The Dance in the Flame A play for time. by Randy Niere copyright May 1, 1988Setting The fi

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

The Dance in the Flame A play for time. by Randy Niere copyright May 1, 1988Setting: The first day of May, 1992. Various environs in the Kansas City area.Cast:Officer John Di Marzi, a north side policeman.Sgt. Steve Franklin, a member of the KCMO police force.Lt. Carl Lightbourne, a detective.Reverend Tim Lunt, Leader of "THE FLAME", a fundamentalist paramilitary group.Edward Metzler, a member of "the Flame".Armand Barker, Trucker.Mary Carbella R.N., a Witch, and registered nurse at a local large hospital.Mark Dram, another Witch and also a college student/carpenter.Paul Carrick, a witch, and local high school teacher.Linda Barker., 17 11/12ths, a closet witch with a Fanatic father.Roger Dram, High Priest of fountain coven, Mark's older brother.Sarah Katz, High Priestess of fountain coven.Donna Munsey, a Witch, who happens to be bisexual.Jimmy Kincaid, 16, a confused young man, into Heavy Metal and adolescent rebellion.The Fundie Chorus: Bob, Frank, Nick, Billy, Nestor, and Hank.Any resemblance between characters living or dead is purest coincedence. All rights, including rights for public reading, or media transcription reserved by the Author. The sole exception being study or reproduction of the script in conjunction with Accredited Academic work.Act I. Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck.Scene I, Prolouge: The Armand Barker Household 2:00 A.M.Armand: (at door in boxer shorts) Look Kid, I don't care how goddam important you think it is, your not gonna talk to Linda, got it?Jimmy: She's almost 18, she's almost an adult, let HER decide if she wants to talk to me... I NEED to talk to her. Linda, come out here and TALK to me, I'm FREAKING OUT here...Armand: Ok, you little punk, that does it, LINDA! BRING ME THE PHONE....NOW!Linda: (standing in livingroom) DADDY, Jimmy is just upset, he needs someone to TALK to him instead of YELLING at him. Let me just sit in the foyer and talk with him for a while. ... DADDY...PLEASE... just for a minute.Armand: (tight and controled) Ok Linda, you have five minutes to talk to your friend here... but afterwards Missy, we have a serious talk you and me! (crosses upstage to kitchen)Linda: Come on in Jimmy, what's wrong?(Jimmy sits on bench on foyer wall, Linda stands beside him with her hand on the nape of his neck)Jimmy: Shit, what's right? I come home tonight and my mom says that two cops were at the house today with a search warrant looking for DRUGS in my room! She said the principal send them because the dope hounds went ape-shit over my locker at school but they couldn't find anything there. You know I don't carry any shit around with me. I smoke a little dope now and then, but how would I BUY any on my allowance?Linda: How incredibly weird! Did your mom believe you?Jimmy: Shit no! What am I gonna do, she says she's definitely going to send me to a MILITARY SCHOOL! I'm going to LOSE it, lose my fucking mind!Armand:(from the kitchen) Wrap it up, Young Lady!Linda: Ok, Daddy, thanks! (to Jimmy) Listen, here's what you've GOT to do: Go to my High Priest, his name is Roger, you've met him, he's a lawyer. Tell him what's going on and don't skip anything. First thing in the morning, second floor Westport Square, got it? I don't know what he can do right off the bat, but he's the smartest man I know, Ok... I love you Jimmy, and so does The Lady. (squeezes nape of neck, kisses him lightly) Hey, feel better! It's going to work out all right, right?Jimmy: I know I've got you in trouble Linda....but....Maybe you just saved my life just now. (pause) I don't know if I can love anything....but if I can, you're it. (bolts out of door exits down SL vom.)Linda: (shuts front door crosses upstage to kitchen) Ok Daddy, lets talk.Armand: Linda, since your mom left us, I've tried to be trusting of you. I felt like, well, you always would tell me what was on your mind. I treated you like a young woman, all the way up to the point where I found those goddam rubbers in your purse.Linda: Daddy, I thought we had talked that out!Armand: Ok...I know! But when I was a teenager, seventeen year old girls didn't carry things like that in their purse. Hell, they didn't even know what they were unless the were...Linda: SLUTS?.... is that what you think I am? (crying) A SLUT?.... I have been there for you when you'd wake up crying over Mom. What about when you wrecked your truck last year; who stayed by you in the goddam hospital room? So...now I'm a Slut! Would you rather I was a good girl, who didn't think about it until I wound up knocked up? Yeah, how about your daughter the PREGNANT SLUT!Armand: SHUT UP LINDA! ... No you're not a slut. Look, I've gotta spend most of my time on the road. I'm leaving you here DAYS at a time. I just want to know you're SAFE, that nothing is gonna happen to you.....