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Copyright © 1995, 1999, 2004 Jonathan Tad Ketchen (JTK.CA)

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that JACK & JILL: HAPPILY NEVER AFTER is subject to royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems, and photocopying, or any other form of reproduction, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

No performance of the play may be given without obtaining the prior written permission of the author. For information, please write or call:

TadCreations.com = NudeCreations.com = JTK.CA = NudistPoet.com
Artist, Poet, Photographer, Nude Model, Playwright, Singer/Songwriter, & Nudist Christian
(519) 780-1057
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

"Jack & Jill: Happily Never After" is dedicated to:

Dr. Susan Russell,
my stellar stagewriting/screenwriting prof.

My cousin, Cheryl MacMillan,
for having the astuteness to love the original
thumbnail version of this play called
"Jack & Jill: A Hit Man and a Hit Woman Meet for Dessert."

My mom, Evelyn M. Ketchen,
for her devious suggestion which
made this play even better.


Ages are from Act 1.

JACK: 47; husband of Jill; father of Mary; becomes father of Evan during the play.

JILL: 39; wife of Jack; mother of Mary; becomes mother of Evan during the play.

BRANDY CARMICHAEL: 39; wife of Jeff Carmichael.

JEFF CARMICHAEL: 40; husband of Brandy Carmichael.


EVAN: Jack & Jill's son, appearing only at the end of Act 2, who is 2-years, 3-months old at that time.


Scene 1
(Friday night, 7:50 p.m.)

(Jack is sitting naked at his dining room table, which is downstage right. It is placed lengthwise along the fourth wall. He is at the stage left end of the table, and there are three chairs along the upstage side of the table and one chair at the end opposite Jack. There is a series of coat hooks along the upstage end of the stage right wall. In the middle of the stage right wall is an empty doorway to the rest of the apartment. The entry/exit door to his apartment is in the stage right side of the upstage wall, and a sofa is along the stage left side of the upstage wall, meeting another sofa at a 90 degree angle, placed along the stage left wall which ends before it reaches the fourth wall. Where the stage left wall ends is the entrance to the kitchen. The kitchen is hidden from the audience by a hallway which ends abruptly at the downstage left corner of the stage. A phone hangs on the stage right end of the hallway wall.)
(Jack hears a knock at the door.)

JACK: Come in. (Jill enters.)

JILL: (With an exasperated look on her face...) What is it with you?

JACK: What?

JILL: (Jill storms across the room, and Jack ducks, as she straightens an implied picture above his head, on the fourth wall.) Can't you ever keep this picture straight?

JACK: You're such a perfectionist.

JILL: (Headed over to the coat hooks, where she removes her
coat...) Put some clothes on. The others are coming over for the poetry reading. Anyway, the pictures have to be straight. You want the place to look nice, don't you?

JACK: Jill, I'm a guy.

JILL: Well, Jack, I'm a girl, and it's a girl's job to keep the guy in line.

JACK: O.K. You're fired.

JILL: You can't fire me. I'm your wife.

JACK: Oh, that's right. That explains why you don't live here.

JILL: You know I love you. I just need a place of my own, where I can retreat and have some solitude. I come over every day and spend time with you, and there's nothing wrong with our sex life.

JACK: Then why do I wake up every morning to breakfast alone?

JILL: Because, you're so good in bed. You just wear me out, and I have to go home to get some sleep.

JACK: But this is home. You know, where your husband lives, where we raised our daughter. What was it? What sent you packing?

JILL: I don't know. I guess it was when Mary left for Cape Breton after high school, I got confused...me, here in Breckonridge, and her off in Baddeck. The apartment became so lonely. With you out all day, and her grown up and gone, I didn't have anyone to take care of anymore, and I was so bored I could kill. (A knock at the door.) We'll finish this later.

JACK: We don't need to. We've said it all before.

JILL: (Jill snaps her fingers in Jack's face). Jack, they're here! (In a loud voice, toward the door...) Just a minute!

(Jack comes to his senses, and runs out the stage right door, quickly returning wearing a bath robe.)

(In a louder voice, toward the door...) Come in! (Brandy & Jeff Carmichael enter).

BRANDY: Hi, Jack & Jill.

JILL: Look, Jack, it's Brandy and Jeff Carmichael!

BRANDY: (Looking at Jack) Surprised to see us?

JILL: For the poetry reading, yes. Usually it's just David Talcott, Jack, and me.


JILL: His 8th grade grammar teacher was too good. Come on in. (Jill takes their coats, hanging them on the coat hooks.) Have a seat. (Jill gestures toward the sofas.)

JACK: Bring any poetry? (Brandy shows him the huge, binder-full she's carried in.) I guess that's a yes.

BRANDY: Uh-huh.

JACK: I'm looking forward to hearing some.

BRANDY: Thanks.

JILL: What made you finally decide to come?

BRANDY: I didn't want to come without Jeff, and I've been trying to get him here for eons.

JACK: What made you change your mind, Jeff? She finally agree to stop forcing you to watch "Star Trek: The Next Generation" with her?

JEFF: Yes. I've seen every episode with her, at least 3 times. She still refuses to believe "All Good Things..." was the final episode.

JACK: Of course, they'll probably do another 15 movies with the cast and then finally kill off Picard. But it won't be from a bridge falling on him, like Kirk. He'll just be so old, after 15 movies, that he'll die of natural causes, Romulan flu, or something like that.

JEFF: You said it!

BRANDY: Guys, stop dissing Picard. I hope he does 30 movies, just to show you guys.

JEFF: Then his character wouldn't die until the writers keel over! (Jack and Jeff laugh violently. Everyone is on the couches by this point.)

JILL: Come on fellas. Give Brandy a break.

BRANDY: Thanks, Jill.

JACK: Where's David? He's never late.

JILL: He called me at home...

JACK: At home?

JILL: Let's not get into that again.


JILL: He called to say he was having car trouble and couldn't make it.

JACK: That's a first. He hasn't been late or missed a meeting since we started this five years ago.

JILL: I can see the headline: Mr. Dependability Conquered by Automotive Technology.

JACK: So, Brandy, let's hear a sample of your artistry. You don't write, do you, Jeff?

JEFF: I proposed with a poem I wrote, but that's about it.

JACK: Well, after Brandy, I've gotta hear that.

JEFF: Oh, no.

BRANDY: Oh, yes, Jeff. It won my heart, so it belongs to me. You will recite it now. Mine can wait.

JEFF: Alright, but only for you.

JILL: You have it memorized?

JEFF: It was a very special moment.

JILL: Oh, that's so romantic, isn't it Jack?

JACK: Excuse us for a minute. (He takes Jill by the hand and leads her to the hall and they both speak in lowered voices.) Move back in, and then you can talk to me about romance.

JILL: I'm sorry, Jack.

JACK: Alright. I just hope Jeff's proposal poem knocks some sense into you. It worked before; it can work again. (They head back to the couches. As Jack & Jill sit back down, Brandy & Jeff look curiously at them.)

BRANDY & JEFF: (Simultaneously) Everything O.K.?

JILL: (Simultaneously with Jack) Yes.

JACK: (Simultaneously with Jill) No.

BRANDY: What is it, Jack? Maybe we can help.

JACK: Nothing. Jill's right. Everything's perfect. Jeff, why don't you recite your proposal poem now?

JEFF: O.K. It's called, "Forever Now."

You swim through the ocean of my heart,
And I wonder where my lips should start--
An ode to your beauty or song of desire?
Nothing but you can inspire
This poemless poet to find the words
That come so naturally to the birds,
Who every morning sing your name
And teach me how to do the same.

So come with me
And we shall sing
And learn of joy
Forever now,
And open wings of love.

I ask you now, my precious one,
Teach me how to fly.

(Jeff & Brandy look lovingly at one another. Jill begins to cry, and embraces and passionately kisses Jack. The lights fade, as the kiss continues.)

Scene 2
(The next morning)

(Jack & Jill are both naked, at opposite ends of the table, eating pancakes; Jack, at the stage left end, and Jill at the stage right end.)

JACK: So, we're eating breakfast together. This is a good sign. By the way, you were fabulous last night!

JILL: Thanks, so were you.

JACK: I'll have to thank Jeff.

JILL: Oh, I forgot to tell you, Mary called.

JACK: Really. That's great. Actually, unheard of.

JILL: No, she calls me once a week, like clockwork.

JACK: That's right. She's got two phone numbers to remember now.

JILL: Anyway, she said she's...

JACK: Wait a minute! Once a week, like clockwork? I guess I'd better get my watch fixed, 'cause I can't remember the last time she called me.

JILL: That's because, the extent of your end of a conversation with her is, "Hi," and, "Bye."

JACK: My end? That's her end.

JILL: Would you like to hear her news or not?

