Delilah- an author who never attended college. She’s too stubborn to be taught anything that she feels she can already do, even if it might benefit her. She has been struggling with her novel for about five years, having only experience with short stories. She often talks to herself and is slightly cynical, but never-the-less a pleasant person.
Lori- works as a receptionist for a local law-firm. Attended four years of college for creative writing in hopes of becoming an author but found it difficult to cope with writers block and that she could not handle the harsh criticism of the professors. She quickly changed her major to communications and took a full time job as a reseptionist. She’s not sensitive or weak, simply insecure.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Scene I: two young ladies of about 26 are sitting on a couch, both looking deeply upset. They are both clad in black; it is after the funeral of their life-long friend Calvin. Lori (left) has a handkerchief that she occasionally uses to dab her eyes. Delilah (right) simply looks shocked and disconnected. When the scene begins there is a long silence.
I . . . I don’t believe this. We’ve all been inseparable since sixth grade. Now he’s just gone. Dead. He’s dead!
Delilah (as if dazed):
I can’t believe this. I can’t . . . this . . . this isn’t right. Not at all. This is not how Calvin was supposed to die. No. Calvin was not supposed to be shot by some disgruntled junkie. There’s been a mistake.
He was just about to start his life! He literally just graduated! He hadn’t even started his internship yet! I mean, this is so . . . weird. Did you ever think that he’d be so desperate? That he might do something like that? I understand that his tuition was an arm and a leg and his student loan would’ve been through the roof, but that’s no reason for what he did.
Of all the ways for him to earn money, he decides to sell drugs to pay his way through med school. I can’ believe he was a drug-dealer for seven years and we didn’t know about it.
I don’t want to talk about this right now, it’s too soon. I think I’m just going to go home.
You gonna be okay? Do you want me to walk with you?
No, thanks. I’m fine. I’ll talk to you later, okay?
Lori stands gingerly and slowly exits stage right. Delilah watches until she’s out of sight. She then lays down on the couch and sighs deeply. Another silence.
Calvin . . . Calvin, Calvin, Calvin. What happened? Why did this seem like a good idea to you? Was it really the best thing you could think of? (She looks up and pauses as if waiting) You’re not going to answer me are you? No, I didn’t think you would.
Delilah rises and exits stage left. Lights go down: end of scene I.
Scene II: two separate bedrooms very early in the morning. Lori (right) sits up awake in bed. She has obviously been tossing and turning all night unable to sleep. Delilah (left) is asleep with a book in her hand and the lamp on her night-stand still on; she has only recently drifted off to sleep. Lori picks up her phone and dials. Seconds later Delilah’s phone rings. She awakes with a start and looks at the clock. She groans, sits up, and picks up.
Hey, it’s me. Are you awake?
Yeah, yeah. What’s up, you okay?
Yeah, I’m fine. I was just thinking.
Uhuh. What do you think about what he was doing?
I think it was ironic. He was selling drugs so that he could continue school and become a doctor, right? So basically he was killing people today in order to save people tomorrow.
That’s what I think, too. What he was doing was almost wicked. And that wickedness spread and what was benefitting him became the cause for his death.
Are . . . are you saying that Calvin deserved this? That his murder is justifiable?
I don’t know. He wasn’t a bad person. All he ever wanted was to save people by any means necessary. I guess that none of knew that ‘any means’ meant ‘any means’. He absolutely did not deserve to be murdered. But his means were killing people, he was killing people. However he was doing it in order to some day save people.
It’s like that old riddle about the man steeling bread to feed his starving wife and children. How do you punish him if at all? When it’s wrong legally but right morally what course of action do you take? Your decision could be right legally and wrong morally, or it could be wrong legally and right morally. Either way you’ve made some wrong decision and you’re conscience would be stained. There’s no way of making a legal and moral decision. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. It’s either one or the other.
It’s a paradox. It’s like Plato wrote in one of his dialogues. “Where there is piety there is justice, but where there is justice there is not always piety”. Good moral people get rewarded, bad sinful people get punished. That’s piety and it’s fair. The problem is deciding between good and bad, like your man steeling bread. It’s moral, true, but it’s illegal. Illegal equals bad. Though he’s moral, he’ll be punished. That’s justice and it’s unsympathetic to morality.
Only people are sympathetic. The punish-er will have a guilty conscience for a while, but then he will do the same tomorrow and forget his immoral decisions from the day before. Soon his conscience will be replaced by nothing but guilt. This, however, desensitizes him to guilt. The piety (or lack-there-of) is given due justice, but the justice, ironically, is not always pious. As I said it’s a paradox; a double-edged sword.
Poor Calvin. I wonder what was going through his head; if he was able to justify his choice? I wonder how or if he rationalized his murder? Did he know it was going to happen, did he see the irony? Why? I just want to know why!
Nobody knows the answers to any of those questions but him.
Yeah but the answers to those questions would mean the answer to the real question . . .
And what’s the real question?
Is Calvin going to Heaven or Hell?
