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OUR KIDS AREN'T RACE HORSES ( ) 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:

JONATHAN TAD KETCHEN Creative Adventures (JTK.CA) = = JTK.CA =
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

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