(crying also) Do you think that I could lose you and go on living? I lose my mind sitting there behind the wheel thinking of some boy taking advantage of you and smirking about you to his buddies!Linda: (throws arms around Armand) (quietly) It's not like that at all Daddy, it's just that sometimes I need to be loved, too. I'm becoming a grown woman Daddy. Someday you know I'm going to have to leave you. Just remember that I will ALWAYS love you, OK?Armand: Yeah, well not for Jimmy. I'm not sure that I want you to see him again.Linda: We go to school together Daddy.Armand: You know what I mean.Linda: I'm NOT sleeping with him.Armand: WHO THEN?Linda: I told you, Daddy, it's my own business.Armand: FINE, you can mind your own business here alone for the next two days until I'm on the road! Go to BED! (Fade to Black)scene II.Basement of the Holy Word church, somewhere in Westwood Ks. There in the dark of a parson's study three men hunch over an office table drinking coffee in a small pool of light.Rev.Tim: (on phone) Ok, that's what we wanted to hear. God be praised, you know what to do right? Go with God, goodbye. (hangs up, relaxing)Armand: Well, did he confess? Were we right about him?Edward: Of course we were right, couldn't you tell by looking at him? For crissakes, Armand, you saw his bedroom, all the Satanic Posters and the Altar. Armand, You saw the altar, he must be the one who got your daughter Linda into this thing.Rev. Thomas: Don't worry about a thing Armand, we've got a Pro on this one, and we've got a lot of experience in this. We can lead your daughter away from sin, are you with us? (getting up) Look, I've got the general meeting to lead, I'll tell all the guys that you are too upset to come up. And I'll leave Edward down here to keep you company, welcome to the inner guard, go with God. (exits)Edward: Think of the bright side Armand, by now Jimmy is with God, confessed, shriven, and saved from temptation. You've saved Linda from a similar fate, no doubt.Armand: What do you mean?Edward: You know, "You cannot be a Witch alone", you've heard that. You know it's true. What if she's already gone over, sworn her body and soul to Satan!Armand: No! I'm sure she's innocent! She just has peculiar friends, that's all. You can't hold that against her! I've got her locked up where she can think about her sins. She said she was not involved with Satan and I believe her. I have warned her against talking to strange people since she was little. She's a good girl! I went along with hazing Jimmy because he's just a young punk trying to get into my daughter's pants, but its gotta end here right? ... RIGHT?Edward: I know it's frightening to have something like this invade your family. Don't think you've failed her, Being Mother and Father for a teen-age girl is hard. Especially since you spend so much time on the road. You know, Tim says we should help you, so some of the boys are going to keep an eye on her while you're on the road. Hey, its nothing, really, it's for your own good and hers.Armand: (looking wild-eyed) Uhhh ... Thanks... I' gotta go to the head, be right back. (crosses left to bathroom closes door)Edward (picks up phone and dials): (whispering) Carl... I don't like the looks of our new candidate... I don't think he's got it. Carl, I think he may need to be saved before this is all over... yeah the boys will witness for him...Hank I think, as soon as he leaves here...You left the note in Jimmy's car right?... OK, gotta go...(hangs up).(sounds of water running in sink)Armand: (coming back out of bathroom) I think I better go home and look in on Linda, I was too angry when I left her.Edward: Yeah, I think that's a fine idea, and look, don't worry about Jimmy bothering Linda anymore, I think we've scared him away.Scene III. Dark Room with barred window. Jimmy sits on a chair in the corner, plastic cuffs are on his ankles around the chair legs; he is stripped to the waist and bleeding from the nose.Jimmy: Please, oh God PLEASE! I've told you everybody. I've told you EVERYTHING! Please, God help me..(rising).......LET ME GO!Carl(shoving Jimmy back down to the chair): Lets see, you've told me about Paul Carrick and Mary Carbella; who else is there for the fun?Jimmy: (inaudibly) I don't know anybody else..I don't....know...they aren't evil.....what am I doing here....(loudly,while struggleing)...FUCK...I DON'T CARE....(to CARL)....I'M NOT GETTING OUT OF HERE ALIVE, AM I?..... fuck you....(whineing)...fuck you.Carl: Of course you are Jimmy...it's just that....well, you don't think that I'll believe that only three of you get together for black mass...who do YOU fuck, the goat? Or do you and the teacher BOTH do that abortionist bitch together? I'll bet you don't; so now, Jimmy, who do you fuck? (takes wet mop and empty bucket, pours liquid into bucket from a container marked KEROSENE) WHO.....DO....YOU....FUCK...JIMMY? (soaks mop in bucket).Jimmy: (arches back against chair, wild eyed) WHAT DO YOU WANT.....I don't really know anything else....(carl sloshes mop around in the bucket) IT'S LINDA, THATS ALL!.......GOD HELP ME............I DON'T KNOW ANYONE ELSE!...my god...... my GODDESS...Go on.....get it over with, GO AHEAD MOTHERFUCKER, AND KILL ME OR LET ME GO! (fades back into hysterical sobs) you shithead, ...... you shithead, what have you done? Oh Mother, what have I done?Carl: Ok, Jimmy (putting mop into bucket) I believe you. I'm going to go get your clothes, Jimmy, and Reverend Tim will be here to pray with you.(Jimmy babbles incoherently through Carl's speech) We just wanted to scare the Devil out of you Jimmy. Don't you see, I've brought you back to God, Jimmy. It's hard for me to do this Jimmy,but you are going to live in Christ from now on. I'm really doing God's work. Thats all that gets me through this...Now we have to minister to those sinners that you have helped uncover. Bring them to Christ. Jimmy, I'm going to get your clothes.Jimmy: (yelling) Untie me! untie me! dammit!......Pleeeeeassseee! (Pause) If you're out there Goddess, help Linda, and Paul and Mary...(crying again) not me.....not me, shit, I'm dog-meat.Scene IV. A Westport livingroom.