Long, somewhat awkward pause. They’re both considering the conversation. They both feel a little guilty and insensitive for talking about their very recently deceased friend. They ponder the verbalized question and the question of weather it’s moral for them to be talking in such a way about such a tragedy. Lori finally breaks the silence.
I should get to sleep. I have to go to work in the morning. I’m not taking any grievance time because I don’t want to sit at home wallowing. Calvin never took time to dwell . . .
I understand what you mean. Good night. Try and have a good day at work.
They both hang up their phones. Lori rolls over and gets comfortable, Delilah lays back down and pulls her covers up. Lights go down: end of scene II.
Scene III: split scene. On one side Lori is seated behind a large reception desk answering the phone and writing memos with coworkers walking by, some acknowledging her, some reading files, etc. On the other side Delilah sits at her desk at home typing on her computer, looking very frustrated. Whichever scene is not in focus should be frozen.
Delilah stops typing and briefly scans her work. She puts her hands over her face then runs her fingers through her hair letting out an angry, frustrated sigh as she does so.
Uh. I can’t write worth a damn today. All I can think about is Calvin.
Lori (talking into phone):
Yes, I’m sure Mr. Rheiner and Mr. Donnau will be very interested in your case, ma’am. Thank you again for choosing Rheiner and Donnau Law Firm. Good bye.
She puts the phone back on the receiver. A male coworker approaches. His interest in her is matched only by her disinterest in him.
Hey, I heard through the grape-vine about your friend. I’m really sorry.
Thank you. I . . . (The phone rings) excuse me. (Into the receiver) Hello, Rheiner and Donnau Law Firm. One moment please, I’ll check. (She flips through a calender) Yes, your meeting is still scheduled for 11 am on the 21st. You would like to reschedule? Okay, not a problem. If you could just tell me . . . oh, could you hold for one moment, please? I have a call on the other line. Thank you.
Hello, Rheiner and Donnau Law Firm. How may I help you? Of course, one moment please. (She sets the receiver down and presses the intercom) Call for you on line two, Mr. Donnau. (She picks the receiver again)
Hello, Mr. Lannet, thank you for holding. Now, when would you like to reschedule for? Oh, I’m sorry, that won’t work. There’s an opening at 1:15 pm if you would like. Okay, you’re all set. 1:15 pm on the 21st. Thank you, good bye.
(Back to coworker) Sorry about that. Thank you for your concern.
What was he thinking? I just don’t get it. He never even got his chance to save a life, he only ruined them. His intention was only good, but is intention enough? Is it the thought or the act that defines good? Is evil in the short run acceptable as long as it leads to good in the long run?
He must have thought so. That’s the only way he could have lived with himself. I wish I did know his rationale. It would be easier to cope if only I knew what was going through his head. What were his views on piety and justice? That’s another kink in the paradox. The line between good and evil varies for each individual. It’s an opinion. Sins and virtues can only be defined by the individual, not some monarch telling everybody that this is right and that is wrong. That’s the failure of justice but the success of society. It makes choosing between morals and laws that much more difficult, but it makes the world diverse and diversity is essential to the survival of man-kind.
She pauses and reads what she has typed. She lets out a disappointing sigh.
Maybe I’ll go for a walk.
She exits. Only Lori’s scene is active now.
You know, if you need a shoulder to cry on I’m here.
Um, thanks . . . I have a lot of work to do, so . . .
Of course. Well, I guess I’ll talk to you later. (He begins to leave, but stops to add one last comment) Once again, I’m really sorry to hear about your friend. It’s terrible what happened to him.
Lori (to herself):
I don’t know about that.
Lights go down: end of scene III.
Scene IV: one month later. The two are sitting on a park bench laughing. They are reminiscing about Calvin.
Oh my goodness, I totally forgot about that! The look on his face was priceless!
Yeah, I thought he was going to keel over right there!
Awkward laughter as they realize what Delilah had just said.
It’s hard to believe it’s been a month.
I know. It seems like we just saw him yesterday.
Sometimes I pick up the phone and start to dial his number without realizing it. Then I remember . . .
Silence as they remember their friend.
So, do you think he went to Heaven or Hell?
I don’t believe in Heaven or Hell. I believe that after death, we all go to the same place. The path there is through a long, narrow, dark tunnel and you don’t get a torch. Once you’ve stumbled and squeezed you way to this place you meet two people. One represents your guilt for what you believe was sinful in you life, and the other represents pride for what you believe was virtuous in your life.
You are bound to these two people, forced to reconcile with both of them everyday for the rest of eternity. You spend forever being bound to these two people and mingling with all the other departed souls bound to their two people. It’s up to each individual to decide weather this place is Heaven or if it’s Hell.
So you think that you’re bound to your Angel and your Devil for eternity in a neutral place that represents neither punishment nor reward, rather that those are represented by facing your Angel and Devil every day?
Exactly. And I every night I hope that Calvin made it there safe and unharmed through the tunnel.
I hope so, too.
They both smile, knowing that he has made his journey safely and was facing his Devil and his Angel. Lights go down: end of scene IV.
© Copyright 2016 L A Gardner. All rights reserved.
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