• On the N

    Scene 1:
    The stage is dark as the sounds of a busy subway are played (3-5 seconds). The sound of the doors of a train opening is heard as the lights come up on a subway train, which is fairly empty. Already on the train are CHASE, ERIKA, SHANNON, and LYNN. CHASE has a backpack, ERIKA has a purse, SHANNON has a messenger bag, and a black garbage bag of LYNN’s sits on the seat next to her. LYNN is seated on the ground, her knees covered by a blanket. She appears to be dozing.

    CASEY enters in front of curtain, STAGE RIGHT. She has a Bluetooth in her ear and carries a briefcase in one hand and a Blackberry in the other. She takes a seat. Entering a second after her are TOM and JANELLE. JANELLE is carrying a picnic hamper. They sit on either side of CHASE.

    Right after them comes JOHN, carrying a bucket full of tools. He sits next to CASEY. CASEY looks disgruntled as JOHN sits down, as JOHN is covered in dust and grime.

    JOHN: You got a problem, lady?
    CASEY: (Shakes her head, obviously irritated. Pauses for a moment, then says nonchalantly) This suit cost 500 dollars, I’d prefer to it stayed clean.
    JOHN: Oh, well then... (Sarcastic) Let me just scoot over a little bit here.

    Entering just as this exchange ends are AARON and OLIVIA. Spotlights are on them, while the rest of the stage is more dimly lit. As they enter, you hear the noises of the doors shutting and the train leaving.

    The two are speaking their lines from the moment they appear on stage, not necessarily starting when they are lit. They are both vehemently upset over OLIVIA’s coat.

    OLIVIA: I can’t believe it, that gunk was all over the seats! What is this anyway, is it tar, or something? I’m telling you, Aaron, I’m not sure I can get this out…
    AARON: I paid 8000 dollars for that coat. It had better not be ruined by a little stain. I’m calling James, he sold me it; he had better be able to fix it. (AARON pulls out his cell phone and starts dialing)
    OLIVIA: (looks at her coat, clearly irritated. Shaking her head, she turns to show the nearest person to her, ERIKA) Can you believe this? I get off of our last train, and this… crap is all over my coat!
    ERIKA: (a little surprised to see this woman is talking to hear, not really sure what to say) Oh—wow, that stinks. It’s a gorgeous coat though. You’re very dolled up, are you two going out somewhere tonight?
    OLIVIA: Yes, we’re on our way to the Lion King. My husband’s here on business for a few days, so we thought we’d go see a show. But I can hardly see myself walking into a theater with a big black stain down my back! I don’t know what I’m going to do about this. I love this mink, it’s my favorite fur.
    ERIKA: I’m sorry about your coat. Enjoy Broadway. (Turns away, trying to end the conversation)
    OLIVIA: You know, your accent…
    ERIKA: No, I know. I’m not a New Yorker.
    OLIVIA: Are you from somewhere in the Midwest? Aaron’s firm is based in Des Moines.
    ERIKA: Yeah. I was born in Oakville.
    OLIVIA: Really? How did you end up in New York? Did you go to school here? I have a cousin who went to Columbia.
    ERIKA: No, I didn’t go to college.
    OLIVIA: Not—not here, or not at all?
    ERIKA: (beginning to get a little irritated) Not at all. I moved in with my boyfriend in Manhattan and tried to get discovered by just about every theater in New York. Then, just when I thought my big break was coming through, it was all gone. I’d never held down a job; I never had to. My boyfriend had always shouldered my expenses. But Craig got tired of being my personal ATM, so he dumped me. Literally, along with everything I owned, on a street corner. (Slipping back into a bit of a daze) But I guess I got what I wanted, after all of it. I perform every night, on my own personal stage. (She trails her fingers down a nearby pole on the subway) It’s just me, I’m the star. And the audience loves me. (Bitter) It’s not quite in the same league as Broadway, but it pays my rent.

    ERIKA turns to look at OLIVIA, who has no idea what to say. AARON is wrapping up his conversation on the phone.

