THE PREACHER CALLETH
a short play by Russell Glasser
A bustling college campus. JOEL stands on a bench wearing a signboard
saying "GOD HATES SINNERS" on the front, and "Are you saved... or condemned?"
on the back. A briefcase lies on the bench next to him, containing highlighter
pens. An open Bible lies on the bench next to the briefcase. He is shouting
loudly, sometimes at no one in particular, sometimes at students who walk
past. Most of these ignore him, but there is a small crowd of ten people
who have stayed to listen. SID is one of the ten; he is a little dark skinned,
giving him a vaguely East Indian appearance. The crowd is generally good
humored and laughing at Joelís expense.
There is a word for this behavior, boys and girls: it is SIN. SIN is the
driving force behind so-called "human nature". Following our instincts
leads us to evil, it leads us from the path of Jesus Christ the savior,
and it leads us from the lord. Human instinct inevitably leads us to SIN...
(there is a little laughter from the audience)
Nowadays itís popular to pretend that SIN doesnít exist, people think that
the Lord loves everybody unconditionally. But donít kid yourselves, folks.
"For I, your God, am an angry God." God hates. Oh yes, God hates and despises
(points to someone at random from the crowd)
YOU, with your filthy rock music
(the target grins and pretends to look surprised, pointing to himself
and bugging his eyes out quizzically; Joel immediately turns his attention
away and points to another young man walking [HECKLER #2] walking innocently
past; he has medium-to-long hair neatly cropped in a ponytail)
YOU, with your long hair...
(stops, surprised and genuinely indignant)
What did you say?
Thatís right, you heard me. You are a sinner. Just like I was. Just like
they all are.
Now just a minute, what the hell gives you the right to criticize me on
You watch your language, young man, youíre only digging yourself deeper
into the hole of despair.
Yes, I was a sinner, just like you...
HEY! Donít ignore me. Where in the Bible does it say anything about long
(Joel keeps talking. HECKLER #2 continues to try to argue, but he
canít hope to win a shouting match with the man.)
I thought salvation could be found only in pleasure. I drank. I gambled.
I ran with LOOSE WOMEN.
How did you get THEM to run with YOU?
Oh, these women of low morals will run with anybody. These foul temptresses
who will take their shirts off at the slightest provocation...
Hey, where can I get some of those?
(Enter Jody, on a skateboard. She has long, somewhat unkempt hair;
she wears denim overalls with patches. She skates up near the back of the
crowd, stops, and stands down with one foot on the board.)
Yes, verily I say unto you that I was running with the devil. I was a MAS-tur-bat-OR.
(long, slow emphasis on the word; this elicits some giggles from
I even experimented with homosexuality once or twice.
(Some members of the audience giggle; some make gagging noises;
a couple just glare at him.)
Hey Sid, how long have you been here?
(Still ranting, but he quieter now as the focus is on Sid and Jodyís
conversation. He can speak at the same time as them, as long as it is understood
that he is in the background.)
And yet I was saved. I found the Lord Jesus Christ, and I embraced Him,
Hi, Jody. About an hour.
(at this point, two people in the crowd get bored and walk away,
leaving exactly ten as in the beginning)
I donít get it. Arenít you an atheist or something?
Agnostic. It makes a big difference, you know.
(still in the background)
I turned from the ways of sin and learned to pray with an open heart.
What kind of a masochist are you, anyway? Why do you keep listening to
I donít know. Heís... funny. I mean, he believes all these crazy things
about vengeful gods and everybody going to hell, and I like listening to
people making fun of him.
(still in the background)
I abandoned the ways of the hell-bound sinners and whores
Heís just good for a laugh, okay?
Okay, Iíll let you off with a reprimand this time, but make sure it doesnít
(completing the rant that he has been running with all this time)
...like that young woman in the back.
I know you. I know what you are. As are all women in these dens of iniquities
called college campuses. Living for sex and cheap thrills. Perpetrators
of evil, all of you.
(storms toward the front)
You are so fucking pathetic, you know that? Why donít you get a real life?
I didnít do anything to you.
