(Here’s another excerpt from my play, “Speak of the Devil.” [Pieces of the play I’ve previously run are Satan’s Ministers Await Satan’s Arrival, and Enter Satan.] This scene opens with God and Satan in heaven.)
GOD: You have free will.
SATAN: I know. I can’t say I ever thought about it much.
GOD: But you’re not really the reflective type, are you?
SATAN: What can I say? I’m a doer.
GOD: Well, think about it right now, here. Imagine yourself without free will. Imagine them [humans] without it.
SATAN: I’m not sure I can.
GOD: I know you can’t. Tell you what. Let’s have a demonstration, shall we?
SATAN: Something tells me we shall.
(MICHAEL enters. Though he came in to announce a visitor, he cannot stop staring at SATAN.)
MICHAEL: Sir. There’s a … there’s a … your … I’m … your … there’s a …
GOD: Person waiting to see me?
MICHAEL: Yes, sir.
GOD: I know. Send him in.
SATAN: You didn’t.
GOD: I did.
SATAN: A mortal? Here?
GOD: Why not?
SATAN: What a day.
(MICHAEL returns with BOB, at whom he cannot stop staring.)
GOD: Thank you, Michael.
(MICHAEL’s attention is now riveted on SATAN)
MICHAEL: Your Lordship.
GOD: That is all. Thank you.
MICHAEL: Thank you, sir.
BOB (flabbergasted at his surroundings): Whoa. Whoa!
GOD: Hi there, Bob.
GOD: I’m God.
BOB (pause): Really?
GOD: Really. And this is Satan.
BOB (pause): Really?
BOB (to SATAN): Nice to meet you. I guess.
SATAN: Pleasure’s all mine, Bob.
BOB (to GOD): Is he really Satan?
GOD: He is.
BOB: Am I dead?
SATAN: Not yet. (To GOD, immediately) Sorry.
BOB: Seriously. Am I in hell?
SATAN: Not yet. (GOD spins him and crashes him to the ground): Sorry! Sorry, Bob!
BOB: I’ve said a bunch of times that a room in hell would be better than this crappy apartment I’ve been living in. Man, I can’t believe how right I was about that.
GOD: You’re not dead, Bob. And this isn’t hell.
BOB: For sure?
GOD: For sure.
GOD: So tell us how you are, Bob.
BOB: I’m good. Good. Okay.
GOD: Everything going pretty well in your life?
BOB: Can’t complain.
SATAN (to GOD): May I…?
GOD: Okay. But carefully.
SATAN: Be honest with us.
SATAN: How are things going for you?
GOD: Be real.
BOB: Things are pretty messed up for me right now.
BOB: Well, yeah. I mean, you know. I lost my job. My wife left me. I practically never see my kid.
GOD: That’s terrible.
BOB: [bleepin’] a, Bubba.
BOB (to GOD): I’m sorry! Please excuse me. I gotta [bleep] mouth on me.
(SATAN snorts again)
BOB: What I meant to say is that you’re right, your … Godship. It is extremely terrible not being able to see my son. It’s awful. I love him.
GOD (to SATAN): Hear that? He loves his little boy.
SATAN: I heard it.
GOD: Tell us about your son, Bob.
BOB: There’s really not much to tell, I guess. He’s four. Kid kills me. I love him. He’s perfect. If he didn’t look like me, I wouldn’t believe he was mine.
SATAN: Are you sure he is?
GOD (warning SATAN): Hey! Hey!
SATAN: Sorry again. I absolutely am. Force of habit.
GOD: I’ll shave your head and glue a nun’s habit to it if you don’t mind yourself. So you were saying about your son, Bob?
BOB: I was gonna say I know he’s mine. (to SATAN, angrily) I know he’s mine. He …. (BOB chokes up a little)
GOD: What is it, Bob? He what?
BOB: He talks out of the side of his mouth, exact same way I do.
SATAN: That is cute.
BOB (To SATAN, with fury): How the [bleep] do you know if it’s cute? You better stay the [bleep] away from my kid! You go anywhere near that kid, and I’ll cut your [bleep bleep] off! You hear me?! I’ll cut those [bleep] off, you [bleep]! You stay away from my kid!
SATAN (to GOD): So you see it’s not all downhill for me.
GOD: Gee. Imagine how I pity you.
SATAN: I know. I’m just saying.
GOD: Bob. It’s all right, Bob. Listen to me. Listen.
GOD: Do you wish things would get better for you, Bob?
BOB: I sure do.
GOD: In what ways?
BOB: Well, I’d like to get my job back, for one. Or some job, anyway. I’m for shit at sittin’ around the house all day starin’ at the walls.
GOD: You miss working.
BOB: I do. And I definitely miss gettin’ paid.
SATAN: Money’s good.
BOB: Does he have to talk?
GOD (pointedly, to SATAN): No.
SATAN: What? I’m just saying. Money’s good.
GOD (to BOB): So you’d like to be working again. What else?
GOD: I’m God, Bob.
BOB: I’d love to have my wife back.
GOD: You’d like Carrie and you to be together again.
BOB: I would. That’s … what I want. I want Carrie and Tommy to come back.