(in the dark a chant starts, Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali.... Inanna: barely perceptible at first and gaining volume as the lights come up.)Donna: Heal, we pray, our sister Linda, spare her further anguish, give her serenity and strength. Oh Great Mother hear my prayer, bring her father to the light, let him understand our ways and despise us no more. Father Pan bless her with joy of life and love, with all things wild and free. (Lightning flashes in the distance, she pauses for a few seconds, then sits up abruptly as the thunder hits) Well, thanks, that was my magickal bit for tonights clambake.Roger: I guess that those of us who were clever enough to ride a motorcycle tonight might like us to break circle early so they can get home dry (looking at brother Mark), before the thunderstorm is upon us...Sarah: (Standing facing rest of circle, arms raised above her head and outstretched to the sides, palms forward.) Oh Circle of Magick gently leave us, taking with you all works performed here this eve. May this night live forever in the blessed memory of the Gods. And ye lords of the Watchtowers, guardians of the cardinal points, stay if ye will, go if ye must.....Merry Meet!Roger: Merry Part!All: And Merry Meet Again!Paul: Sarah, Roger, that was a wonderful circle. I'm so glad summer is here again, the winter was too oppressive. (to Mary) I'm just sorry that Linda couldn't come, she needs us.Mary: I love you Paul, you've been so understanding to Linda and her needs.Paul: (grinning) What about your needs Mary, what with our coven guardian having to work tonight of all nights.Mary:(running fingers over Paul's chest) Do you want to come up and see my bicycle little boy? The Big Bad Black-Man won't mind, I asked him!Roger: Wasn't Jimmy 'spossed to come by for Beltane circle tonight? Do you think we still make him nervous?Mark: After getting Linda in trouble with her father he probably didn't think he could face us. I think the Heavy Metal Satanist thing is just a fantasy to help him feel bigger, more powerful somehow...what we do is REAL, and I think he is still coming to grips with that. I admit that I'm annoyed that he visited Linda at 2:00 a.m. last night, but I'm not jealous.Paul: Lets face it, we all love Linda.Donna: Well, I'd like to....Sarah: I KNOW what you'd like to do with her Donna, thank you for not pressureing her about it.Donna: Just kidding, you know that. I don't want to freak her out...too much....Sarah, you know I want her as a friend.Paul: (reddening) I know she likes you Donna, she's told me so. Give her time....She may surprize you.Donna: Paul, you're the expert on being surprized by Linda, so I'll take you at your word. Mark, if you want to stay and keep these old Pagan relics here company for awhile I'd be willing to give you a lift back to your apartment. (leans over in an obvious stage whisper) I'd like to ride your hobby-horse, studley...Mark: If I didn't know better, I'd say we are all crazy with Beltane mating frenzy. (looks left, and right)All: NAAAAAAHH! (general laughter).(music....Paul and Mary gather their things to go, Mark sits Donna down on his lap, Roger passes the chalice of red wine to Sarah. And here they assume a tableaux, fade to black with one lightning flash and.... Thunder.) Act II. The Equivocation of the Fiend:Act II, scene I (the dark barred room)Rev. Thomas: (wiping Jimmy's nose and mouth with a small rag) For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and the Glory for ever and ever....Amen. Try to see it our way, Jimmy, you worship a great evil, it possesses you, wholly. Driving it out of you is a scary process, but one we need to do if you're to be trusted with a girl like Linda. (standing up) I'm sure Carl will be back in just a minute with your things, I know you must be embarrassed sitting there like that. (through all this Jimmy has just sat there, gazing at nothing) Well, I'll see what's keeping Carl. (leaves)Jimmy: Why did I say all that shit? Oh Goddess, let me out of here alive. Let me get some kind of warning to the coven before these fuckin crazies get to them. I thought Carl was gonna KILL me.........I still think he's gonna kill me.(footsteps, Carl re-enters room. Carl caries Jimmy's shirt and jacket in a bundle with both hands.)Carl: Ok, Jimmy we're gonna let you go now...Don't you tell anybody about our little talk, you hear?(Carl stands Jimmy on his feet and cuts the wrist ties with the scissors. As Jimmy reaches out for his clothes Carl pushes the lump forward into Jimmy's chest)Carl: Go with God!(as he says this Carl pushes his right hand forward revealing the stock of a small pistol. There is a muffled Boom as Jimmy sprawls back against the wall. With his eyes fixed wide on Carl, he slumps to the floor.)Carl: (cynically) Sin no more, Jimmy.Carl stands looking down at Jimmy's surprisingly peaceful looking expression while the lights fade.)Scene II. Voices in the Dark ( Hank and Nestor are down in the S.L. Vom. the rest of the chorus are upstage R. offstage.)Nestor: I wonder If the other guys have heard anything from Carl?Hank: Imagine, someone admitted to the inner group, and then we find out that they're Witches.Nestor: It's just a good thing Carl could find out the truth. Imagine how horrible it would be if the Evil One got his claws in this group.