MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL

(a work in progress)
by D. M. Larson
Copyright © 1992, 2009, 2015 All Rights Reserved*

free full length stage play script Midnight of the Soul


Cast of Characters (in order of appearance)

Thomas Hall: A pastor of an independent church who took the position reluctantly a few years ago. Despair and futility are more familiar to him than faith and hope. His lifestyle reflects this. He is a nice looking man in his thirties and is kind despite his faults.

Janice Walters: She's a loyal church-goer who wants to see things run like they were under the old pastor. She's in her 60's.

Candy Leeds: Is in a relationship with Thomas at the open of the play. She is far from innocent and shows it. She is the same age as Thomas.

Sandy Miller: A little girl of ten who often goes to Thomas for support.

Johnny James: A friend of Thomas who is easy going and could care less about responsibility. He dresses like the repair man that he is. He is also Thomas' age.

Gabi Roberts: A kind and somewhat naive woman who appears at Thomas door one midnight in need. She has a tendency to talk a lot when she is nervous. She's in her late twenties.

Time and Place

Late Spring, 1991. Eastern Washington town. The living quarters of a church in a poorer neighborhood.


PROLOGUE - "Pull My Strings"

THOMAS

Who am I? What am I? Tell me what to be! Tell me who I am!

I try to be what everyone wants... And what you want to, but it's never good enough... Never enough for any of you!

I am never good enough. How can I be all things to all people? I am the man of a thousand faces... Clay face... Molding myself for each and every one of you. How can I do so much and get so little? Why won't anyone mold themselves for me? Be what I want and need? Especially you... You're the worst of them all. You demand so much. How can anyone live up to that?

But you can make it all better. You have the power to do that for me. You can make all this pain inside me go away. So I give you my devotion. I will get down on my knees and beg. I will be anything you want me to be... That's what you want right? Be your puppet. Pull my strings and I will dance for you.

(Does a haunting dance like they are hanging from strings. Then falls)

Tell me what to do. I will do it. Just tell me... please.







Scene 1

(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.

WALTERS

Pastor Thomas?

THOMAS

(Turns, not trying to hide his drink)

Yes, Mrs. Walters?

WALTERS

I was wondering why the service was cut short today?

THOMAS

It's hot out and we don't have air conditioning. I thought people might like getting out before they died of heat stroke.

WALTERS

You should have called me before the service. I could have brought over some fans.

THOMAS

I didn't want to bother you.

WALTERS

It's no bother, Pastor Thomas. I like to help out whenever I can.

THOMAS

I'll be sure to call next time.

(Pause)

Is there anything else?

WALTERS

I was hoping I could receive communion.

THOMAS

You know I don't like to do communion any more, Mrs. Walters.

WALTERS

You really should. Pastor Mike did communion every Sunday. It was real important to him and very special to the congregation.

THOMAS

I know how important it was to Pastor Mike but it doesn't feel right for me somehow.

WALTERS

I don't see why not?

THOMAS

Could we please not argue about this?

WALTERS

I will until you give me my communion.

THOMAS

(Giving in)

All right, Mrs. Walters. You win. I'll give it to right here, right now, in God's dining-room.

WALTERS

Thank you.

THOMAS

(Goes to kitchen)

You prefer red or white wine?

WALTERS

Don't you have any grape juice?

THOMAS

Sorry. Fresh out. It's wine or nothing. If it's good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.

WALTERS

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.

THOMAS

(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.

WALTERS

They make me thirsty.

THOMAS

Then I'll pour you some more wine.

WALTERS

(Sighs again and kneels at chair)

Never mind. Bring them here.

(THOMAS gives her a cracker)

Well?

THOMAS

What?

WALTERS

Aren't you going to say something?

THOMAS

Sure. Eat, drink, and be merry.

WALTERS

I was hoping for something a little more religious, like a passage from the last supper.


THOMAS

(Frustrated)

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.

WALTERS

Thank you. I'll see you next Sunday.

THOMAS

Mrs. Walters? Why do you come to my church? You never seem happy with anything I do.

WALTERS

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.

(Shrugs)

And besides, this is the only church within walking distance of my house and I haven't got a car.

THOMAS

(Laughs)

Mrs. Walters. If you were a few years younger I think I'd be in love.

WALTERS

If you were a few years younger, I'd give you a good spanking.

(Starts for door)


THOMAS

Good-bye, Mrs. Walters.

WALTERS

(Stops)

I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your sermon about the absentee landlord today. What possessed you to use that passage?

THOMAS

I just played Bible roulette and there it was. I always do that when I have trouble thinking up a new sermon.

WALTERS

Why don't you reuse old sermons?

THOMAS

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.

WALTERS

Well, your heart's in the right place.

(Turns to go)


THOMAS

Can I offer you a cup of coffee before you go?

WALTERS

No, thank you, Thomas. Good-bye.

She exits through chapel door and this time a child playing "chopsticks" is heard while the door is open. THOMAS goes to his Bible and flips it open. Takes a drink.

THOMAS

John 21:15. That'll do.

Turns Bible face down and drinks some more. CANDY appears at the top of the stairs in a silky robe.

CANDY

Hello, Thomas.

THOMAS

Hi, Candy. How did you sleep?

CANDY

Heavenly.

THOMAS

I suppose one would in a church.

CANDY

(Comes down)

What did old widow Walters want?

THOMAS

Her communion.

CANDY

Why didn't you tell her no?

THOMAS

I did, but she's so stubborn.

(Drinks)

Besides, it's the least I can do.

CANDY

A little early for a drink, isn't it?

(Gets coffee from the coffee maker)


THOMAS

It's left over from communion.

CANDY

You can pour it back in the bottle.

THOMAS

It seems a pity to do so.

CANDY

How was your sermon?

THOMAS

It went okay? Mrs. Walters said it was too short.

CANDY

Short, but sweet I'm sure.

(Gives him a kiss)


THOMAS

It didn't go as well as I would have like though. It isn't clicking like it was.

(Sits at table)


CANDY

(Goes to him, rubs his shoulders)

You used to be so good up there. It was like seeing a Broadway play. You up there carrying on about loving your neighbor and helping one another. I used to sit there, close my eyes, and let myself become swept up in your words. (Kisses his cheek and sits in his lap) And you used to always get so worked up after those sermons...I thought I could never bring you back down to Earth again.

THOMAS

(They get up)

Now you don't even come to my services.

CANDY

(She follows)

But you told me you don't like me to come. (She strokes his chest) You said I distract you.

THOMAS

I know. I'm sorry.

CANDY

Why don't you come upstairs? Maybe we can get a little of your creative energy flowing again.

(Kisses him)

Hmmm?

THOMAS

(Takes her hand and kisses it) Okay. I'll be up in a minute.

CANDY

(Starts to go)

And bring the wine. (Knock at chapel door) Who's that now?

THOMAS

I don't know.

(Opens door to chapel. Pleasantly)

Oh, hello, Sandy.

SANDY, a girl of 8 comes in.

SANDY

Hi, Pastor Thomas.

(Sees CANDY)

Hi, Ms. Leeds.

THOMAS

What can I do for you?

SANDY

My mom is still talking to all the people. She sure talks a long time.

THOMAS

Adults are funny that way.

SANDY

Could you read me a story again?

THOMAS

I don't know Sandy...

SANDY

(Pleads)

Please. Mommy has a big mouth. (CANDY laughs)

THOMAS

Sandy! That isn't a nice thing to say.

SANDY

That's what Daddy always says.

THOMAS

(Signs, but happy)

Okay, you win. What story do you want to hear?

SANDY

A Jesus story. I like how you read them.

CANDY

I leave you two alone then. I'll be in the shower if you need me.

(Says following for SANDY's benefit)

My shower isn't working so I came over to use Pastor Thomas'.

SANDY

(Casually skeptical)

Uh-huh. (CANDY winks at THOMAS and goes to shower

THOMAS

What story do we have for you today?

(Gets Bible. They sit at kitchen table)

Let's see.

SANDY

How about that one?

THOMAS

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

(He looks it over and then begins)

Once there were two men who went to church to pray. One was a rich Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee went off to one side to speak privately with God and said, "I thank you, God, that I am not greedy, dishonest, or an adulterer, like everybody else." Spotting the tax collector entering in the church, "And I thank you that I am not like that miserable tax collector over there."

SANDY

Boy, he's not very nice is he?

THOMAS

Nope.

SANDY

Pastor Thomas?

THOMAS

Yeah?

SANDY

(Points)

What's that word? Adul...adulter...

THOMAS

Well, it's hard to explain. It's a kind of a bad person.

(Continues his story)

The tax collector entered the church with his head down low unable to look up to heaven. He went to the altar and kneed. Tears came to his eyes as he said "God, have pity on me, a sinner!" And Jesus said, "The tax collector, not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For everyone who humbles himself will be made great."

CANDY appears again at the end

SANDY

Thank you, Pastor Thomas. I better go now.

(She hugs him)


THOMAS

(Smiles)

Okay, Sandy. See you next Sunday.

SANDY exits to chapel.

CANDY

(Having been listening)

You're so good with children.

THOMAS

(Gets up)

You weren't listening, were you?

CANDY

Yes I was and I think you were wonderful.

THOMAS

Hardly.

CANDY

You do wonders for the children in this neighborhood. They really look up to you. The children need someone like you around here.

THOMAS

I'm no better than anyone else around here.

CANDY

That's not true. You have a gift for helping people.

THOMAS

I feel pretty helpless most of the time. I never feel like I'm making any progress around here.

(Goes for more wine)

The people here are no better off than when I become pastor. Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing them more harm than good.

CANDY

Weren't you here a minute ago? Didn't you see what you did for that little girl?

THOMAS

What? Put her to sleep?

CANDY

Telling her stories means a lot to her.

THOMAS

I think you're stretching it a bit.

CANDY

I've seen Sandy with her parents. They practically ignore her. She might as well be invisible. But you care. You stop everything for that little girl. And that means a lot to her.

THOMAS

I doubt that I'm helping a whole lot.

CANDY

What happened to you Thomas? What happened to those dreams you had of fighting the rich and healing the poor? Your dreams were so much a part of you. But now it seems like there's nothing.

THOMAS

I simply opened my eyes and saw the world the way it really was...and didn't like what I saw.

CANDY

You were such a good person. I mean you still are. But something happened.

THOMAS

The world happened and it's not good. I finally realized that there's nothing I can do to fix it.

CANDY

Why don't you just quit being a pastor then?

THOMAS

It's not that easy.

CANDY

Why not?

THOMAS

When Pastor Mike died, he left this church in my hands, not in anyone else's. He had such confidence in me. I can't let him down.

CANDY

I could.

THOMAS

Well, you're not me. Besides who else would want to be pastor in this neighborhood. I fit right in.

(Drinks)


CANDY

No, honey, you don't and you never will.

THOMAS

What's that suppose to mean?

(Knock at door L)


CANDY

(Annoyed)

Who now?

JOHNNY

Thomas! You in there?!

(Knock)


THOMAS

It's just Johnny.

(Opens door. JOHNNY, a casual dude, enters)


JOHNNY

Hey, man. How's it hangin'?

CANDY

Very good, thank you.

THOMAS

Candy!

CANDY

Lighten up, Thomas. Let me have my fun.

JOHNNY

Hey, Candy. How's life?

CANDY

Good as ever.

JOHNNY

You're looking especially lovely this morning.

CANDY

Why, thank you, Johnny.

(To THOMAS)

At least someone knows how to give a lady a compliment. I guess I'll head upstairs and leave you boys alone. (Goes upstairs to get dressed)

JOHNNY

So how are ya', man?

THOMAS

I'm gettin' by.

JOHNNY

Well, I got somethin' to cheer up your day.

(Takes out an envelope full of money and gives it to him)


THOMAS

(Looks, amazed)

What's this?

JOHNNY

Your horse came in, man.