    OLIVIA: Oh... did you—did you ever think about going back to Iowa?
    ERIKA: No. I don’t care what happens to me, I’m never going back there. I hated it! My tiny hometown with less than 500 people in it, and my homely little farm family; they’re a joke! Nothing happens in Iowa. All anyone cares about is corn.
    OLIVIA: (Offended) Well…It’s not all corn. I should hope not, given what we’re paying for our penthouse.
    ERIKA: Right, sure. Well, enjoy Broadway.
    AARON: (hangs up his cell phone) Well, James says it depends on practically everything; what got on the coat, how dried on it is by the time we get back to Iowa... (He notices that OLIVIA’s distracted) ]Hey, sweetheart.
    OLIVIA: Hmm?
    AARON: Everything alright?
    OLIVIA: Alright? Yes, yes, I’m just a little worried about making curtain. (Checks her watch) is it really almost 6:30?
    AARON: Yes. We had better make that show, those tickets cost a fortune.
    OLIVIA: Of course.

    The lights shift, spotlights move to CHASE, TOM, and JANELLE. The latter two are sitting silently, staring into space. CHASE is eyeing JANELLE’s picnic hamper.

    CHASE: Um... Miss?
    JANELLE: (surprised and a little uncomfortable) Yes?
    CHASE: You have any food in that?
    JANELLE: No, my boyfriend and I ate it all.
    She turns her head, trying to ignore the boy. CHASE looks crestfallen, but TOM addresses him.
    TOM: Are you on this train alone, buddy?
    CHASE: Yup.
    TOM: (shocked) Where are your parents?
    CHASE: At home.
    TOM: Why aren’t you home with them?
    CHASE: I ran away.
    TOM: Oh. Why?
    CHASE: Because they sold Everett. (Confused look from TOM) My puppy. My mom sold him for 500 dollars. He was a championship breed. She told me I could get a new dog, but I don’t care. I’m never going home. (CHASE digs in his backpack and pulls out a card) I took my dad’s subway card, so I can ride on the subway forever. (Proudly) I’ve already been going for three days. (His face falls) But... it’s hard to sleep, and I ran out of pop-tarts and Chex. I don’t have any money.
    TOM: I’m sorry, buddy. I’d buy you something to eat, but... Well, my girlfriend and I have to catch a train right after this one. We’ve got an important dinner tonight.
    JANELLE: (talking down to CHASE) Yes, and he needs to take a shower before he meets my parents.

    TOM is obviously not excited for this.

    TOM: Right, I do.

    Suddenly, LYNN reaches over, an apple in her hand. She holds it out to CHASE, who looks at her, surprised and hesitant.

    LYNN: Go on, honey, take it. (CHASE still hesitates) Really, eat it!

    CHASE takes the apple and starts eating it hungrily. LYNN speaks now to TOM and JANELLE.

    LYNN: I guess it’s safe to assume you two won’t feed a homeless middle-aged woman if you refuse to do the same for a lost kid. Am I right?
    TOM and JANELLE are really uncomfortable. CHASE munches happily on his apple.
    TOM: I—we don’t have time to get you any food, but... (He reaches for his wallet) Maybe I could give you some money...
    JANELLE: Tom.
    LYNN: (Laughs) Forget about it, sweetie. I’ve got dinner plans anyway. (She tugs her hat back down over her eyes)

    The lights shift, spotlights move to focus on JOHN, CASEY, and SHANNON. JOHN reaches into his bucket for a brown paper bag (his dinner) and accidentally brushes CASEY’s leg.