JACK: Shoot.

JILL: Let's not bring business into this.

JACK: Very funny. Come on, what's the news.

JILL: She's got a boyfriend.

JACK: Oh, great! (Sarcastically)

JILL: His name is Alex Halsey.

JACK: Halsey! That's impossible!

JILL: Yes, she told me his uncle is an investment broker in Breckonridge.

JACK: The one whose wife David Talcott's sleeping with.

JILL: One and the same. Of course, Mary has no idea we know Martin Halsey. Such a weird coincidence, especially, when she's fourteen hundred miles away.

JACK: She find a job yet?

JILL: Yes. She's working at the Alexander Graham Bell Museum.

JACK: Well, now she definitely has no excuse not to call me. (The phone rings.) Excuse me. (Jack goes over to the hall entrance to answer the phone.)

JACK: Hit Men For Hire. May I help you?

JILL: You should never answer the phone like that. (Jack smiles.) What if it were about our taxes? (Jack signals Jill to be quiet.) You don't want them to know what we really do for a living, do you?

JACK: Hi, Honey! I guess Mr. Bell gave you one of his phones.

JILL: It's Mary?

JACK: Yes, Mom. It's Mary.

JILL: That's great! What timing.

JACK: (To Mary) Yes, she just told me. We were just talking about it when you rang. (Pause for Mary) Hit Men For Hire? Oh, just a little joke, Honey. So you just had to find a boyfriend named Alexander, considering where you work now? (Pause for Mary) I thought so. (Pause for Mary) Yep. Mom's given me the update. (Pause for Mary) Alright, bye. I love you too. (Jack hangs up.)

JILL: Wow, that's the longest you've ever talked to her on the phone!

JACK: Shut up and eat your pancakes.

JILL: Good save.

JACK: What?

JILL: Hit Men For Hire? Oh, just a little joke, Honey.

JACK: You're right. I've got to be more careful.

JILL: You'll never believe who hired me.

JACK: Who?

JILL: Guess.

JACK: The pope?


JACK: Reverend McCallister?

JILL: No. He's waiting for Divine intervention in the case of his mother.

JACK: I could be Divine intervention.

JILL: Blasphemy, Jack. You don't want to go to Hell, do you?

(They both laugh)

JACK: Brandy? Yeah, likely story.

JILL: Oooh! You're so close, I can taste it! Oh, no. I can't.

JACK: Can't?

JILL: Tell you.

JACK: After all the suspense...! You just walk out on me in all different ways, don't you?

JILL: Alright! My place is calling. I've got laundry to do.

JACK: Dirty laundry, you mean.

JILL: That too. He wants me to do it tonight.


JILL: He, she, whatever! (frustrated that she gave him a clue)

JACK: Have fun. You always did enjoy this more than me. You've even killed my desire to know who it is.

JILL: I'm sorry, Jack. It's...

JACK: No! Don't tell me. I don't want to know. Remember, secrecy's important in our profession. The less people know--that's our protection.

JILL: Bye, Jack. See you tomorrow. (A pause) I love you.

JACK: I love you too. Good luck. Don't get caught.

JILL: Have I ever?

JACK: Yes.

JILL: Not enough evidence. Remember?

JACK: Oh, yeah.

JILL: Bye. (Jill exits and shuts the door before Jack has a chance to respond.)

JACK: (Facing the closed door) Bye. (The lights fade out.)

JILL: (The lights fade back in. The door opens again, and naked Jill backs in, while saying...) Sorry, Reverend McCallister! (She shuts the door and walks toward Jack as the lights do a final fade to black).

Scene 3
(the following Friday, 8:00 p.m.)

(Brandy, Jeff, and Jack are seated on the sofas. David Talcott and Jill are speaking privately in lowered voices, in the hallway.)

JILL: I'm sorry about your grandmother, David. I didn't get the message in time.

DAVID: You killed her?

JILL: Yes, I'm sorry.

DAVID: Oh, man. I can't get anything right.

JILL: That should sound good in the confession booth.


JILL: Sorry.

DAVID: You know I'm not Catholic.

JILL: (Shaking her head back and forth) David, David. Why did you wait till the last minute? You had a week to change your mind. Instead, you leave a message the day of the hit? And hope that I'll be home to hear it in time? Come on.

DAVID: I've been trying to get you all week to find out what happened. I never got an answer.

JILL: I've been here with Jack all week. (An aside...) I think things are getting better with us. (Back to the point...) You should have tried calling here. Didn't you even go to her house to see if she was O.K.? Or did part of you still want her dead?

DAVID: No, I never really wanted her dead. I was just mad at her when I found out she'd only left me a measly hundred thousand dollars in her new will. She left my brother Stanley a million!

JILL: Keep your voice down. Do you want Brandy and Jeff to know you hired me to kill your grandmother? Brandy writes a lot of pro-life poetry. How do you think she'd react to this?

DAVID: My grandmother. I can't believe you actually killed her. What was I thinking when I asked you? I could've gotten her to give me more. All I had to do was ask.

JILL: Well, I'm glad to see you're getting your priorities straight. But I'm sorry, David. You just need to change your mind sooner next time.

DAVID: Don't be sorry. It's not your fault. My whole life, I've always seemed to change my mind too late. I'm just a screw up. I can't read tonight. I'll just listen. (Jill and David join the others on the couches.)

JACK: What's wrong, David? You look like you've seen a ghost.

JILL: His grandmother died on Saturday. (Jack looks at Jill, realizing that's who her hit was on.) She had an unexpected heart attack.

BRANDY: David, I'm so sorry.

JACK: My condolences.

DAVID: Thank you.

JACK: David, this is Brandy Carmichael, and her husband, Jeff.

DAVID: Pleased to meet you.

JEFF: I wish it were under better circumstances. My prayers are with you.

DAVID: Thanks, Jeff.

JILL: Maybe we should cancel tonight's meeting, considering....

DAVID: No. Life goes on.

JILL: You're sure?

DAVID: Yes. I'll be alright.


BRANDY: I admire your courage. (David nods in acknowledgement.) A lot of my poems deal with...um...well...

JEFF: Death?

BRANDY: Yes. David, would you prefer I select some cheerier ones?

DAVID: I write a lot of dark verse too. It's alright. The last thing I need right now is to be pitied. Please, don't walk on pins and needles around me.

BRANDY: I'm a rather sympathetic person. So, I'll be careful.

DAVID: Why do you write death poetry?

BRANDY: Actually, most of it's anti-death poetry, at least, when it comes to the illicit forms of death, like murder; and abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, which are legal forms of murder, or in danger of becoming legal. Mercy killing--there's an oxymoron, if I've ever heard one!

DAVID: I'm sorry. (Crying) I have to go.

BRANDY: Did I go too far?

DAVID: I'm sorry. (David exits.)

JILL: (Running toward the door as it slams.) David! (A pause) Sorry, guys. Maybe tonight's not a good time.

BRANDY: (Crying) I've ruined your evening.

JEFF: Stop it, Brandy. You're always too hard on yourself. (To Jill, in a lowered voice) I think we'd better go. (Jeff gets Brandy up, and with his arm around her shoulder, they walk toward the door. Jeff, turns his head back toward Jack.) Good-bye, Jack.

JACK: Bye you two. (Jeff & Brandy, who is still crying, exit. Jack shuts the door, turns around to glare at Jill who is now at her stage right seat at the table.) Nice job. (She looks at him looking at her, and then she turns her head toward the audience. The lights fade.)

Scene 4
(3 days later, Monday at 4 p.m.)

(Jack & Jill are sitting at their usual places at the table. This time, they're both dressed. A knock at the door. Jack is cleaning one of his guns.)

JILL: (Toward the door) Just a minute! (She motions to Jack. He then exits with the gun through the stage right door, and comes back out onto stage without the gun.) Jack, could you find an errand to run or something? I believe I have business with my guest.

JACK: No problem. There's a special on at the knife shop. Think I'll check it out.

JILL: Thanks. (Jack exits the apartment, passing David who remains standing politely in the doorway, waiting to be asked in.) Come in, David. (He enters. Jill shuts the door behind him. Then she grabs David and slams him up against the wall, and continues to hold him there.) I want my money!

DAVID: But I called off the hit on Grandma.

JILL: I can't help it if you're a last minute coward! You were too late.... Face it, and pay up! I'm the Grim Reaper, and I can take you down too! (David escapes her clutches and darts out the door. The lights go to sudden black.)

Scene 1
(3 years later)

(Jack and Jill are both dressed.)

JACK: I'm tired of playing the happy couple. I know we tried three years ago, but it only lasted nine months, just long enough for you to plunk a baby down in my lap and walk out on me again.

JILL: And I appreciate it. You've done a great job with Evan.

