the radio) Now let’s see how the traffic is between here and the unemployment office downtown. (Mom starts to clear the dishes as you now start to hear chaos on the radio) What in the world?
(You hear the helicopter newscaster describing a sudden onslaught of car crashes happening all at once. She mentions seeing a large semi driving off of an overpass and reports seeing a small propeller plane crash into a building for no apparent reason. She says slightly muffled as if she's talking to someone else "What is that? Tom, look out!" You hear a short scream and then snow on the airwaves. Mom and Dad both look shocked. They look at each other. Sirens can begin to be heard outside. Suddenly panicked, Mom heads offstage in the direction of Caroline’s room. Dad then goes offstage towards Anthony’s room. Offstage, Mom screams "Caroline!". They come back onstage into the kitchen at about the same time. Mom is carrying Caroline’s vest. She looks at Dad for some comforting word about Anthony. He shakes his head and raises up the jacket Anthony had been wearing. Mom approaches him and takes the jacket in her hands with the vest as she continues to cry into the clothing. Dad looks down and picks up the Bible Caroline had left on the table and pulls the tract out of the Bible. They look at each other…fade out.)