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THE PREACHER CALLETH 


a short play by Russell Glasser


 
SCENE ONE 
MONDAY AFTERNOON 
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.
 

 
JOEL
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...

 
HECKLER #1
Sin rules!!!

 
JOEL
  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 all sinners. YOU, with your filthy rock music YOU, with your long hair...
 

 
HECKLER #2
 

What did you say?

 
JOEL
Thatís right, you heard me. You are a sinner. Just like I was. Just like they all are.

 
HECKLER #2
Now just a minute, what the hell gives you the right to criticize me on my hair?

 
JOEL
You watch your language, young man, youíre only digging yourself deeper into the hole of despair.

Yes, I was a sinner, just like you...

 
HECKLER #2
HEY! Donít ignore me. Where in the Bible does it say anything about long hair?

 
JOEL
I thought salvation could be found only in pleasure. I drank. I gambled. I ran with LOOSE WOMEN.

 
HECKLER #3
How did you get THEM to run with YOU?

 
JOEL
Oh, these women of low morals will run with anybody. These foul temptresses who will take their shirts off at the slightest provocation...

 
HECKLER #1
Hey, where can I get some of those?

   
JOEL
Yes, verily I say unto you that I was running with the devil. I was a MAS-tur-bat-OR. I even experimented with homosexuality once or twice.  
JODY
  Hey Sid, how long have you been here?

 
JOEL
 

And yet I was saved. I found the Lord Jesus Christ, and I embraced Him,

 
SID
 

Hi, Jody. About an hour.
   
JODY
I donít get it. Arenít you an atheist or something?

 
SID
 

Agnostic. It makes a big difference, you know.

 
JOEL
 

I turned from the ways of sin and learned to pray with an open heart.

 
JODY
What kind of a masochist are you, anyway? Why do you keep listening to this guy?

 
SID
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.

 
JOEL
 

I abandoned the ways of the hell-bound sinners and whores

 
SID
Heís just good for a laugh, okay?

 
JODY
 

Okay, Iíll let you off with a reprimand this time, but make sure it doesnít happen again.  
JOEL
  ...like that young woman in the back.

 
JODY
Ex-cuse me?

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
 

You are so fucking pathetic, you know that? Why donít you get a real life? I didnít do anything to you.

 
JOEL
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 problem.

 
JODY
 

Listen, YOUíRE the one with the problem, you freak.

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
Iím not a child, how mature do YOU think it is to be standing up here condemning people who havenít done anything wrong?

 
JOEL
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.
 

 
SID
Iím going back to the dorm. Are you coming?

 
JODY
 

No, Iím going to stay here and give this guy some more shit.

 
SID
If you insist. But I guarantee youíre only gonna frustrate yourself. You canít reason with a guy like that.

 
JODY
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.

 
SID
Suit yourself. See you tonight?

 
JODY
Sure.

Hey, you!

 
JOEL
 

Hello. Staying to chat?

 
JODY
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.

 
JOEL
 

Did I say that?

 
JODY
 

Yes, HELLO, you said that all women on college campuses were whores, and you directed it at me personally.

 
JOEL
Iím sorry. Iím sure I didnít mean it that way.

 
JODY
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 to hell.

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
You sound like a real hypocrite to me. You donít really believe all that stuff, do you?

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
You really think that most people are going to hell?

 
JOEL
Yes, absolutely. In fact, not more than a few people living on this earth today are likely to make it to heaven at all.

 
JODY
How would you know that?

 
JOEL
Itís in the book of Revelations. Read it.

 
JODY
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?

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
 

But doesnít the Bible say something like "Judge not lest ye be judged?"

 
JOEL
God judges. We are all in judgment, all the time. That is all I have to say.

 
JODY
Hmmph.

 
JOEL
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?

 
JODY
You donít have ANY friends, do you?

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
Never married?

 
JOEL
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.

 
JODY
 

How charming.

 
JOEL
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 right.

 
JODY
You know, I donít believe you for a minute. I think you do it because youíre desperate for attention.

 
JOEL
Thatís not true.

I donít think it is. I am a good Christian.

 
JODY
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 people.

 
JOEL
What makes you say that?

 
JODY
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.