JACK: Appreciate it. It wasn't a favour, Jill. You exited the stage, and what could I do. I don't advocate killing kids.

JILL: Unless they're in the womb.

JACK: Well, you had your choice, and I wasn't about to kill my wife.

JILL: Keep your voice down. What if Evan heard you?

JACK: Suddenly you care about him.

JILL: Of course, I do!

JACK: Oh, that's why you deserted him.

JILL: I see him everyday. (A knocking at the door begins.)

JACK: Yeah, you see me everyday, too. "Hey guys, sorry, I can't come over. My wife's coming to visit me." Visit me? I thought the idea of marriage was that we live together. Did I miss something?

JILL: Yeah, Brandy & Jeff are at the door.

JACK: (As Jill gets up and goes to the door) Happy couple, living together. Do you really think we're fooling them? We're a mess! (Jill opens the door. Brandy and Jeff enter.)

BRANDY: What did Jack say?

JILL: He said, "The place is a mess."

BRANDY: (in a confused tone) But the place looks very nice.

JACK: Oh, good save, Jill. Hey Brandy, any poems to help us out?

BRANDY: Help you out? How?

JACK: Jill and I were just discussing the state of our marriage and its virtual non-existence.

JILL: Jack, shut up!

JACK: No, not anymore. I'm not playing the game anymore. These are our friends. Friends, you know what that means, Jill? I'm not lying to them anymore by pretending everything's fine.

JILL: He's just had too much to drink.

BRANDY: Jill, he doesn't seem drunk to me.

JACK: Oh, Jill, why don't you just give your brilliance a rest? We're transparent now. No more deceptions! Jill doesn't live here. She just comes over to visit her husband and son every day. She's got her own cozy apartment.

JILL: Jack, no!

JACK: And you think we're accountants. Well, that's been a lie too. We're really...(Jill begins crying loudly.)

BRANDY: Jack, stop it! You're making your wife cry. Maybe you are drunk, after all.

JILL: I keep telling him to stop. It makes him crazy. I want to take Evan. I'm afraid he's going to hurt him like he's done to me.

JACK: What the Hell are you talking about? I've never drunk in my life! And how, pray tell, have I hurt you? Evan stays here. You're the one who deserted him! And you can take him over my cold, stiff, dead body!


JILL: That can be arranged! (Brandy looks at Jill in astonishment. After a few seconds of Brandy's stare, the lights go to sudden black.)

Scene 2
(1 week later)

(Jack is dressed. Seated at the stage left end of the table, drinking from a bottle of vodka, Jack hears a knock at the entry/exit door. He runs with the bottle out the stage right door to hide it, and dashes back to his seat at the stage left end of the table.)

JACK: (Out of breath) Come in. (Jill enters with a stack of murder mystery novels and makes her way to the table, onto which she scatters the books, and sits across from Jack.)

JILL: Hi, Jack! Killed any good books lately?

JACK: No, Jill. A few fine, upstanding citizens, but no books.

JILL: Lucky you! I've been reading murder mystery after murder mystery for inspiration, but I haven't done a hit in months! (Oblivious to Jack's panting)

JACK: There, there. Let me cheer you up. (He goes to the kitchen, where he catches his breath, and returns with two sundaes.) My specialty, the Butterscotch Butcher sundae.

JILL: (With mouth watering) You know the way to a woman's heart! (She immediately digs in.)

JACK: If only....

JILL: What?

JACK: (Eating his sundae, as well) Nothing. You've had slumps in business before, but you always come out on top.

JILL: Thanks, I guess you're right. Anyway, the slumps give me time to think up brilliant plots.

JACK: You had quite a long slump after you killed David's grandma, three years ago.

JILL: I was pregnant, dummy!

JACK: What did you do to stay sane?

JILL: I did a lot of my reading...(She points to the novels.)...but after nine months of no adventure, I decided to practice.

JACK: How do you mean?

JILL: Do you remember the murder of Martin Halsey?

JACK: Gee, let's see...uh...the investment broker? Um...Oh, yeah? Our daughter married his nephew last year. Duh. Of course, I remember the murder of Martin Halsey!...(a pause)...Now, you're telling me you killed him and framed our friend David for the murder?

JILL: Uh-huh.

JACK: Jill! (a pause) Who's next? Brandy? Jeff? Me? If you "think" I'll ever take a fall for you, you've got another "think" coming!

JILL: Gee, I must have accidentally put something in your Corn Flakes. Temper, temper.

JACK: Corn Flakes? You haven't been here for breakfast in two years, three months. Remember, you refused to have an abortion, no matter how much I pleaded with you. I didn't want another kid. It just complicates things when you're a hit man. Then Evan was born, and this treasure that you protected in your womb, suddenly got left in my lap, and you walked out on me again. Off to your little secluded apartment, where you could think, and be alone, and figure your screwed-up self out! And a week ago you said you want Evan back? Well, forget it! You deserted him. I've taken care of him all his life! He may call you "Mommy," but you're just a visitor, a daily transient in his life, in and out, turning your parenthood on and off like a light switch! I love him, he's mine, and you can't have him back, because you never had him in the first place!

JILL: You said yesterday, I could have him for a week!

JACK: And you believed me? Boy, have you got a lot to learn. (Jack pauses. Jill pauses, and then continues eating her sundae.) So, how did you pull it off? How did you betray our friend? (Jack continues eating his sundae.)

JILL: It wasn't betrayal. It was business.

JACK: Well, then, how did you conduct this "business"? (quoting the word with his fingers)

JILL: Remember when I bumped off Talcott's grandmother for him?

JACK: No. Darn it. I forgot that too.

JILL: He never paid me.

JACK: I wonder why. For goodness sake, he called off the hit, and you did it anyway!

JILL: I got the message too late.

JACK: Yeah, that's what you told him.

JILL: What, are you suggesting I lied to a client?

JACK: Hit woman lies to client. I know--unthinkable, isn't it? Of course you lied to him!

JILL: O.K. You got me. Satisfied?

JACK: I knew all along.

JILL: How?

JACK: (Jack pulls Jill's sundae away from her.) Move back in, and I'll tell you.

JILL: (Jill pulls her sundae back and resumes eating.) Forget it. We tried that once. Remember what that reconciliation produced.

JACK: A pro-life hit-woman?

JILL: I know it's inconceivable, but when I felt Evan moving inside of me, all my pro-choice rhetoric just oozed out of me.

JACK: Yes, it oozed out to the outside of the womb. Face it Jill. You never became pro-life, you just switched victims in the choice equation. None of us are safe from you on this side of the womb.

JILL: No, it's different.

JACK: You just can't face the fact you're a cold-blooded killer. Why can't you just accept it, and live with it? I have.

JILL: This is just my job. It's a choice. It's my world, and I have a right to control who's in it. But my son, my own flesh and blood? You couldn't make me have him scraped out of my uterus. He'd die inside me. Out here, when I terminate someone, it's just a job, and I walk home.

JACK: You just can't see how screwed up you are, can you? You're a hypocrite! We both are. Why can't you just learn to live with it? I have. What's wrong with you?

JILL: Anyway...

JACK: Avoid, avoid, avoid.

JILL: Avoid what.

JACK: You're in denial. You need help, Jill.

JILL: Yeah, right. Anyway...(Jack shakes his head back and
forth.)...after nine months of no more jobs, I decided to get even with David for not paying up. I knew he was having an affair with Halsey's wife, Marilyn.

JACK: So did Halsey. I'm beginning to see your sinister plan.

JILL: Halsey and Talcott were always throwing murder threats back and forth at each other. And, like idiots, they'd often do it in public.

JACK: You saw a perfect opportunity to...

JILL: ...get a little practice in and get back at Talcott for stiffing me. (Still eating her sundae.)

JACK: I knew it.

JILL: It's that obvious?

JACK: Jill, your lust for that money David "doesn't" owe you will be your downfall.

JILL: He owed it to me. He backed out on his grandmother's fate. I just chose not to.

JACK: So you were his grandmother's fate? You were fate? You've got a rather high opinion of yourself. Boy, when the real fate strikes, won't you be surprised?

JILL: Jack, what are you talking about? Would you shut up and let me tell my story.

JACK: Yes, ma'am!

JILL: That night, I lured Talcott to the beach, down the embankment from his house, with a note from Mrs. Marilyn Halsey that I had forged. And I lured Mr. Martin Halsey to Talcott's house with a note from Talcott that I also forged.

So, with David at the beach, I broke into his house without breaking a thing. With gloves on, I took a custom-made gun from David Talcott's gun cabinet and waited. When Martin Halsey knocked on the door, I opened it, and before he knew what had happened, I pulled him in, swung him around, and pumped eleven slugs into him. Then I dropped the gun onto the floor, and after locking the door as it was locked when I had come, I left.