    CASEY: (more irritated) Really? This is dry-clean only, and I have a meeting in two hours!
    JOHN: Jeez, lady. Calm down, it’s a little dry-wall dust. SHANNON’s attention is peaked by this exchange and she removes one of her headphones.
    CASEY: Look, please just move your little bucket over, or something.
    SHANNON: Casey?
    CASEY: (Startled, she turns from JOHN to look at SHANNON) Shannon? (she’s very surprised, and speaks formally, almost overly-cheery) Well, it’s—it’s great to see you! You don’t usually take this train, right?
    SHANNON: No, not normally.
    CASEY: Oh, okay. (Pause) Wow, I really like your new hair it’s very... very you.
    SHANNON: (Nods) So, how’re things going?
    CASEY: Oh, great, just great. There’s a big thing about to go through at my company.
    SHANNON: Really?
    CASEY: Yeah, we’re opening two new plants in China; they’re sending a few guys over to do the signing tonight.
    SHANNON: China?
    CASEY: (laughs a little exasperatedly) Shan don’t start with your “Free Tibet” crap; I really don’t need it tonight.
    SHANNON: Oh yeah? Well, that says it all, doesn’t it?
    CASEY: I’m sorry?
    SHANNON: This is the way you’ve always been around me, Case! You and mom; you prefer to ignore everything I am rather than just face me. Did you know that I haven’t heard from mom in more than eight months? And you! I haven’t seen you in over three weeks! We live three blocks apart, Casey! Speaking of which, why are you on this train?
    CASEY: I’m on business, I’m not explaining myself to you.
    SHANNON: I’m going to see a friend; she’s playing on 45th Street for tips, and I promised I’d throw in a few bucks. (She pauses, gestures for CASEY to say what she’s doing.)
    CASEY: Fine. I’m meeting the executives from China; they flew in a few hours early to see the city. I’m showing them Times Square before the signing.
    SHANNON: Wow, Case. Times Square! Well, enjoy that, along with your wonderful meeting with your fabulous champagne, or sake, or what ever you’ll be toasting each other with. Get drunk, have a good time. Forget all about me, like always.
    CASEY’s Blackberry beeps and she looks at its screen.
    CASEY: I’ve got to take this.
    SHANNON: Fine. (She replaces her other headphone and looks away)

    The lights come up so everyone is illuminated equally. Over by TOM and JANELLE, CHASE is nodding off.

    TOM: Are you alright, little guy?
    CHASE: Yeah, I’m just sort of... sorta sleepy.

    He leans over against TOM’s shoulder, eyes slowly falling shut. TOM smiles, and gently rubs CHASE’s arm to comfort him. JANELLE is watching all of this scathingly. TOM notices her glare.

    TOM: What?
    JANELLE: Nothing.

    JOHN takes a large bite out of a sandwich he has pulled out and squirts a large spurt of ketchup onto CASEY’s shoulder. CASEY jumps up, full out yelling now.

    CASEY: Are you kidding me? Oh my god, this is Merino, this won’t come out!
    JOHN: Hey, calm down, it’s just a little ketchup. (He takes another bite of his sandwich, shaking his head)
    CASEY: Excuse me? A little ketchup, huh? (She smacks the sandwich out of his hands, and it falls all over his shirt)
    JOHN: Whoa, lady! What’s your problem?!
    CASEY: YOU, obviously!!
    OLIVIA: Look, would you please keep it down? (to AARON, as she rubs her temples) I’m getting a migraine...
    TOM: (chiming in) Yeah, and there’s a little kid trying to sleep over here.
    JANELLE: What are you doing, Tom?
    TOM: (surprised) What?
    JANELLE: Since when did you become the Salvation Army?
    TOM: What are you talking about?
    JANELLE: Handing out money to homeless women, assisting orphaned children?
    CHASE sits up, rubbing one eye.
    CHASE: I’m not an orphan.
    CASEY: Look, you jerk, this is a 300 dollar jacket, and I’m going to sue you for every penny.
    SHANNON: Sis, really...
    CASEY: SHUT UP, Shannon, he’s ruined my suit! (She has her Blackberry out and is preparing to type in JOHN’s information) What’s your name?
    JOHN: (heavy sarcasm) You know, you’re right! We were never properly introduced! (He holds out his hand, as if to shake with CASEY) I’m John.
    CASEY: (pause) Do I really need to get my lawyer on the phone?
    SHANNON: Casey!
    JOHN: Casey! Oh, well, Casey: (wipes some ketchup off of his shirt and shakes her hand) it’s nice to meet you.

    There is a lapse in dialogue as the sounds of the train pulling into a station are heard. The doors click open. CASEY takes a seat and wipes off her hand, fuming. She ignores JOHN, who is cleaning off his shirt as best he can. A few people exit/board the train. The doors ding and shut, and the entire cast moves in unison as the train pulls out.
    AARON has been checking his watch constantly throughout the show, he seems uneasy. He taps his fingers against his leg, and checks his watch again. OLIVIA notices his unease.

    OLIVIA: Are you alright?
    AARON: Yeah, yeah, it’s just... (He looks at his watch again) The show, it starts in half an hour and we’re not even to Lexington Avenue yet.
    OLIVIA: It’ll be fine. We’re almost there.

    Just as she finishes saying that, there is a small explosion heard, and a loud crash, and the train jerks to a stop. The lights blink down a level or so.