THOMAS

(Sits)

I can't believe it. That's was just a whim. The horse was called "Gabriel's Fire" and I was feeling pretty lucky that day. But after I made the bet, I was sure I would lose. I never bet on a long shot like that.

JOHNNY

Yeah, man. I thought you was plain loco when you bet on that horse, but you musta known what you was doin'.

THOMAS

(Still amazed)

I guess so.

JOHNNY

You want me to bet another one for ya'?

THOMAS

No, Johnny. I think I'll pass.

JOHNNY

Hey, man. Whatever you say. Since you's got a little extra cash, what would you say to a little poker some night this week.

THOMAS

Sure, why not.

JOHNNY

Cool. I'll get some guys together then.

CANDY

(Comes down, dressed)

I'll see you two later.

THOMAS

You're leaving?

CANDY

I've got to get ready for my big trip to California.

(To JOHNNY)

I have a girlfriend down there that I haven't seen in ages. We're going to just drive to who knows where like those two chicks in that movie.

JOHNNY

Sounds like fun. Don't shoot nobody though.

CANDY

Only if they deserve it.

(She goes to THOMAS and gives him a big kiss)

I'll drop by before I go, okay?

THOMAS

Sure, see ya'.

CANDY

Bye, Johnny.

JOHNNY

Later, Candy.

CANDY

Bye.

(Exits L)


JOHNNY

She's hot, man. I don't see why you two don't just shack up together.

THOMAS

In a church. I don't think so.

JOHNNY

Everyone knows about you two anyway. Might as well make it official.

THOMAS

I couldn't afford her anyway. I can barely afford myself. And she won't want to support me.

JOHNNY

(Points to envelope)

You got money now.

THOMAS

It isn't enough.

(Puts money in Bible)


JOHNNY

Sometimes you just gotta take a gamble and do somethin' despite the risks. Besides, money can't buy everything.

THOMAS

But it sure can buy a whole lot else.

(Lights fade to black)


Scene 2

Midnight. It's raining outside. Blue lights come up depicting night. Knocking at door L

THOMAS

(In dark)

Just a minute!

(He turns on light switch at top of stairs. Lights come on white. More knocking)

I'm coming!

(He is in his robe and pajamas. He opens door and a woman comes in wearing a rain coat and is carrying a suitcase)

GABI

It's pouring out there.

THOMAS

(After the fact, to himself)

Come in.

GABI

(Takes hood from coat off)

My name's Gabi. Are you the pastor of this church?

THOMAS

Yes.

GABI

Oh, good. Cause I need a place to stay.

(She takes off coat and gives it to him. She never lets him get a word in)

I tried just about every motel in town, but they're all full tonight. I think it's cause of some state fair or somethin'. But it doesn't matter much though. It's not like I had enough money for one anyway. I woulda had to stay in one of them roach motels, ya' know where they have hourly rates and vibratin' beds. I once had to stay in one of them motels where the vibratin' thing was broken. I couldn't sleep. The darn thing kept me up all night. By morning I was so numb...never again. They should outlaw those places. You known what I mean? (THOMAS nods, overwhelmed) Well, anyway. I drove around awhile, not sure what to do. My gas was low and I had to stop, but I knew I should keep going cause somethin' would always turn up. My mama always said that. And so, not knowing what else I could do, I said a little prayer. Nothing fancy ya' understand cause I was desperate. So I closed my eyes and prayed hard. And you know what? When I opened my eyes I was here. Right here on your front steps. God had delivered me. And since mama always said that the church is the haven from all the world's troubles I thought I'd come right on in and see what you could do for me. Besides, who could think of a safer place to be in than a church, and it's a whole lot cheaper than a motel. (Stops. Looks at THOMAS) Ya' know. I never did catch your name.

THOMAS

Thomas Hall.

GABI

My name's Gabi Roberts. Did I tell you that already? Oh, well, better twice than never. It's nice to meet you, Pastor Thomas. I hope your helping me out like this won't be too much trouble.

THOMAS

Well...I...

GABI

I certainly wouldn't want to intrude. I mean my mama always told me the church was a haven for all those in need. But I was a little girl then and I know how things aren't quite like they are in childhood.

THOMAS

Gabi. It's not that I don't want to help. I simply haven't got any place for you to stay.

GABI

I don't take up much room, really. You won't ever know I'm here. In fact, point me to the chapel and I'll sleep on one of the pews. I don't mind. God can be my pillow and Jesus will be my blanket. It'll be like a church retreat.

THOMAS

I couldn't let you do that.

GABI

Please, Pastor Thomas. I won't be no trouble. In fact, I could be a great help to you. As long as you let me stay, I can cook and clean and do whatever else you need.

THOMAS

I appreciate your offer, but there's really no place for you to...

GABI

(Sees living room DL)

What about that sofa? That looks comfy enough. I used to sleep on a sofa all the time when I was little. I won't mind one single bit.

THOMAS

I couldn't let you sleep on there. I wouldn't feel right...

GABI

It's no trouble really. I've slept on worse even. One time, when I went out to my aunt's, we had to sleep in the barn. I had no idea what kind of things lived in barns. It was a regular wild kingdom.

THOMAS

Gabi. Don't you have any place you could go? Friends, relatives?

GABI

Most my relations are dead, except for my mama. And I don't have many friends.

THOMAS

Where's your mother?

GABI

She's in Florida.

THOMAS

That is pretty far away.

GABI

And I'm out of money.

THOMAS

Where did you come from?

GABI

Seattle.

THOMAS

Did you lose your job?

GABI

No, my husband.

THOMAS

I'm sorry. When did he pass away?

GABI

He didn't unfortunately. I sure wish he had though. It woulda saved me a whole lot a trouble.

(Stops. Worried)

Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't say that in front of a pastor.

THOMAS

That's okay. I'm not God.

GABI

But you're the next best thing.

THOMAS

Can I get you something to drink?

GABI

Well, to be honest, I could use a tall glass of wine right about now.

(He starts for kitchen surprised)

But you bein' a pastor and all, I'm sure you ain't got nothin' but grape-juice. (Pause. THOMAS isn't sure what to say) Do you have any iced tea?

THOMAS

Sure.

(Gets some for her)

So where are you planning on going now?

GABI

On twenty dollars, not far. I'm sure open to suggestions.

THOMAS

Could your mother help you any?

GABI

I don't know if she can it afford it. We've been helping her out quite a bit lately so I doubt she has anything saved.

(Pause)

I guess I'll have to get a job here for a while until I can afford by a bus ticket or something. But until then, I don't really have any place to go.

THOMAS

(Gives her glass)

Here's your tea.

GABI

Thanks.

(Pause. Drinks)


THOMAS

Maybe I could find someone for you to stay with for awhile until you get a job. Old Mrs. Walters next door might like the company.

GABI

You think so?

THOMAS

Maybe. But we'll have to wait to ask her until tomorrow.

GABI

Thank you so much for helping me out like this, Pastor Thomas.

THOMAS

That's what the church is here for.

GABI

(Looks at THOMAS thoughtfully)

Boy, I bet you must be one good pastor.

THOMAS

What makes you say that?

GABI

You're so young and you already have your own church. Most pastors are so old and moldy. And they're always talking about death and dying and eternal damnation. But your sermons must be so full of life. Stand still a moment and let me look at you.

(He does and is very uncomfortable. She smiles)

Yeah, I can see ya' now standin' up there teaching to a willin' congregation about God and love. It must quite a thing to see.

THOMAS

(A little nervous)

Would you like some more tea?

GABI

Sure. But could you maybe put a little sugar in it?

THOMAS

I'm sorry. I forget that everyone doesn't like tea like I do.

(Returns to kitchen)


GABI

I shouldn't be keepin' you up like this. It's late. Why don't you go on back to bed. I can get myself settled.

THOMAS

Actually, I'm going to stay up and read awhile. Why don't you go ahead and take my bed tonight. I'll be okay on the sofa.

GABI

Oh, no, Pastor Thomas, I couldn't let you do that.

THOMAS

Please. I couldn't sleep up there knowing that you were on that lumpy old sofa.

GABI

You're such a good man. They should give you your own TV show.

THOMAS

(Laughs)

Goodnight, Gabi.

GABI

You've been so kind. God must have known what we was doing when he brought me here. Sometimes I wonder what God is trying to pull on me, but this time I think he did pretty good.

(Gets suitcase)

Goodnight, Pastor Thomas.

(Starts up stairs, stops)

Will you say a prayer for me tonight?

THOMAS

(A bit uncomfortable with the request)

Of course, Gabi. Goodnight.

GABI disappears happily upstairs. THOMAS sits at the table confused, carelessly fingering his Bible. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 3 "SLAVE TO THE WORLD"

THOMAS

What does it mean to be a servant of God? What will it mean for our life?

I don't know if I can live that way.

I want to ... I really do... But I don't know the way. I don't know how. I feel like I always go about it the wrong way.

I want to follow... But all I hear is distant echoes... I'm never sure where they are coming from or where to turn. I want to turn to you... I really do. If only I knew the way. I feel lost... Without a real connection to this world... Or the next.

Lead me... Take me under your wing... I wish to follow... To serve.

I have served many masters in my life but never the right one.

I spent so much of my life serving others. A servant to everything. A slave. So many of us are slaves to our passions. They master us...

But there is one master who is merciful. Mercy master... Mercy please... I am a slave to the world around me. Deliver me... And I will follow.

Scene 4

Lights come up on THOMAS flipping through his Bible. He closes it.

THOMAS

I can't believe I'm still wide awake. I haven't had insomnia in years.

(Goes to kitchen)

Maybe a drink will relax me.

He pours some wine. Puts bottle away. He picks up glass as GABI appears.

GABI

Can't you sleep either?

(THOMAS drops glass of wine)

Oh, no. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you.

THOMAS

That's okay. It's not your fault.

(Starts to clean it up)

GABI

Let me clean it up for you.

(Comes down)


THOMAS

No thanks. I can get it.

(Mops it up with a towel and cleans with a dust pan)


GABI

I'm really sorry. I guess I should have made more noise before saying something.

THOMAS

That's okay. I break glasses all the time. I think it runs in my family.

GABI

(Yawns)

I wish I could get some sleep. I feel tired, but nothing's happening.

THOMAS

Would you like some milk? It usually helps me sleep.

GABI

Sure, I'll have some.

THOMAS

Hot or cold?

GABI

Cold's fine.

(THOMAS pours two glasses of milk)


THOMAS

Would you like anything to snack on too?

GABI

I am a little hungry, but I don't want you to go to any trouble.

THOMAS

(Gets up and goes to kitchen)

It's no trouble, as long as you don't want something fancy.

GABI

Anything's fine by me.

THOMAS

How about cheese and crackers...and pork rinds?

GABI

Pork rinds? You mean from a pig?

THOMAS

Yeah, I think it's fried pigs' skin. They're pretty good.

GABI

I think I'll just have the cheese and crackers, if that's okay?

THOMAS

Suit yourself.

(Eats some pork rinds while cutting cheese)


GABI

I really appreciate you taking me in like this. Most people would have sent me on my way.

THOMAS

The church is here as long as you need it. That's the way Pastor Mike wanted it.

GABI

Who's Pastor Mike?

THOMAS

He was the pastor who started this church. I came on as assistant pastor while he was here. When he died, he wanted me to be pastor and continue his mission to help the needy. He always said we were to be guiding lights for the lost, helping the needy through life. We were to be the shepherds of the flock that all the big churches chose to ignore.

GABI

You're not Baptist or Methodist or nothing?

THOMAS

Nope. We're just old fashioned Christians.

GABI

I think that's wonderful. This is such a beautiful church.

THOMAS

I don't know if I'd go that far. She's seen better days.

GABI

Who cares about a little dust and dirt when there are good Christian people within. When people knock, you don't turn them away like those other churches do, 'cause they're so darn worried about the poor folk gettin' stains on their carpets...you roll out the red and let them wipe away their sins until they're clean.

