31yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Tboneactor is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
||Sunday: a one act
(The scene takes place in the basement/storm cellar of SEAN. There is a table with a crucifix on it in the center of the room, along with a glass of wine and a small dish of wafers.)
(Lights come up on SEAN nervously setting the table up with the crucifix in the center. As he sets up, three knocks are heard. SEAN freezes at the first knock but runs to the door after the third)
AARON: (entering) Am I late?
SEAN: Technically, yes. But no one else has shown up yet either. You don't think they're too afraid do you?
AARON: I don't know. The police are on heavy patrol today.
SEAN: What else is new? The cops are always out on Sunday.
AARON: Are you one hundred percent sure you want to do this?
SEAN: Yes, Aaron. I'm sure. Some things are more important than laws.
AARON: I guess.
SEAN: Did you see Molly or Judith on the way?
AARON: I spoke with Molly on Thursday. She was definitely going to come. I hadn't heard from Judith.
SEAN: I haven't either. And I don't like that. I know I told her on Monday to knock three times. But who can remember things for an entire week anymore?
AARON: (freezes) You told Molly where we're meeting , right?
SEAN: (pause) You were supposed to tell her Aaron. You said you were going to meet her...
AARON: (overlapping) I'm sorry I forgot...
SEAN: (overlapping) If she gets caught, all four of us could get in serious trouble...
AARON: (overlapping) I know. I'm sorry...
SEAN: Look, as soon as Judith gets here, one of us can go find her and get her here safely. But for now, we'll just have to wait.
AARON: Alright. (Uncomfortable pause) I truly am sorry.
SEAN: It's ok. It's no big deal, really. I'm sure Molly will be able to figure it out. I'm sorry for taking it out on you. I just don't want to get caught. Did you hear what happened to Amy Flanders last month?
AARON: No, what happened?
SEAN: She got caught setting up for a meeting. (AARON gasps) Last I knew, she was awaiting trial. But the court wants to make a big statement since she's the first woman who's been arrested.
AARON: Amy's always been a powerful girl about her morals. (pause) She'll hang.
SEAN: All the more reason to hold a meeting today, in her honor.
(Three knocks are heard. The reactions are the same as the first time. And the same every time for that matter)
SEAN: I think so. (opens the door)
JUDITH: (entering, out of breath) Sorry I'm late. I almost got caught.
AARON: (helping her to a chair) Sit down. Tell us what happened.
JUDITH: Well, I didn't want to look suspicious so I wore these sunglasses. I didn't realize that it was still dark out until I walked outside. I tried to take them off as soon as I could, but two policemen saw me and followed me for about three blocks. I had to cut about three different corners to get here without being seen.
SEAN: The important thing is that no one saw you come in. Otherwise, we'd all be screwed.
JUDITH: Technically, only you'd be screwed if Aaron and I denied participation...
AARON: But we would never do that!
JUDITH: Right. I didn't mean that we would. I was just saying that...
SEAN: I'm going to go try to find Molly. You two stay here. Remember, three knocks means it's clear to let me in. Two knocks means that someone is nearby so hide all the evidence. (indicating the table)
AARON: I'll cover the door when you leave. (SEAN exits) I was starting to think you wouldn't show up.
JUDITH: Of course I showed up. It was my idea to have a meeting in the first place.
AARON: Really? Then why are we in Sean's cellar?
JUDITH: (shrugs) I thought it would be safer. My cellar doesn't have a locking door, you don't have a cellar, and to be perfectly frank, Molly doesn't have the balls to hold a meeting of her own.
AARON: Yeah, that's true enough.
JUDITH: You're not worried about this?
AARON: Why should I be?
JUDITH: The law is so strict about everything any more. People are getting caught and strung up left and right.
AARON: Have you ever heard of a martyr?
JUDITH: Yes and I don't plan on being one.
AARON: What is with you today? You're so cold about everything.
JUDITH: It's just been a rough morning.
AARON: Hey, it's ok. Everyone runs into the police now-a-days. You managed to slip by them
JUDITH: Yeah, but not everyone is guilty.
AARON: What are we guilty of?
JUDITH: You know precisely what we're guilty of! The government has plainly forbidden... meetings.
AARON: And since when has the government done the right thing?
JUDITH: Bite your tongue! They have ears everywhere.
AARON: (quietly) Well, if that's the case, we're doomed regardless so what does it matter?
JUDITH: Just be careful. You never know who's playing who. Especially since they've started to offer rewards for turning these meetings in.
AARON: Wait, rewards? What rewards?
JUDITH: You haven't heard?
AARON: No. What are you talking about?
JUDITH: There's a cash reward for 'good Samaritans' who turn in law breakers to the authorities.