I drove down the block and called the police from a pay phone, saying I heard gunshots coming from 1100 Cedar Lane, which was Talcott's address.

When David arrived back from his futile jaunt to the beach, he was greeted by police.

He goes to the gas chamber on Tuesday.

(Jill has just finished 2/3 of her sundae. It is important that she does NOT finish the last 1/3 of the sundae.) Boy! This is a great sundae. You should start your own ice cream parlor! (Holding her stomach.)

JACK: How do you like the new ingredient?

JILL: What is it? Whatever it is, I love it!

JACK: An exotic, new poison I found. I like to practice too. According to what they said, it should be kicking in any second.

JILL: You sick, twisted son of a bitch!

JACK: I'm glad David was right in his suspicions. I'd hate for this all to have been a mistake.

JILL: (Gasping for breath and choking) He hired you?

JACK: Through his liaison to the outside. David wants to be greeted by you on Tuesday, when he enters Hell. Oh, by the way, Happy Twenty-fifth Anniversary, Dear. Or did you even remember?

JILL: (In her dying breath) You son of a bitch. (She falls to the floor, dead.)

JACK: (He checks to make sure Jill is dead.) Evan's not going anywhere. He's the only son I've got. (Jack turns his back, goes to the phone, dials, and waits about sixty seconds for an answer. While Jack's back is turned, Evan enters from the stage right door, and eats the rest of Jill's sundae.) It's done. (Jack hangs up the phone, turns around, and looks in horror as Evan finishes Jill's sundae.)

EVAN: Mmmm, Daddy. Yummy! (The lights go to sudden black.)

The End


IT'S BETTER ON MARS ( http://bit.ly/NakedMars )

http://bit.ly/NakedMars is the Quick Link to here.

It's Better on Mars

a short story by
Jonathan Tad Ketchen (JTK.CA)

Copyright © Jonathan Tad Ketchen (JTK.CA).
All rights reserved.

This is the 2004 Edition
(Original Edition was written in 1992)

TadCreations.com = NudeCreations.com = JTK.CA = NudistPoet.com
Artist, Poet, Photographer, Nude Model, Playwright, Singer/Songwriter, & Nudist Christian
(519) 780-1057
Guelph, Ontario, Canada

DEDICATION: It's Better on Mars starts, to the day,
one thousand years after I began to write it
and is dedicated to:

Steve Martin (a.k.a. Stephen Keats), my fellow
Alan Parsons junky, and the author
of such literary greats as:
Broccoli: Fact or Fungus;
Topographical Errors;
and National Geotragic (a magazine
parody). He also created and runs
the official Alan Parsons fan web site

May God still make friends as good as him in 2992 A.D.

Note: GENE-TECH Systems is a completely fictitious company with no relation to any similarly named companies in the real world.




It was May 8, 2992 A.D., in Valparaiso, Indiana, five hundred years since Indiana was granted nation status by the crumbling United States government. And as in that distant past the United became Untied, so private investigator Kelleigh Ransom, 23, was (after much soul-searching) finally accepting the fact that she must untie herself from her present society's system, and on Indiana's Independence Day, of all days, for independence for the clones was her hoped for legacy.

GENE-TECH Systems had been cloning humans for over two hundred fifty years. Male clone models M1 through M51 and female clone models F1 through F98 were conceived in mass produced Tech-Wombs. And after their births from inorganic mothers, the clone babies were sterilized, raised, and trained by GENE-TECH to be sex slaves until the age of 33. Then, they would be sent back to GENE-TECH for orderly disposal. Any of the clones, who escaped would be hunted down by free-lance assassins hired by GENE-TECH.

The ICLU (Indiana Civil Liberties Union) through the years, back in the 28th Century, was quite successful in promoting GENE-TECH's cause, elevating the words "reproductive freedom" (for GENE-TECH) and "sexual liberation" (for the clones) while totally stripping them of their meaning. Yet Indiana's schizophrenic legislature decided to keep their strict prohibition of public nudity in place, while they totally legalized child and adult pornography with no broadcast restrictions. There was no absolute right or wrong left in the nation's consciousness, only legislation. Throughout the two hundred and fifty some years that followed, the government hired all kinds of analysts to figure out why the rate of women in the country raped crept its way to 69 percent by 2992, teenage pregnancy to 84 percent of girls, and divorce to 90 percent. It had also become a murderous, bloodthirsty nation. One's closest friends couldn't be trusted for anything. Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia were rampant but accepted without a second thought because the philosophy of the day, though never worded this way by its proponents, was "Freedom and liberty at the expense of others." Everyone was a victim of some form of heinousness, and Kelleigh Ransom had had enough!

So this May 8, 2992, she broke into Valparaiso's GENE-TECH Laboratory. Being found out while downloading GENE-TECH computer files into her compu-pad, she dodged the GENE-TECH guard as he lurched toward the compu-pad in her hand and fell, through the void she left behind, into a glass cabinet full of trophies presented to GENE-TECH by the ICLU. As the glass shattered, a large shard penetrated through the guard's torso as he hit the ruins of the display case on the floor. As he lay there, Kelleigh saw his bloody, glass-riddled eyes looking up at her, with a blood-swirling tear rolling out of his tear duct and down his cheek. She started to sob, gurgling the words, "I'm sorry," to the guard as the life oozed out of him. All of a sudden, a clatter of footsteps destroyed her sympathy, and she realized who she was crying for. And, for the first time, she realized the darkness of the room, with its cold, metallic, cybernetic glow. She saw the glass boxes, laid out in perfect rows, filling the steel tables laid out parallel to each other, filling up half the room. The glass boxes had glass tops riddled with an orderly pattern of air holes, through which came the cries of babies. She turned to the corpse on the floor and screamed, "Burn in Hell!" The sound of the footsteps was becoming more and more ominous, so Kelleigh took the glass lid off one of the boxes and tossed it at the corpse, missing him, as the glass shattered across the floor next to him. With all the shattered glass, it had become a floor of diamonds being overtaken by a pool of blood. Kelleigh took an M48 clone baby from his glass cage and slipped into the night with her little hostage. Seconds later, the swarm of other GENE-TECH guards, flew into the room and out the exit, in hot pursuit. One stayed behind, kneeling in the pool of blood by his colleague's lifeless body and weeping bitterly, totally oblivious to the shards of glass penetrating his knees.


Having eluded the guards by hiding in the middle of a holographic crowd of anti-GENE-TECH demonstrators outside of the building; when the coast was clear, Kelleigh took the baby to her doctor, whom she trusted. She had her check for any foreign objects in his body because, knowing GENE-TECH's tactics from years of study, Kelleigh suspected each clone would have a homing beacon surgically implanted in case of his escape or kidnapping. She was right. So the doctor removed it from Kelleigh's liberated child without complications. It wasn't intended to be hard to remove because GENE-TECH thought it was one of their best kept secrets. Kelleigh's skills as a private investigator had paid off.


GENE-TECH noticed the homing beacon going off-line and sent a team on a fast-track for the location of the last signal. They broke into the private clinic, but no one was there. They searched for clues. Stepping from the shadows outside, the doctor, with her silent laser pistol, moved cautiously toward the broken window, and when all three GENE-TECH investigators had their backs turned, she eliminated each one with a laser beam silently thudding each in the back of the head.

Kelleigh was on her way to the airport with the baby. When she arrived, she successfully bribed the administrator of the airport to fly them on a skycraft to Evansville, Indiana, but in the cargo hold and to list them as cargo. It seemed ironic to Kelleigh that to evade further attempts by GENE-TECH to find the baby, their missing cargo, she was disguising him as just that.


Kelleigh and the baby arrived in Evansville, where an airport official, in cahoots with the Valparaiso Airport administrator, escorted them from the cargo hold of the skycraft into the airport, wishing them the best in their next caper because he wasn't going to put his butt on the line again.

Kelleigh and the baby found their way on mass transit to Evansville Space Port, and after arriving, went to the chairperson of the port with whom she had worked before on one of her private investigations. He was glad to help and through paperwork disguised them again as cargo. He secretly arranged for room for them in the cargo bay of the Earth-Mars Shuttle and sent word to a colleague at Mars Port 55 to have them escorted off the shuttle and into the port through a restricted door.

So Kelleigh and the baby were put into the cargo bay of the next hourly Earth-Mars Shuttle and were blasted off into the cosmos for a two hour streak through space from their old home to their new planet.


Kelleigh looked through a small, round window in the cargo hold down to Mars as they approached. It was a beautiful red, blue, and green ball in space, with white clouds scattered through its atmosphere, and she remembered how her history books in school told of the many failed attempts at terra-forming the planet. As she was determined to change her life and that of her new son, who would otherwise have been forced into a life of cruel, sexual slavery, she admired the constant perseverance of terra-forming hopefuls. Through those three-and-a-half discouraging centuries, they never gave up, and they passed their enthusiasm down through the generations until through adversity and faith their dream was reached and their doubts were conquered.