THOMAS

You should be the pastor. Listen to you talk.

GABI

I have a tendency to get on my high horse if I'm not careful. Sorry.

THOMAS

Don't be sorry. Your words were pretty inspirational.

GABI

Really? My words have never been all that inspiring to anyone before.

THOMAS

Well, maybe nobody has been listening close enough.

GABI

Ain't that the truth.

(Knock at door L)


THOMAS

I wonder who that is?

GABI

Odd hour for someone to be calling on you.

(THOMAS goes to door, opens it. SANDY enters)


THOMAS

Sandy. What are you doing here? Is something wrong?

SANDY

(Enters)

I'm scared, Pastor Thomas. Mommy's not home yet and it's 2:00.

GABI

Mercy, is it that late?

THOMAS

Sandy, this is Gabi. The church is putting her up for the night.

GABI

Hi, Sandy. It's nice to meet you.

SANDY

(Shyly)

Hi.

THOMAS

Why don't you come and sit down, Sandy?

SANDY

Why is mommy always gone so late? I worry about her.

THOMAS

She'll be okay. She's with friends.

SANDY

But it's so late. I want her home.

THOMAS

I know. I do too.

SANDY

Can't you tell her to stay home?

THOMAS

I wish I could, but she's a grown-up and she can do what she wants.

SANDY

I wish she were a little girl. I'd tell her to stay home.

THOMAS

The only thing you can do is to remember this when you have a little girl. And instead of leaving her alone, you'll stay and take care of her. Will you do that for your little girl?

SANDY

I will, Pastor Thomas. I'll never let her be scared.

THOMAS

I'll tell you what. There's someone you can take care of for me now. She's very lonely and needs a home.

SANDY

Who, Pastor Thomas?

THOMAS

(Gets a stuffed animal from somewhere)

Here she is. She says "hello, Sandy."

SANDY

Hello. What's her name?

THOMAS

You know, she doesn't have one yet. But she would sure like one.

SANDY

How about Peepers.

THOMAS

(To animal)

How does that sound to you? (Animal shakes her head yes with some help) Oh, she likes it very much. (Listens) What's that? Are you sure? Okay, I'll tell her. (To SANDY) Peepers says she wants to go home with you.

SANDY

Does she?

THOMAS

Definitely. But don't let her be lonely 'cause she'll get scared.

SANDY

I'll take good care of her, Pastor Thomas. I promise.

THOMAS

Why don't you and Peepers go home and get to bed. I'll be over in a little bit to guard the front porch until your mother gets home so you'll be safe.

SANDY

Okay. Thank you, Pastor Thomas. Bye, Gabi.

(She exits L)


GABI

Bye, honey.

(Sandy closes door)

Poor girl. Does her mother leave her alone like that very much?

THOMAS

It happens a lot unfortunately.

GABI

And every time you go and wait for her mother?

THOMAS

You bet. And it makes her mom feel guiltier than sin.

GABI

It looks like you must mean a lot to that little girl.

THOMAS

It's the least I can do.

GABI

What you do is a lot more than most people would.

THOMAS

I try.

GABI

Children must love you. You seem to really care about their feelings where most people would discount them.

THOMAS

Sometimes it even seems like I have more kids showing up on Sundays for church than adults. I don't know what kids see in me.

GABI

Oh, I think I do. You have something special about you that most people don't have. It's hard to put my finger on, but it's there.

THOMAS

When you figure out what it is, let me know.

(Looks at watch)

I better get on over to Sandy's.

GABI

Can I come along? I can't sleep anyway.

THOMAS

Sure. I'd enjoy the company.

GABI

It's a new moon tonight. It should be a good night for star gazing.

THOMAS

I'll make some hot cocoa too. It can get kind of cold out there at night.

GABI

I'll hurry and get dressed.

(She starts upstairs)


THOMAS

And maybe grab a blanket or two so we don't freeze to death. Let me know if you can't find any.

GABI

Okay. Maybe I'll grab a sweater too.

GABI disappears upstairs and THOMAS makes some cocoa as lights fade to black


Scene 5

Tuesday morning. Lights come up. A morning light shines through a window DL into the livingroom. THOMAS is trying to sleep on the sofa. He tosses and turns wanting to sleep some more. He takes one turn too many though and ends up on the floor. He lies on his back. The morning light shines on him.

THOMAS

Sunlight. Thank God it's finally morning.

(Looks at watch)

Very, very early in the morning, but morning none the less. (Sits up) Oh, my back. One night of this was bad enough, but two nights is murder. (Stands up and is hunched over) I think I'll have a shower. A nice, long, hot shower. (He goes DL to bathroom door) Mrs. Walters would have to go away for a few days. She's never gone. She's doing this purposely to torment me.

He goes into bathroom door behind living room and closes it behind him

CANDY

(Enters in door L)

Thomas? (Looks around) Oh, good. He's still asleep. I'll just sneak up and surprise him. (Sneaks upstairs. As she goes in:) Hello, Thomas. (Cry of surprise then anger) Hey! Who are you?!

Candy comes storming out. Goes downstairs.

THOMAS!

(GABI comes out. She's wearing CANDY's robe from scene 1)

Where's Thomas?

GABI

(At top of stairs)

Can I help you with something?

CANDY

(Glares at GABI and looks again)

THOMAS! THOMAS

(Appears in a bathrobe. CANDY is very angry)

Candy!

He is upset.

CANDY

(Points at GABI who comes downstairs)

Who's that?

THOMAS

(In a whisper)

What are you doing here? I thought you left.

CANDY

(Not whispering)

What do you mean, what am I doing here? What is she doing here?

GABI

Is there something wrong?

CANDY

(With THOMAS)

Yes!

THOMAS

(With CANDY)

No.

GABI

Who is this Thomas?

(Both women look at him:GABI sadly, CANDY angrily)


THOMAS

(Thinking quickly)

Gabi...this is...my sister...Candy.

CANDY is shocked at THOMAS.

GABI

(Delighted)

Oh, it's so wonderful to meet you. (CANDY is speechless) You two even look a little alike.

THOMAS

Gabi. Would you mind leaving us alone a minute? I have something to talk to Candy about in private.

GABI

Sure, Thomas. I'll get dressed.

(Starts upstairs. Stops)

Oh, this must your robe then, Candy. It's very comfortable. I hope you don't mind. (To THOMAS) And don't you lift a finger toward making breakfast today. I have something special planned. (She disappears upstairs

CANDY

(Viciously)

Something special planned, huh? Who is that, Thomas?!

THOMAS

She showed up Sunday night. She has no money and no one to stay with. I couldn't just turn her away.

CANDY

I'll bet you couldn't.

THOMAS

It's nothing like that.

CANDY

I'll bet. I saw the way she looked at you.

THOMAS

Come on...

CANDY

She was in your bed!

THOMAS

And I've been on the sofa the last two nights. I've got the back ache to prove it.

CANDY

How long is she staying?

THOMAS

I was going to have her stay with Mrs. Walters but she won't be back for a few days.

CANDY

This isn't like you, Thomas. There's something fishy going on.

THOMAS

Believe what you want, Candy.

CANDY

Why are you being so cold?

THOMAS

Because I thought you trusted me, but I guess I was wrong.

CANDY

I can see what's going on. I'm not blind!

THOMAS

I don't know about that.

CANDY

I thought we had something.

THOMAS

(Distant)

We do, Candy.

CANDY

(Ignoring his comment)

Obviously I was wrong.

THOMAS

Haven't you heard a word I've been saying?

CANDY

What you haven't said has been clear enough.

THOMAS

What's that mean?

CANDY

You're the one who's blind.

THOMAS

(Angry)

Will you make some sense for once?

CANDY

(Angry)

Fine. You want me to be clear? Listen close, 'cause I don't plan on repeating myself.

She turns and goes out door L, slamming it.

GABI

(Appears at top of stairs)

Is something wrong, Thomas?

THOMAS

I'm not sure I really know myself.

(Sits, confused. But his anger is gone. He may even seem a bit relieved to the critical eye)


GABI

(Comes down)

I heard yelling and I got a little worried about you. But I didn't want to butt in. I have a tendency to do that.

THOMAS

It was nothing. Just a little quarrel that brothers and sisters have occasionally.

GABI

I'm an only child myself. I've always kind of wanted a sister though. But not a brother. Seems to me a brother would be more trouble than anything else...

(Worried)

No offense.

THOMAS

(Smiles)

None taken.

GABI

I didn't realize brothers and sisters fought so much though.

THOMAS

At times they do, but not always.

GABI

I wonder if I woulda turned out different if I had a sister. I might have been a stronger person, better able to take care of people and give support instead of demanding it all the time.

THOMAS

You seem fine to me the way you are.

GABI

You think so?

THOMAS

From the contact we've had, you seem like a pretty together person.

GABI

Thank you.

THOMAS

You're welcome.

GABI

So what would you like for breakfast? The sky's the limit.

THOMAS

I'm afraid I haven't much to offer.

GABI

I can be pretty creative when I want to be.

(Starts searching cupboards in kitchen)


THOMAS

You'll have to be in my kitchen.

GABI

Let's see.

(Can take things out as she finds them)

We have crackers, oatmeal, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic... See, there's plenty of things to work with. (THOMAS looks worried) Oh, dear. There's something wrong, isn't there?

THOMAS

Huh? Oh, no Gabi, I was just...

(His hand unconsciously falls on his Bible)


GABI

I know what it is.

THOMAS

(Worried he has offended her)

You do?

GABI

I'm keeping you from your devotions, aren't I?

THOMAS

Well, actually...

GABI

Nope. Not another word. I refuse to come between any person and God, especially not a pastor. You run along and do your devotions and I'll cook up a little surprise for you.

THOMAS

No, Gabi. Really, it's...

GABI

Nope, I insist.

THOMAS

(Gives in, stands and picks up Bible)

I'll be in the chapel if you need me for anything.

GABI

I wouldn't dream of disturbing you.

(GABI continues her search. THOMAS pauses at chapel door ULC a moment, looking confused. He looks at his Bible, gives a sigh and exits)

Now, let's see what his refrigerator has to offer.

(She opens it. Takes a step back, worried)

Oh, dear.

((She looks at chapel, then at fridge. Like she was picking up a snake, she reaches for something inside. She takes out a wine bottle)


THOMAS

(Enters)

Gabi, about breakfast. What would you say to...

She turns to him holding out bottle. THOMAS freezes.

GABI

Thomas? What is this?

THOMAS

Wine.

GABI

What is it doing in your refrigerator?

THOMAS

Getting chilled?

GABI

(Getting upset and confused)

But why do you have any wine? I thought pastors didn't drink.

THOMAS

Gabi, listen...

GABI

(Upset)

No stop! Don't say another word. Listen to me! Who do I think I am? Making demands like this. I should be ashamed. I'm so sorry, Thomas. And you've been so patient with me. Anyone else would have told me to mind my own business. You're such a kind and understanding person. Can you ever forgive me?

THOMAS

There's really nothing to forgive...

GABI

Oh, you're so blind to my faults. But I suppose all pastors are a little that way. They only see the good in people so they can help develop it and bring it out for everyone to see. That is except for Jimmy Swaggart. I'm startin' to wonder if maybe he isn't on the level.

(To THOMAS, very apologetic)

I'm really sorry about the wine. It's probably your sister's isn't it? I tend to jump to conclusions.

THOMAS

That's okay, really, because...

GABI

Please don't try to make me feel better. I know when I've done somethin' wrong and I don't want anyone to tell me otherwise.

(THOMAS is speechless)

I guess what scared me so much about the wine was because my husband's a drinker. That's why I left him. I just got really scared when I saw the wine in there. Scared of him, and scared for you. I've seen what it can do to a person. But then I look at you and I know you could never be that way.

She turns and begins pouring wine down the drain

THOMAS

(Trying not to get angry)

Gabi. What are you doing?