AARON: That's sick. That's really sick. How much is the reward?
JUDITH: Why? You gonna turn us in?
AARON: No! I'd never do that. You know that. But how do you know about the reward? Are you thinking of turning us in?
JUDITH: Hell no! I'd hang myself before I'd even consider betraying you guys.
AARON: Good. Don't scare me like that.
JUDITH: I'm sorry. I still can't believe-
AARON: That must be them. (crosses to the door and opens it. SEAN and MOLLY enter)
SEAN: I can't believe you were that stupid!
MOLLY: Look, how many times do I have to apologize? It was an accident, a reflex.
AARON: Lower your voices. What's wrong?
SEAN: Take a wild guess where I found her.
MOLLY: How was I supposed to know that we were meeting in your storm cellar? This whole ordeal is so vague.
JUDITH: Where did you go?
MOLLY: I-I-I... (timidly) I thought he meant a church basement...
(AARON and JUDITH gasp)
MOLLY: Hey! It's not my fault his instructions weren't clear.
SEAN: I literally had to pull her out of a basement window. You're just lucky the guards at the front didn't see or hear you. How would you have explained yourself?
MOLLY: I don't know...
AARON: What if they found you IN that church?
MOLLY: I don't know.
AARON: What if...
MOLLY: IDON'T KNOW!
JUDITH: The only thing that matters is that she's here now and we're safe. If we focus on who's to blame for what almost happened, we'll just go round in circles.
SEAN: You're right. I'm sorry, Molly. But when I saw you by that window, the first thing the flashed through my mind was those guards walking around the corner, spotting you, and... I can't bear to think of what would've happened to you.
AARON: I think it would be best if we all avoided that situation. We can't afford to lose anyone else to this stupid law. Who would've believed a decade ago that practicing Christianity would be illegal?
MOLLY: It's enough to make anyone question anything. I mean, what else can they take away? Our identities?
SEAN: Well, when you think about it, they've already started to.
JUDITH: What on earth are you talking about?
SEAN: What's your social security number?
SEAN: See? To the government, you're not a name; you're a nine digit number.
MOLLY: Do we really need to go into your theories right now?
AARON: We can do that later. I mean, we DO have a purpose for being here.
SEAN: Yeah, I guess you're right. Shall we begin?
MOLLY: I-I-I guess. (taking his hand)
AARON: We got up this early, might as well. (taking MOLLY's hand)
JUDITH: We could get in a lot of trouble for this. Are you sure you want to go through with this, Sean?
SEAN: I'm positive. I'm tired of just sitting at home on Sundays, waiting for something to happen.
JUDITH: I know, but with the new restrictions...
SEAN: Screw the restrictions!
MOLLY: Quiet! Someone might hear you!
SEAN: So let them hear me!
AARON: Sean (grabbing him by the shoulders) stop it!
SEAN: I'm sorry. I'm just so tense about this; it feels so weird.
AARON: 'Wherever three or more have gathered in His name...'
SEAN: '...there He shall be.' I know what the book says, but still...
MOLLY: It's different to not be with everyone else.
JUDITH: So, what do we do?
SEAN: I think we should open with a prayer. (Attempts to take hands with everyone again)
AARON: What now?
JUDITH: We don't have any (searching for something to say) bibles.
AARON: Do we really need more than the one?
SEAN: It might not be a bad idea. But I shouldn't go up alone. Aaron, will you keep a watch out for me?
AARON: If I have to, then I have to.
JUDITH: Molly, what are we doing here?
MOLLY: Well, Sean thought we should try to meet in secret. And I agree. We can't sit and do nothing forever, Judith. I thought you of all people would want to meet. I always used to you sitting right in the front row with Sean. What changed?
JUDITH: (laughs) What changed? What changed?! What hasn't changed, Molly? Open your eyes. Last week, they took Father Donald from his home and no one has seen him since. The week before that, they took Rabbi Meintzkevich. It's not safe to be outspoken any more.
MOLLY: I don't understand how this can happen. I thought we had our civil rights.
JUDITH: We did. And then the government started to take away everything. It seemed so justified at first. We no longer had the right to bear arms because the accidental death rate had soared in recent years. Freedom of press was taken away because too much racism and hate was being published.
MOLLY: We gave them an inch and they took a mile. It's almost funny. People complained and whined and sued each other over the stupidest things when we had the rights to do that. But now that we don't, it's like a completely different world. On the outside everyone seems to be so happy. Everything looks just like that perfect little neighborhood from the 1950's; breadbox homes, white picket fences, perfectly green and trimmed yards. But inside every household, inside everyone's mind, there's constant fear. Fear that someone's gonna say the wrong thing. Fear that any minute some goon squad is going to burst into their home and take away someone's father or mother or child.