 
JOEL
You are wrong, my child. Not everyone is like you. This is what people respond to. They WILL listen. Youíll see.

 
JODY
 

Itís getting late. I ought to go.

 
JOEL
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Miss... I donít think I heard your name?

 
JODY
Bennet. Jody Bennet. And you are...

 
JOEL
I am called Brother Joel.

 
JODY
Joel what?

 
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 spirituality.

 
JODY
Uh, sure. You know, you act a lot different when youíre not preaching. It was almost nice talking to you.

 
JOEL
Walk with God.

 
SCENE TWO 
MONDAY EVENING 
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.
 

 
JODY
What did you get for number seven?

 
SID
 

Zero point two three n squared.

 
JODY
What? I had four point three five DIVIDED by n squared.

 
SID
Thatís the inverse answer. You forgot to do the last step.

 
JODY
Oh, right...

I still donít get it.

 
SID
 

Just look on page 234, and youíll see...

 
JODY
Not THAT. Itís Brother Joel.

 
SID
Oh, that again.

 
JODY
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.

 
SID
Brilliant, Watson! You figured him out!

 
JODY
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.

 
SID
Why do you let him bother you? It doesnít matter.

 
JODY
No, it DOES matter. Itís some weird human nature thing, or something.

 
SID
So what? Heís just a nutcase. Heís not important to you. All that God stuff doesnít mean anything.

 
JODY
Sid, why arenít you an atheist? Youíre always mocking God and religions everywhere you go. But you always insist youíre not one.

 
SID
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.

 
JODY
Oh come on, not ALL things are shades of gray. You must believe there is some right and wrong.

 
SID
Nope, nothing is inherently right or wrong.

 
JODY
Not even when they serve that weird pasta stuff at the cafeteria?

 
SID
 

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.

 
JODY
There you go, isnít that a contradiction? You think Christians are WRONG. That means there are some absolutes.

 
SID
No, theyíre not wrong, everything has some elements of truth. Just donít let that guy bug you.

 
JODY
You know, sometimes I just canít figure you out.

 
SID
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?

 
JODY
At least youíd be taking a stand on something. I think everybody should care about something.

 
SID
Caring about things is what causes all the trouble in this world. Why arenít YOU an atheist?

 
JODY
Iím a Catholic. I already care about something.

 
SID
So that means youíre on his side, right?

 
JODY
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.

 
SID
Now whoís a masochist?

 
JODY
You are, because you actually took the time to figure out the math homework. Can you explain number thirteen?

 
SCENE THREE 
TUESDAY AFTERNOON 
(Sid and Jody walk slowly across the campus. Stage left is completely covered, so that we do not see the side with Joelís bench.)
 

 
SID
Stupid pop quiz. I thought I knew all the material...

 
JODY
I thought it was easy.

 
SID
 

Oh NO... not again.

 
JODY
What?

Whatís the matter, Sid, I thought you liked listening to him!

 
SID
Well, thereís only so much a man can take. Is it just me, or is he drawing a bigger crowd today?

 
JOEL
Revelations. Read it. Know it. It is your guide to the wages of sin.

 
HECKLER #1
Thanks, but I already know my way around there!

 
JOEL
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.

 
HECKLER #3
I think I know that guy! Heís my uncle!

 
JOEL
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.

 
SID
If I had to make a guess, Iíd say he didnít follow your advice to lighten up his message.

 
JODY
No big surprise there. Heíll never learn. And heíll never reach anybody at this rate.

 
JOEL
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.

 
HECKLER #1
Sure, why not? Weíre already almost in a trance listening to you! Weíre getting sleeeeppppyyyy...

 
JOEL
Just look around you! We are already in such a decadent state, the world has already sunk so into such depravity...

 
KEVIN
I agree with you.

 
JOEL
You... you do?

 
KEVIN
That the world is in trouble? That we need a moral compass? Of course I do. But you canít threaten people into being good.

 
JOEL
 

Young people need to be frightened into action, for if they do not fear evil then they will never be saved.

 
KEVIN
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 towards them.

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 YOU.

 
JODY
Hey, hereís somebody who knows what heís talking about for a change.

 
SID
I think I know that guy. Heís in my Humanities section. His nameís... Kevin, I think.

 
JOEL
Young man, Iíll have you know that I have heard people like you say this a thousand times...