(some applause and catcalls from the audience)
Get back in your place. The Bible says that women must be submissive. You
can still be saved, all of us can. But first you have to recognize the
(barely refraining from hitting him)
Listen, YOUíRE the one with the problem, you freak.
Go ahead and strike me, I will merely turn the other cheek. Senseless violence
is all that I expect from a child of our media-governed society.
Iím not a child, how mature do YOU think it is to be standing up here condemning
people who havenít done anything wrong?
There is no one who hasnít done anything wrong. All are sinners. Without
Jesus we are all lost children, searching for the way home to the Father.
Remember that, young people, and Iíll leave you with that until tomorrow.
(Without another word, Joel turns around and removes his signboard.
He takes his Bible from the bench and places it reverently in the briefcase.
Then he closes up the briefcase, picks it up, and prepares to leave. Eight
people, sensing that the showís over, walk away. Jody and Sid stay.)
Iím going back to the dorm. Are you coming?
(picks up her skateboard)
No, Iím going to stay here and give this guy some more shit.
If you insist. But I guarantee youíre only gonna frustrate yourself. You
canít reason with a guy like that.
I donít care if I can reason with him or not, he canít talk to me like
that. Maybe Iíll just punch his lights out.
Suit yourself. See you tonight?
(turns around and flashes a really pleasant, sincere smile)
Hello. Staying to chat?
What is WRONG with you? You get your rocks off calling people whores that
you donít even know? You never even met me before, you have no right to
insult me in front of all those people.
Did I say that?
(still angry but now confused)
Yes, HELLO, you said that all women on college campuses were whores, and
you directed it at me personally.
Iím sorry. Iím sure I didnít mean it that way.
What are you, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? You SAID those things. A minute
ago, you were telling everybody who walked by that they were all going
Yes, I know I do that. Salvation is my calling in life. But sometimes I
get a little carried away when Iím standing up there. I may not quite mean
everything I say.
You sound like a real hypocrite to me. You donít really believe all that
stuff, do you?
On the contrary, I believe it completely. I despair when I look on the
decadent state that the human race has come to. Thatís why I feel that
I have to warn people off the path that they are on.
You really think that most people are going to hell?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, not more than a few people living on this earth
today are likely to make it to heaven at all.
How would you know that?
Itís in the book of Revelations. Read it.
Yeah, right. So if you really believe that, then why bother doing what
you do? These people obviously donít like you and donít want to hear your
message. What difference are you making?
Indeed, it is a thankless job. It is a way of atoning for my own sins.
All are sinners in the eyes of God, even I. I feel that if I can do my
own small part to help my fellow man achieve salvation, then my own judgment
will be more favorable.
But doesnít the Bible say something like "Judge not lest ye be judged?"
God judges. We are all in judgment, all the time. That is all I have to
Listen, it is a lonely calling. You are right, at first it was difficult
to comprehend the abuse that got heaped on me. But Jesus was abused too,
yet he was strong in the face of adversity. Can I do less?
You donít have ANY friends, do you?
The others of my church in Vermont, they are all the friends I could ever
need. We respect each other. Every one of us knows what noble sacrifices
we all make for the Lord.
Yes, once, in the days before I turned to the Lord. After I found my calling,
I saw her for what she was, driven by her appetites and her flesh. I had
to cast her out.
I am sorry if this offends you, but this is how the world is if you only
open your eyes and your heart. It is lonely, yet I do it because it is
You know, I donít believe you for a minute. I think you do it because youíre
desperate for attention.
Thatís not true.
I donít think it is. I am a good Christian.
Yeah, well, Iím a good Christian too. Maybe not by your standards, but
I still am. Anyway, I donít think you know squat about communicating with
What makes you say that?
If you actually wanted people to LISTEN to you, you wouldnít intentionally
antagonize them. Try talking to people like youíre talking right now, it
may get you a whole lot farther.
You are wrong, my child. Not everyone is like you. This is what people
respond to. They WILL listen. Youíll see.
(stares at him for a moment, then shivers)
Itís getting late. I ought to go.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Miss... I donít think I heard
Bennet. Jody Bennet. And you are...
I am called Brother Joel.