    ERIKA: What was that?

    JOHN and AARON both move over to the STAGE RIGHT side of the “train.” A garbled message is heard over the intercom.

    TOM: Did you understand that?
    JANELLE: No, I can never understand what the stupid intercom says!
    OLIVIA: What is it, what’s happened?
    AARON: I think—I think there’s been a cave-in.
    SHANNON: A what?
    TOM: A cave-in? In a New York subway? That’s impossible.
    JOHN: (points offstage) Yeah, well, tell that to these people. There’s a huge dent at the front of this car; it’s buckled in like three feet up there.
    TOM: Can you see if anyone’s hurt?
    AARON: No, I think everyone’s okay.
    TOM: Well, that’s a relief.
    AARON: Yeah, I don’t think it’s too bad. Other than—(he checks his watch) Well, something tells me we’re not going to see the Lion King tonight. (He rubs his forehead) Damn it.

    AARON makes his way back over to OLIVIA, who is rubbing her temples. JOHN takes a seat again, but he looks troubled.

    OLIVIA: I am never going to take the subway again. This is unbelievable! First my coat is ruined, and now we’re stuck in what has to be the first subway cave-in in New York in 50 years!
    JOHN: (To CASEY) It’s my 15th wedding anniversary. I left work early to go home and freshen up before saw my wife. (He pulls out a cheap box of chocolates) I couldn’t even get her a real gift because of the recession; they’re cutting back my hours. (He throws the box back into his bucket, irritated)
    CASEY: Well, none of you have international corporate executives waiting on you. (More to herself) This can’t be happening! (CASEY pulls out her Blackberry and dials a number and starts mouthing a conversation.)
    JANELLE: Tom.
    TOM: Yeah?
    JANELLE: What are we going to do about my folks? They drove 4 hours to meet us tonight.
    TOM: They’ll just have to wait.

    JANELLE looks stressed and pulls out her cell phone to call her parents.

    ERIKA: How long will it take to clear this?
    JOHN: Well, I don’t really know. It depends. Does anyone know what street we’re under right now?
    ERIKA: We just left the 36th avenue station; we haven’t reached Queensboro Plaza yet.
    JOHN: Really? (He looks shocked and worried) I thought we were further along than that…
    ERIKA: (She’s surprised to see his reaction) Is there a problem?
    JOHN: Yeah. Hey, everyone! Listen up. I don’t think this was a cave-in.
    SHANNON: What was it, then?
    JOHN: I was over here a few days ago to help out this guy I know from the union, he was working on this site that’s probably right above us. They were replacing some of the older pipe-work underneath the street. I—I don’t believe this—I literally told these guys they were digging right near a major main, that they needed to be extra careful.
    AARON: Main?
    JOHN: Yeah, like gas main. I think they accidentally ruptured the pipe when they were digging. That would have caused an explosion, which could have collapsed the tunnel.
    AARON: Well, that’s terrible for the workers, but it doesn’t change much for us, right?
    JOHN: No, does. If the gas main is busted, that means that gas is escaping anywhere that it can go. The concrete has blocked the tunnel, so the gas could be forced down the tunnel, towards us. Methane isn’t toxic, but it can displace the oxygen in the air. If we’re stuck in here too long, and that happens...
    JANELLE: What? It’s not like we’ll die.

    JOHN is silent, and takes his seat. There is silence on the train. JANELLE is shocked; she had expected to be told she was wrong to worry. TOM looks worried; he has his arm around CHASE, who is nestled close into his shoulder, obviously upset. CASEY slowly reaches up and removes her Bluetooth from her ear, and looks at SHANNON, who takes off her headphones. AARON pulls OLIVIA in close to him; she is on the verge of tears. ERIKA shakes her head; she looks skeptical.

    ERIKA: No. No, this is not going to happen! The New York fire department is the best on earth! We’ll all be rescued; there’s no reason to get upset over this!
    LYNN: Of course!

    Many of the train’s passengers jump at the new voice. LYNN pulls off the blanket that was on her lap and stands up, dusting off her pants.