As the shuttle entered the atmosphere and broke through the clouds; breathtaken, Kelleigh looked down upon the purple mountains and fruited plains. This was her New World.


After landing at Mars Port 55, an official stepped into the cargo bay and led Kelleigh and the baby into the spaceport through a secret door. She and the baby then left the lobby as they entered the majestic landscape of their new planet.

Kelleigh took in a breath of fresh air and let it out remembering that the government of Mars had always outlawed cloning. So hoping she'd find an open ear and willing hands to help, she found her way with the baby to Mars' capital city, New Duanesburg, which is 450 kilometres south of Mars Port 55.

It was a beautiful summer day in New Duanesburg, but, as she would eventually find out, in this area of Mars it's like summer all year 'round, for she found herself in Mars' tropical zone. As she walked toward Mars Capitol Building, through the grassy mall between it and Chang Monument (named after Melissa Chang, the technician who successfully terra-formed the planet in 2532), Kelleigh noticed that she was one of very few people, on the busy mall, who were wearing clothes. Back at Chang Monument was a holovision reporter reporting on holocorder, but with nothing on. The holocorder operator was clothed, but he, like Kelleigh, was in the very small minority. As she moved closer to the Capitol, passing through the grassy mall full of nudists (a couple taking a walk with their baby in a hover-baby-buggy, a group of kids playing soccer, sunbathers, people on park benches, and a plethora of others), Kelleigh realized there probably weren't too many fashion models showing off the latest apparel, because on Mars the human body was the "in" fashion. Of course, this didn't shock Kelleigh. She had grown up in California. She, and, as she would discover, Mars had no problem with nudity. The only problem she and her new world had was with the bitter cruelty and sinful seductiveness created in nudity's name, problems all too common and rampant on Earth. Though Mars was clothing optional, adultery and fornication were both felonies. This was one of the ingredients in Mars' stable society and strong families.


With a grin on her face, Kelleigh was walking nude up the steps of the Capitol with her baby who was now wearing only a diaper. She had left their clothes in a friendly neighbourhood disintegration pod. Back on Earth, in Valparaiso, she had attended a secret nudist social club when she had days off from her private investigating, but she never thought she'd find herself in an entire society, not to mention planet, which was clothing optional. Well, she had found it and was quite satisfied with her discovery. She would never get dressed again, nor would her son (with the exception of diapers), unless, when he grew older, it were his wish to don some apparel. But he never would either. Kelleigh had also decided on her walk to name her son "Vega," after her favourite star in the sky and her favourite 21st Century singer/songwriter, Suzanne Vega.

Kelleigh entered the Capitol lobby with Vega and saw a naked, 32-year-old man walk by, and heard someone passing by call to him, "Hi, Senator Smith!"

"Hey, George!" the Senator jovially responded.

"Senator Smith," Kelleigh beckoned.

He turned and walked toward her and the baby. Smith then inquired, "How may I help you, ma'am?"

Kelleigh replied, "My name is Kelleigh Ransom. And this is my son, Vega. I know Sir that your government has always outlawed cloning."

"Yes," said Smith, "it is outlawed. But why do you call it my government? It belongs to all of us--you, me, and every other Mars citizen."

"I'm not a Mars citizen."

"Oh," he said, regretting his assumption, "I'm sorry. Please continue."

"My 'son' is a clone," she said as she gently took hold of the baby's left foot and showed the Senator the brand reading GENE-TECH #M48603C on the bottom of his big toe.

The Senator's eyes widened in surprise.

Kelleigh continued, "I rescued him from their Valparaiso lab yesterday, and after escaping with him, I covered our tracks all the way to New Duanesburg, and now that I'm here, I'd like to assume new identities for the baby and myself, to protect us, in case GENE-TECH's investigators are as good as I am."

"So, you're a p.i."

"Yes. You're very astute."

"Was there a homing beacon?"

"Yes. A doctor I trust removed it. Then I went on the run with the baby. On my way to Valparaiso Airport, the doctor contacted me on my communicator, telling me that three GENE-TECH investigators had broken into the clinic after the baby and I had left but she killed them all. Come to think of it, I guess GENE-TECH's investigators aren't as good as I am. They're dead and I've made it to another planet unscathed! Anyway," she said, reverting to a more modest tone, "I continued to act covertly, just in case. Vega and I flew from Valparaiso to Evansville, disguised as cargo, and we took the Earth-Mars shuttle from Evansville Space Port to Mars Port 55, disguised in the same way. Then we hitched a 450-kilometre ride to New Duanesburg in the back of a moving company skycar."

Stunned, Senator Smith said, "You've covered your tracks well!"

"Thank you," replied Kelleigh.

"I will help you in your final cover," the Senator offered. "What you've done is heroic, saving this child from cruel, inhuman, perverse slavery, and execution at the end. Anything you need me to do, I'm at your service!"

"Oh, thank you, Senator!"

"Please, call me Greg."

"Thank you, Greg."

"So how can we start?" Greg inquired.

"I'd like to change my last name and have a Mars birth certificate, and Vega needs a birth certificate saying he was born on Mars as well."

"What about Vega's toe brand? I know a doctor who could remove it and restore his original toe print. He could also alter his facial appearance, so he'd be safe from being recognized, in case someone from GENE-TECH ever passed his way."

"That would be perfect!" Kelleigh agreed.

Greg segued into another topic. "So Kelleigh, what was your reaction to widespread nudity on Mars, although I can see, by your nakedness, you approve?"

"Well, I didn't notice it at Mars Port 55, partly because I was acting covertly, and I guess the other reason would be any people I did happen to see were pro-clothing. The movers' skycar, which I hitched a ride from at the port and hid in for the journey here, had a clothed driver. I first noticed that Mars was clothing optional after the moving skycar driver dropped me off at the grassy mall between Chang Monument and the Capitol. We heard all about Mars in school and in the media, except for the nudity. No nudity on Mars was ever seen on an Earth holovision newscast. Or, if it were, I wouldn't know because I'm not an avid news media fan. But it seems the Earth establishment doesn't want us Earthlings to know."

Greg said, "Well, Kelleigh, I guess you're a Martian now." (He meant "Martian" in the newer sense of the word. The older meaning had become obsolete since no "little green men" had ever been found.)

"Yes, I am a Martian now, because I'm not returning to Earth after we have our identities changed, and I hope Vega never returns either. If the doctor removes the toe brand and changes the baby's face, however, there's no way they could recognize him," she reassured herself.

Greg added, "And growing up in this area, he'll naturally develop the region's accent, so he won't even sound like his clone brothers."

"I only wish I could have saved them all," Kelleigh lamented.

"If more people have your courage," Greg reassured her, "eventually the slavery will end and so will the cloning."

"Thank you."

"Kelleigh, I'm an incurable optimist, and I believe optimism is only useful when combined with action! So I help you because of my optimism. If I were a pessimist, I'd say, 'Sorry, Kelleigh Ransom. There's nothing I can do.'"


Kelleigh and the Senator walked out of the doctor's office two days later. Kelleigh held Vega in her arms as she admired his new face and missed his old one. And in her purse were the two new birth certificates of Kelleigh Marsfield and Vega Marsfield. Both new characters in the real drama of life were declared in ink to have been born in New Duanesburg, Mars. Vega's left big toe was now normal, without the GENE-TECH #M48603C brand on it and with his fully restored toe print in its place. Kelleigh thanked Greg and he gave her his card. She left with Vega against her naked breasts.

And as he grew, Vega did naturally develop the regional accent.


(2999 A.D., in the countryside 110 kilometres west of New Duanesburg)

As time rolled across New Duanesburg and into the open countryside, where Kelleigh had built their ranch style home at the foot of Mount Einstein of the Great Huxley Mountains, she found it hard to fathom that she was baking Vega's 7th birthday cake. And out in the field by the house, no longer a clone, but a naked boy child ran, full of joy with clothed Sara, his best friend.

As Kelleigh took the cake out of the oven, a knock came on the door. She went toward that sound and the sound of the children frolicking outside. A nude man of 30 stood on the porch. "Come in," Kelleigh said with a smile.

He obliged. It was Sara's young, widower father, Christopher Lawrence, who had come for Vega's birthday party. They lived a half-kilometre up the road from Kelleigh and Vega, in the direction of New Duanesburg. They were next-door neighbours at a countryside distance.