That is all you need to know. In any case, thank you once again for talking
to me. It is really quite refreshing to see a young person interested in
Uh, sure. You know, you act a lot different when youíre not preaching.
It was almost nice talking to you.
Walk with God.
Jody and Sid sit in a dorm lounge together. The left side and the
right side of the stage are separated by a wall with a large window and
a door. On the right side is a hall with several doors leading to dorm
rooms. Jody and Sid each have a textbook, a notebook, and a pencil. Jody
is chewing on her pencil and looking annoyed. Sid is confidently writing
down answers without a pause.
What did you get for number seven?
Zero point two three n squared.
What? I had four point three five DIVIDED by n squared.
Thatís the inverse answer. You forgot to do the last step.
(Silence as they both work. After a minute, Jody stops writing and
stares into space.)
I still donít get it.
Just look on page 234, and youíll see...
Not THAT. Itís Brother Joel.
Oh, that again.
It was just so weird. I mean, when heís up there on the bench, he sounds
like he hates everything. He talks to strangers like he knows their deepest
secrets, but he paints everyone with the same brush. Heís a total asshole.
Brilliant, Watson! You figured him out!
But then when heís talking in person, heís totally different. He was very
nice and polite. I still didnít like his religious beliefs, but he almost
acted like a normal guy.
Why do you let him bother you? It doesnít matter.
No, it DOES matter. Itís some weird human nature thing, or something.
So what? Heís just a nutcase. Heís not important to you. All that God stuff
doesnít mean anything.
Sid, why arenít you an atheist? Youíre always mocking God and religions
everywhere you go. But you always insist youíre not one.
Because atheists are just as arrogant as those religious guys. Both kinds
think they know everything. The world isnít black and white like that.
Itís just shades of gray. Maybe there is a God and I just donít know it.
I donít care.
Oh come on, not ALL things are shades of gray. You must believe there is
some right and wrong.
Nope, nothing is inherently right or wrong.
Not even when they serve that weird pasta stuff at the cafeteria?
You got me there.
No, not even that. Iím serious about this. Something can be scary, but
nothing is evil. Thatís why those Christians are all so full of shit.
There you go, isnít that a contradiction? You think Christians are WRONG.
That means there are some absolutes.
No, theyíre not wrong, everything has some elements of truth. Just donít
let that guy bug you.
You know, sometimes I just canít figure you out.
Lucky me. If you ever figured me out for what I really was, youíd probably
quit hanging out with me. Why should I want to be an atheist anyway?
At least youíd be taking a stand on something. I think everybody should
care about something.
Caring about things is what causes all the trouble in this world. Why arenít
YOU an atheist?
Iím a Catholic. I already care about something.
So that means youíre on his side, right?
NO. But I still think Iím going to go back and listen to him tomorrow.
Maybe he really is a good guy and Iím just missing something.
Now whoís a masochist?
You are, because you actually took the time to figure out the math homework.
Can you explain number thirteen?
(Sid and Jody walk slowly across the campus. Stage left is completely
covered, so that we do not see the side with Joelís bench.)
Stupid pop quiz. I thought I knew all the material...
I thought it was easy.
(stops and looks at stage left)
Oh NO... not again.
(following his gaze, then grins)
Whatís the matter, Sid, I thought you liked listening to him!
Well, thereís only so much a man can take. Is it just me, or is he drawing
a bigger crowd today?
(The curtain opens completely, revealing Brother Joel in his usual
spot with an entourage of hecklers. As Sid pointed out, the crowd is indeed
larger than the day before; there are 17 people now. One particularly thoughtful
looking person is KEVIN.)
Revelations. Read it. Know it. It is your guide to the wages of sin.
Thanks, but I already know my way around there!
It is written, that before the end of the world shall come the Rapture.
That a great idol shall rise in the world, and he shall be known as Antichrist.
That the people shall revere him even as a god, and a great leader of men.
This one shall bring the destruction of the world.
I think I know that guy! Heís my uncle!
And I am warning you now, that if you are not prepared for the final conflict
between good and evil, then you will surely perish.