 
KEVIN
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.

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.

 
JODY
He does look familiar. I think heís in our dorm.

 
SID
Yeah, I think youíre right.

 
JOEL
YOU are the ones causing the problems, you and your sinful ways...

 
KEVIN
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.

Now that we agree thereís a problem, are you going to try to fight it as our friend, or our enemy?

 
JOEL
Well, er... I suppose I... would like to have your support.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
MEMBERS OF THE CROWD
Yeah! / Right on! / You tell him!

 
KEVIN
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 enemies.

 
JOEL
Well, I donít know what to say.

 
JODY
Thatís a first. This guyís really got something going for him.

 
KEVIN
You see? Weíre all on the same team. Well, itís been fun but I have to go.

 
SID
Are you coming?

 
JODY
Be with you in a bit. Meet me back at the dorm later.

 
SID
Okay, see you... hey Kevin, wait up!

 
JOEL
 

 
JODY
Whatís the matter, Joel, are you upset because he stole your show?

 
JOEL
What? No! No. But... my message must be heard!

 
JODY
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.

 
JOEL
But that is not my message! The Rapture! The end of the world! The Book of Revelation!

 
JODY
Know what your problem is? You canít accept defeat gracefully.

 
JOEL
But it is of the utmost importance! It will happen as written. The charismatic spiritual leader shall dominate the world.

 
JODY
Get a grip on yourself, Joel.

 
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!

 
JODY
Now youíre really scaring me. I have to go.

 
SCENE FOUR 
A FEW MINUTES LATER 
(Sid and Kevin are walking towards the dorm together.)
 

 
SID
Serious, Kevin, that was pretty cool back there. You really had those people eating out of the palm of your hand.

 
KEVIN
You flatter me.

 
SID
No, really, you showed that pompous windbag a thing or two.

 
KEVIN
Donít be so harsh on him, Sid. He has the best of intentions, and his message is a good one.

 
SID
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.

 
KEVIN
You got that right. By the way, have you started on that paper yet?

 
SID
Nah, I havenít even done the reading yet. Some other boring philosopher who thinks he knows everything, right?

 
KEVIN
Yes, itís Hume. I donít like him much. Heís too anti-religious.

 
SID
Another overbearing chump with a lot of strong opinions that he canít prove.

 
KEVIN
That too. Say, what happened to that girl you were with?

 
SID
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.

 
KEVIN
Why? Is she that devout?

 
SID
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.

 
KEVIN
How do you know her?

 
SID
We went to high school together. Friends by default, I guess. We like to argue about religion and morality all the time.

 
KEVIN
She sounds like someone I should get to know.

 
SID
Be my guest.

 
SCENE FIVE 
TUESDAY EVENING 
(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.)
 

 
JODY
Itís open!

Oh, hello. Kevin, isnít it?

 
KEVIN
Yes, thatís right.

 
JODY
Iím Jody.

 
KEVIN
I know that.
 

 
 
JODY 
"So," she asked brightly, "what are you doing here?"

 
KEVIN
Oh, I just wanted to ask about your general opinions of Brother Joel. Sid said you spent a lot of time talking to him.

 
JODY
Oh, SID told you where to find me. Well, that clears one thing up.

 
KEVIN
So?

 
JODY
I think heís a harmless little man who wants people to pay attention to him.

 
KEVIN
But his message? What about that?

 
JODY
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.

 
KEVIN
Donít you think he could be right?

 
JODY
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 head.

 
KEVIN
Interesting that you should think that.

 
JODY
What? Why?

 
KEVIN
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.)

 
SCENE SIX 
WEDNESDAY, MID-MORNING 
(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.)
 

 
KEVIN
Brother Joel.

 
JOEL
 

You.

 
KEVIN
I just want to let you know that Iím with you all the way.

 
JOEL
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.

 
KEVIN
I know. I agree with you.

 
JOEL
Do you really?

 
KEVIN
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 accept God.

 
JOEL
Yes, yes, that is very important.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JOEL
That is a fact.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JOEL
Iím sorry to have doubted you. You really are a good Christian.

 
KEVIN
Anger and vengeance. They are good concepts that will be accepted in time. But you must be patient as well.