GABI

Pourin' it all down the drain.

THOMAS

(In distress)

But...but... why?

GABI

Well, you don't need it do you?

THOMAS

Well, no, but my sister.

GABI

From the looks of her, she could stand to drink a little less herself. There, all gone.

THOMAS

(Upset, sits)

My sister's going to be really mad about this.

GABI

Well, like my mama always said, "if you can't use it, you'll abuse it." (Back to refrigerator) Now, for breakfast. Ah, the refrigerator looks more promising. Milk, eggs, ketchup... (Holds up next item excitedly) Tabasco sauce! The miracle worker. I love using it in stuff. (THOMAS gets a worried look on his face. She happily continues her search) Mustard, sour cream, green peppers, pickles...

Lights fade to black.

Scene 6

Lights come up on THOMAS who is sitting at the table with an empty plate in front of him. He looks very ill.

THOMAS

Why did I eat that? I should have known this would happen. I think I'll go lie down for awhile.

(Knock at door L)

I hope that's an ambulance.

Answers door. JOHNNY enters.

JOHNNY

Hey, man.

THOMAS

Hi, Johnny.

(Goes to table again and sits holding his stomach)


JOHNNY

You okay?

THOMAS

Do I look okay?

JOHNNY

(Picks up plate and smells it)

You eat somethin' bad?

THOMAS

You could say that.

JOHNNY

You didn't let Candy cook for you?

THOMAS

I'm not that crazy.

JOHNNY

I thought you were a good cook.

THOMAS

I wouldn't call being able to follow the directions on a frozen pizza box good cooking.

JOHNNY

It's better than I could do.

THOMAS

Boy, do I feel sick.

JOHNNY

You sure look sick. Can I get you somethin'?

THOMAS

Sure. I think there's some stuff in the bathroom that might work.

JOHNNY

I'll be right back.

(As he crosses R to bathroom)

Don't die while I'm gone.

THOMAS

You'd better hurry then.

JOHNNY disappears into bathroom. GABI appears at top of stairs. Comes down

GABI

I see you finished already. Would you like some more?

THOMAS

Well, I don't know. It was awfully...interesting, but I don't think I could eat another bite.

GABI

Okay, if you're sure.

THOMAS

Pretty sure.

(She puts leftovers in refrigerator)

How come you didn't have any?

GABI

I don't usually eat breakfast. If I do, it's nothing more than some fruit or something. Nothing fancy like I gave you.

THOMAS

I'll have to get some fruit then.

GABI

Now, please don't go out of your way for me, Thomas.

THOMAS

No, that's fine. Fruit for breakfast sounds good to me.

GABI

You sure? I really don't mind making breakfast for ya'.

THOMAS

Maybe every once in a while you can make something different. If you made it all the time then it wouldn't be quite so special.

GABI

I'm so glad you liked my breakfast. My husband would always complain. Pretty soon he wouldn't even eat breakfast at home anymore...or any other meal. I tried to be a good cook, but I guess I never could do much right.

THOMAS

I enjoyed breakfast. Really.

GABI

Thank you. It means a lot to me in some silly sort of way. You're a good man, Thomas. You know how to make someone feel real good inside.

THOMAS

That's what pastors do, I guess.

GABI

No, not just any ol' pastor can do that. You have something special.

THOMAS

I try.

GABI

And you do a wonderful job.

(A flush of a toilet is heard off R)


JOHNNY

(Comes out with a package of something)

I hope this stuff is what you wanted. You got so much junk in there, man. I thought I'd never find it. (Sees GABI for first time, surprised

GABI

(Smiles)

Hi.

JOHNNY

Uh, hey. How's it goin'?

THOMAS

I guess I should introduce you two. Gabi this is my friend Johnny.

GABI

Hello, Johnny. Pleased to meet you.

(JOHNNY isn't sure what to say)


THOMAS

John. This is Gabi. (JOHNNY nods, still confused) She was a little low on money, so as the pastor of our church, I decided to take her in until she could get back on her feet again.

GABI

Pastor Thomas is such a good man taking me in like this. Most other pastors woulda sent me on my way. You must be proud to have him as your pastor.

JOHNNY

(Not sure what's up)

Yeah, he's a real cool dude. He's so like us, we sometimes forget he's a pastor. (THOMAS winces at this remark

GABI

He's isn't like those high and mighty preachers with nothing but Hell spillin' from their lips. His words are the milk and honey of the masses.

JOHNNY

Yeah, man. A real heaven on Earth.

(GABI laughs. JOHNNY holds up medicine)

You want this with red or white wine?

GABI stops smiling

THOMAS

(Quickly)

Oh, Johnny. You're such a kidder! (Fake laugh. JOHNNY and GABI are both confused) Water would be fine.

GABI accepts THOMAS's fib.

JOHNNY

(Puzzled)

Sure, man. (Goes to sink thinking "something's wrong with this dude")

GABI

Well, I guess I'll go upstairs and leave you boys alone.

(She exits upstairs)


THOMAS

Thanks, Gabi.

JOHNNY gives THOMAS water and he takes medicine.

JOHNNY

(When GABI is gone)

What's the deal, man?

THOMAS

What do you mean?

JOHNNY

Who's the chick?

THOMAS

It's just like I said. She was on her way to Florida to be with her mother and ran out of money by the time she got here. So she asked if she could stay here for awhile. Churches do that sort of thing, ya' know.

JOHNNY

They don't do it that much.

THOMAS

Well, they should.

JOHNNY

Since when did you become super pastor?

(THOMAS is annoyed, silence)

I'm sorry, man, but somethin' weird's goin' on. This ain't like you.

THOMAS

(Angry)

Why does everyone keep saying that? Why isn't it like me? Am I such a horrible person that it isn't possible for me to do anything good?

JOHNNY

Chill out, dude. I wasn't tryin' to get ya' all worked up. I was just talkin'.

(Pause)

So what's Candy think of this?

THOMAS

Candy thinks I'm sleeping with her.

JOHNNY

Ain't you?

THOMAS

(Annoyed)

No! Of course not.

JOHNNY

Sorry. It just kinda looked like you were.

THOMAS

(Still mad)

How so?

JOHNNY

(A little nervous)

I don't know...the way ya' talked to her...the way she talked about you...and the way you looked at each other... (THOMAS calms down and becomes lost in thought) But I'm probably way off base.

THOMAS

I don't know what it is. There's something about her... something special that I've never found in anyone else before. She's not the kind of woman you'd want to get into bed...She's the kind...I don't know...

JOHNNY

What's with you, man? You goin' weird on me?

THOMAS

Yeah, I guess I am.

JOHNNY

(Kindly)

You ain't sleepin' with her?

THOMAS

No.

JOHNNY

That's too weird.

THOMAS

Why?

JOHNNY

And you don't want to sleep with her?

(THOMAS shakes his head no)

Too weird, man.

THOMAS

(Pause)

She's so nice. I don't think I could ever think of her that way.

JOHNNY

Boy, she's sure got you under some sort of spell, though.

THOMAS

(Hidden smile)

Maybe.

JOHNNY

What about Candy?

THOMAS

(Slightly annoyed)

What about her?

JOHNNY

Well...she ain't gonna like this.

THOMAS

I've already had it out with her about it.

JOHNNY

Does that mean you're done with her then?

THOMAS

I don't know if we ever really started.

JOHNNY

So is it Gabi now? No more Candy?

THOMAS

(Tired of their talk)

Johnny, I don't know, okay. I'm not really thinking about it.

JOHNNY

Sure, man. Take it easy. That's fine by me.

THOMAS

So did you come over for any special reason?

JOHNNY

Yeah, I was wonderin' if you want to get together for a little poker.

THOMAS

I don't know. Maybe.

JOHNNY

What do you mean, "you don't know"? You're the backbone of our gamblin' nights. And there's something cool about playin' poker in a church.

THOMAS

I don't think we ought to have it here. With Gabi here... Let's just say I don't want to deal with it.

JOHNNY

Man, you really do like her, don't you?

THOMAS

She thinks a lot of me. I'd hate to ruin it for her by gambling.

JOHNNY

Hey, I'm easy. Let's do it at my house.

THOMAS

I guess we could do that.

JOHNNY

What's with you, man? You're always a lot more excited about poker than this.

THOMAS

Something doesn't feel right about it.

JOHNNY

Your conscious ain't never bothered you before.

THOMAS

(Snaps at him)

I never said my conscious was bothering me.

JOHNNY

That's cool, man. Don't let me speak for you.

THOMAS

I guess there's no reason why I shouldn't go. Gabi doesn't have to know what I'm doing.

JOHNNY

Tell her you're out baptizin' people or somethin'.

THOMAS

(Sighs)

Yes, Johnny.

JOHNNY

(Starts to go)

Then, we're all set. And bring some of that horse money you won. I want to win me some of that.

THOMAS

In your dreams.

JOHNNY

Dreams sometimes come true.

THOMAS

Not in this world.

JOHNNY

I'll be seeing you tonight.


THOMAS

Thanks.

JOHNNY

(Starts to exit to door L)

And don't forget that horse money.

THOMAS

See you, Johnny.

(JOHNNY exits L. THOMAS goes to Bible where he put his horse money and looks at it sadly. GABI enters. He quickly puts it away)


GABI

Is your friend gone already?

THOMAS

Yes. He had some business to attend to.

(GABI has her purse and jacket)

Are you going out?

GABI

I thought I'd go to the grocery store. I'm afraid I used up most of what you had on breakfast. Sorry about that.

THOMAS

That's fine. Let me give you some money for the store.

(Takes out wallet)


GABI

Are you sure? I'll be happy to pay. I'm a smart shopper, ya' know. I can make money go pretty far when I put my mind to it.

THOMAS

(Hands her the money)

Here. I insist.

GABI

Thank you. I'll pay for my own food though.

THOMAS

No. The church insists on picking up the whole tab.

GABI

(Smiles)

Well, I definitely wouldn't want to argue with the church. (Pause) Do you need anything special from town?

THOMAS

No, not that I know of. Oh, by the way, Johnny invited me over to watch a football game on TV next Monday night.

GABI

You like football?

THOMAS

Not really, but it gives me a chance to socialize with Johnny.

GABI

Okay. I'll be fine here. I'm sure there will be something I can watch on TV.

(They look at each other. Pause)

Okay. I guess I'd better get going.

THOMAS

Okay.

(They still look at each other. Pause)

Gabi?

GABI

(Softly)

Yes, Thomas?

THOMAS

I just wanted to say...well...

GABI

Yes?

THOMAS

Thank you for all you've done since you've been here. The shopping, breakfast...

GABI

I haven't done all that much.

THOMAS

Sure you have. I really appreciate it.

GABI

Thomas. You've been so good to me. Bringing me in like this. It's nice to see that someone still cares in this world.

THOMAS

I do my best.

GABI

You do a wonderful job.

(She kisses him on the cheek. Pauses a moment to look at him. Pause)

Thank you.

Then she exits out door L. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 7 "GAME OF RISK"

THOMAS

I worry I have done everything wrong... I took the wrong turn. Can I go back? Start over again? Or is it "Do not pass go"... Go straight to jail... I need a get out of jail free card.

Sometimes in life we need those little cards that give is a second chance... Were they called chance cards? I need a chance again.

Life is more like the game of Risk. Constantly fighting, trying to gain some ground. Conquering the world or being conquered. Making alliances only to be stabbed in the back.

It's a grim view of life, but life is full risks. If only there were more chances.

Chances are risky. But I took a finally took a chance on something. I have always been the one who followed the rules, never took chances, but in a way I wasn't alive anymore. A zombie... Lumbering alone among the living... Seeing but never touching... There but not able to communicate... My words an unintelligible moan to the living.

But someone heard me... Understood my cries as calls for help and reached out to me. And her touch brought me back to the living... My rotting flesh peeled away and I was reborn. She ripped away at the dead layers and reached the core of my soul... and breathed life into me again.