If I had to make a guess, Iíd say he didnít follow your advice to lighten
up his message.
No big surprise there. Heíll never learn. And heíll never reach anybody
at this rate.
It is true. It is the literal word of God as spoken in the Bible. Very
soon will come the Rapture, when the great evil leader will come. Everyone
will fall under his hypnotic sway, believing him to be a spiritual guide.
Then he will brand everyone with the number of the beast and all shall
fall under his hypnotic sway.
Sure, why not? Weíre already almost in a trance listening to you! Weíre
Just look around you! We are already in such a decadent state, the world
has already sunk so into such depravity...
I agree with you.
(The crowd turns to look at this newcomer, an almost comical look
of surprise on their collective faces. Obviously this sort of thing has
never happened before.)
You... you do?
That the world is in trouble? That we need a moral compass? Of course I
do. But you canít threaten people into being good.
(mechanically, as if reciting something heís memorized)
Young people need to be frightened into action, for if they do not fear
evil then they will never be saved.
Donít recite your lines at me, preacher man. These people are ready, willing
and able to accept your message if only you would be more compassionate
(there is some murmured assent from the crowd)
I mean, honestly, how can we accept Jesus when you try to make him our
enemy? By insisting on preaching hatred, you only cause people to hate
Hey, hereís somebody who knows what heís talking about for a change.
I think I know that guy. Heís in my Humanities section. His nameís... Kevin,
Young man, Iíll have you know that I have heard people like you say this
a thousand times...
But you still havenít gotten the message, obviously, so we have to keep
saying it until you stop being a danger to yourself and to your cause.
(By this time, he has stepped up to stand on the bench along with
Look, your message is correct. Everyone can see that. You donít even have
to be particularly religious to see that the world is pretty screwed up
today. Like the rest of my generation, Iím very concerned about what years
of neglect have done to the planet.
(The crowd murmurs a lot of noncommittal agreement.)
He does look familiar. I think heís in our dorm.
Yeah, I think youíre right.
YOU are the ones causing the problems, you and your sinful ways...
Thatís right, us and our sinful ways. And corrupt politicians who play
fast and loose with our money, and callous business owners who rape the
environment... youíre darn right that we need some spiritual direction.
(The crowd continues to respond in a fairly positive manner. Kevin
has the crowd well and truly behind him.)
Now that we agree thereís a problem, are you going to try to fight it as
our friend, or our enemy?
Well, er... I suppose I... would like to have your support.
Thatís what I thought. What YOU have to accept is the fact that deep down,
we all want the same things. Jesus Christ is just the angle that you have
chosen to take on the problems that face our society. Now, I personally
happen to agree with you. Jesus may well be the answer as far as Iím concerned.
But whatís more to the point is that we need to rally behind a common cause.
We need strong leaders, and we need to collectively take a stand against
our moral decadence or WHATEVER you want to call it. And that canít be
done without everybodyís moral support. Whether you believe that 99% of
the human race is evil at heart is totally moot.
Yeah! / Right on! / You tell him!
I want to fight the good fight with friends by my side, and the last thing
Christians need is someone like you to turn all our allies into hostile
(The crowd bursts into spontaneous applause.)
Well, I donít know what to say.
Thatís a first. This guyís really got something going for him.
You see? Weíre all on the same team. Well, itís been fun but I have to
(He stops down. A couple of people give him high fives. As he walks
away, most of the others wander off too. Clearly Joel is fighting a losing
battle to hold their attention, as Kevin was a tough act to follow.)
Are you coming?
Be with you in a bit. Meet me back at the dorm later.
Okay, see you... hey Kevin, wait up!
(Says nothing; merely gapes after Kevin as he leaves.)
Whatís the matter, Joel, are you upset because he stole your show?
What? No! No. But... my message must be heard!
Seems to me like he did you a favor, boy-o. He is doing what he can to
make people listen to your message without being called sluts and turning
their backs on you.
But that is not my message! The Rapture! The end of the world! The Book
Know what your problem is? You canít accept defeat gracefully.
But it is of the utmost importance! It will happen as written. The charismatic
spiritual leader shall dominate the world.