 
JOEL
I will try to take this to heart. Son, you are an inspiration. What are you studying here at the university?

 
KEVIN
Politics and theology. I hope to be a great world leader one day, with millions of people supporting my cause.

 
JOEL
Very noble.

 
KEVIN
Oh, and Brother Joel, about the Antichrist?

 
JOEL
Yes?

 
KEVIN
Iím sure youíre right about him. He may arrive sooner than anybody thinks.

 
JOEL
Yes, you must be right. Walk with God.

 
SCENE SEVEN 
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON 
(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 is said.)
 

 
JOEL
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.

 

 
JODY
Oh my God, what happened to this place?

 
SUPPORTER #1
Hey, Iíll thank you not to take the name of the Lord in vain.

 
JODY
Get a life, pal.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
Well I donít know about you, but I still think heís full of it.

 
KEVIN
 

Jody, itís very rude to interrupt.

 
JODY
If Brother Joel can take it, you can too.

 
SUPPORTER #2
Hey, leave the guy alone.

 
JOEL
Thatís right, I am the messenger of God and Kevin has been sent to show me the ways of communication.

 
JODY
Heís doing a lousy job, youíre still an arrogant fuck.

 
KEVIN
My friends, no need to listen to this girl. I know youíre all better than this.

 
JOEL
Yes, and prepare yourself for the final battle with Satan, for only the truly good...

 
KEVIN
Stop interrupting me, Brother.

 
JOEL
But I...

 
KEVIN
These are my friends and they came here for me.

 
SUPPORTER #3
You rule, Kev!

 
JOEL
But they came here to be saved, to hear the word of God...

 
KEVIN
Sure, sure, and youíre doing a fine job of enthralling these people. Just please step towards the back a little bit.
 

 
SCENE EIGHT 
WEDNESDAY EVENING 
(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.)
 

 
JODY
Yeah.

You again. Whatís up, Kevin.

 
KEVIN
What do you have against Jesus?

 
JODY
Nothing. Iím a Catholic girl, myself.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
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.

 
KEVIN
ANSWER ME!

 
JODY
 

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.

 
KEVIN
No it isnít. Hate is what reaches people.

 
JODY
 

What did you say?

 
KEVIN
And we should learn to hate, because without hatred there is no battle, and without a battle Satan will always win.

 
JODY
Kevin, you didnít sound like this before.

 
KEVIN
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.

It is the only way to salvation.

 
JODY
 

Let go of me.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
 

Youíre crazy! Both of you!

 
KEVIN
If you are not with us then youíre against us. You can be an object of hatred too.

 
JODY
 

You stay away from me.

 
KEVIN
 

The message will be heard. Morality cannot be squelched.
 

 
SCENE NINE 
A FEW MINUTES LATER 
(The student lounge. Sid is studying by himself. Jody bursts in.)
 

 
JODY
 

Sid, help. I think Kevin is after me.

 
SID
Iím sure Kevin isnít after you. Heís a very nice guy once you get to know him.

 
JODY
You donít understand. Kevin just physically assaulted me.

 
SID
Hmm... wow, really?

 
JODY
Iím serious, Sid, something is very wrong with that guy.

 
SID
Well, donít worry about it. Iíll protect you if he comes in here.

 
JODY
Are you just humoring me?

 
SID
 

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.

 
JODY
Shut up and listen. He came into my room and grabbed me.

 
SID
What, he just marched in without your permission?

 
JODY
Well... I let him in first.

 
SID
 

Yeah...

 
JODY
But Iím serious. That guyís dangerous.

 
SID
Jody, youíre seeing things in black and white again. For once canít you just accept things for what they are?

 
JODY
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.
 

 
SCENE TEN 
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 disgust.)
 

 
KEVIN
Friends, I tell you once again that the day is coming when we must unite against the common evil.

 
JODY
You tell them, Kevin. What is this common evil? Could it maybe have something to do with attacking helpless women in their dorm rooms?

 
KEVIN
Jody, I wonít warn you again. You keep silent.

 
JODY
Or what? Youíll hit me with a lightning bolt?

 
KEVIN
 

Friends, I know you all feel the need to do what is right in the name of God and Christ.

 
THE SUPPORTER FORMERLY KNOWN AS HECKLER #2
Look! I cut my hair!