As Kelleigh put seven candles on Vega's cake, Christopher looked out the window at the Great Huxley Mountains a short four hundred metres away. Kelleigh's house was the closest building to Mount Einstein, which rises 3,500 metres into the sky. Christopher said, while he awed himself with the mountainous splendour before his eyes, "I'm so glad Sara found Vega! I think that after three difficult years, she's finally come to grips with her mother's suicide and accepted the fact that it wasn't her fault and she couldn't have stopped her."

Kelleigh said, "I'll never understand how Wendy could have taken her life, when she knew she always could turn to you. You and Sara loved her so much and she couldn't get enough of either of you."

"I don't understand it either. And we'll never know why. She never left a note. But my tears are over, though they creep through the tear ducts on her birthday, Mother's Day, and our anniversary. I, like Sara, have come to accept a lot of things, and we've both, through turmoil, learned to live with joy again."

"Mommy!" Vega chimed, bouncing into the house with his hand in Sara's hand.

"Daddy!" Sara gleamed as she, in her bright, flowery dress, flitted across the floor and into her father's embrace.

The combination of "Mommy" and "Daddy" sounded good to both Kelleigh and Christopher, though neither had the guts yet to admit it in words to the other.

Vega smiled and greeted Christopher, seeing through both his mother's and Sara's father's disguises covering their true feelings.

Sara, in her flowery dress, ran over to Kelleigh and jumped into the naked woman's arms and gave her a big hug. Sara was like her late mother; she didn't mind others' nudity; she just loved wearing pretty clothes, though she'd get naked, without a second thought, for a swim in Kelleigh's pool with Vega and the others.

And that's where all four headed next, to the pool, after Sara left her clothes on the sofa and Vega grabbed the towels.

Their bodies all glistened as they frolicked with each other and had water races. Vega outswam them all, as usual. GENE-TECH, which Kelleigh had never told him about, had genetically engineered the clones to be very strong physically, but not too strong emotionally, for that would certainly lead to the clones rebelling against their "programmed" life-cycles.

But Vega was emotionally strong, for genetics is not the only determiner of character. Kelleigh had spent the last seven years loving him deeply and nurturing him to be a child with high self-esteem and self-control. And she had succeeded.

The wet foursome dried off and returned to the house where Sara put her clothes back on as Kelleigh lit the candles. Sara joined Vega and her father, who were already seated at the dining room table. Kelleigh walked in slowly and led the others in "Happy Birthday" as her breasts glowed softly from the candle flames in front of them.

She set the cake on the table and Vega looked at everyone around him and hoped that someday they would all be one family. Then, he blew out the flames.

Christopher said, "I know it's not tradition, Vega. But if you tell us what you wished for, we'll see what we can do."

Kelleigh and Sara nodded yes.

Vega, looking straight at Christopher, piped in, "You want to know my wish? Well then, here it is! I want you and my mother to look into each other's eyes and see what you're both missing . . . each other!"

Christopher and Kelleigh looked into each other's eyes, into Sara's eyes, and then into Vega's eyes, shocked and astonished that a 7-year-old could see into their souls with such devastating clarity.

Once they caught their breath, Kelleigh postponed cutting the cake and told the group it was time for Vega to open his presents.

They moved to the living room, and Sara quickly ran outside and came back slowly with her gift to Vega. "It's fragile," she said.

"I'll be careful." He opened a decorated box with air holes, and with a light kiss on Sara's cheek, he lifted out a puppy Shetland Sheepdog. "How did you know?" Vega squealed with joy.

"Kelleigh told me."

"Oh, thank you, Sara!"

"You're welcome," she smiled, and began to blush. "And thank you for the kiss."

"Sorry. I got carried away. I won't let it happen again."

With a glint in her eye, Sara countered, "Now, what was that you were just telling our parents about looking into each other's eyes to see what they're both missing?"

Now, Vega was shocked and astonished that a girl could see so clearly into his soul and what he truly wanted.


(3013 A.D.)

Vega Marsfield and Sara Lawrence, both 21 now, and much taller, stood hand in hand on top of Mount Einstein, high above the house Vega grew up in, now a mere dot on the kilometres of fields from this height which was still immeasurably lower than their infinitely high love for each other. Sara was naked now. When Vega had proposed and she accepted, to his surprise, by disrobing, she decided never again to hide a single cell of her body from his view or anyone else's. She sent all her clothes to relatives near Mars' North Pole. Ninety-five percent of Mars' tropical zone population was nudist, but Parkas and snowsuits were the main order of the winter days in some other areas of the planet.

On the rather cool mountaintop, warmed by love, Vega said, "I do," and Sara followed with the same. The minister said, "You may kiss the bride."

And as they embraced and passionately kissed, Sara Marsfield's bare, voluptuous breasts caressed Vega's naked, muscular chest.

Christopher and Kelleigh Lawrence, in tears of joy, watched their children who had become step-siblings at their marriage thirteen years earlier. Kelleigh and Christopher had decided not to adopt each other's child, leaving Vega and Sara free to make that same commitment of matrimony.

Vega's seventh birthday wish had come true. They all had, indeed, become a family.


My play, "OUR KIDS AREN'T RACE HORSES," is a sequel to this short story, picking up where "IT'S BETTER ON MARS" left off.


OUR KIDS AREN'T RACE HORSES ( http://bit.ly/NakedMarsPartTwo )

http://bit.ly/NakedMarsPartTwo is the Quick Link to here.

a play by
Jonathan Tad Ketchen (JTK.CA)
based on Tad's short story,
"It's Better On Mars"

This play, "OUR KIDS AREN'T RACE HORSES," is the first sequel to my short story, "It's Better On Mars."

Copyright © Jonathan Tad Ketchen (JTK.CA)

This is the 2005 Edition
(Original Edition written in 1995)

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that OUR KIDS AREN'T RACE HORSES is subject to royalty. It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, and of all countries covered by the International Copyright Union (including Canada and the rest of the British Commonwealth), and of all countries covered by the Pan-American Copyright Convention and the Universal Copyright Convention, and of all countries with which the United States has reciprocal copyright relations. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, video or sound taping, all other forms of mechanical or electronic reproduction, such as information storage and retrieval systems, and photocopying, or any other form of reproduction, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved.

No performance of the play may be given without obtaining the prior written permission of the author. For information, please write or call:

TadCreations.com = NudeCreations.com = JTK.CA = NudistPoet.com
Artist, Poet, Photographer, Nude Model, Playwright, Singer/Songwriter, & Nudist Christian
(519) 780-1057
Guelph, Ontario, Canada


Kelleigh Lawrence: 44-years-old; the mother of Vega Marsfield; the wife of Christopher Lawrence.

Christopher Lawrence: 44-years-old; the father of Sara Marsfield; the widower of Wendy Lawrence; the
husband of Kelleigh Lawrence.

Vega (VAY guh) Marsfield: 21-years-old; the son of Kelleigh Lawrence; the husband of Sara Marsfield.

Sara Marsfield: 21-years-old; the daughter of Christopher Lawrence and the late Wendy Lawrence; the wife of Vega Marsfield.

Compu-pad: in Scene 3, the voice of Ferris Turner, an unseen male reporter, coming from a compu-pad.

Note: Vega and Sara were childhood friends, and Kelleigh and Christopher, their parents, respectively, were very close. Kelleigh and Christopher married when Vega and Sara were both 8-years-old, but neither made a legal parental connection to the child
entering his or her family, because, they foresaw Vega and Sara's wedding at the ages of 21.

Setting: 3013 A.D., in the tropical zone of the terraformed planet of Mars, in the countryside at the foot of Mount Einstein of the Great Huxley Mountains, 110 kilometres west of New Duanesburg, the Martian capital. In the living room of Kelleigh, Christopher, Vega, and Sara. Downstage centre, there is a V-shaped sofa with the opening facing the audience. Upstage is a kitchen, open to the living room. Stage right, there is a doorway (without a door) to the rest of the house, where the living room meets the kitchen. There are pictures on the downstage right wall, and a large sculpture between the wall and sofa.
Downstage left is a dining table and a window above it. Upstage left is the entrance-exit door to the house with a wall between it and the kitchen.

Note: GENE-TECH Systems is a completely fictitious company with no relation to any similarly named companies in the real world.