Get a grip on yourself, Joel.
It will happen, I tell you! The truly good shall be pulled from this earth
before the final confrontation, but woe to the rest of us! Jody, I only
want to help you, you must believe me!
Now youíre really scaring me. I have to go.
A FEW MINUTES LATER
(Sid and Kevin are walking towards the dorm together.)
Serious, Kevin, that was pretty cool back there. You really had those people
eating out of the palm of your hand.
You flatter me.
No, really, you showed that pompous windbag a thing or two.
Donít be so harsh on him, Sid. He has the best of intentions, and his message
is a good one.
Oh sure, you donít have to tell me that. Every religion has some elements
of truth in it if you only look hard enough. Itís all relative. Itís not
his content but his form that causes problems.
You got that right. By the way, have you started on that paper yet?
Nah, I havenít even done the reading yet. Some other boring philosopher
who thinks he knows everything, right?
Yes, itís Hume. I donít like him much. Heís too anti-religious.
Another overbearing chump with a lot of strong opinions that he canít prove.
That too. Say, what happened to that girl you were with?
Who? Jody? Oh, speaking of people with a bunch of strong opinions they
canít prove. (grins) She stayed to talk with Brother Joel, I think.
Why? Is she that devout?
Naw, sheís got some kind of fixation with him. He called her a whore yesterday
and now she wonít leave him alone. Sheís pretty messed up.
How do you know her?
We went to high school together. Friends by default, I guess. We like to
argue about religion and morality all the time.
She sounds like someone I should get to know.
Be my guest.
(Jody in her dorm room. She lying face down on the bed, facing the
audience, kicking her feet in the air, reading a magazine while Led Zeppelin
plays. There is a knock at the door.)
(The door opens and Kevin enters.)
Oh, hello. Kevin, isnít it?
Yes, thatís right.
I know that.
"So," she asked brightly, "what are you doing here?"
Oh, I just wanted to ask about your general opinions of Brother Joel. Sid
said you spent a lot of time talking to him.
Oh, SID told you where to find me. Well, that clears one thing up.
I think heís a harmless little man who wants people to pay attention to
But his message? What about that?
Oh, gee, itís hard to take him too seriously... I mean, I can see where
heís coming from by now, so he doesnít seem as bizarre as he used to. Like,
you know, he really believes in what heís saying and he just has a funny
way of trying to do people a favor.
Donít you think he could be right?
How do you define right in this case? Crazy stories about the end of the
world, wages of sin. That stuffís just a fantasy in some false prophetís
Interesting that you should think that.
No reason. Good night.
(He exits, neglecting to close the door behind him. Jody stares after
him for a minute, confused. Then she gets up, closes the door, and goes
back to reading.)
(At the bench. No one is there, except for a few students who are
hurrying off to class. After a few moments, Joel enters with his briefcase
and begins meticulously setting up his "work station." A few moments later,
Kevin enters as well.)
I just want to let you know that Iím with you all the way.
You say that, but I canít believe it of you. You are more dangerous than
any of those other hecklers. You are attempting to soften my message, and
that must not happen.
I know. I agree with you.
Do you really?
Look, when I say all those things about love and acceptance, I know itís
not true. You are right. People must be taught to hate in order to truly
Yes, yes, that is very important.
There is so much evil in the world, it seems almost ripe for the plucking.
The Antichrist will have an easy time of it when he comes. So much homosexuality.
Abortion. People abuse themselves with drugs and perversion. We live in
a culture of death, my friend.
That is a fact.
You have to appreciate my position, though. Students on this campus, well,
theyíre not that bright. They are averse to change. They are unwilling
to accept responsibility for their own actions. Nobody wants to think of
themselves as part of the problem. Thatís why itís important to proceed
with caution, reach out to them tentatively, so eventually they can accept
your entire message.
Iím sorry to have doubted you. You really are a good Christian.
Anger and vengeance. They are good concepts that will be accepted in time.
But you must be patient as well.
I will try to take this to heart. Son, you are an inspiration. What are
you studying here at the university?
Politics and theology. I hope to be a great world leader one day, with
millions of people supporting my cause.
