Zero Hour

by

Ray Bradbury

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Drill is the apparent leader of an alien force, who successfully convinces Mink—and the rest of the children in America (or perhaps the world) under ten years old—to help the aliens invade Earth. He never appears in person in the story, and is only revealed by what Mink says about him. Drill seems to have a keen understanding of what children want, promising the children more privileges and fewer rules. In claiming that the post-Invasion world will be run by kids, and that there will be later bedtimes, more television, and no baths, Drill wins the children’s loyalty. Drill is somehow able to communicate with Mink through a rosebush, and Mink later tells her mother that, according to Drill, parents “are so busy they never look under rosebushes or on lawns.” Drill has managed to capitalize on parents’ indifference to what their children do or say, consequently allowing an Invasion to unfold right under the adults’ noses.

Drill Quotes in Zero Hour

The Zero Hour quotes below are all either spoken by Drill or refer to Drill. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Zero Hour published in 1949.
“Zero Hour” Quotes

“I wanna play,” said Joseph.

“Can’t!” said Mink.

“Why not?”

“You’d just make fun of us.”

“Honest, I wouldn’t.”

“No. We know you. Go away or we’ll kick you.”

[…]

Joseph showed reluctance and a certain wistfulness. “I want to play,” he said.

“You’re old,” said Mink firmly.

“Not that old,” said Joe sensibly.

“You’d only laugh and spoil the Invasion.”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Joseph Connors (speaker), Drill
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:

Mink talked earnestly to someone near the rosebush—though there was no one there.

These odd children.

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 256-257
Explanation and Analysis:

Mink rebelled. “You’re laughing! You’ll kill Drill and everybody.”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

“They couldn’t find a way to attack, Mom. Drill says—he says in order to make a good fight you got to have a new way of surprising people. That way you win. And he says also you got to have help from your enemy. […] And they couldn’t find a way to surprise Earth or get help. […] Until, one day,” whispered Mink melodramatically, “they thought of children! […] And they thought of how grownups are so busy they never look under rosebushes or on lawns!”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

“And there’s something about kids under nine and imagination. It’s real funny to hear Drill talk.”

Mrs. Morris was tired. “Well, it must be funny. You’re keeping Drill waiting now. It’s getting late in the day and, if you want to have your Invasion before your supper bath, you’d better jump.”

“Drill says I won’t have to take baths […] He told all the kids that. No more baths. And we can stay up till ten o’clock and go to two televisor shows on Saturday ‘stead of one!”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“We’re having trouble with guys like Pete Britz and Dale Jerrick. They’re growing up. They make fun. They’re worse than parents. They just won’t believe in Drill. They’re so snooty, ‘cause they’re growing up. You’d think they’d know better. They were little only a coupla years ago. I hate them worse. We’ll kill them first.”

“Your father and I last?”

“Drill says you’re dangerous. Know why? ‘Cause you don’t believe in Martians! They’re going to let us run the world. Well, not just us, but the kids over in the next block, too. I might be queen.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Mr. Henry Morris, Pete Britz, Dale Jerrick
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“Mink, was that Peggy Ann crying?”

Mink was bent over in the yard, near the rosebush.

“Yeah. She’s a scarebaby. We won’t let her play, now. She’s getting too old to play. I guess she grew up all of a sudden.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Peggy Ann
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Zero Hour LitChart as a printable PDF.
Zero Hour PDF

Drill Character Timeline in Zero Hour

The timeline below shows where the character Drill appears in Zero Hour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“Zero Hour”
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
...was Mink’s age. Mrs. Morris tells her daughter to eat slower, but Mink says she can’t—Drill is waiting for her. (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Mrs. Morris prods Mink to find out who Drill is and if he’s a new boy in town. Mink answers vaguely, telling her mom... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Mink accuses her mom of laughing and claims that Mrs. Morris will “kill Drill and everybody.” Mink says she’s not sure which planet Drill is from, but “he’s had... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Continuing, Mink explains that according to Drill, “to make a good fight,” one needs the element of surprise and help from the... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...about four “dim-dims,” and Mrs. Morris realizes she means the four “dimensions.” Mink adds that Drill also said “something about kids under nine and imagination.” Tired of listening to her daughter’s... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...Mink thinks they’re growing up, which makes them “snooty” and keeps them from believing in Drill. She says she hates them more than anyone else, and that “We’ll kill them first.”... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
...that “logic is knowing what things are true and not true.” Excited, Mink affirms that Drill mentioned that same word. She also asks about what “im-pres-sion-able” means, pronouncing the word with... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Helen says her son, Tim, has a crush on a boy named Drill, and Mrs. Morris says that Mink likes him too, and that the word Drill “Must... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Scowling, Mink mumbles that Drill is “stuck” and only made it halfway to Earth. She explains to her mother that... (full context)