Scene 1

KELLEIGH: (to Christopher) Vega and Sara should be back any minute.
CHRISTOPHER: Yeah, I hope they enjoyed themselves. What am I saying?
KELLEIGH & CHRISTOPHER: (in unison) They always enjoy themselves. (They both laugh. Then they hear laughing from outside. The sound comes closer and closer, as Vega and Sara enter the house. Everyone embraces everyone else; getting carried away, after the parents and children embrace, Sara embraces Vega and Kelleigh embraces Christopher. They all laugh again.)
CHRISTOPHER: How was your honeymoon, kids?
SARA: It was great, Dad! We've always wanted to see the rings of Saturn...
VEGA: Ever since you guys raved about them after your honeymoon.
SARA: Yeah. Can you believe it though, a five hour trip? It took forever to get home.
KELLEIGH: That's nothing. Can you believe, a hundred years ago, it took eight hours!
VEGA: No, come on Mom. You're pulling our ambulatory appendages, right?
CHRISTOPHER: No, she's right. And on Earth, in the 20th Century, it took days to travel across North America by car. People did it all the time.
SARA: Dad, you know the penalty on Mars for lying to your children. Vega, come on! (Sara and Vega snatch up Christopher and carry him on their shoulders outside.)
CHRISTOPHER: No! No! Not the penalty! Aaaaaa! Kids! No! Aaaa! Aaa! (The sound of a large splash. Sara and Vega return inside, laughing.)
KELLEIGH: Very funny, kids. Vega, go get Christopher a towel.
VEGA: (jokingly) Why am I always the towel boy? What am I, your slave?
KELLEIGH: (suddenly upset) No! (Kelleigh smothers Vega in an embrace.) No. You'll never be a slave in this house! Sara, get your father a towel.
SARA: (Sara is mystified.) Alright, Kelleigh. (Sara exits quickly to another room for a towel, and passes back through the living room outside to her father with a towel.)
VEGA: What did I say?
KELLEIGH: Never mind.
VEGA: Never mind? Mom, something's bothering you, and I want to know what it is.
KELLEIGH: It's nothing.
VEGA: Nothing. Alright, but you know you can tell me whenever you're ready.
KELLEIGH: I'll never be ready. (Laughter comes toward the house and enters a perfectly quiet room. Kelleigh and Vega are staring at each other, and Sara and Christopher stop laughing and stare at them. The lights fade.)

Scene 2
(Two days later)

VEGA: (Vega is alone on stage, holding a hand-held, compu-pad.) No! (Sara and Christopher run in from another room; Kelleigh runs in from outside.)
SARA & CHRISTOPHER: (in unison) What?
KELLEIGH: (out of breath) What is it, Honey?
VEGA: (Vega hands Sara the compu-pad.) I've been drafted!
KELLEIGH: No! No. My baby!
VEGA: I'm not your baby! (Kelleigh looks at him and then runs out the stage right doorway. After a long pause, Vega speaks.) What's gotten into her the last few days?
SARA: I know. What is it?...Honey, I think Kelleigh may need...
VEGA: Sara, go check your mail. (Sara, suddenly exhasperated with Vega's interruption, exits the stage right doorway.)
CHRISTOPHER: (to Vega) You think something's wrong with your mom?
VEGA: Yeah, ever since we came back, the slightest thing sets her off. And I haven't the vaguest idea what any of it means.
CHRISTOPHER: That moment of silence I walked in on two days ago?
VEGA: Yeah, that's when it all started. Something about slavery? I don't get it. I think I said...(Sara walks in with a stern look on her face and hands Vega her compu-pad. He reads it.)
For crying out loud! We just had our honeymoon!
CHRISTOPHER: (Kelleigh runs back into the room to investigate the commotion.) Don't tell me you've both been drafted. (Kelleigh runs out of the room again through the stage right doorway.)
SARA: Yes.
KELLEIGH: (Kelleigh's voice from off-stage right) No! (Everyone else looks toward the sound of her voice. The lights fade.)

Scene 3
(Later, the same day)