Oh, and Brother Joel, about the Antichrist?
Iím sure youíre right about him. He may arrive sooner than anybody thinks.
Yes, you must be right. Walk with God.
(The bench. There are twenty-eight people crowding around. Brother
Joel and Kevin both stand on the bench. Oddly, nobody seems to be heckling
or laughing today. In fact, many seem to enthusiastically agree with what
Yes, just as Brother Kevin has said, we must all fight the good fight together.
For the struggle of good and evil happens within every individual, and
only together can we find respite from the troubles of the world. I feel
for you and your generation. We must collectively fight against the careless
spending and the destruction of the environment.
(some shouts of approval)
(Jody skates into the scene and does a double-take when she sees
how many people there are.)
Oh my God, what happened to this place?
Hey, Iíll thank you not to take the name of the Lord in vain.
Get a life, pal.
You see, Joel really can be a reasonable guy. Weíre all on the same side
here. I think everybody can get along and still be brothers in Christ.
Well I donít know about you, but I still think heís full of it.
(some heads turn around to look at her)
Jody, itís very rude to interrupt.
If Brother Joel can take it, you can too.
Hey, leave the guy alone.
Thatís right, I am the messenger of God and Kevin has been sent to show
me the ways of communication.
Heís doing a lousy job, youíre still an arrogant fuck.
My friends, no need to listen to this girl. I know youíre all better than
Yes, and prepare yourself for the final battle with Satan, for only the
Stop interrupting me, Brother.
These are my friends and they came here for me.
You rule, Kev!
But they came here to be saved, to hear the word of God...
Sure, sure, and youíre doing a fine job of enthralling these people. Just
please step towards the back a little bit.
(Joel yields with a confused look on his face. Jody, losing interest,
(Jodyís Room. She is lying on her back, studying a history book.
Green Day is playing on her sound system. There is a knock at the door.)
(The door opens and Kevin enters.)
You again. Whatís up, Kevin.
What do you have against Jesus?
Nothing. Iím a Catholic girl, myself.
Oh really? Then why do you join in the shameless harassment of Brother
Joel? He is a good man, he only wants people to get back to the spiritual
values that made this country great.
Look, Kevin, I think youíre a really nice guy and I appreciate what youíre
trying to do for people. But Iíve had a long day and I really donít feel
like discussing this right now.
(too startled to do anything but comply)
Look, I see Brother Joel is well-meaning, but his message wonít do anything
but drive people away from religion. An effective message is one of love.
No it isnít. Hate is what reaches people.
What did you say?
And we should learn to hate, because without hatred there is no battle,
and without a battle Satan will always win.
Kevin, you didnít sound like this before.
Those people, theyíre sheep. Theyíre not ready for the true Word of God.
But you, you could be so much more than they are. You are one of the special
ones. I can see it. This is how it must be. So much corruption in the world.
Drugs. Alcohol. Homosexuals. Abortions. Liberals. They must be hated.
(clutching her by the shoulders)
It is the only way to salvation.
Let go of me.
You hold on to your illusion of love, but it isnít real. In time, people
will listen to Brother Joel, and they will come to understand.
Youíre crazy! Both of you!
If you are not with us then youíre against us. You can be an object of
(kicks him in the groin, then knocks him over)
You stay away from me.
(in pain but still functional)
The message will be heard. Morality cannot be squelched.
(Jody runs out of the room)
A FEW MINUTES LATER
(The student lounge. Sid is studying by himself. Jody bursts in.)
Sid, help. I think Kevin is after me.
Iím sure Kevin isnít after you. Heís a very nice guy once you get to know
You donít understand. Kevin just physically assaulted me.
Hmm... wow, really?
Iím serious, Sid, something is very wrong with that guy.
Well, donít worry about it. Iíll protect you if he comes in here.
Are you just humoring me?
Look, Iím sure you BELIEVE that Kevinís out to get you. Iíve talked to
him and he seems like a very nice, stable guy. Maybe itís just you. Iíve
always said you take yourself a little too seriously, thatís what gets
you into trouble. Maybe itís making you a bit paranoid.