JUDITH: And how much longer are we going to have to pay for all of it? Have you noticed how our taxes spiked as soon as they started employing more police officers to guard the churches? In reality, not only are we living in this hell, but we're also paying rent for it. Our hard earned money goes right to the people who are keeping us from our human rights.
MOLLY: My family barely has enough money left over to keep food in our house. But if we don't continue to pay the outlandish fees, the authorities will separate our entire family.
JUDITH: Yeah, I know what you mean. But there's nothing we can do to fight it.
JUDITH: Sometimes I just want to give in, ya know? Just give up and go with what they tell us.
MOLLY: You can't think that. The minute you start to think like that, we've lost everything we're fighting for.
JUDITH: (chuckles) Well, we're not putting up a very good fight. Meeting in secret, getting caught and executed... it all seems so futile.
MOLLY: So you want to just give up? Let all of those people, some of which were our friends, die in vain?
JUDITH: Their deaths ARE in vain, Molly!
MOLLY: How can you say that?
JUDITH: Look around you! We live in a world controlled by our government. We are their personal playthings. We're the puppets and they pull the strings. (Grabs a spare candle, demonstrating) We do their bidding and follow their rules. But as soon as we stop living according to their laws (breaks the candle in half) we stop living period.
(Three knocks are heard)
MOLLY: How many times did Aaron just knock?
MOLLY: You're sure?
(MOLLY runs to open the door.)
AARON: That was way too close, Sean.
SEAN: (out of breath) Yeah, but it was worth it. (Tosses 4 bibles on the table)
MOLLY: What happened?
SEAN: I ran up into my bedroom but I couldn't find anything. So I decided to try to make a break for the Methodist Church down the block, where I found Molly. There were three guards on the steps so I snuck around the back of the building. I remembered that one of the basement windows was broken so I eased myself down through the frame. It was so unreal. Everything was coated in dust and cobwebs; it was like God himself forgot about the place. I walked around for a few minutes until I found a store room. I slipped four books into my bag, and as I turned to leave, I knocked a chalice off of a shelf. I don't think I've ever moved faster in my life.
AARON: You could've been killed!
SEAN: But I wasn't. I climbed through the window just as two of the guards got down to the basement. I walked past the third one who had no idea that I was the one they were looking for.
MOLLY: You're parents should've named you Daniel. That's like going into a lion's den.
JUDITH: Have you been outside lately? Having a remotely Christian name is like being in a lion's den; the police are the lions and we're all they're prey.
SEAN: But we can beat them. If we keep our meetings up, soon others will start. Before the authorities know what hit them, the entire nation will be prepared to fight for our rights again. We'll get the 30th amendment repealed; we will get our rights back.
AARON: But how are other people going to know that we meet, Sean? We can't tell them.
MOLLY: The only reason we're all here is because we can only trust each other.
AARON: If other people found out about this, we'd all hang.
JUDITH: We wouldn't hang. We're too young. Imprisoned maybe but I can't see...
AARON: Oh come off it, Judith! They're taking everyone. Young or old, black or white, Christian or Jewish. Everyone is fair game and they don't care. You expose your neck once and your head is gone before you can blink. Show your hand and you've lost the game. Sean, you tell a single soul about this and you will be writing your own obituary.
SEAN: But if others start their own, we could overthrow them!
MOLLY: Are you insane? What are we gonna do? Throw bibles at them?
JUDITH: Stop it.
SEAN: If it spreads the Word, why not?
AARON: Sean, you're being delusional. Think about what you're saying.
MOLLY: Don't you see how dangerous this could be?
JUDITH: Stop it!
AARON: We are here because we support our beliefs and have faith that we can still worship.
MOLLY: And that you can lead us, Sean.
AARON: But you're scaring us.
SEAN: My desire to spread God's love frightens you?
AARON: Think about the consequences.
SEAN: So what if I end up as a martyr?
JUDITH: STOP IT!
JUDITH: By standing here arguing, you are destroying everything we're working for. Sean, we're here in secret because it's too dangerous to be public with it. Aaron, Molly, we aren't fighting each other. We're fighting the persecutors.
AARON: Who are you to talk? Every two minutes it's something new out of your mouth. I've got an idea; why don't YOU open us in prayer?
(Pause. JUDITH stares AARON in the eye.)
JUDITH: I will not sit here and be ridiculed by you, Aaron. I will not. (Moves to the door)
SEAN: Where are you going?
JUDITH: I'm going home. I refuse to be judged by those who have no faith. (Kisses SEAN on the cheek) Be safe.
(JUDITH leaves. Long pause.)
AARON: I'm sorry, Sean. I shouldn't have blown up like that.