 
KEVIN
Very nice, you made a sacrifice to virtue, as we all must...

 
JODY
Did the farmer sheer your wool off, you goddamn sheep?

 
KEVIN
But there are some people who just cannot see right from wrong.

You all know what kinds of people Iím talking about.

 
JODY
Whatís that supposed to mean? You canít intimidate me, dipshit.

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
Look whoís talking.

 
KEVIN
The best anyone can hope to do is... silence them.

 
JODY
 

WHAT?

 
KEVIN
Only TOGETHER can we fight the evil.

 
THREE PEOPLE IN CROWD
Together...

 
JODY
Whatís happened to you people?

Kevin, how can you possibly think this is right...?

 
SCENE ELEVEN 
THURSDAY AFTERNOON 
(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.)
 

 
JODY
Damn... my keys!

SID!!! SID, WHERE ARE YOU?!?
   
VOICE 
There she is!

 
JODY
Shit.

 
SCENE TWELVE 
THURSDAY, TWILIGHT
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.
 

 
JOEL
Jody!

 
JODY

YOU. This is all your fault.

 
JOEL
I donít understand. Whatís my fault?

 
JODY
Your groupies are trying to kill me!

 
JOEL
I donít have any groupies. I never did. Iím a washed out evangelist who canít even preach to the choir successfully.

 
JODY
Good point.

 
JOEL
Jody, I am confused. For the first time since I was born again, I feel doubts about whether I am doing any good.

 
JODY
Yeah well, pardon me if I have doubts about all of your kind. My life is in danger here.

 
JOEL
But that canít be! Fundamentalists are supposed to save people from damnation! We donít kill!

 
JODY
What did you expect? When you spend all your life teaching people how to hate, and they learn the lesson, this is what happens.

 
JOEL
But the danger is real! The Antichrist will walk this earth!

 
JODY
Bullsh...

Wait a minute. I just thought of something.

 
JOEL
What is it?

 
JODY
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 support.

 
JOEL
Right.

 
JODY
How do you think you would recognize him when he arrived?

 
JOEL
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...

 
JODY
How could he possibly gain so much popular support if he was so easy to recognize?

 
JOEL
Um, well, because people are evil at heart and would be happy to follow him.

 
JODY
Hang on a minute. I have a different scenario in mind. What if the Antichrist could actually appear to be GOOD?

 
JOEL
I donít understand.

 
JODY
Well, I was just thinking... suppose the Antichrist was actually...

Never mind. Stupid idea.

 
JOEL
What are you trying to say?

 
JODY
Forget it. I canít stay here. Those people are probably still looking for me.

 
JOEL
Jody, wait!

The Antichrist was actually WHAT? Dear God, am I responsible for this?

 
SCENE THIRTEEN 
THURSDAY NIGHT 
(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.)
 

 
JODY
Thank goodness I only live on the second floor.

 
KEVIN
Nice to see you again. Follow me, my dear, itís time you learned about the wages of sin.

 
SCENE FOURTEEN 
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?
 

 
KEVIN
Thereís only one way to go from here. Jump, Jody.

 
JODY
Are you crazy?

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
WHY, Kevin? Why are you doing this?

 
KEVIN
You would not acknowledge the eternal struggle of good and evil.

 
JODY
Thatís not true!

 
KEVIN
You deny the existence of the Antichrist.

 
JODY
No...

 
KEVIN
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.

 
JODY
Youíre a lunatic.

 
KEVIN
All you had to do was follow me, believe in my teachings.

Your chance has passed now. This is the end of the line.

 
JODY

I accept you. I see everything clearly now. You are the beginning and the end. You are the right hand of God.

 
KEVIN

Too little, too late. I canít accept your paltry submission, not after you humiliated me in front of my followers. What? Surely youíre not trying to rescue your friend? Sid, Sid, Sid, you donít want to shoot me. I know you better than this.

 
SID
Iíll do it!

 
KEVIN
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.

I knew you wouldnít.

 
KEVIN
Good try. I hope youíll give my regards to my master when you see him.
 

 
JODY
SID!!!

Sid, can you hear me? Sid, you saved my life...

 
SID

I... donít... care...

 
JOEL
Jody... I care.
 

THE END


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