(from the antiphonal group)Bob: Are we supposed to do the job? Or are we just supposed to witness to them and let the heavy stuff come later?Billy: I'm sure it does not matter once they are shriven and forgiven. Better to do it quickly before the Devil can get at them again; God hates sin!Nick: If they are Witches they don't even deserve that: The Good Book says "suffer ye not a witch to live". I say lets just go in there and scrub their filth from the kingdom of God. We're just God's cleaning service!Bob,Billy,Nick: We're God's cleaning service. We didn't ask for this job, God called us to this. Let's just go and get it over!Hank and Nestor: NO! You can't just go in and kill them. God grants all of mankind the choice to foreswear sin; you can't just go like a bunch of hopped up pagans!2nd chorus: Yes, we must let them confess... first. Then we'll sanctify them with the blood of the lamb.1st chorus: Bless them, for they have sinned!2nd chorus: And the wages of sin is DEATH!1st. chorus: DEATH! ... so they might sin no more!2nd. ch.: We've got to give them over to God quickly.1st. (amusedly) With DISPATCH!2nd. ch: This is what you come to, when God tells you to be your brother's keeper.1st.ch: One thing leads to another, one confession tempts another sin. It becomes a continuum, then a conflagration.2nd.: YES!, One sin leads to another.1st.: and another1st. and 2nd.: and yet another1st.: and then you come to IT...1st. and 2nd.: and when you come to it, the logic is so simple, so elegant.2nd.: If you love it, you must kill it.1st.: otherwise you can't redeem it.1st and 2nd.: You must destroy in order to save . (softly with a flat delivery) We're going to kill them in order to save them.1st.: Right, so no more talk of simple vengeance, this is God's work. Who can fathom God?Scene II. ( a desk with a phone and a coat tree, garish light).Srg. Steve Franklin: Thanks Lt. Lightbourne I'll look into it. (hangs up). John, I don't think I could even start to get behind this shit if it weren't for that guy.John: What shit?Steve: Weird shit: Three Women's clinics blown up in two months, animals mutilated and left on the courthouse steps, didn't hear about that one, didja? Oh yes, the kicker; five punkers run away from home in one month, make that six as of today.John: That sounds about average.Steve: Yeah, sure John, but do they usually leave identical "Dear Mom" notes typed on one and the same typewriter? Doesn't that sound a little too chummy?John: Holy Shit!Steve: Nuthin holy about it... I've got an expert from over the Kansas side, says Satanists are behind it all! Yeah, I couldn't get a handle on the whole thing until Carl started helping me.John: I don't know Steve, I've never put much faith in Satanists. Just don't seem to be enough of them. And most of them are confused kids.Steve: Are you KIDDING? Didn't you see all the Witches on T.V. the other day. Man, there was a whole parade of them.John: I thought they said they were Pagans.Steve: Carl says there ain't no difference. One's just another name for the other. It's just a scam.John: Hmmmmm.Scene III. (Paul's bedroom) (from dark to pre-dawn light).Paul: (in the dark) Are you awake?...Mary: Just watching the lightning. A Penny...Paul: A Penny? For my thoughts? Oh, just the usual stuff. I'm worried that I'm going to be the monkey wrench that gets into the works with Linda and her Father... Goddess, what have I done to Linda.Mary: Do you have Alzhiemers? can't you remember, (teaseing) would you like a demonstration perhaps?Paul: I mean to her life. Ok... So I worry about her a lot.Mary: A Lot? Paul: quite a bit.Mary: I was going to say "obsessively". Don't you remember who started the whole thing... who asked who to do what? Have you forgotten? She was a Big Girl when she came to your apt. that night. You didn't ask her to stay the night with you, she TOLD you she was staying with you. I told her it was a good idea when she talked to me about it...Goddess knows if she waited around for you to suggest sex she might still be a peevish virgin ... or be snuggleing with Donna instead...which would you prefer had been her first?Paul: (cheering up some ) Thanks a lot, hit a man when he's down.Mary: (mock indignant) You haven't gone down on me yet!Paul: well...I guess there's only one way to stifle that complaint! You know, I still love you deeply.Mary: Why shouldn't you, I still love you. Just because I love John doesn't mean I feel any different about you. (sounds of bedclothes shifting followed by a distant noise of ripping wood) Did you hear something?(cut to total black)Scene IV. (the Barker kitchen, 06:00)Armand: Listen Linda, I need to tell you about something, while I'm away some guys from the church down the block are going to be looking in on you. I think they mean well, don't let them get to you.Linda: ( archly) what do you mean 'get to me'? They aren't going to get to me... I'm not going to let them in the house! What do you really know about these guys, except that they give me the creeps. Nada... No Way!Armand: I don't have time to argue with you, Linda. I'm going to let you go out while I'm gone, but don't do anything you don't want me to find out about.(knock on door)Armand: You go and get dressed, I'll get the door. (crosses to door, leans to door) Who is it?Hank: It's Hank, from the church.