    LYNN: Of course we’ll be rescued. Each of you will go back to your lives, living them the same way you have for years. But what if we aren’t rescued? What happens then?
    ERIKA: We’ll die!
    LYNN: Right, yes, that would happen. I looked around this train the moment each of you realized your life was threatened. Each of your faces... Suddenly, when you’re going to die, the punctuality of your dinner plans hold a little less importance. All that money you spent—on suits and coats and tickets and food? Who cares about it, right? But until that moment, those things were all that mattered.
    CASEY: What do you think matters, then?
    LYNN: Do you have to ask? Look to your left.

    CASEY looks at SHANNON, who’s looking at LYNN.

    LYNN: She’s an artist. She’s an outspoken liberal. She’s poor, she’s irritating, and she’s your sister. What do those other things mean, those labels? Why should they stop you from being close to her?

    CASEY and SHANNON exchange a quick glance, then avert their eyes.

    LYNN: Things are disposable. People are not. If we all died, all of us would have someone yearning for us to have missed the show, or meeting, or dinner. They’d be wishing that we had been lucky enough to be stuck in here for a few hours. All of you are getting too caught up in living your lives, going from appointment to appointment, from dress to dress, (To CHASE) pet to pet. You’re so busy living your crowded lives; you’re forgetting to love them! And to love the people in them! (Pause) Live every second as if it were your last. If how you’re living right now isn’t its equivalent, then change.

    There is a heavy silence on the train for few seconds. Then, over the speakers, a recorded sound byte is played: There are the sounds of heavy machinery moving, concrete chunks crashes to the pavement, people are shouting and talking. In the foreground of this, there’s a track of music playing. Someone yells, “There—the first one’s coming up!”

    First to emerge is JOHN, who is led by the arm by a rescue worker. He is coughing from the “dust” (fog) and is led over to moderate stage right, still within the barriers. He is seated on a gurney/overturned bucket/something and examined by a paramedic.
    Coming out next are OLIVIA and AARON. They step over STAGE RIGHT, and OLIVIA embraces AARON, and they stay there as AARON comforts her; OLIVIA’s still a little upset.

    OLIVIA: I love you.
    AARON: I know, sweetheart, shh... I love you, too.

    JOHN has been released by the paramedics and steps over to see the two of them.

    JOHN: You doing alright over here?
    OLIVIA: We’re fine, thank you.
    AARON: John, thank you for letting us know what was going on while we were down there.
    JOHN: Yeah, and practically pronouncing all of us dead? Now that it’s over, I don’t know if it was the smartest thing for me to have done...
    OLIVIA: Really, you were fine. Don’t worry about everyone else; you were on the train too. Go home and relax.
    JOHN: Yeah, relax...
    AARON: Everything alright?
    JOHN: Yes, it’s... well, it seems a little petty after that woman’s little lecture, but I don’t have anything to give my wife for our 15th anniversary. Not even a card, or anything.

    As AARON speaks, OLIVIA looks thoughtful.

    AARON: Don’t worry about it; I’m sure she’ll just be glad to have you home safe.
    OLIVIA: She will, of course. But—(She shrugs off her coat¬) give her this. I’m sure she’d love it, I do. It’s very warm. (She remembers the stain on the back) I’m very sorry, there’s a little stain on the back, there. And the hem’s a little shot.
    JOHN: Ma’am, really, I can’t take this.
    OLIVIA: No, please.
    JOHN: No, really. I appreciate the thought, but… Now that I think about it, I just want to go home and see her. I’ve got a wealth of stories to tell my wife tonight, I don’t need to bring her a fur coat.
    OLIVIA: Are you sure?
    JOHN: Yeah.
    OLIVIA: Okay. Have a good night.

    JOHN exits STAGE RIGHT. OLIVIA turns to look at AARON, who is utterly shocked and slightly hurt at her offer to give away the coat.

    AARON: Do you want to get rid of it? Did the stain bother you that much?
    OLIVIA: Do you remember what that woman said tonight?
    AARON: Of course.
    OLIVIA: (Pause) It’s not that I wanted to give it away. It’s just... all I want now is you.

    AARON smiles sensitively and they kiss? (We’ll see.) AARON leads OLIVIA off STAGE LEFT, his arm around her waist. OLIVIA carries the coat over her arm.
    Next out of the gap is ERIKA. She moves slight STAGE LEFT, and pulls out a cell phone from her purse. She types in a number and holds a finger in her other ear to muffle the “noise” around her.