Shut up and listen. He came into my room and grabbed me.
What, he just marched in without your permission?
Well... I let him in first.
But Iím serious. That guyís dangerous.
Jody, youíre seeing things in black and white again. For once canít you
just accept things for what they are?
Rrrrrgh! Never mind, thereís no point in talking to you. Iím gonna go back
to my room and LOCK THE DOOR. See you in the morning, Sid. I hope.
(Exit Jody. Sid shakes his head and then turns his attention back
to his book.)
THURSDAY, AROUND NOON
(Kevin is preaching alone from the bench. Brother Joel is absent.
Astoundingly, forty-six people crowd into the space around the bench. Near
the back is Jody. She is looking at the spectacle with mixed horror and
Friends, I tell you once again that the day is coming when we must unite
against the common evil.
You tell them, Kevin. What is this common evil? Could it maybe have something
to do with attacking helpless women in their dorm rooms?
Jody, I wonít warn you again. You keep silent.
(The crowd jeers at Jody.)
Or what? Youíll hit me with a lightning bolt?
Friends, I know you all feel the need to do what is right in the name of
God and Christ.
Look! I cut my hair!
||THE SUPPORTER FORMERLY KNOWN AS HECKLER #2
Very nice, you made a sacrifice to virtue, as we all must...
Did the farmer sheer your wool off, you goddamn sheep?
(People are beginning to turn towards Jody in obvious annoyance.
They look around and then slowly turn away, muttering imprecations on her
But there are some people who just cannot see right from wrong.
(A few members of the crowd boo.)
You all know what kinds of people Iím talking about.
(He looks very pointedly at Jody.)
Whatís that supposed to mean? You canít intimidate me, dipshit.
Such people live only to win you over for the glory of the Antichrist,
to stop Jesus from entering your hearts. You cannot reason with these people.
Look whoís talking.
The best anyone can hope to do is... silence them.
(as forty-five heads turn simultaneously to look at her)
(The crowd is moving towards her. She takes a few steps back.)
Only TOGETHER can we fight the evil.
Whatís happened to you people?
(She jerks away as someone grabs at her sleeve.)
Kevin, how can you possibly think this is right...?
(Quickly assessing her odds of winning this fight, she drops her
skate board and kicks away as fast as she can. The crowd breaks into a
slow run after her. Exeunt all.)
(The lounge. Jody comes running in on the right side of the stage,
carrying her board. She runs up to the farthest door and grabs the handle
with one hand as she pats her pocket with the other. Then she reaches down
and pats both pockets.)
Damn... my keys!
(runs down the hall and pounds on another door.)
SID!!! SID, WHERE ARE YOU?!?
(Offstage, we hear muted shouting, a la angry townspeople coming
to burn down Castle Frankenstein.)
There she is!
(exit, in the opposite direction)
Joel sits despondently on his bench. The crowd is gone now, of
course. Jody skates in stage left and stops. She looks behind her, then
leans against a tree, breathing heavily. Joel looks up, sees her, and smiles.
(backing away warily, with her skateboard held low as if for a quick
YOU. This is all your fault.
I donít understand. Whatís my fault?
Your groupies are trying to kill me!
I donít have any groupies. I never did. Iím a washed out evangelist who
canít even preach to the choir successfully.
Jody, I am confused. For the first time since I was born again, I feel
doubts about whether I am doing any good.
Yeah well, pardon me if I have doubts about all of your kind. My life is
in danger here.
But that canít be! Fundamentalists are supposed to save people from damnation!
We donít kill!
What did you expect? When you spend all your life teaching people how to
hate, and they learn the lesson, this is what happens.
But the danger is real! The Antichrist will walk this earth!
Wait a minute. I just thought of something.
What is it?
Humor me for a minute. You tell me this Antichrist guy walks the earth,
gathering support and claiming heís a great leader, and he claims divine
How do you think you would recognize him when he arrived?
Oh, well... Iím sure it would be obvious. I expect he would be an evil
and decadent man, convincing the people to perform all sorts of depraved
sexual acts and...