(opens door)Armand: What can I do for you?Hank: Tim sent me to bring Linda to our teen prayer meeting.Armand: At 6:30 in the morning?Hank: (flustered) Well shure, you know, like before school.Armand: It's saturday.Hank: (peeved) We have it on saturdays too.Armand: I don't think she wants to go this week, give her some time.Hank: Why don't you let me talk to her?Armand: (getting Angry) Hey, HANK, why don't you let me decide who talks to my daughter!Hank: Armand, we can't help you if you won't cooperate. You don't want what happened to Jimmy to happen to Linda, do you.Armand: (suddenly suspicious) What happened to Jimmy?Hank: Well, I'm sure its no surprize to you, but apparently Jimmy ran away yesterday.Armand: After talking to Reverend Tim huh?Hank: (threatening) What is that supposed to mean?Armand: (backing off) Nothing in particular, I just wanted to know when.Hank: I'm sure I don't know exactly!Armand: Look Hank, It's not a good time to talk right now, I'll call Reverend Tim in three days when I get back into town. Right now there's a truck waiting for me down at the yard; I gotta go.Hank: We'll keep an eye on your little girl while you're gone, mister.Armand: Why don't you just let her be until I get back?Hank: Oh why Carl wouldn't hear of that, and we wouldn't want her mixed up in something evil while you're gone would we?Armand: You know, I never heard the word 'evil' so much in my life 'till I met you guys.Hank: Well Armand, maybe you couldn't see the evil around you until we came to show you the light.Armand: Well I'm beginning to see the light alright. So, like I say, you tell Carl, whoever He is, to leave her alone this weekend and we'll talk about it when I get back, RIGHT?Hank: (slyly) Sure, what ever you say, I'm sure you know best.Armand: (closing door) JESUS!...Linda: (from offstage) What's wrong?Armand: I don't know, but get down here QUICK!Linda: Daddy, what's going on?Armand: I don't know! something feels HORRIBLY wrong. I want you to call Jimmy. I want you to see if he's home or see where he's gone, can you find out?Linda: Not from his mom, but I told him to talk to this lawyer I know.Armand: You know a Lawyer, how? .... No, just tell me what you think I need to know. Do you have anywhere you can go and be safe, someplace where nobody can find you for a day or two?Linda: Daddy, I don't understand.Armand: I just had a conversation with some goon who said the the church sent him, and judging from what this sonofabitch said, I think your Jimmy could be in real trouble. And honey, I think I may have put you in some kind of danger. I don't know how, but all of a sudden I'm in a cold sweat. I never put much store in your mother's intuition, but now, ... just do this for me, please.Linda: How will I know that everthing is ok?Armand: Call me tomorrow, come on, you gotta get packed and get out of here, take the pick-up. ... I love you honey, I'll always love you. And I'm proud of the woman you've become. I don't really understand her, but I promise you I'll get to know her better. ... Believe me ....Linda: Aren't you going to work?Armand: No, I've got to find out about Jimmy. I won't sleep until I know he's safe.Linda: I love you, Daddy. I'll see you tomorrow. (grabs purse, heads for door)Armand: NO! ... Out the Back ... and don't stop for ANYONE!Linda: Oh God, Daddy. (runs DR. Vom)Scene V. Sarah's apartment in westport. 6:30 A.M.Mark and Donna emerge from bedroom, sleepy but very happy. Roger sits on sofa watching Sarah do a tarot spread.Roger: What are you two doing up so early, I thought you'd be dead to the world for hours.Donna: It's manic energy, circle last night really charged my batteries.Sarah: (sardonic) I know, I could hear you sparking in the other room.Donna: (hurt) Am I doing something to upset you?Sarah: No Donna, I'm sorry but I just feel uneasy. This card spread is really disturbing!Roger: The Lightning Struck Tower over the significator, hmmm not good.Sarah: Third reading, third Tower over Significator. I wonder whats going on?Mark: Has anyone heard from Linda? Did she call yet?Donna: Whoa, Mark! it's only 6:40! (affecting Bella Lugosi accent) The light of dawn must not TOUCH me!Mark: (in mock fright) Ahhhhh, a creature of the NIGHT!Roger: (to Sarah) The Devil inverted beneath us!Sarah: Also a repeat! Tighten your seatbelts Pilgrims, I sense rough weather ahead!Mark: The future is now: Try and insure a GYN clinic lately. The only Bookstore in town that caters to Pagans is having a fire sale. Jimmy said all last week someone in a church van was following him around.Roger: Which church?Mark: (grinning) No, a Christian Church. Church of the Holy Word or something like that.Act II. Scene VI.( The Barker House 7:00, the Cookoo clock sounds 7 times from the kitchen offstage)Armand: (to himself) I hope Linda is alright. I hope Jimmy is alright. (knock on door)Armand: Here comes trouble. (calling out) Coming! (crosses to door D.R.) Who is it?Hank: Hank, I just came back to apologize to you and Linda.Armand: (through door) No apology needed.Hank: I have an annotated Bible for Linda.Armand: Really? How nice. ( thinks for a second or two then opens door slightly. Door bursts inward followed by Hank and Nestor. The Door knocks Armand backward and the two quickly restrain him. Carl walks in behind them.) What the HELL is going on here?Carl: Our question exactly, Where is your Pick-up?Armand: None of your fuckin business, get outta here before I call the cops.Hank: You wouldn't want to do that, seen your pistol lately?Armand: Damn you! What have you done with Jimmy?Hank: So, one more time, Witch, where is your Pick-up? And of course, more important, where is Linda?Armand: Witch, what do you mean by that?Carl: I mean, you come to us trying to throw us off the trail with Jimmy, while you cover for your daughter.Armand: I'm not a Witch! What is wrong with you guys, you're outta your minds. I came to you because I was concerned