MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL
by D. M. Larson
Time and Place
Late Spring, 1991. Eastern Washington town. The living
quarters of a church in a poorer neighborhood.
(The entire play takes place in the living quarters of a church. There is a small kitchen area with a stove, cupboards, counter, and refrigerator UL. All of these things can be implied. The door to outside is L. LC is a set of table and three chairs. Starting R, there are stairs that lead up to a small landing and a door where the bedroom is. DL is a small living room with a sofa. There is a door behind it to the bathroom. Another door, ULC, leads to a chapel) (Late morning. Lights come up on THOMAS in a casual suit standing DR looking out a window. His arms are crossed and he has a drink in one hand. He's lost in thoughts of days lost and an uncertain future. WALTERS, an old widow, who is a loyal church goers enters UR through the door to the chapel.
(Turns, not trying to hide his drink)
Yes, Mrs. Walters?
I was wondering why the service was cut short today?
It's hot out and we don't have air conditioning. I thought people might like getting out before they died of heat stroke.
You should have called me before the service. I could have brought over some fans.
I didn't want to bother you.
It's no bother, Pastor Thomas. I like to help out whenever I can.
I'll be sure to call next time.
Is there anything else?
I was hoping I could receive communion.
You know I don't like to do communion any more, Mrs. Walters.
You really should. Pastor Mike did communion every Sunday. It was real important to him and very special to the congregation.
I know how important it was to Pastor Mike but it doesn't feel right for me somehow.
I don't see why not?
Could we please not argue about this?
I will until you give me my communion.
All right, Mrs. Walters. You win. I'll give it to right here, right now, in God's dining-room.
(Goes to kitchen)
You prefer red or white wine?
Don't you have any grape juice?
Sorry. Fresh out. It's wine or nothing. If it's good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.
I'll only take a little sip then.
(THOMAS pours her a glass of wine. She take a kitchen
chair and places it center. He gives her the wine)
What will you use for bread?
Thomas returns to kitchen.
(As he searches)
I don't think I have any bread left. I haven't been to the
store in awhile. But I think I have some saltine crackers.
They make me thirsty.
Then I'll pour you some more wine.
(Sighs again and kneels at chair)
Never mind. Bring them here.
(THOMAS gives her a cracker)
Aren't you going to say something?
Sure. Eat, drink, and be merry.
I was hoping for something a little more religious, like a passage from the last supper.
All right. (He says the following with difficulty) "Eat and drink in remembrance of me." (She eats and drinks) Don't drink too much now. I might think you like it.
Thank you. I'll see you next Sunday.
Mrs. Walters? Why do you come to my church? You never seem happy with anything I do.
I've come to this church ever since I was a child. I was baptized at this church's altar and married here when I was seventeen. My husband's funeral was here and this is where I intend to have my own.
And besides, this is the only church within walking distance of my house and I haven't got a car.
Mrs. Walters. If you were a few years younger I think I'd be in love.
If you were a few years younger, I'd give you a good spanking.
(Starts for door)
Good-bye, Mrs. Walters.
I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your sermon about the absentee landlord today. What possessed you to use that passage?
I just played Bible roulette and there it was. I always do that when I have trouble thinking up a new sermon.
Why don't you reuse old sermons?
I hate it when pastors do that. I think that's the reason why people never make any progress in this world. They're always preaching the same old sermon and doing the same old things. We still have war and we still have the poor. Women still aren't treated equally and people are still starving. As long as we have these things, I'll preach new sermons until I hit on something that works. Then and only then will I repeat myself. If they won't listen the first time, then won't hear me the second.
Well, your heart's in the right place.
(Turns to go)
Can I offer you a cup of coffee before you go?
No, thank you, Thomas. Good-bye.
END OF SCENE
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"GUARDIANS OF THE WALLET" by D. M. Larson
An ambulance is coming for you now. And the policy will cover that ride so you're in luck.
(Ralph waves good-bye and watches person go)
He's lucky. Most people wait until it's too late. Last minute is always better than never. Sometimes I think I should set up my office in the lobby of the hospital emergency room. I could probably sign up half the room as they are waiting... what else are they going to do while they wait for help? Come on. What's the number one thing on their minds? They worry about how they'll pay for the hospital. That's where I come in. I kind of see myself as a hero... swooping in to save the day... can't pay your medical bill? Let me do it for you. I know no one sees an insurance salesman as a hero but we really are. You know how much that heart attack would have cost him without me? You know how much a car accident would cost without insurance? We're not the bad guys... we're your knight in shining armor, protecting you from going bankrupt. We are the guardians of the wallet. Don't let them suck you dry. Insurance will protect you... save you... rescue you... and that's what I wanted to always do with my life. Be a hero.
END OF MONOLOGUE
**** “The Cynical Professor” a monologue by D. M. Larson
Okay class. I know you hate classes that are required for your degree so I am going to try and make this as painless as possible.
Because you're taking a lot of loans, using a lot of credit and building up some serious debt to be here, I don't want this class to be any more difficult than it needs to be. I mean you are going to be paying off these loans for the next 20 or 30 years. It's like you're taking out a mortgage and buying a house. And who can afford a house mortgage anymore when you have all these loans, credit and debts piling up just so you can get a degree in Egyptology or Greek mythology?
That brings me to lesson number one in your Freshman Orientation class. You want to make all your loans worthwhile? You want to be able to pay off your credit card debt when you graduate? Then become a lawyer.
Come on... What's with the moans and growns? Being an attorney can be great. Are you a tree hugger and love the Earth? Be an environmental lawyer. Are you into women's rights? There's a attorney for that. Want to help people who are defaulting on their mortgage and losing their homes or being crushed by credit card debt? There are lawyers for that too. Lawyers make a difference. Lawyers change things. Call an attorney if you want to get things done.
Law not for you? You could play the stock market and do some day trading. Or you could be a software designer. Maybe be an engineer and figure out new ways to get us the limitless electricity that we demand or come up with alternate fuels so we no longer need gas in our cars. You can still help the world without picking a degree that will drown you in debt that you can never pay back.
If you want to study a dead language or some mythological beast, go hang out in the library or watch the History Channel, but don't run up thousands of dollars in loans to study something that won't pay the bills. A Egyptologist is not going to change the world, but an attorney just might have the power to right some wrong.
Gandhi was a lawyer. So was Abraham Lincoln. And Nelson Mandela. These are great people that left their mark on history and transformed nations. I'm not telling you to transfer out of your history classes. History has wonderful lessons for us. I'm telling you not to major in it. Learn from history but then USE what you learned. Go out there and change things. And who better to change things than someone who understands how the system works than a lawyer.
Those of you that agree with me will go declare their majors - pre-law, engineering or economics. Those of you that don't, head on over to the library and write me a 10,000 word report on why your major is so awesome and a plan how you are going to pay off all that debt.
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