SEAN: It's alright. I think all of our blood pressures are through the roof right about now.
MOLLY: Is she going to be alright?
SEAN: I'll check on her later.
AARON: Do you really think she meant that? About me having no faith?
SEAN: Everyone says things they don't mean when they argue.
AARON: I know. But I can't stand to have her upset with me. You guys are the only family I have.
MOLLY: (putting her hand on his shoulder) It's ok, Aaron. We'll get through this.
SEAN: I promise that nothing will happen to us. God will protect us. He always has, and He always will.
MOLLY: Let's finally get started.
(All three settle around the table and hold hands)
SEAN: Dear God, we gather in Your name today to praise and worship You. We are currently fighting Your battle and we will not give up. We will spread the Word You have given us to all that we can. And we start by saying the words we all know so well: Our Father
ALL: Who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us...
(Three loud bangs on the door. All freeze and look curiously at the door.)
JUDITH'S VOICE: Sean? Aaron? Molly? Help me. Please!
MOLLY: She's in trouble!
(SEAN rushes to the door and opens it)
JUDITH: (rushing in) The bibles, where are they?
SEAN: They're right on the table where I put them why?
JUDITH: Where did you get them again?
SEAN: The Methodist Church a few blocks down. I just told you that...
(An OFFICER enters the room)
SEAN: G-good morning, Officer. Is there a problem?
OFFICER: Oh, I don't know. You tell me.
SEAN: I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand.
OFFICER: This young lady here tells me you've been doing some pretty illegal activities down here.
SEAN: Illegal? I'm not sure I follow.
OFFICER: (walks around) If my memory serves me right, which is usually does, it is against the law to practice any form of Christianity. I see a crucifix and what appears to be communion bread and wine.
AARON: You see, sir...
OFFICER: Shut your mouth!
AARON: But I...
OFFICER: (pulls out a gun) I said shut up!
SEAN: I beg your pardon, sir, but these are just old things we found in our house that we wanted to get rid of.
OFFICER: Well, that's a different story entirely. Why didn't you say so in the first place? (slight pause) Except for the bibles. With the help of this young woman, I heard a confession of stolen property. A few of our guards reported some unexplained activity in the basement of the church they were guarding. I think I have the answer now.
MOLLY: Please, sir.
OFFICER: I do not want to hear another word from any of you maggots.
OFFICER: I said not a word!
MOLLY: How dare you!
MOLLY: (moves towards OFFICER) Where do you get off barging into people's homes?
AARON: (grabbing her) I can get her out of here, sir.
OFFICER: (walking up to her) One ought to be careful about who they insult. Ignorant bitch. (to AARON) Get her out of here, but do not leave the area. I'll have more questions for you later.
AARON: Yes, sir. (Exits with MOLLY)
OFFICER: I'm afraid you'll have to come with me.
SEAN: And if I refuse?
OFFICER: (chuckles) Don't push your luck, kid. I'll go talk to your friends for a minute. Then I'll be back for you. (Exits)
SEAN: So this was your plan all along?
JUDITH: I'm sorry, Sean. I needed the money. I knew there was a reward out for turning in hosts.
SEAN: But this was all your idea!
JUDITH: I'm a coward, Sean! You should know that by now. I never intended to actually show up. But I knew you were so strong in your convictions. If I got the idea to host a meeting in your head, you'd do it. And you did.
SEAN: I trusted you!
JUDITH: I told you to be careful who you trust. When I said everyone is playing the game, I meant everyone.
SEAN: Did Aaron and Molly know?
JUDITH: No. They aren't smart enough to get themselves into real big trouble. But I knew you wouldn't buy it if we didn't meet as a group.
SEAN: You used me.
JUDITH: I need the money. I can't keep paying the government anymore. I figured if I turned someone in, I'd get on their good side.
SEAN: I'll go to jail.
JUDITH: I know. But you'll make it through. I know you will.
OFFICER: Your friends had no idea what you had tricked them into. Some friend you turned out to be. Let's go, punk.
JUDITH: Um... officer?
OFFICER: Oh yeah, your reward. (Hands her money) Thirty bucks per person.
(OFFICER leads SEAN out of the room. JUDITH stares at the money, then looks out the door as we hear)
OFFICER'S VOICE: Get on the ground!
SEAN'S VOICE: What'd I do?
OFFICER'S VOICE: ON THE GROUND!
SEAN'S VOICE: (through tears) Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hallowed by Thy name. Thy Kingdom come...
(Gunshot is heard)
JUDITH: (crumpling to the floor) Oh, God! What have I done?
(JUDITH cries for a moment, looks around and finds a rope. Lights dim as she beings to tie it around her neck.)
"A spoken word is a moment. A written word is eternal."