How could he possibly gain so much popular support if he was so easy to
Um, well, because people are evil at heart and would be happy to follow
Hang on a minute. I have a different scenario in mind. What if the Antichrist
could actually appear to be GOOD?
I donít understand.
Well, I was just thinking... suppose the Antichrist was actually...
(looks at Joel, then decides to hold that thought)
Never mind. Stupid idea.
What are you trying to say?
Forget it. I canít stay here. Those people are probably still looking for
(She gets on the skateboard and leaves.)
The Antichrist was actually WHAT?
Dear God, am I responsible for this?
(Jodyís room. The lights are out, the room is in shadow. The window
is open. We hear a scraping noise. A hand appears on the window sill and
Jody hauls herself up and climbs inside.)
Thank goodness I only live on the second floor.
(She crosses the room and turns on the light switch. As the lights
come up, Kevin steps out of a corner. He is pointing a gun at her. Jody
Nice to see you again. Follow me, my dear, itís time you learned about
the wages of sin.
THE FINAL SCENE
THURSDAY, LATE NIGHT
The roof of the dorm. Six stories up. The rooftop is flat; there
is no rail, only a row of raised brick all around, about shin high. Jody
enters via some stairs, her hands on her head. Sid follows, still pointing
the gun at her. Sounds like excellent fodder for an excitingly dramatic
conclusion, doesnít it?
Thereís only one way to go from here. Jump, Jody.
Are you crazy?
Iím entirely sane. Jump. Iíll have no trouble convincing people you committed
suicide. Youíre nothing but an unimportant Generation X coward who believes
in nothing, and we live in a culture of death. You had nothing to live
for. I love it.
WHY, Kevin? Why are you doing this?
You would not acknowledge the eternal struggle of good and evil.
Thatís not true!
You deny the existence of the Antichrist.
Iím your savior, Jody. Iím here to show you the light, the way, the one
true deity. ME. People on this trifling college campus will accept me as
their spiritual guide, and in a few years I shall have an empire... of
salvation. They will all turn to me in their search for a new Christ figure.
Youíre a lunatic.
All you had to do was follow me, believe in my teachings.
(Behind Kevin, the door to the roof quietly opens. Sid enters. He
is holding a gun.)
Your chance has passed now. This is the end of the line.
(Jody stares wildly at Sid, who slowly raises the gun to point at
Kevin. Sidís hand trembles. He does not fire.)
I accept you. I see everything clearly now. You are the beginning and the
end. You are the right hand of God.
Too little, too late. I canít accept your paltry submission, not after
you humiliated me in front of my followers.
(Jody is making head motions at Sid, who is still pointing the gun
with a shaky hand but canít seem to fire it. Finally Kevin turns around.)
What? Surely youíre not trying to rescue your friend?
(Sid tightens his grip on the gun. Kevin looks amused. He sidesteps
to get a better look at Sid while keeping the gun trained on Jody.)
Sid, Sid, Sid, you donít want to shoot me. I know you better than this.
Iíll do it!
But you shouldnít do that. (takes a step towards Sid) You KNOW itís
not worth it. (step) If you shot me, you would be making a moral
judgment. (step) And as you well know as I: Iím not good or bad,
Iím shades of gray. (step) Just like you.
(Kevin is now an armís length away from Sid. He takes one more step
and plucks the gun out of Sidís trembling hand and lightly throws it off
the roof. Sid barely reacts.)
I knew you wouldnít.
(Kevinís back is to Jody. Suddenly she runs up behind him and grabs
his right wrist, the hand holding the gun. They struggle, then Kevin shoves
Jody to the ground.)
Good try. I hope youíll give my regards to my master when you see him.
(As he aims the gun at Jody once more, Sid, empty handed, finally
reaches a decision. He rushes at Kevin and slams his full weight into him.
The two of them plummet off the roof.)
(She runs down the stairs to find the two bodies on the ground below
the dorm. Brother Joel is also nearby.)
Sid, can you hear me?
(Sidís eyes open painfully. He slowly turns to stare at her.)
Sid, you saved my life...
I... donít... care...
(...and his eyes close again.)
Jody... I care.
I hope you enjoyed my play!