It feels so good to be back among the living. To have her at my side. Holding me by the hand... Leading me in to the light. Bringing me closer to you.

She is my angel... Your angel, sent to me in my time of need... A gift of new life.

You have given me a chance to wipe the slate clean. Begin again... Have my own life with my own choices... I am no longer pushed and pulled by the angry winds of life. You have shown me a way out of the storm and I have followed. And happiness. I finally feel happiness. Not the numbness of my emotionless past. Now I feel alive and I feel joy... Finally I feel joy and passion. You have given me so much... I am glad a took a chance. It is not easy but it is so good to feel again... No more letting life happen to me. I have taken hold of the reigns and will ride this tornado... Even if it kills me

Thank you for giving me life again. I am reborn.

Scene 8

Lights come up on THOMAS sitting at his table drinking coffee and sort of looking through his Bible. Knock at door L.

THOMAS

Come in.

(CANDY enters)

What are you doing here?

CANDY

(Her voice is calm, yet restrained)

I saw that woman leave in her car a while ago. Did she leave you?

THOMAS

(Looks back at Bible)

She went shopping. She's been very helpful since she's been here.

CANDY

She's staying then?

THOMAS

That's up to her.

(Pause)


CANDY

I wonder what her game is?

THOMAS

(Turns to her)

What do you mean by that?

CANDY

(Looks away)

She wants something from you, I know that much.

THOMAS

She needs a place to stay for awhile. She has no money. I would have had her stay with Mrs. Walters but she's been gone for awhile. And I'm the pastor of this church, so I felt that it was my duty...

CANDY

I get the feeling you're being driven by deeper things than duty.

THOMAS

Candy. If you're simply here to insult me, I'd rather you left.

(Turns away, back to coffee)


CANDY

(Pauses, upset)

Why are you being so mean to me?

THOMAS

(Gets up. Walks away)

Because you're not giving me any reason to be nice.

CANDY

Why are you doing this to me?

THOMAS

Doing what?

CANDY

Ditching me for that Gabby chick. Don't you any feelings for me?

THOMAS

(Angry)

What we had...it wasn't love. It had nothing to do with it. I just can't go on like that. It isn't right.

CANDY

Who said anything about it being right?! And since when were you so moral?!

THOMAS

(Crosses to door L)

I don't have to put up with this.

CANDY

Yes, you do. You can't just take what we had and forget about it.

THOMAS

(Turns to open door)

Get out!

CANDY

(Grabs him)

Please, listen to me, Thomas.

THOMAS

(Crosses away)

No. Leave me alone.

CANDY

I can't just forget about you. I love you.

THOMAS

Don't say that.

CANDY

But it's true. Please...

THOMAS

(Turns away)

Stop it! I don't want to hear it!

Pause. He is turned away. CANDY is crying. She goes up to him.

CANDY

(Softly)

Please, don't be mad, Thomas. I didn't come to hurt you or make things worse. I just came to see...how you felt. Now I know. (She begins to cry)

THOMAS

Please, don't cry.

CANDY

I don't know what else to do.

(Pause)

Will you hold me? And then I'll go.

THOMAS half turns reluctantly, considers and then goes to her. Holds her. She cries some more.

GABI

(Enters through door L)

Boy, I sure made out like a bandit today! (Sees them) Oh, I'm sorry.

THOMAS

(They separate)

That's fine, Gabi.

GABI

(Sees that CANDY has been crying. Gently)

What's wrong?

THOMAS

Candy's having some problems...with her boyfriend.

(To CANDY)

Everything will work out for the best.

CANDY (Softly)

How can you be so sure?

THOMAS

Things always seem to work themselves out.

CANDY

I hope so, though I'm doubtful.

(Starts for door)


GABI

Goodbye, Candy.

(CANDY looks at her with a lost expression then exits L)

Is your sister going to be okay?

THOMAS

I don't know. It's always hard to know how things will work out for Candy. But they always seem to in some way, shape, or form.

(Turns, smiles)

Do you need any help bringing in the groceries?

GABI

Not yet. I want to give you something first.

(She takes out a bag that has been stuffed into her purse)

Go on, open it.

THOMAS

Gabi. You shouldn't have bought me anything.

GABI

I really wanted to. You've done so much for me. I wanted to give you something back. Besides, it was on sale. Go on.

THOMAS

Okay, okay.


He opens sack and looks in. He is not sure what to think. He takes out a horrible looking stocking hat that any self respecting person wouldn't wear in public)

THOMAS (Cont.)

I'm...not sure what to say.

GABI

(Excited with her gift)

Put it on. I want to see you in it. (He puts it on reluctantly. He looks extremely silly. GABI is extremely pleased) It's perfect.

THOMAS

Yeah, it'll come in pretty useful in about four or five months.

GABI

I like to plan ahead. And it sure was cheap. I can't see why though.

THOMAS

I don't know. Department stores do some pretty crazy things sometimes.

GABI

I'll say. You can help me with those groceries now.

THOMAS

Sure. I'll be out in a minute.

She exits L. He takes off the hat and looks at it a moment like it was diseased. He sets it on the table next to the Bible. He looks at hat a moment and smiles. Then exits L. Lights fade to black

Scene 9

Lights come up on GABI cutting up brownies or something and putting them on a plate.

GABI

(Calling upstairs)

Johnny should be here soon, Thomas! You'd better hurry up!

THOMAS

I can't find my Miami sweatshirt.

GABI

I put it in the wash. It had a big stain on it.

(Knock at door L)

He's here!

THOMAS

Okay, I'll be down in a minute.

GABI

(She answers door. JOHNNY enters)

Hello. How are you this evening?

JOHNNY

I'm ready to roll. Where's the pastor man?

GABI

He's upstairs.

JOHNNY

(Calls)

You comin' or what?!

THOMAS

(Off)

Patience, Johnny, patience!

JOHNNY

The game ain't gonna wait.

THOMAS

(Enters in sweatshirt and jeans)

Okay. Let's go.

(They start to go)

You sure you're okay alone?

Thomas touches GABI on shoulder.

GABI

(Returns his casual touch)

Yes. Don't worry about me.

JOHNNY

Let's go, man.

GABI

Wait. Each of you take a brownie before you go.

(Gives each of them one)


JOHNNY

Cool. My wife never makes this kinda stuff.

GABI

You boys enjoy yourselves.

THOMAS

Thanks.

JOHNNY bites his brownie and gets a horrible look on his face. Only THOMAS notices.

JOHNNY

Hey, man. What is this...!

THOMAS

Goodbye. Let's go.

THOMAS shuts JOHNNY up. They exit L.

GABI

Goodbye.

They're gone. Gabi stands nervously alone a moment.  She goes to the window and gives Thomas a wave as the sound of a car leaves.  She goes to the sofa and looks at Thomas' Bible.  She opens it and sees the cash Thomas won at horse racing.  There is a knock at the door and she hides the money in the Bible again.  Candy enters.

CANDY

Thomas leave you all alone tonight?

GABI

Oh, hi.  Yes, just me and the good book.

CANDY

He's restless already I see.

GABI

Would you like a brownie?

CANDY

Sure.

(Takes one. Looks around)

Cooking for your man, huh?

GABI

Well, yes... but no.  He's not my man.

(Candy bites into brownie. Gets an odd look)

It's a special recipe. I made it up myself. I like to experiment.

CANDY

(Tries to swallow it)

How interesting.  Just what Thomas needs.

GABI

(Making conversation)

So, do Johnny and Thomas watch football every Monday night?

CANDY

Football?

(Smiles)

Oh, sure, almost all the time.

GABI

I never thought Thomas would like to watch football. He doesn't seem the type.

CANDY

He's a male. He's the type.

GABI

So, do you want to play cards or something?

CANDY

Sure, that would be appropriate.

GABI

(Gets some cards)

What do you mean?

CANDY

After all, that's what the boys are doing.

GABI

I thought they were watching football.

CANDY

(Smiles again)

Yeah, that too.

GABI

They do both?

(They sit at table)


CANDY

Sure, all the time. Between innings and touch outs or homedowns or whatever the stupid things are called.

GABI

I didn't think a pastor would play cards.

CANDY

Sure, why not. He isn't God. You going to deal?

GABI

I'm sorry. Here.

(Gives her cards. Lost in thought)


CANDY

What you want to play?

GABI

I don't care.

CANDY

How about poker?

GABI

I don't know how to play.

CANDY

It's simple really. That's why men play it so much. Anything else would confuse them.

GABI

I don't have any money.

CANDY

We'll play for pennies. I have a bunch in my purse.

(She gets purse)


GABI

Who taught you to play poker?

CANDY

Thomas... (Gabi gets a sick look on her face)  I wish the boys would let me in on their games once in a while. I'd clean 'em out.

GABI

(Pushes plate over to her)

Would you like another brownie?

CANDY

Maybe later. They're a little rich for me.

(Pushes plate back)

Why don't you have one?

GABI

No thanks. The sugar's no good for me. I mainly cooked them for Thomas. He's awfully skinny.

CANDY

(Eyeing her)

Yeah, Thomas needs a good woman to take care of him.

GABI

(Self absorbed. Smiles)

Yes, he does.

CANDY

(Trying hold back her anger)

You like him a lot don't you?

GABI

Don't be silly. It's nothing like that. I'm just thankful for what he's done for me, that's all.

CANDY

I think he likes you. I saw you two talking a walk the other night. The way he looked at you... You'd walk so closely to him... letting your arms brush against each other.

GABI

Do you really think...no, that's silly.

CANDY

I don't think I've seen him that happy in a long time. At least not since Pastor Mike died.

GABI

Pastor Mike meant a lot to him didn't he?

CANDY

They were like father and son. I guess Thomas' father was a real jerk and Pastor Mike never had any kids. They became real close before Mike died. Thomas was really shook up by it.

GABI

He seems okay now though.

CANDY

But he sure wasn't for the longest time. Maybe you're doing him some good.

GABI

I doubt it.

CANDY

He's changed a lot since you've been here... And I heard his sermon yesterday was pretty spectacular.

GABI

Haven't they always been good?

CANDY

Ever since Pastor Mike died there hasn't been a lot of feeling behind them. And they kept getting shorter and shorter as the congregation got smaller. Accept for last Sunday. I heard he went almost until 12:30.

GABI

It sure was something. I don't think anyone minded it going over. And his communion speech was the most beautiful of all. He must have had half the old ladies crying.

CANDY

Johnny says Thomas hasn't even been drinking.

GABI

(Surprised)

I didn't know he drank at all.

CANDY

You bet he did. Like a fish.

GABI

I thought pastor weren't supposed to.

CANDY smiles to herself and shuffles cards. GABI watches her shuffle.

GABI (CONT.)

You're pretty good.

BETTY

If those boys ever let me in on a game, I'll give 'em a show.

GABI

When do they play?

CANDY

Every Monday night.

(She does a mock look of regret)

Ooops.

GABI

Monday?

CANDY

Sorry... you didn't know?

(GABI gets up, crosses away)


GABI

(Upset. Gets up)

Is there anything else I don't know about Thomas?

(Long pause)

Are you really his sister?

CANDY

(Pause)

No.

GABI

So many lies.

(Walks away)


CANDY

We got together after Pastor Mike died. I had always been after him but he never was interested. But after Mike's death, Thomas needed something to latch on to and I made my move. I don't know if he's ever really liked me that much though.  Not like he likes you.

(Pause)

Do you love him?

GABI

I...I haven't really thought about it. Everything's happened so quickly. There's still so much I don't know about him. He's made me feel like no other man has been able to before, but...after all that you've said... I don't know if I could trust him anymore.

CANDY

Join the club.

(Pause. She shuffles the cards)

Do you still want to play cards?

GABI

(Gets up. Turns away)

No, I think I'd like to be alone for awhile.

CANDY

(Her work is done)

I'll go then.

