The Iron Mountain Review Vol. XXXII

Robert Gipe and Higher Ground Company 63

familiar baying up on the hill. And he said— OLE BEN: “Devil? Is that you?” BETTY: And that dog bayed again. Pure and sweet. OLE BEN: And I knew with a certainty that what I was embracing down in that bottom was not Devil. Not Devil the dog. I set that creature down into the clay and I took my leave with due haste. I runned up that hill. And I called out, “Mama!” Called out “Mama! The keys!” She heard my cries. BETTY: And so I throwed My Boy Ben the keys to that old Ford. And we piled up in that old Ford and My Boy Ben turned the engine and shined the lights down in the bottom and there it was: BEN: A black bear big as a mountain, big as a Ford. BETTY: And that thing crawled up out of that mud and shook himself, flinging slop and water from his fur, then he waded right through those headlights and into the woods. Soon as he disappeared, Devil hisself crawled from under the Ford. He laid his head up against my knee. Buddy, I tell you, best be careful what you go a looking after, ain’t no telling what you’ll find. JENNY: We know what we’re looking for! JENNY and JAKE exit . OLE BEN follows. *** Scene Sixteen: High School Lights up on high school kids in classroom. SARAH enters . SARAH: Settle down, guys. I know it’s just the second week of school and we haven’t all recovered from summer, but you’ve gotta be quiet while I run to the office to make some SARAH exits room and kids move around the room then speak, sometimes on top of each other, sometimes listening to each other. NANCY: Y’all ever get tired of just sitting here. DONNA: Have we learned anything yet this year? CARL: Naw, we’ve just been sitting around waiting. JAKE: What are we waiting for? copies. Okay? CLASS: Okay.

GALE: I don’t know. Ain’t nothing ever happens here. DONNA: Nothing but mines shutting down. GALE: And people leaving. MAY: Moving away. GALE: I’m afraid I’ll get to college and won’t know anything. MATTHEW: Something’s gotta change. NANCY: I want something more than this same old, same old. MATTHEW: My dad says they’re building a factory up on . . . JAKE: Dude. The factory isn’t coming. MATTHEW: But my dad says . . . JAKE: It’s not. There is no factory. It’s not coming. No one is building it. No one is going to dump money into a shithole run-down place like this. GALE: Then what? What are we gonna do? JAKE: I don’t know. MATTHEW: I’m sick of waiting. MAY: I’m not going to wait for someone else to figure it out. NANCY: I’m gonna leave. Move on. CARL: We can’t just abandon what we’ve been raised on, GALE: I don’t wanna bounce around for years at college and never get a degree . . . or maybe get a degree I can’t get a job with. My sister did that. She’s got so much debt, and now she’s living back at mom and dad’s. JAKE: I’m going to find a way. GALE: To stay? JAKE: Find a way to do something new. Find a way to make my own job. CARL: You know those trees they have, maps of all the things made from coal? I was thinking if we started a what our homes been built on. DONNA: I don’t want to leave.

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