It was a strange week and I did a strange thing. I wrote a play… (Not long…)
A Trap That Only We (We=One=All) Can Spring!
(A quiet city street. A solitary lamp overhead. Steam rising from a manhole cover. A couple of apartment doors are set back from the curb. There is a soda can and miscellaneous urban detritus along the gutter.)
(Vinnie, despondent, trundles onto the stage. He is mumbling to himself, eyes down.)
(Of course he is wearing a natty overcoat…)
(A door opens, and Jesus steps out, flicks his collar up against the cold.)
Hey, aren’t you…?
Yes. I am.
Oh, man, I need some help. Uh, I can’t believe- I mean… holy sh-
You live there?
Today I do.
Yeah, right… Look, I mean, look at me. I’m-
What do I do?
Just tell me. I’ll do it.
I know someone.
You should probably meet with him.
What? Hey, hang on a sec, man.
I mean… can’t we do this now?
Can’t we fix this?
We just did.
(Curtain falls on Act I)
(Vinnie is seated on an examining table. It’s awkward being on an examining table without wearing one of those wraparound bed sheets, just chilling in civilian clothes, not even sure why you’re in the doctor’s office to begin with.)
(Hafiz has on a white robe, a stethoscope, and some kind of battery powered halogen strapped to his forehead.)
So how are you feeling today, my friend?
Like a blue whale jammed in a tin can.
Are you really a doctor?
Are you really ill?
In the day, I am weary and slaked with thirst.
At night I am restless and taken over by fever.
In every hour, I am filled with some strange venom.
My heart is heavy. I’m afraid there’s such a thing as a device that’s
always going wrong, and it’s stuck inside me.
What do you think is my problem?
I think your problem is that you are delusional.
It must be the fevers.
Yes. The fevers.
Tell me, though, do you long for the embrace of a woman?
And do you yearn for some bit of wealth?
Well, sure, I mean-
yes, I have to admit that I do sometimes desire this also.
Very good. That is alright.
You are doing wonderfully.
Let me ask you a few more questions here…
Do you wish you were admired? Famous?
Or, wait… Perhaps…
Do you wish you had a bit more time, and maybe
a few close friends to spend it with?
Perhaps a cabin in the Caucasus, next to a spring?
Some bounce in your step?
Oh yes, absolutely. All of these things. Yes.
You know me quite well.
Well! You have all the symptoms.
I do? Of what? Is it curable?
My friend, you have caught a bad idea.
But! You show all the signs
of something inside you that wants to be free.
This is very good. Very good!
So… we will just have to wait it out.
What!? What idea?
Why can’t I change my mind?
I thought you could help me fix this?
We just have to wait.
But trust me, it will pass.
You can wait here if you like.
I was just making some tea, and
we could play a game of checkers…?
(Curtain falls on ACT II)
(The lobby of a hotel. Chocolate leather furniture, glass coffee tables and internet browers. Various guests pass through. Vinnie gets on the elevator, and who does he find in there but Jesus…)
Yes. I still am.
That Hafiz guy was a joke.
He told me I caught a bad idea.
Said I have to wait it out.
He’s right. Don’t worry.
The bad idea will pass.
How long do these ideas last?
You know, once they get going and all…
No time at all.
Good… I was getting worried…
(waits… checks his watch for the time…)
(Vinnie doesn’t actually wear a watch,
but it provides a much better dramatic touch…
Don’t you think?)
Until you stop looking, Vinnie.
Listen, I had this idea once also.
Then I let go of it, and everything was fine.
That made it fine for you, too,
you just don’t know it yet.
The major symptom of your bad idea is this:
you think you’re it.
I think I’m a bad idea?
That’s pretty much it.
Reminds me. I saw this movie once…
can’t you like do some idea extraction or something?
Yank it outta’ me like a bad tooth?
If you think you’re a tooth,
and I yank you,
how do you think that would feel?
I don’t know.
Maybe better than this?
Optimism is good, Vinnie.
This idea, though, has roots that
travel all sorts of places inside you.
Impossible to get them all with
a pair of tongs and a step ladder.
And you would cling to some piece of your bad idea,
thinking it was some piece of you that you need,
and your bad tooth would just regrow.
Besides, you don’t want me to
take away from you the one moment
that has been prepared for you do you?
There is an instant that awaits your arrival,
like a trap you have set for yourself,
by conspiring with all Creation,
only it’s a trap for this bad idea,
and when it springs, you will never doubt
anything, ever again.
No one can take that away from you.
Everyone will celebrate alongside you.
What about them other guys?
In the Bible.
I didn’t yank their bad idea, either.
I just told them what I’m telling you.
Everything is worked out…
Some believed me completely.
Others, not so soon.
I must be slow or something.
No one knows the day, nor the hour.
Here- will you at least take my watch
and throw it in the river?
By all means…
I do feel a little better.
(Curtain falls on ACT III)