Candy gets her purse and coat.  Candy smiles at Gabi who is near tears and exits out door L. Gabi sits and is unsure of what to do. She is almost in tears. Bows her head and begins a desperate prayer. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 10 "The Weakest Link"

THOMAS

This is your fault. You know I can't handle this kind of temptation. You tricked me. This is entrapment!

Why do you do this to me? I can't handle the temptation. I am weak. I always give in. You know that. So why bother doing this to me?

Save your trials and tribulations for the saints... I don't want tests. I don't want to prove myself. I can tell you now I am not worthy. So if you want this lost lamb in your flock, don't tempt me with sweeter grass... Because I am a grass is always greener kind of person.

I do actually think things can get better... I never want to settle for second best. So I go searching... I am always checking things out, looking around. Things have to be better than this. I keep hoping there is something better. If not, then what's the point? What's the point of all this?! Tell me!

If you know what's right, why even have a wrong? You shouldn't even give the choice. Make it nice and neat and easy. I don't want a challenge. I don't want to be tested.

And don't throw me to the wolves... I can't handle it. I will get eaten. I am the weak one in the herd. They will pick me off and surround me. Easy pickins.

Please ... I have nothing to prove... I know I am the weakest link.

Scene 11

Same evening. Lights come up on GABI coming downstairs. She has her coat and suitcase. She stops at table, sets her things on the table. She takes paper and pencil from purse and sits. Considers what to write. THOMAS comes to door drunk. Fumbles with key as he sings:

THOMAS

"Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so..."

(Continues. GABI is upset, she pauses a moment, then goes to open door. THOMAS stumbles in)

Gabi! Hello! I'm back. Boy o' boy was that a good football game.

(Stumbles to table. Takes some money out of pocket. GABI is about in tears)

Gee, what's this? Don't you worry, Gabi. It ain't gambling money. It's good Christian dollars. I know, 'cause I'm a pastor.

(Sees suitcase)

What's that? You didn't pack...you aren't leaving are you?

GABI

(So upset she can hardly speak)

Yes.

THOMAS

(This sobers him a bit)

Why?

GABI

(Not sure what to do)

I was going to leave you a note. But I didn't...

THOMAS

(Goes to her)

You can't leave...I want you to stay...

She moves away from his grasp. He falls.

GABI

Thomas!

(She kneels next to him)


THOMAS

(Lying on back)

I don't think I remember the ceiling ever being this high before.

GABI

Are you okay?

THOMAS

Sure, why?

GABI

You fell down. I thought you were hurt.

THOMAS

Fell down?

(Tries to sit up)

You know. I think you're right.

GABI

(She helps him up)

Let's get you into a chair.

He sits. Grabs her hand. Draws her in.

THOMAS

Why do you want to leave me, Gabi?

GABI

Please, let go.

THOMAS

I never want to let you go.

GABI

(Gets free)

Stop it.

THOMAS

What's wrong? Why are you so angry?

GABI

Look at yourself. You lied to me...about a lot of things.

THOMAS

Like what? What have I done? Name one thing?

GABI

Candy's not your sister.

THOMAS

Who told you that?

GABI

Candy was here tonight.

THOMAS

Great.  I bet she told you all kinds of things about me.

GABI

I'm leaving.

THOMAS

No.

(Tries to stand)

Don't go.

He falls.

GABI

Thomas!

(Gets him to his knees. He leans on table)

I can't leave you like this.

THOMAS

(Pushes her away)

Go on. Leave me. I don't care. I don't need you.

GABI

(Gets him to his feet. He leans against table)

We've got to get you to bed.

THOMAS

You want to go to bed with me?

(Goes to embrace her. She moves away. He falls to floor)


GABI

(Looking at him on floor)

I just want to help you.

THOMAS

(Lying on back)

You're doing a great job. (She crosses away to kitchen. Gets a glass of water) What are you doing? (Goes and dumps water on his face. He sits up) What did you do that for?!

GABI

Just a little cold water to bring you to your senses.

(Grabbing him)

Now get up.

THOMAS

Yes, ma'am.

(She pulls him up. He embraces her)

I just love it when your forceful.

GABI

(Sort of pushing him)

Please, don't.

THOMAS

I have to hold on or I'll fall.

(Looks in her eyes)

You don't want me to fall do you?

GABI

(A little lost)

No.

THOMAS

You're very beautiful, Gabi. Do you know that?

GABI

No.

THOMAS

Can't you say anything besides no?

(GABI is about to say no but stops)

Enough talk. It never means much anyway.

He kisses her. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 12 "The SUNDAY GAMBLE"

JOHNNY

Come on... Please. I'm begging you God. Give me to this and I will give you my all... I will dedicate myself to you. Scout's honor!

(Tries to figure out number of fingers for Scout salute)

I need this. I know I always pray that but this time I really do. I know it seems like I pray to you only when I really want something ... Or really worried about something. But that's what you're there for right? Like an exam in school or the flu. I know should talk to you when things are good. I know it's good to be thankful for good things too. I just forget. Forgive me? Forgive and forget? You forgive I forget. Just a little prayer humor. Sorry about that.

So how about it God? I really need this. I have never wanted anything so much in my life.

Please help my team to win on Sunday. I have a lot riding on this one. And if you give me this, I promise to be at church every Sunday... except this one. But every single Sunday after this. How is that for a deal?

Scene 13

Morning. Lights come up on Gabi drinking coffee. She's lost in pleasant thoughts. THOMAS appears at top of stairs. He looks horrible. He comes down the stairs, wincing in pain at every step he takes.

GABI

(Looks up at him coming down stairs)

Good morning, Thomas.

THOMAS

(Almost moaning)

Morning.

GABI

How are you feeling?

THOMAS

Horrible.

GABI

Would you like some coffee?

THOMAS

Sure, why not.

(He sits. She gets him a cup)


GABI

Would you like any breakfast?

THOMAS

Not really.

GABI

It's no trouble.

THOMAS

I don't feel up to it this morning.

(Sips coffee. Surprised)

Coffee's good.

GABI

Is it? I lost count when I was filling the machine with coffee. I was worried I put too much in.

THOMAS

It's perfect.

(Long pause. She sits)


GABI

(Together)

Thomas.

THOMAS

(With GABI)

Gabi.

THOMAS

Go ahead.

GABI

No, that's okay...please...

THOMAS

(Pause. He thinks carefully about what to say)

I'm sorry I lied to you about last night. Actually, I'm sorry I lied to you about everything. I should have told you what I was like from the start.

GABI

It's okay, Thomas.

THOMAS

No, it's not okay. I never should have led you on like that. You must hate me now.

GABI

No, not at all.

(Pause. He's confused)

I think you're a good man. You have a few problems, but who doesn't. It's just that there's something special about you...something in you I've never seen in anyone before. You really care about people...maybe even more than you care about yourself.

THOMAS

How can you still praise me after what happened...

GABI

Because...you've touched me like no man has ever been able to before. All the other men in my life treated me like dirt. My dad, my husband... But you made me feel like I mattered. Like someone cared...

THOMAS

But I lied to you...

GABI

Somehow it doesn't really seem to matter.

THOMAS

It does to me, though. You were so trusting and I took advantage of it.

GABI

The only thing you did was help me.

THOMAS

I don't really see how. After last night, I feel that I've done more harm than good.

GABI

There was so much honesty last night. I think it made up for all the lying in a way. I came to you hurting and you cared for me. Last night, I simply did the same for you.

(Pause)


THOMAS

How long did you stay with me last night?

GABI

All night.

THOMAS

(Worried)

We didn't...I mean I don't remember...did we?

GABI

No. I was just there holding you.

THOMAS

(Starting to remember)

I think I...remember crying.

GABI

I rocked you to sleep in my arms.

THOMAS

Did you sing?

GABI

A little.

THOMAS

"Jesus loves me."

GABI

Yes.

Long pause. They are lost in their own thoughts. THOMAS thoughts are pleasant. GABI's are also, but not as much. JOHNNY bursts in through door L.

JOHNNY

Thomas!

(Sees them)

Gabi? I thought you'd... (Sees coffee) Could I have some coffee?

GABI

(Gets up)

Help yourself. (To THOMAS) I think I'll take a quick shower.

Kisses him on cheek. JOHNNY is very confused. She exits to bathroom and closes door.

THOMAS

(Smiles)

What can I do for you, Johnny?

JOHNNY

(Goes for coffee)

Man, you was so stinkin' drunk last night. I figured Gabi woulda thrown you right out of here. Or at least leave you.

THOMAS

Sometimes women are hard to figure out.

JOHNNY

(Sits)

Sometimes? Try, all the time. Betty was so mad at me last night for puking on the rug, she threw me in the shower, clothes and all, and ran cold water on me til I sobered up. She coulda drowned me.

THOMAS

Maybe we shouldn't drink so much while watching football.

JOHNNY

Yeah. I wonder who won that game last night anyway.

THOMAS

Beats me. I hate football.

(Points to paper on table)

There's the paper if you want to look.

JOHNNY

(Looks for sports)

I had a bet on that game.

THOMAS

I never bet on football. The odds are never that good.

JOHNNY

(Upset. Jumping up)

Oh, man! Miami won! They never win.

THOMAS

See what I mean?

JOHNNY

And you cleaned me out last night. My wife's gonna kill me.

THOMAS

Maybe God's trying to tell you something.

JOHNNY

I doubt it. God stopped talking to me long ago. We kind of have a mutual understanding. I don't bug him and he don't bug me.

THOMAS

Maybe God forgot.

JOHNNY

Probably.

(Remembers something)

Hey, didn't you need my help with somethin' around here?

THOMAS

I did?

(Thinks)

Oh, yeah. The hinge on one of the big doors between the chapel and forayer came lose. I need some help replacing it.

JOHNNY

No pra-blemo. Johnny's Home Repair Service is now on duty. Now I can get some of that gambling money back.

THOMAS

You better not charge me too much.

JOHNNY

I've made it a strict policy not to overcharge anyone that knows where I live. I'll go take a look at it while you get dressed.

THOMAS

(Gets up)

Okay. Sounds good.

JOHNNY

You got a new hinge yet?

THOMAS

I picked one up yesterday.

(Goes upstairs)

I'll be down in a minute.

Exits to bedroom. JOHNNY takes coffee and exits to chapel ULC. Knock at door L. Again. GABI appears in robe and towel on her head.

GABI

Thomas? Can you get that?

(Knock)

Where did he go?

Knock gets louder.

THOMAS

Gabi? Can you get the door? I'm changing.

GABI

(To self)

And I'm wet. (Answers door. It's the little girl SANDY) Hi, Sandy. Can I help you with something?

SANDY

Is Pastor Thomas here?

GABI

(Kindly)

Sure, honey. Come on in. He's upstairs changing. (SANDY looks at GABI oddly) Is there something wrong?

SANDY

How come you don't have any clothes on?

GABI

(Nervous. Calls)

Thomas! You have a visitor!

THOMAS

(Off)

Who is it?!

GABI

It's Sandy!

THOMAS

(Hurried)

I'll be right down.

SANDY looks at GABI with a critical eye.

GABI

It seem like and Pastor Thomas are pretty good friends. You must think he's pretty neat?

SANDY

(Nods)

Do you?

GABI

Yes, we're very close.

SANDY

Are you gonna marry him?

GABI

(Blushes)

I...I don't know, Sandy. We haven't really talked about it.

SANDY

Pastor Thomas needs a wife.

GABI

Does he?

SANDY

(Very seriously)

Yes, every man needs a wife to take care of him.

GABI

(Laughs)

Where did you hear that?

SANDY

From my grandma.

GABI

Well, your grandmother is a wise woman.

THOMAS comes down quickly and nervously.

THOMAS

Hi, Sandy. What do you need?

SANDY

I just wanted to say "hi."

THOMAS

Does your mom know you're here?

SANDY

Sort of.

THOMAS

Sort of?

SANDY

She's at work.