about Linda. What trail are you talking about?Carl: The trail that leads back to your coven. The trail that leads to Paul Carrick, Mary Carbella, Linda Barker, and I guess you too. You can't give these people shelter and be innocent of their crimes.Armand: WHAT CRIMES! the only criminals I see are the ones who are holding me hostage!Nestor: (pulling out a sap. ) Where is their coven meeting at? We're going to find out one way or another.Armand: You're not going to find out anything from me. There is nothing I can tell you, I don't even know where Linda is. And as for this other bullshit; nothing my daughter might be involved in could be as deranged as your little hate group.Carl: Nestor, this man is an unrepentant heretic, convince him of our sincerity.Armand: Heretic! ... (Nestor saps him across the face.) unhh. (Nestor hits him across the other side of the face.) How can you get away with this?Carl: Simple, I'm a policeman. I represent law and order. You, on the other hand, represent the forces of evil and chaos. ... How can I NOT get away with it ... society is on my side.Armand: (blood trickles down the corner of his mouth) You son of a BITCH. You smug, sadistic, ...(Nestor hits him again)Hank: Where is your daughter?Carl: I don't want to hear any more of your cheap sarcasm. Tell me what I want to know or I promise you we will make you regret it.Armand: IF I knew anything, and I told it to you, THEN I'd have something to regret. Why don't you just go fuck yourself!Carl: That's too bad, Armand. (kicks him in the groin)Armand: (falling to knees and retching) Did you just say something about God?Carl: What?Armand: I guess not. Into your hands lord.Carl: Nestor, soften him up a little more.(Nestor stands over Armand, upstageing him striking him repeatedly. there is a high-pitched noise that gets progressively louder while the lights come up to unbearable brightness until suddenly the sound cuts out and the lights cut to pre-torture level.)Nestor: Carl, he's fainted. (Carl examines him)Carl: No Nestor, you've killed him! (pause) Ok, lets see what Paul and Mary tell us.Nestor: What should we do with him.Carl: You two drag him into the basement until dark. Hank, you stay here and wait for Linda to get back. Nestor, you come back to the church with me. Lets see if Billy and the boys have gotten back to the warehouse with them yet.(Carl and Nestor leave)Act II. Scene VII.(Paul's Apt. again we hear the sound of splintering wood)Mary: Did you hear something?Paul: YES! (they jump from bed as three men rush into the bedroom)(this all happens quickly, Paul pulls a revolver from under the matress, Mary jumps forward. As this happens Frank Pulls a gun from the back of his jeans. Paul shoots him in the Belly. Frank's revolver falls to the floor, and Billy, who hit the floor as Paul drew his gun, scoops it up. As he brings it to bear on Paul, Mary steps in front of him and is hit by Billy's shot. As she falls, Paul shoots Billy who stands transfixed looking at Mary. Bob flees out the door.)Frank: I'm hit! (writhes on floor in fetal position holding abdomen)Paul: You're dead! (puts a point blank round into Frank and Billy.)Paul: (turning Mary over, blood flows from a dead center chest wound) AHHHHHHHHHH! (Paul, keening,scoops Mary into his arms and walks offstage, pistol still in hand). BlackoutAct III The Genius and the Mortal instruments.Scene I. Sarah's apartment.Sarah: The problem is one of definition, we say Pan and they say Satan. We invoke the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone, and they Pray to Jesus. Only the Catholics have a Goddess figure and even they say they don't worship Her.Roger: It's just as much a problem of tolerance. The Christians can't recognize the validity of any path but their own. They worship a jealous God who tells them that everything that is not of him is evil.Mark: I don't feel evil. What have I done that's evil? Maybe a little perverse....but not evil.Donna: See mark, here's part of the problem; is what we were doing last night a sin? Do you feel like you've sinned by sharing your love with me? I don't, and I feel no guilt for sharing your bed, Sarah. I feel ... enriched for having given and received love from both of you. Not just the sex, I mean yes, the sex is good, but .... knowing that we care for each other. There is so little genuine love and tenderness in the world, and when you find it, you have found a precious jewel glinting in the common clay.Sarah: I know what you mean, but I sometimes envy you the straightforward way in which you accept feelings that disturbed me greatly at first, and sometimes still do. I can say, I love you Donna, and it's from the heart. But there are lots of times I wish I could say to you " lets go to bed" ... but something comes between the feelings and the words ... does that make any sense at all?Donna: I love you. (holds sarah in a long, warm hug) of course it makes sense. Just give me a smile and a squeeze of the hand and I promise I won't make you say any more.Roger: ( somewhat in awe ) This is one of the things I keep looking for in people outside our religion and very rarely finding. Maybe I'm not looking in the right places.Mark: It's wild brother, you and Paul and Mary all have so much to lose by practicing this religion. Lawyers, Schoolteachers, and Nurses, you guys are supossed to be the pillars of the community. And John, I mean, he's a policeman. If I we're paranoid, I might see some vast conspiracy in it, and I am blood kin to ya', and pretty damn close to it