    ERIKA: Hello, is Tracy there? Tracy? This is... Erika. (Erika seems apprehensive, but then her face splits into a grin) Slow down, slow down, I can’t understand what you’re saying... what? Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine, I’m in Manhattan. No, I’m not working. No, actually—Tracy? Um, I don’t really know how I can ask you this, but... (ERIKA’s eyes are filling with tears) Can I come home? I’ve missed you guys so much, I love you, I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done. I was an idiot. (Laughs through her tears) Yeah, I guess I always knew that. Okay. I’ll call you in a few minutes; I’ve got to get home. Okay. Yeah, of course. I love you too, Tr—Mom.

    She hangs up her cell phone, and exits STAGE LEFT, shrugging away a curious reporter.
    SHANNON is led out of the gap by a rescue worker. She stands over on the side, examined by a paramedic. Next out of the gap are JOHN, carrying CHASE, and JANELLE. They come to the front of the stage, JOHN sets CHASE down. JOHN goes down on one knee, looking CHASE in the eyes.

    TOM: What are you going to do now, buddy? I’m not your daddy, I can’t watch you forever.
    CHASE: I... (he looks at JANELLE, who still looks mildly irritated.) I want to go home. I want my mom.
    TOM: Good kid. (He stands up, rustling CHASE’s hair. He keeps one arm around CHASE’s shoulders. He speaks now to JANELLE) I’m going to help Chase get home.
    JANELLE: So that’s it? We’ve stuck on the subway for 2 hours! They’re still waiting, and you’re going to make them wait even longer so you can help some punk kid?
    TOM: Janelle, did you take anything away from our time down there?
    JANELLE: Sure: I’m never riding the subway again. In fact, I realized I hate the city, and that I think we should live on my parents’ horse ranch in Ithaca, like I’ve told you a thousand times!
    TOM: Janelle... (He pauses, picking up CHASE) I’ll call you later, but I’m not sure I will see you later.

    TOM stops quickly to speak with a police officer, and they exit STAGE RIGHT, with CHASE in tow. JANELLE looks confused and angry. She starts to exit STAGE LEFT, and is stopped by a reporter. She mimes an interview while the following action takes place.
    CASEY emerges from the dust, followed by two rescue workers. The rescue workers exit STAGE LEFT, followed shortly thereafter by JANELLE and the reporters. CASEY sets down her briefcase, pulls out her Blackberry instinctively, but then pauses, and puts it back. SHANNON has been waiting for her, and approaches her.

    SHANNON: Hey, Case.
    CASEY: Hey, Shan. Are you okay?
    SHANNON: Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Are you?
    CASEY: I’m good.
    The two of them look at each other, pausing. After a moment, they embrace.
    CASEY: Shannon...
    SHANNON: We both messed up. We’ll just have to make it up to each other.
    CASEY: Of course. Um, I was going to have dinner with mom on Thursday. Do you want to come?
    SHANNON: Do you think she’ll be able to handle that?
    CASEY: I’ll talk to her, I’m sure it will work out. She can be a hothead, Shan, it’s not you.
    SHANNON: Well, I’ve always known that much.
    CASEY: (laugh) Right, of course. I don’t need to tell you that. Well—I’ll give you a call tonight, when I get home. Looks like I’ll have to stomach a taxi, after all.
    SHANNON: Okay. Yeah, I don’t think I can take another sub ride, I’ll walk home.
    CASEY: Do you want a ride? I can pay your fare.
    SHANNON: Nah, it’s a great night. I’m good.
    CASEY: Goodbye, Shannon.
    SHANNON: Take care, Casey.
    CASEY: I will.

    They walk offstage, in opposite directions.
    LYNN emerges from the smoke, her bag over her shoulder. A paramedic moves to examine her, but she shoos him away. She walks STAGE RIGHT, looking upwards at the “sky.” She moves just beyond the barricade, near the wall. She pulls out her blanket, spreads it out and sits on it. A track of music is playing as she does this. She nestles down. Reaching into her bag, she pulls out two apples. She looks like she’s going to eat them, but she then tosses them to the two paramedics onstage. The paramedics exit STAGE LEFT. She smiles, tugs her hat over her eyes, and appears to be going to sleep. After a few seconds, she reveals one eye. She looks up at the lights and claps twice. The lights go OUT.
    -THE END-