KELLEIGH: (Kelleigh is pacing back and forth.) Less than a day's notice, "And they're off!"
CHRISTOPHER: You make them sound like race horses.
KELLEIGH: Might as well be. Race horses are slaves. They don't have a choice. You think they're exhilarated when they cross the finish line. No, they're just happy the whipping has stopped.
CHRISTOPHER: What's with you lately. Our kids aren't race horses.
KELLEIGH: It's a lot like war. Soldiers are slaves to their general. Blast the government! They won't even tell the kids what their mission is. Top secret, they say. Well, I've been a p.i.; I'll find out what's going on...
CHRISTOPHER: What are you talking about?
KELLEIGH: Greg! That's it! Greg will know.
KELLEIGH: A senator. He's my hero.
KELLEIGH: Yeah. He saved me and Vega from GENE-TECH.
CHRISTOPHER: Kelleigh, stop pacing. Sit down. I think we need to have a long talk. (He leads Kelleigh to the V-shaped sofa and seats her on the stage right side. He sits on the opposite side of the V, facing her and holding her hands.) It seems you have a lot to reveal to me about your past. I'm not angry with you for your secrecy, but it's time for the truth, and the whole truth. "The truth will set you free."
KELLEIGH: (Kelleigh jerks her hands out of Christopher's hands.) Don't go quoting Scripture to me! The truth Vega was living in on Earth had him imprisoned. It was when I rescued him from the truth that he was set free, until now.
CHRISTOPHER: So you're from Earth too?
CHRISTOPHER: And your first husband, that died in the
fire...James...that was his name, wasn't it?...
KELLEIGH: Never existed.
KELLEIGH: I'm sorry.
CHRISTOPHER: It's alright.
KELLEIGH: I had to...
CHRISTOPHER: Protect Vega?
KELLEIGH: You understand! (smiling)
CHRISTOPHER: I'm starting to.
KELLEIGH: You don't hate me? (trying, unsuccessfully, to hold back tears)
CHRISTOPHER: Of course, I don't hate you. (Christopher wipes her tears from her eyes.) Tell me everything, my darling. I love you. Nothing can change that.
COMPU-PAD: (The voice of a reporter comes from a compu-pad on the table.) We interrupt this delicate moment to bring you this breaking story. The Mars Army has begun a top secret mission on Hell Island. Our sources say several hundred Martians from ages 18 to 25 were drafted this morning and, with less than a day's notice, left their homes with little or no information on their mission. Our knowledge of the mission is very sketchy at the moment, but you can depend on us to bring you up to the minute information as soon as we can pry it from the government's tightly clenched fingers. Until then, this is Ferris Turner reporting for MARS TODAY.
CHRISTOPHER: Leave it to the media to figure it all out even before the people involved.
KELLEIGH: I started it.
KELLEIGH: I called MARS TODAY, and told them my children had been drafted with less than a day's notice. Ferris Turner and his cohorts found out the rest. Now, at least I know where they are.
CHRISTOPHER: Kelleigh, now I "really" need to hear everything.
KELLEIGH: (after a pause) I grew up on Earth, in California. Had a very happy childhood. California was very similar to Mars; practically crime-free; low divorce rate, only 5 percent, I think. Clothing-optional, like Mars; and adultery and fornication were felonies there too.
CHRISTOPHER: Kelleigh, you're getting bogged down in details again. Does this have anything to do with Vega?
KELLEIGH: It has to do with me. Isn't that important to you too?
CHRISTOPHER: Yes, I'm sorry. You know how important you are to me. I'm really sorry. Go on.
KELLEIGH: I guess I was getting overly detailed as usual. Anyway, California is important because 72 percent of the people who colonized Mars were from California. That's why Martian life and government are similar. Of course, we outlaw abortion, which California doesn't. (Christopher sighs at her incessant rambling.)
My parents and I moved to Valparaiso, Indiana, when I was 14. We didn't only move to another nation. It was like a whole other universe. Peace ruled California, but Indiana had no rule except what I called "Freedom and liberty at the expense of others." The divorce rate there was 90 percent; I remember a good year when rape hit a low of 62 percent of women. Teenage pregnancy was at 84 percent. It had also become a murderous, bloodthirsty nation. One's closest friends couldn't be trusted for anything! Abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia were rampant but accepted without a second thought. Indiana's schizophrenic legislature kept a strict prohibition of public nudity in place, while they totally legalized child and adult pornography with no broadcast restrictions. That's where Vega comes in.
CHRISTOPHER: What are you talking about? If anyone touched him, I'll kill 'em!
KELLEIGH: Calm down. Do you know about GENE-TECH?
CHRISTOPHER: You said someone saved you and Vega from GENE-TECH, a few minutes ago; but, no. I've never heard of it. You know how many times I've told you, I hardly ever paid attention in history class. I just barely squeaked through.
KELLEIGH: You know what they say about those who don't learn from history. They're doomed to...
CHRISTOPHER: Get a "D minus"?
KELLEIGH: Repeat it.
CHRISTOPHER: That's always a possibility too...if you get an "F."
KELLEIGH: Can you get back in "serious mode"?
CHRISTOPHER: Sorry. I'm just as nervous about their mission as you are. I want them back here, kidding around, and throwing me in the pool.
KELLEIGH: Well, Vega's life could have been very different. GENE-TECH, heavily financed by the Indiana government, has been cloning humans for over two hundred seventy years. Male clone models M1 through M51 and female clone models F1 through F98 are conceived in mass-produced Tech-Wombs. And after their births from inorganic mothers, the clone babies are sterilized, and then, raised and nurtured by GENE-TECH to be fine, upstanding child pornography stars and to continue into adulthood until the age of 32.
KELLEIGH: Then, they're sent back to GENE-TECH for orderly disposal. Any of the clones who escape from GENE-TECH are hunted down by freelance assassins hired by GENE-TECH.
CHRISTOPHER: Sounds like a holovision movie of the week.
KELLEIGH: There's no absolute right or wrong left in Indiana's consciousness, only legislation. I was a private investigator in Valparaiso from ages 19 to 23.
CHRISTOPHER: Ah. Here comes the p.i. story.
KELLEIGH: Stop it Chris! This isn't a story. It all really happened to me!
CHRISTOPHER: No, honey. I believe you. These little bits of info are just a little hard to get used to. Heck, it took me three years to get used to Wendy's suicide. I'm just hearing all this for the first time.
KELLEIGH: Don't bring your first wife into this. It's not about her. She's gone. This is about us. I've always been this way, it's just you didn't know, and I'm sorry. But I'm trying to remedy that now. O.K.?
KELLEIGH: Over the years, I gathered a lot of information on GENE-TECH. They even use some of the clones, I mean, for God's sake, they're human beings! They test the toxicity of different substances on them, as a sideline!
KELLEIGH: Those that fail the tests are killed and their bodies used to heat the GENE-TECH headquarters, along with the bodies of those who've reached the age of 32.
CHRISTOPHER: Those bastards!
KELLEIGH: On what turned out to be my last trip to GENE-TECH, I got caught in the laboratory at the headquarters, copying GENE-TECH computer files into my compu-pad. I dodged the GENE-TECH guard as he lurched toward the compu-pad in my hand, and he fell, through the void I'd left behind, into a glass cabinet full of trophies presented to GENE-TECH for its humanitarian service to Indiana. Words didn't mean anything anymore. As the glass shattered, a large shard penetrated through the guard's torso as he hit the ruins of the display case on the floor...
I need a glass of water, please. (Christopher gets up and, as Kelleigh resumes speaking, he goes to the kitchen to get some water for her.)
As the guard lay there, I saw his bloody, glass-riddled eyes looking up at me. I started to sob, gurgling the words, "I'm sorry," to the guard as the life oozed out of him. All of a sudden, a clatter of footsteps destroyed my sympathy, and I remembered who I was crying for. And for the first time I realized the darkness of the room, with its cold, metallic, cybernetic glow.
CHRISTOPHER: You always were a poet, weren't you? Here. (Christopher hands her a glass of water.)
KELLEIGH: Thanks. (She takes a drink of water from the glass.) I saw the glass boxes, laid out in perfect rows, filling the steel tables. The glass boxes had glass tops riddled with an orderly pattern of air holes, through which came the cries of babies. I turned to the corpse on the floor, and screamed, "Burn in Hell!" The sound of footsteps was becoming more and more ominous, so I took the glass lid off one of the boxes and tossed it at the corpse, missing him as the glass shattered across the floor next to him. With all the shattered glass, it was like a floor of diamonds being overtaken by a pool of blood. I took an M48 clone baby from his glass prison cell and slipped into the night with my little hostage.
KELLEIGH: Yes. Of course, his name, at the time, was GENE-TECH #M48603C. (sobbing)
CHRISTOPHER: There, there. (Christopher embraces her.)
KELLEIGH: (Kelleigh regains her composure.) I escaped with him to Mars, disguising him and myself as cargo on a skycraft flight from Valparaiso to Evansville, Indiana. Then, we were disguised again as cargo on the Earth-Mars Shuttle from Evansville Space Port to Mars Port 55. Once on Mars, we found our way to Mars Capitol Building, in New Duanesburg. On my walk toward the Capitol, I noticed all the nudists between the Capitol and Chang Monument. I belonged to an underground nudist club in Indiana. So, when I saw all the nudists, free of fear, surrounding me, I stripped myself and Vega, except for his diaper, and we've both been naked ever since. Anyway, I'm rambling again. (pause)
CHRISTOPHER: I wondered, because, when we first met, and Wendy and I were helping you and baby Vega move in here, you told me you'd never worn a stitch of clothing in your life. You were wondering why Wendy preferred to wear clothes. Anyway, while helping you unpack, I remembered what you said as I carried an outfit of yours into the house. I didn't say anything, 'cause I'd just met you, and it was none of my business. When you saw me hanging it up, you told me to throw it out.
KELLEIGH: I remember the outfit.
CHRISTOPHER: Was it sentimental?
KELLEIGH: Forget about it.
KELLEIGH: I can only reveal so much in one day, for goodness' sake!
KELLEIGH: Where did I leave off?
CHRISTOPHER: You and Vega became permanent nudists.
KELLEIGH: Oh, yeah. I met Senator Greg Smith, who helped us in our final cover.
CHRISTOPHER: I thought you just uncovered.
KELLEIGH: Christopher, cut it out.
CHRISTOPHER: Sorry, sorry.
KELLEIGH: He gave us both our new identities in the form of birth certificates saying we had both been born in New Duanesburg, Mars. My name, up to that point was Kelleigh Ransom. From then on, as you know, our identities were Kelleigh and Vega Marsfield, mother and son.
CHRISTOPHER: As I know? Apparently, there's a lot I don't know.
KELLEIGH: Come on, Chris. That's not fair.
CHRISTOPHER: Yes it is! Go on, finish sweeping up your lies.
(Kelleigh starts crying.) I'm sorry, Honey. That was a cheap shot. I'm scum.
KELLEIGH: One thing I'll say. You were always good at apologies. Don't worry, I'm at the end of the history lesson.
CHRISTOPHER: I hope there's not a test.
KELLEIGH: No test.
CHRISTOPHER: Thank you, God.
KELLEIGH: Greg also arranged...
KELLEIGH: The Senator.
CHRISTOPHER: It's hard to keep up.
KELLEIGH: Greg arranged for Vega's facial appearance to be altered and to have the GENE-TECH brand removed from the bottom of his left big toe. They even restored his original toe print. That's why I said Greg's my hero. Now, if GENE-TECH were ever to come across Vega, they wouldn't even recognize him. He wouldn't look like his M48 clone brothers.
CHRISTOPHER: Still, do you think the Senator would open up a top secret military operation for you?
KELLEIGH: I remember, when he agreed to help Vega and me all those years ago, he said, and I quote, "Anything you need me to do, I'm at your service!" I remember hearing each word. I guess you could say I have a phonographic memory. Ha! Ha!
CHRISTOPHER: I thought you wanted us in "serious mode."
KELLEIGH: Yeah, well...I gave up.
CHRISTOPHER: You know you have to tell Vega all this when he gets back.
KELLEIGH: You mean, if he gets back.
CHRISTOPHER: Stop it! Don't you dare give up on our kids! This military maneuver may be just as sinister as you think, but we don't know. And you're not going to find out through treason. Top secret means top secret. Words still mean things here.
KELLEIGH: They might as well not, if he comes home in a box! I didn't save him from one to return him to another!
CHRISTOPHER: What's all this talk about "him"?! What about Sara?! You don't think I'm worried about my daughter?
KELLEIGH: Of course, you're worried about her. I am too. It's just...
CHRISTOPHER: It's just Vega's "your" trophy! You're such a hero for saving him! Put him in a display case. He'll be back in his glass box! (Christopher storms out of the house.)
KELLEIGH: Take it back! I thought you loved me! I thought...I...I don't know what I think anymore. I just want my baby back. Vega, please come home alright. Vega, I love you. (The lights fade.)


Scene 1

Stay tuned. BUT DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH. I do have notes, SOMEWHERE, for ACT II. PERHAPS I'll continue the story someday.

Read my short story, "IT'S BETTER ON MARS," which started this "Naked Mars" series of stories at http://bit.ly/NakedMars



(You must apply to the Ministry of Thought
to express your opinion.)

We "are endowed by [our] Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."

What creator?

"...that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Those rights must be approved by the Legislature.

Lucid, you got same-sex marriage legalized. Now you want to legalize group marriage?

Come on Astrid, it's what people want!

Then I propose we throw out all our laws and replace them with an "I Wanted To" law. Whenever the police are about to arrest someone, the accused can be set free by saying the phrase, "I wanted to."

Now you're being ridiculous!

I'm being ridiculous? Can't you see the permission slippery slope you're on? What's next? Legalized incest? Bestiality? You could even go beyond group marriage and change the definition of marriage to "a legal or religious union between two or more organisms."

Astrid, you're a genius!

I was afraid you'd say that.

For More Art, Poetry, Photography, & Other Creative Adventures by Tad (JTK.CA)
Please Visit http://NudeCreations.com