with some of the others.Roger: I can't tailor-make my friends, and I can't custom-order truth. One goes on the path as best one can, some lights shine a little further, or brighter, but if you abandon your light you abandon your only chance to negotiate the path. In that respect, I have tried to follow where I have had the light to go with any feeling of certainty. In the fullness of time I will understand what it is that has lead me upon this path, and I expect it to be good. My Goddess haven't we gotten maudlin? Mark, why don't you try Linda again?Mark: (dials phone, as phone clicks Hank's voice comes out as if he was standing by the phone.) Click, ( voice on phone) Hello ... Hello, Carl is that you?Mark: What the hell was that? I think I got a wrong number, I'll try again. (dials, waits, no-answer.) how odd. How very odd!Sarah: What's odd?Mark: Well, I thought I dialed the number right, but first a strange man's voice asked me if I was Carl, and when I tried the same number again no one answered it. Donna: Try it again.Mark: Right .............................. No answer. I wonder where Linda is?(frantic knocking on Door)Roger: I'll get it. (opens door, Linda bursts in)Linda: You guys, something wierd is happening at my house!Mark: I know, what's going on?Linda: You know that church Daddy started hanging around last week? Well they sent some creep around this morning to BRING me to some kind of meeting. Apparently he said some things about Jimmy that really freaked my Dad out. He made me grab my things and come here! He wants me to stay the night and call him in the morning. We've got to find Jimmy, and Roger, would you go and see how my Dad's doing, please.(another knock on door, door opens and John walks in.) Linda! thank goodness you're here. Have you heard from Jimmy?Linda: No! But my Daddy just send me here in a panic, he said Jimmy might be in danger!John: His Mom just reported him missing early this morning. Any ideas?Mark: John .... listen to this, Jimmy told me that a couple of guys from this church over in Johnson county have been following him in a church van.Linda: He told me that two policemen had searched his room when he was out day before yesterday.John: Searched his room, for what?Linda: According to Jimmy they said that the principal sent them to his home after trained dogs went crazy in front of his locker. But John, he said that there wasn't anything in his locker and I think I believe him.John: No principal sends us anywhere, we go on our own. This sounds real fishy.Mark: I just tried calling Linda at home and some guy answered and asked me if I was Carl ... Whats going on here?John: Carl! .... did you say Carl? Why that son of a BITCH!Mark: Yeah, and when I tried to call back no one answered.John: We are under attack!(sounds of someone kicking door. Roger answers door, Paul, still carrying Mary walks into the living room)Paul: John, look what they've done to Mary, they've killed her.(John crosses to Paul, looks at Linda, and takes her from Paul's arms and lays her on the couch. (checking pulse)Paul: She's dead! If she were alive I'd have taken her to the hospital. I shot two of them in self-defence, sort of, and the other one got away. Oh John! (breaks into silent racking sobs, John stands up and puts his hand on his shoulder) (Stares at Mary's corpse) Mark, did you get the name of that church.Roger: Ok, it's time to go to the D.A. ... I've been in the broom closet too long.John: Mark do you have a gun?Mark: Just my hunting rifle.John: Ok, I've got another pistol in the glove box. Paul, Mark, come on, we've got work to do! Watch your ass everybody, I'll knock three and one when I get back. Linda, Sarah and Donna, you all lock the door after me and open it for NO ONE else, Ok?Sarah: You've got it, Donna, let's carry Mary into the bedroom.Donna: Oh Goddess! (weeping)Paul: It was just like Da Nang! It all happened so fast!John: Come on guys, It's gonna get rougher before it gets better. We can't freak out here! Roger, Check out Armand on your way back from the D.A. ... LETS MOVE IT!(Mark, Paul, and John leave together, Roger, looks around aimlessly for a minute)Roger: ( to himself) This isn't your apartment, your briefcase isn't here! (rushes out door)(Donna and Linda come out of bedroom, Linda is leaning on Donna's arm)Donna: It's going to be alright ... It's going to be alright. Come on hon, talk to me.Linda: Mary's dead. Donna, I'm stunned, I don't know what to think. I kept looking at her just so I'd believe she's dead. And now I'm standing here in the livingroom and I don't want to believe it.Donna: I don't want to sound cruel, but Mary isn't in the other room, if she isn't here with us now, she's in a better place. What we have to do now is to make sure that we don't lose anyone else. Let's do some work for the guys. (they sit down with a candle between them cross-legged on the floor. Sarah joins them.)Linda: We're sending our protection to John.(Looks at the two of them)Sarah: You two are a blessing. I keep getting impressions of Mary being here.Donna: Me too.Act III, scene ii (they sit quietly in meditation for a moment or two, The Dark Church basement comes up across stage, Nestor, Carl, Bob and Rev. Tim sit around chair)Carl: Tim, if you don't believe in violence then I'd get the hell out of here. Because we are going to kick some ass! Those bastards won't get away with wasteing Frank and Billie!Rev. Thomas: I can't believe it!Carl: Edward found out that Jimmy was going to visit a lawyer named Dram. Lives over by the Med. Center. He's over there waiting now.Rev. Thomas: What's Edward going to do?Carl: Waste him.Rev. Thomas: I can't go along with that!Carl: Then leave.Rev. Thomas: It's my church.Carl: Is this yours? (holds up 1' piece of pipe with a peice of fuse sticking out of it)Rev. Thomas: That isn't murder.Carl: No it's called Accessory to Murder, if you want to get legal on me I can tell you the average sentence.Rev. Thomas: But I wasn't, I just wanted to put those abortion clinics out of business.Carl: Your word against ours, Reverend.Rev. Thomas: My God!Bob: Shut up and sit down.