SATAN: But … your apartment.
BOB (angrily): Not back in there! In our house! Back in the house we used to live in.
GOD: So you’d like to again be Cassie’s husband and Tommy’s father.
GOD: And what are you doing to help make that happen, Bob?
SATAN: Oh, I can answer that! You’ve quit drinking, right Bob?
BOB: That’s right.
GOD: That’s fantastic. How does that make you feel?
BOB: Fine. I don’t care how it makes me feel. I don’t care about anything but gettin’ my wife and kid back.
GOD (to SATAN): Watch yourself. I know you’ve already started a scheme to bring pot into Bob’s life.
BOB: You have?
SATAN (To GOD): I have not. (SATAN drops to his knees in pain. Wincing, to BOB) Ignore the guy two doors down from you.
BOB (to GOD): Do it to him again. Zap him again.
GOD: I might. But for now this is about you, Bob. You want your wife and child back, you’d like to start working again, and you’ve stopped drinking.
BOB: That’s right.
SATAN: And you enjoy watching me get zapped.
BOB: That’s right.
GOD: Are you trying hard, Bob?
BOB: At what?
GOD: At reuniting with Carrie and Tom. At getting your life together. At fixing what you’ve broken.
BOB: Yes. I am trying hard at all that. I’ve quit drinking. I’m taking this computer class through the unemployment people so I’ll have some better job skills. (To SATAN) I threw out the last of the weed I had without even smoking it. I’m doin’ my best to get it all together again–and to keep it together this time.
GOD: And you think you’ll make it?
BOB: I know I’ll make it.
GOD: Think Carrie will come back to you?
BOB: I’m hopin’. At least now she’s talking to me again. She didn’t for awhile. Now she is. It’s a start.
GOD: It is a start, Bob. Good for you. You’re doing a wonderful job. You’re gonna make it.
(GOD puts one hand on BOB’s chest, and another on his back. Instantly, BOB becomes a standing zombie.)
GOD: Okay, his free will is gone.
SATAN: It is? Just like that?
GOD: Just like that.
SATAN: You’re fast.
GOD: I’m God.
SATAN: I wish I had your skills.
GOD: Well, you don’t. And all of his will isn’t gone, actually. If I took away all of Bob’s free will, he’d slump to the floor like he was dead. Will is life; it’s virtually indistinguishable from anything that might ever be called the life force. But I’ve taken away enough of his, shall we say, top-level will to make my point. Bob?
GOD: Hi, Bob. (BOB stares at GOD for a moment, and then listlessly waves at him.) How you feelin’?
BOB: I dunno. Fine, I guess. Whatever.
GOD: How’s your life going?
BOB: I dunno. Not too good, I guess. It’s all right.
GOD: But your wife and child are gone, aren’t they?
BOB: Yeah. But whaddaya gonna do?
GOD: You could stop drinking and get a job.
BOB: I dunno. I guess. It’s so hard to get a new job. I wish I didn’t lose my last one.
GOD: But you showed up drunk four days in a row.
BOB: Yeah. Whaddaya gonna do?
SATAN: Does anything excite you, Bob? Really get you going?
BOB: Whaddaya mean?
SATAN: What sort of stuff do you really like to do, Bob?
BOB: I dunno. I like pizza.
SATAN: But that’s a food, Bob.
GOD: Bob, we’ve decided to kill you in your sleep tonight. Is that all right with you?
BOB: Really? Bummer. (pause) Well, I don’t know what I can do about it. I guess you gotta do whatcha gotta do.
GOD: And because in your life you’ve done more harm on earth than good, Bob, I’m afraid you’re going to have to spend eternity in hell.
BOB (pause): Bummer redo.
SATAN: You know, where it’s really hot, Bob? Where you have to spend all of time having the living flesh literally seared off your bones?
GOD: Will you stop?
SATAN: I’m sorry. But what gets through to this guy?
GOD: Nothing. That’s the point. Well, Bob, we’re going to send you off to hell now. But first we’re going to break both your arms, twist your head around the wrong way, and make you eat living bats.
SATAN (impressed): Wow. I had no idea.
GOD: I’m kidding, Bob. I love you. (He again touches BOB on his chest and back. BOB returns to his former self.) Hi, Bob.
SATAN: Hi, Bob. (BOB looks at SATAN, says nothing.)
SATAN: So have you ever seen any of the Batman movies, Bob? (SATAN’s head suddenly twists around so far it flips him onto the floor.)
GOD: Bob, I want to thank you for spending this bit of time with us. It’s been a real pleasure.
BOB: For me, too. (BOB looks at SATAN, who has remained on the floor.) Mostly.
GOD: You’re going to be okay, Bob. Keep taking those classes, stay off the booze, and everything’s gonna work out for you.
GOD: Escort our man Bob here back to his place.
MICHAEL: With pleasure, sir. Right this way, Bob.
BOB (to GOD): Thanks for having me up here.
GOD: Thanks for coming.
(BOB and MICHAEL head toward the exit. As he passes SATAN on the floor, BOB feigns kicking him. SATAN flinches.)
(BOB and MICHAEL exit.)
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