[A/N: Written for my Creative Writing class. One act play. Please give feedback. Thanks!]

Burning Midnight Oil

Where: School classroom, low lighting; teacher's desk stage left, desks lined up neatly. Computer banks in center stage, dividing space; two tables, with users facing each other.

Who: Todd Kennedy, mid-thirties. Relaxed. Gold wedding band, silver cross. Laugh lines. Ink stained fingers.

Who: Meg, 17. Franctic. Student, wearing jeans. Good typing skills, poor vision.

Who: Principal Paul Bradley, early fifties. Overweight. Snarky, impatient, views arts programs as waste of public resources.

What: Burning the midnight oil

Enter Todd and Meg.

Todd is seated at teacher's desk; Meg is typing quickly on computer screen, muttering to herself as she consults printed pages.

Todd: So how is page nine coming along, Meg?

Meg: Horribly. Bitter: None of the sophomores know anything.

Todd: Laughs. Did you finish page eight?

Meg: Yeah, I've only got this page and half of twelve to format.

Todd: Well, it's nearly four, and I've got to proof it before I can send it to the printer's… They need it by five, so…

Meg: Snaps. I'll be done, okay, Mr. Ken?

Todd: Taken aback slightly. Hey, it's your grade on the line here. You think I care when this paper goes out? Scoffs.

Meg freezes suddenly, staring at the computer screen in shock.

Meg: Meekly, barely audible: Uh-oh.

Todd: Sharply. What did you say?

Meg: Nervously: Uh, we've got a slight problem.

Todd: Exasperated: What now?

Meg: The program closed.

Todd: Did you save?

Meg looks away, shuffling feet nervously on the floor.

Todd: Meg, did you save the file?

Meg: Quietly: No.

Todd: Sighs heavily. How much have we lost?

Meg: Resigned: All of page nine, half of page eight… and most of page five…

Todd pulls himself away from his desk and to the computer opposite her.

Todd: Directing efficiently. I'll finish page twelve and fix page five. You just work on eight and nine.

Meg: Meekly. Yes, Mr. Kennedy.

The two work in quiet silence for some time. Only typing and clicking is audible.

Todd: I'm going to call the printer. If we rush this, they might be able to let us hold off until six or so…

Meg: I don't have a lot of homework. My mom will understand if I stay late.

Enter Principal Bradley.

Bradley: Kennedy, what are you still doing here?

Todd: Resigned. Just finishing up the newspaper, Paul. I've got to drop off the files tonight.

Bradley: Hmph. Yes, well, school has been out two hours already. You can't keep students here that long.

Meg: It's not an issue, Principal Bradley. I like working on the paper. It gives me something to do.

Meg's phone rings and she leaves to answer it.

Exit Meg.

Todd: She's the editor of the paper, Paul. We're just working.

Bradley: Yes, well, that doesn't matter. It's just going to end up in the rubbish, anyway.

Todd turns away from the computer and sighs heavily.

Todd: What's your point? The kids work hard on this thing. For them,just seeing their name in print is exciting.

Bradley: Hmph. Be that as it may…

Todd: Look, Paul, I've really got work to do and a deadline is hovering over my head. Is there anything you want to say now, or can it wait until later?

Bradley: Hmph. If you insist on having unsanctioned after school meetings with students one-on-one, they must be chaperoned. Imagine what the school board would say.

Todd: Fine. Just stay out of our way. We've got work to do.

Exit Bradley.

Todd continues typing.

End scene.