THOMAS

Is anyone watching you?

(She shakes her head no)

Why don't you stay here and visit awhile then? Johnny and I could use the extra help with fixing the door.

SANDY

Okay.

THOMAS

Would you call your mom first though and tell her where you are?

SANDY

She won't care.

THOMAS

Please, Sandy. I would feel better if you did.

SANDY

(Sighs)

All right.

She gets out number from pocket. Goes to phone.

THOMAS

After you call, you can come help Johnny and me.

THOMAS goes ULC and into chapel. SANDY dials. Looks for THOMAS. He's gone. She hangs up.

GABI

Aren't you going to call?

SANDY

Mom will get mad at me if I do.

GABI

Why?

SANDY

She doesn't like me to come here.

GABI

How come?

SANDY

I don't know.

GABI

Well...why don't you just go and help Pastor Thomas then. We wouldn't want to make your mama mad.

SANDY

(Hugs GABI)

Thank you.

GABI

(Surprised at hug)

You're welcome.

SANDY

You're nice. I think you should marry Pastor Thomas.

GABI

Hurry up and go help. They're waiting for you.

SANDY

Okay.

She skips upstage to chapel and exits. GABI smiles and rubs her ring finger unconsciously. THOMAS enters from chapel laughing.

THOMAS

Johnny is hungry already.

GABI

I can make sandwiches.

THOMAS

Thanks.

GABI

Ham and swiss?

THOMAS

Sure... Boy, Sandy sure took a liking to you.

GABI

What makes you say that?

THOMAS

She said we should get married.

GABI

(Laughs)

She told me that too.

THOMAS

She's a funny girl.

GABI

Her mom isn't around much though is she?

THOMAS

No, and when she is, Sandy is usually ignored.

GABI

Poor girl. That's almost cruel.

THOMAS

I don't think Sandy was planned.

GABI

But still, her mother shouldn't take it out on her.

THOMAS

I've tried talking to her mother about it, but she won't listen to me. She thinks males are a lower form of animal or something.

(GABI laughs, catches herself. He is annoyed)

Did I say something funny?

GABI

Don't take it so hard, Thomas. You're only human...

THOMAS

Though not as human as a woman.

GABI

Exactly.

Thomas joins Gabi as she makes sandwiches.  He leans in behind her, watching her make the sandwiches.  He touches her hair.  She pulls away.

THOMAS

What's wrong?

GABI

I called my mother.

THOMAS

Was she happy to hear from you?

GABI

She was tickled to death.

THOMAS

Was she upset that you left your husband?

GABI

Not one bit. She never liked him very much.

THOMAS

Then what's bothering you? You look so sad.

GABI

She wants me to come stay with her in Florida.

THOMAS

(Upset)

Oh. (Long pause. Turns away) Are you going?

GABI

Of course. I have to.

THOMAS

But, you could...

GABI

There's no other way. I should be with my mother, not here.

THOMAS

I don't see why...

GABI

I have to go, Thomas.

THOMAS

But I thought we had something...maybe I was wrong...

GABI

(Goes to him)

No. I think maybe we do...but I don't know. I'm so confused right now. I just left my husband and you're the first man...

THOMAS

I wasn't feeling pity or handing out charity. I've really come to care about you. I can't let you go.

GABI

I don't know if this is right. I need time to think, to spread my wings a little.

THOMAS is crushed. He moves away. Silence.

THOMAS

How are you going to get there? You don't have any money.

GABI

My mother had some money in saving for emergencies. And I'll sell my car. It'll be enough to get me through.

THOMAS

(Monotone)

When are you leaving?

GABI

Sunday. Early afternoon. I wanted to stay for your service.

THOMAS

That's very thoughtful of you.

GABI

I was hoping you wouldn't take this so hard.

THOMAS

(Explodes)

Why shouldn't I be upset?! Where were you these last few days? Didn't they mean anything to you?

GABI

Please, Thomas. This wasn't an easy choice.

THOMAS

Well, I'm glad. I wouldn't want it to be too easy for you.

GABI

I was hoping you wouldn't be so upset.

THOMAS

So upset? And why shouldn't I be?! I...

(Pause. Silence)

I thought you loved me.

They stare at each other. She wants so badly to say she loves him. He wants so badly for her to say it. Something in her stops her. He gives up and goes for the door L.

GABI

Where are you going?

THOMAS

Out.

GABI

Thomas. I didn't mean for you to...

THOMAS exits and slams the door. She is hurt and doesn't know what to do. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 14 "The One That Broke The Camel's Back"

THOMAS

Why am I happy? Because I am being tested. I am being pushed to my limits. I have faith that there will be no last straw... You know, that one that breaks the camel's back?

The camel is the most amazing beast of burden. Able to take on so much and survive on so little. I will be that camel. Surviving on so little yet carrying so much on my back.

This trial... This time in my life... is a trial where I must prove myself. It must be... It has to be...

I have to be strong. People are counting on me. I can't fail them.

But it feels like so much is out my control.

Can I really give God control? I want to let go and give my complete trust.. And unwavering, unquestioning faith .. But everything weighs down on me so heavily. I don't think I can hold on much longer. I am so weak.

Am I being tested? But what if I fail? I feel so close to failure. I feel like everything is crashing down on me. I feel like I am losing everything...

Faith... I have my faith... I need to let go of the worry and have faith... There are a few things they can't take away from me ...Faith... And love. No matter what the world threatens to do... I can still love... And still have faith in you...

I seek peace in your arms. Protect me from the turmoil of my life. In your arms are where I find joy. You are the eye of the storm where I calmly surrender myself to you. Hold me... Please hold me close... And never let me go.

Sheltered in your wings, I find serenity and happiness.

Scene 15

Lights come up on JOHNNY standing and THOMAS sitting at table

JOHNNY

Why are you lettin' her go, man? I thought you were hot for her.

THOMAS

I'm not "hot" for her Johnny. I think I love her. There's a difference.

JOHNNY

If you say so, man.

THOMAS

At least I thought there was difference, but maybe I was wrong.

JOHNNY

Why are you so stuck on her? There's other women out there who'd go for you...

THOMAS

Because Gabi's special. I know that sounds sappy or overly romantic, but it's true.

JOHNNY

Then don't let her go.

THOMAS

It's not that simple.

JOHNNY

Sure it is, man. Just stand up to her and say...

(A tough guy pose)

"Hey, babe. You're staying."

THOMAS

Yeah, and have her punch me.

JOHNNY

I still think you should do it. Sometimes you just got to take control.

THOMAS

Try telling that to your wife.

JOHNNY

I'm more in control than it looks.

THOMAS

That's not what she says.

JOHNNY

Well, she's way off.

THOMAS

I'll ask her next time she's over.

JOHNNY

No, that's okay, man. You don't need to. It's an unspoken dominance. You know how that goes.

THOMAS

So much for macho.

JOHNNY

Hey, man. That's the way to keep her, but if you want to let her go, fine, let her go.

THOMAS

But I don't know what else to do.

JOHNNY

Then stop her.

THOMAS

(Stands, goes to kitchen)

I feel like we're going in circles.

JOHNNY

That's 'cause you ain't willin' to go nowhere.

THOMAS

(Gets glass)

What do you want me to do? Go up to her, grunt a little, and then beat her over the head.

JOHNNY

Sure. Why not? It works for football players.

THOMAS

(Makes some tea)

I'm a pastor, not a lineman.

JOHNNY

Since when did you start drinking tea?

THOMAS

It's the only thing I seem to be able to keep down.

JOHNNY

Something wrong with you, man?

THOMAS

Ever since Monday night, every time I even catch a whiff of alcohol, I throw up. I can't even get near it.

JOHNNY

You did down a lot of it Monday. I never thought it would do that to a guy.

THOMAS

It's probably just psychological. I've never been that sick after drinking before. It must have really got to me.

JOHNNY

Hey, I wonder if that works with vegetables. My wife's always stuffin' those things into me like crazy. I wish I had a dog to give 'em to. But it probably wouldn't want them either.

THOMAS

You're worse than a little kid.

JOHNNY

I thought when I grew up I wouldn't have to put up with that vegetable stuff anymore. My wife put a stop to that.

THOMAS

Why don't you just say "hey, babe. No more veggies."

JOHNNY

Hey, man. I don't have to put up with this.

THOMAS

What happened to Mr. Tough Guy?

JOHNNY

He isn't married to Betty the Barracuda.

(Looks at watch)

I better get going. I'm way behind on my service calls.

THOMAS

I still need to pay you for the door.

JOHNNY

You'd better include a good tip too after cleaning me out Monday.

(Goes to door)

See ya', man.

THOMAS

Take it easy.

(JOHNNY exits. THOMAS drinks his tea and sits)


CANDY

(Pokes her head in door L)

Hello.

THOMAS

Can't you knock?

CANDY

I never had to knock before.

THOMAS

What do you want Candy?

CANDY

What do you think?

THOMAS

I'm not up to any games today, Candy.

CANDY

I hear that your new woman is leaving you.

THOMAS

Who told you that?

CANDY

My hairdresser.

THOMAS

(Annoyed)

How did she know?

CANDY

From Johnny's wife.

THOMAS

And she heard it from Johnny no doubt. I'm glad everyone is so well informed in this neighborhood.

CANDY

Why's she leaving you?

THOMAS

I'm surprised you don't know already.

CANDY

She didn't find out about dear ol' sis did she?

THOMAS

That among other things.

CANDY

(Goes to him)

I guess that means you'll be needing some comforting.

She lays hand on his shoulder and strokes it.  Thomas removes her hand.

THOMAS

Stop it, Candy.

CANDY

(Snaps)

What?  What's wrong with you?

THOMAS

(Gets up)

It's not that simple. You can't slither on back in here just like that.

CANDY

(Hurt)

Why not? She did.

THOMAS

She doesn't slither. You need scales for that.

She slaps him across the face.

CANDY

You think I'm some sort of cheap trash don't you? Well, I'm not, contrary to popular belief. You meant something to me.  You know. The last thing I wanted from you was sex. But I never could make you understand that. No man ever could. But with you I was hoping it would different. I thought maybe one day you might even start to care about me.

GABI comes in chapel door. She is dressed for cleaning and is carrying a bucket and brush.

GABI

(After a moment of silence)

I hope I wasn't interrupting something.

CANDY

Yes, but that's okay. I think I'm through.

(She waits a moment to see if THOMAS will respond but he doesn't)

Goodbye, Thomas.

Candy exits L.

GABI

I'm sorry, Thomas. My timing has always been bad.

THOMAS

Actually, it was quite good.

(Looks at her)

What's with the bucket?

GABI

Your chapel looked like it needed a good scrubbing.

THOMAS

You cleaned the whole thing?

(She smiles and nods)

You didn't have to do that.

GABI

I wanted to. It was no trouble, really.

He goes to chapel door and looks in.

THOMAS

(Amazed)

Look at that.

GABI

Is it okay?

THOMAS

I've never seen it so clean. I could have sworn that wood was a shade darker than that though. Was it that dirty?

GABI

It's amazing what a little dusting can do for a place.

THOMAS

I guess I tend to neglect the place a bit. I try to vacuum occasionally, but most of the time I forget.

GABI

That's okay. Most men do. I think it's an inborn trait or something.

THOMAS

Thank goodness we have women to watch over us.

GABI

Amen to that.

She sets cleaning stuff under sink. Pause.

THOMAS

Gabi?

GABI

Yes?

THOMAS

Would you like to go out and do something tonight?

GABI

Like what?

THOMAS

I don't know. It's Saturday night, so there's usually always something going on. Plays, movies...

GABI

It doesn't matter to me.

THOMAS

Are you sure you want to do something?

GABI

I guess so.

THOMAS

We don't have to. I would understand.

GABI

Do you like to feed ducks?

THOMAS

Sure, I guess so.

GABI

Are there any duck ponds nearby?

THOMAS

There's a nice park on the south side with one.

GABI

Would that be okay?

THOMAS

Why not? I always like trying something new.

(She seems a bit sad)

Are you sure this is okay?

Gabi nods.

GABI

I'll need to change first. I won't be long.

She goes upstairs. THOMAS smiles and sits at table looking through the paper for a movie just in case. Lights fade to black.

Scene 16

Night. Lights come up. THOMAS unlocks door L. He and Gabi enter. They both are happy.

GABI

Thank you for a nice evening.

THOMAS

Are you sure you liked the movie? It was kind of weird.

GABI

It had some entertainment value.

THOMAS

Yeah, I didn't like it either.

GABI

I really did enjoy myself though.

THOMAS

I did too.

They look at each other a moment.

GABI

I guess I'd better get some sleep.

THOMAS

Okay.

GABI

You should get to bed soon too. You have a service to give tomorrow.

THOMAS

I still have some preparing to do.

GABI

We shouldn't have gone out tonight if you had work to do.

THOMAS

No, it's okay. With you leaving tomorrow, I wanted to go and do something together.

GABI

I hope you won't be up too late.

THOMAS

No, it's basically all up here.

(Points to head)

I just need to put it into words.

GABI

(Pause)

Thomas?

THOMAS

Yes?

GABI

(Pause)

We... I mean I... I could sleep on the couch tonight, so you could sleep better.

THOMAS

I'll be fine down here.

GABI

If you're sure. I don't mind.

THOMAS

I've gotten pretty used to the couch by now. I'll be fine.

GABI

Okay. Goodnight.

She looks at him, smiles.

THOMAS

(Returns her smile)

Goodnight, Gabi.

GABI goes upstairs. THOMAS sits at table with his Bible and notepaper. She stands at top of stairs looking at him sorrowfully.  After a long moment, she whispers.

GABI

I love you, Thomas.

But he doesn't hear. She exits sadly to bedroom. THOMAS stops suddenly as if something has tapped his shoulder. He turns curiously around and looks up at bedroom. Confused, he turns back to Bible and returns to his work. Lights fade to black.

SCENE 17 "Myth and Legend"

Thomas

Life really sucks sometimes. I feel like that guy that pushes the giant rock over and over again just to have it roll down again... Sisyphus? I think that's his name. Anyway... It's really how life feel sometimes... Rolling that big rock to the top of a mountain... And right when you reach the very top, when you feel like you finally accomplished something... You brush yourself off... Take a moment to enjoy the view... Then it rolls back down again. Back to square one. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

It starts over again... And again... And again. Repeating the same patterns over and over like some arcade games... And when you make it to the top there is some gorilla there throwing barrels at your head knocking you down again.

And sometimes I feel like Atlas... Holding the world on my shoulders... Weighed down by it all... But worried if I shrug it off, everything will come crashing down around me.

They were pretty hopeless in Greek times weren't they? But life is like that and -it's all Greek to me.

Well it felt hopeless until I found you... You made it all worth while. I feel like I have something to live for... To strive for... The reward at the end of the trials of life. No matter how bad it gets, I finally have a reason to go on fighting.

And sometimes fighting is not always the answer either. Like Hercules and the hydra... We want to fight and chop off the heads but things get worse and grow more heads. You have to take a new approach... Realize things need a new view.

So many people are stuck in their old ways of thinking. They willingly go through the motions, bringing the monster their tributes... Bow down to the monster of smoking... Bow down to the monster of alcohol... Now down to the monsters of shopping and sports. Pay your tributes but beware... The monster will demand a sacrifice.

But that sacrifice is you... You sacrificed yourself for me... I will never forget that. The final sacrifice.

The creatures have no power now... Distant fantasies. Disappeared in to myth and legend. Because of you, now we are free.

Scene 18

Late morning. Lights come up on THOMAS entering from chapel. Church music - "Amazing Grace" - is heard when door is open. THOMAS is overjoyed with his sermon.

THOMAS

Thank you, God.

Walters knocks as she enters from the chapel.

WALTERS

Pastor Thomas?

THOMAS

Yes, Mrs. Walters. Come in.

WALTERS

(Looks at him closely)

You feeling okay?

THOMAS

Yes, I think so.

WALTERS

You seem a little different today.

THOMAS

Is that good or bad?

WALTER

Good I think.

THOMAS

Well, I'll tell you Mrs. Walters, these last too weeks have been something.

WALTERS

Yes, I heard.

THOMAS

Does everyone know?

WALTERS

I wouldn't know. I don't approve of gossip.

THOMAS

That's good. I wish everyone around here were as ethical.

WALTERS

The shepherd is always followed by his flock.

THOMAS

Can I help you with something, Mrs. Walters?

WALTERS

I hear your new friend is leaving.

THOMAS

I'm afraid so.

WALTERS

You seem very fond of her.

THOMAS

I am.

WALTERS

She seems like a nice girl. Much nicer than that Candy.

THOMAS

Mrs. Walters? Is there a point to this?

WALTERS

Why are you young people always so impatient?

THOMAS

We're in a hurry I guess.

WALTERS

In a hurry to no where.

THOMAS

Did you come back here to abuse me?

WALTERS

No, I came with a bit of advice. There's an old saying that isn't used much anymore. It's "if you love something set it free..."

THOMAS

"If it's yours it will come back to you. If it doesn't, it never was."

WALTERS

You know it then.

THOMAS

It was a song a few years back.

WALTERS

(Nods)

I'm glad to hear every bit of wisdom hasn't been lost.

She starts to leave

THOMAS

Are you leaving?

WALTERS

I've said what I wanted to.

THOMAS

That's it then?

WALTERS

Think about it, Thomas. It's not such a bad idea. It's not easy, but there really isn't any other way.

THOMAS

(Starting to let it sink in)

I wish there were some other way.

WALTERS

Not if you want a good answer. There are always different ways of doing things. But some are better than others.

THOMAS

Thank you, Mrs. Walters.

WALTERS

I'll see you next Sunday.

She exits L. THOMAS is lost in thought. GABI appears at top of stairs. THOMAS notices her.

THOMAS

Do you need any help?

GABI

No, I got it.

(She crosses to table and sets her suitcase down flat on table)

That was a beautiful sermon today. It was even better than last week's. You really brought some new meaning into the resurrection of Lazarus that I've never seen before. I think you really spoke to some people today.

THOMAS

I felt really good about it. Better than I've felt in a long time.

(Pause)

I see you're all packed.

GABI

Yes. I think I have everything.

Opens suitcase and checks.

THOMAS

Did you check the bathroom?

GABI

Yes. I might check upstairs again though.

Closes suitcase.

THOMAS

Do you have a little time before she comes? I wanted to say something before you leave.

GABI

Maybe a short while. I'll run upstairs and take one last look then we can talk. I'll be quick.

She runs upstairs. THOMAS is upset. He looks sadly at suitcase. He remembers something. He glances upstairs. Then crosses quickly to Bible and takes his gambling money out. He looks at money in the envelope. Then quickly puts it in her suitcase. He closes the suitcase slowly and sadly.

Thomas

You better hurry.  I don't want you to miss your train.

Gabi comes down the stairs.  Thomas stands and moves away from the suitcase. They look at each other a moment.

GABI

Goodbye, Thomas.

(Pause)

Wish me well on my trip. It'll be a long one. And I've never been on a train before. But I refuse to fly anymore with the way them things have been going down lately. (Pause. THOMAS looks away) Thomas? (Pause) What's wrong? (Pause) Please say something. I don't want to say goodbye like this.

THOMAS

I wish we didn't have to say goodbye at all.

GABI

Thomas. I'm sorry that it has to be this way but...I don't know what else I can do.

THOMAS

You're free to do as you please, Gabi. I'm not stopping you.

GABI

(Pause)

Thank you for all you've done for me. I don't think anyone else would have gone to so much trouble for me.

THOMAS

It was worth it.

There is honking outside.  Gabi breaks his gaze to look out the window.

GABI

The taxi is here... Goodbye, Thomas.

THOMAS

Goodbye, Gabi.

He is looking away. She wants to give him a kiss, but decides that she better not. She turns sadly and exits L. THOMAS is almost in tears. JOHNNY enters with something in his jacket.

JOHNNY

There she goes.

(Takes wine bottle out of bag that was in his coat)

I got a little surprise for you.

THOMAS

No, thanks, Johnny.

JOHNNY

Come on, man, it's your favorite. I forked out a lot for this.

THOMAS

I don't think it would sit too well right now.

JOHNNY

(Goes to kitchen)

I'll just pour you a little bit and you can try some. If it sits well then I'll pour you some more. If not, then I'll drink it. (Sets glass in front of THOMAS. Pours some) A little wine might be all you need. It'll perk you right up or at least get you so smashed you won't know what to think.

THOMAS

Do you think she'll come back?

JOHNNY

Beats me. Women are pretty hard to figure sometimes.

THOMAS

Why did I ever let her go?

JOHNNY

There's the phone, man. Call the train station. Leave a message for her. It ain't too late.

THOMAS

It's out of my hands now.

JOHNNY

I don't see why you can't stop her.

THOMAS

She needs to decide for herself. I can't do it for her.

JOHNNY

Yeah. No guy's ever been able to stop a woman once she's got her mind made up. I should know.

THOMAS

I want so badly to stop her, but I know I can't. If it's meant to be, it's meant to be. But if not, I'll just have to deal with it somehow.

JOHNNY

Until then, drink up. It'll help you take your mind off of her.

THOMAS

I wish she were that easy to forget.

JOHNNY

Man, you're really are stuck on her.

THOMAS

There's something about her, Johnny...something she does for me that I can't explain, but I know it's good...something that anyone in their right mind wouldn't give up. It's not sex and it might be something even more than just love. Gabi gave me something no else has been able to. She gave me a new chance in life. A new beginning. But I'm not sure where I should go from here. Some choices are easier than others. But if I could have anything, I know it would be Gabi.

Has stood and wanders to door.

JOHNNY

Call her.

THOMAS

Don't you see, Johnny. I can't. She has to want to come back. Forcing her to return wouldn't mean anything.

JOHNNY

But you love her.

THOMAS

But I have to know for sure that she loves me.

JOHNNY

Then you'll just have to sit here and wait.

(Brings him his drink)

So until then, drink up. It'll make you feel better.

Thomas sniffs drink. The smell doesn't bother him. He paces DL and looks out a window that faces the audience. He crosses him arms, still holding his glass. The lights gradually fade except for a light coming from that DL window. The wood that holds the panes of glass in place form a huge shadowy cross that falls on him. Tears appear in his eyes.

THOMAS

She's really gone.

Lights fade to black.

EPILOGUE - "Angel's Wings"

GABI

I look down on the world below and dream. Dream of mortal things... things I left behind... and miss...

Most of all, I miss you...

I watch, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. And dream of the love we had together. I still feel your touch and the softness of your kiss, your gentle kiss, softer than angel's wings.

Is it wrong to love so much? Is it wrong to miss you? To want to be with you more than eternity. I would give up eternity to be with you. I would strip away my immortality to have another lifetime with you.

Will my eternal soul be damned in your embrace? But how can the devil delight in something so wonderful as our love? How can a love so good be bad? It's honest love. A love filled with purity and happiness. Surely the devil withers when we're close, because heavenly light shines in your eyes. The warm glow of our hearts burns between us sending Satan back to the frozen fires of Hell.

If I lost my wings, would you catch me as I fell from Heaven above? In your arms, we would make our own heaven.

I would hope God could forgive such a good love, a pure love, filled with happiness.

END OF PLAY



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**Please email doug@freedrama.net and state that you agree to the above requirements and you will be given permission to use the script.**

Thank you for selecting our plays. Have fun and please let us know how it goes.

Sincerely,

D. M. and Shiela Larson


FEATURED PUBLISHED PLAY

Flowers in the Desert stage play script with monologues for teen actors ISBN-13: 978-1530169085




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