(The Reverend sits at table).Carl: You make me sick, you think you can get these people out of business by blowing a wall out of a building or two. You're a pansy, Rev, if you want to stop evil you gotta be evil. Be worse than what you fight. The Devil is weak, I am powerful. He just tempts, I kill.(knock on door)Carl: Who is it.Edward: Let me in, it's me.Carl: (crosses to door) Hold on.(opens door, in comes Edward looking the worse for wear, followed hard upon by John, Paul and Mark. Paul holds a gun to the base of Edward's skull)John: (mock friendly) Hi everybody! (John points gun to Carl. Mark holds gun on Rev. Thomas and Bob.)(Carl looks apraisingly at John)John: If you're thinking of going for your gun, I'd personally recomend it!Carl: What's Wrong?Paul: (shaking with anger) You just had our girlfriend murdered, I'd be more solicitous were I you.John: Let's have a party (grabing a bunch of plastic cuffs) Look, Party Favors! (to Carl) Sit down, or fall down.(Carl sits while mark hands his pistol to John, and proceeds to cuff each hand to the person's next to them. Mark removes handgun from Carl).John: Gosh that looks like fun! Ok Mark: Eddie and Carl, cuff their ankles to the table.John: (slipping pipebomb in to the back of Carl's slacks) Ok guys, I'll take care of these gentlemen. Go on and check on Roger, see how he's doing.Paul: But John, what are you going to do?John: I don't know yet. But if it's the worst I don't want you guys to be accessories. LEAVE NOW!Paul and Mark: Right.Carl: I know you, you're a Policeman! You can't do this!John: And you're the queen of the May, Lieutenant Lightbourne. Remember, according to you I'm evil, I can do anything I want to you. If I want to, I can shove that bomb up your ass before I light the fuze. Ready for a really new experience?Carl: You aren't going to get any satisfaction out of me asshole.John: NOTHING ABOUT THIS SATISFIES ME! I'm not like you, I'm not a sadist.Carl: So why haven't called the police?John: I want justice. And I'm not sure that calling the police right now is what needs to be done. I've been a detective for five years now, all my professional instincts say it's time to let the courts work this out. But Carl here, he's a detective too, and you Reverend, why you are a pillar of the community. Can the legal system really do you justice? A Tricky question, made more complex by the idea that if I kill one of you, I'll have to kill all of you to remove the evidence. Of course, with the amount of explosives in this room that would be the easy part. Quiet now, and let me think.Rev. Thomas: But I'm innocent.John: I beg your pardon, what did you say?Rev. Thomas: I didn't kill anyone.John: I find that a very fine legal distinction. In fact, that very argument is one of the reasons I SHOULD light Carl's wick and run like hell. Anything else you want to say?Edward: This is only a setback, you know. We aren't the only ones doing God's work. We'll win in the end, sin will out.John: Do you really believe that?Edward: YES! You'll burn in Hell!John: No, fuckface, I mean about sin will out!Nestor: God hates sin!John: Hmmmm.Blackout.Act III. Scene iii. Sarah's Apartment. (Roger wears a bandage on his Right arm.)Sarah: I agree that Mary would have preferred to have her ashes scattered in the woods, but I also see the logic in giving them a joint plot.Roger: We'll use it as a memorial. If my children carry on it my religion I will ask that they honor Mary, Armand and Jimmy as ancestors worthy of veneration.Linda: Thank you for not crying, I don't think any of them them to see us cry. My Father believed in life, and being good. Life didn't have as much faith in him.Mark: I can't help but wonder why the Gods let this happen to us?Donna: Who knows, maybe if the Gods hadn't been on our side, Carl and his buddies would be having this chat instead of us.(everyone turns to John who stares at the floor)Sarah: John, we all lost Mary, we all are hurt, and we all love you.John: (with no energy) I can't help wondering how much Carl and I might have been alike. I've always hung with the simple solution, even when the problem is complex. (to paul) It took me losing Mary and seeing you grieve with me for me to get over the residual jealousy over Mary and you still being lovers. (looks back at floor)Sarah: The circle is lessened, but unbroken. John you are a part of it, an important part.Mark: Let's get away together, go camping.Linda: (holding Paul) Oh, my Mom called yesterday. Heard about the uproar and she wanted me to move out to Nevada with her and her boyfriend. I hope she's happy out there. I told her about Roger filing for emancipated minor status for me. I'll be eighteen before the paperwork goes through. (eyes tear) I just wish Daddy were here to know you all, to see my eighteenth birthday with those I love.All: So do we.Linda: And poor Jimmy, his Mom is still out of it. I didn't think sh

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank