Cast of Characters
GRANDMA: ORAL's mother. Sharp-tongued, quietly terrified of death; seventies.
ORAL: A prosperous, wide-eyed, oblivious but ultimately well- meaning Southern businessman; forties through sixties.
ALMA: ORAL's second wife, ten or twenty years younger than he is. Kind-hearted, stronger than he initially knows.
DANIEL: ORAL's son and ALMA's stepson. Introspective,
brave: a daydreamer with potential to be heroic. In love with TYLER; eighteen or nineteen.
MARY-ANNE: ORAL's daughter and ALMA's stepdaughter. Sweet, pouty, timid around authority figures despite her visions of rock and roll rebellion. In love with VAUGHN; almost seventeen.
TYLER: In love with DANIEL, in awe of his intellect, and the person who comes closest to sharing his interests; early twenties.
VAUGHN: A serious, likeable young man, to the manor born, who has inherited a lot of money. In love with MARY-ANNE; late twenties.
THE REVEREND CHADWICK PUSSER: A hypocrite. Often syrupy smooth and overly friendly on the outside; thirties through sixties.
DOREEN: The maid in ORAL's household who tells it like it is. Not from a rich background. Her dress is a little low-cut but nothing shocking by today's standards; twenties through fifties.
Doubling is possible if one actor plays both Vaughn and Pusser.
NOTE: ALL THE WOMEN SHOULD WEAR FLOOR-LENGTH DRESSES AND HAVE KERCHIEFS ON THEIR HEADS AT ALL TIMES, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED.
In ORAL's house during Act One; alternating between ORAL's house and VAUGHN and TYLER's house during Act Two.
A possible future that's less than one century away.
(DOREEN is sweeping the room where the characters were in the first scene of the play. PUSSER ENTERS.)
Doreen, I couldn’t speak to you before
When you were saying something at my door,
‘Cause I was lost in prayer and meditation;
When God talks, it’s a private conversation.
I’ll bet. But I was just the messenger – The missus hopes you’ll have a word with her.
With pleasure! I’ve been hoping for a chance To counsel her at length, and to enhance The qualities in her that suit her best.
I’m sure she’ll be thrilled by your interest.
(looks at her, then away)
Oh! Quickly, Doreen, take this handkerchief So we two aren’t compromised –
Cover your bosom, rising, round and bare
Before some Godly man is shipwrecked there By wicked thoughts. A maid of your maturity Should put more stock in modesty and purity.
The way you lecture me sounds almost fresh It’s funny how you’re tempted by the flesh So strongly, you want me to wear this rag.
(hands back handkerchief)
If I saw you butt-naked, I’d just gag, So I guess I’m less lustful and less frail Than guys like you: the average pious male. To make sure not to tempt that kind of jerk, a Girl would have to wrap up in a burqa.
If you remain so brazen and so rude, I’ll have to leave.
No, I’m gone. Later, dude.
(SHE EXITS, as ALMA enters.)
Ma’am! My prayers are answered, thank the Lord It’s good to see you looking so restored. Your cheeks, that were so pale, are pink and flush; A man might get the feeling that you blush.
Yes, I’m much better, thanks.
That’s sweet. Let’s talk about a few things. Have a seat?
There’s a strange circumstance in which we’ve landed – All of us here. I hope you will be candid And tell me what you’re thinking, honestly –
I’ve longed to do what you’re asking of me. I’ve waited for us two to be alone,
To find a private, candid comfort zone.
I know you fear for my eternal soul And wish to teach me virtue and control, And I will listen to your counsel, soon. But let me speak a word, this afternoon, For Mary-Anne, who’s forced to hold her tongue. She’s scared, romantic, vulnerable and young, Not quite a woman, on the brink, in between
(with a Sound of Music cadence)
She is sixteen going on seventeen –
Who’s Mary-Anne? Her face, now, is a blur. With you right here, how could I think of her? The first time I saw you, hot passion blazed Within my heart –
(DANIEL ENTERS, and watches, unseen by both)
But, Reverend, I’m amazed To hear a man of God say such a thing!
I can’t believe that you’re imagining That I would ever welcome this advance –
I’m such a fool for you, I took a chance. I prayed on it, I tried hard to resist Those full, ripe lips that I have never kissed;
I shut erotic thoughts out, in God’s name But your wild, luscious beauty is to blame.
(grabs her hand)
You’re all the Heaven His grace will allow A mortal man on Earth –
That hurts me! Ow!
I’m sorry I let you get this far. I ought to tell my husband what you are.
I trust you to be merciful and kind, To know that men are weak, and love is blind. And if you made my happiness complete Then I would be both tender and discreet.
Well, I urge you to try to recollect The faith you claim to uphold and protect. I won’t tell Oral you felt the need to try This crap, but take your hand off of my thigh! And swear you’ll stop the crisis you began When you came between Vaughn and Mary-Anne.
You’re threatening me with blackmail?
You’re too hot for your threats to bother me I’m burning up here, in your atmosphere.
Well, don’t fear her, but hear me loud and clear.
I’ll tell my dad I witnessed this burlesque You’re such a twisted liar, it’s grotesque!
He’ll see the crook who’s caused him to ignore His sense – and us – is rotten to the core.
What’s going on? Why are your voices raised?
And now I get to tell you. God be praised. This guest of yours, this disbarred fallen shepherd Cannot change his spots; he’s the kind of leopard Who preys on those who kindly take him in Then licks his chops, and lectures about sin. He preys on gentle souls, then prays out loud As if he held the precepts he’s avowed. His claim to be your friend is an atrocity! Just hear how he’s repaid your generosity: A few moments ago, I heard and watched Him coming on to Alma. This was scotched By her firm “No,” which she had to repeat. Now take this bum and throw him in the street!
I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to do. Reverend, could the things he says be true?
It’s true – that I am nothing but a sinner. And all my life I’ve wrestled with my inner Demons – a Christian man could do no less. So I am more than willing to confess, Though I have never lusted in my heart After your wife, I know that there’s a part Of me that’s flawed, and mortal, and unfit For God’s sweet grace – in fact, I will admit To any vice you name – no, I won’t grumble.
(sinks to his knees)
A minister must stay abject, and humble. Call me a horse thief, meth head, or the Devil In some way, it may be true, on some level.
Get up, please, friend. How could I ever doubt you? Or listen to such vicious lies about you?
And you, do you hate righteousness so much, And manly virtue, that you have to clutch At vile, flimsy lies and accusations?
No, I am like his last few congregations And see him as he is, not some mirage.
How can you not see through this camouflage? How can you not believe I speak the truth?
Please, Oral, don’t be too hard on the youth. He’s just a boy, he knows not what he does. I love him. I don’t hate his lies because I take as gifts my times of pain and loss As Christ did, at each station of the cross.
You’re too good, and it burns me up inside To see you so abused and vilified By my own son, who I should now disown –
Oral, don’t, please, leave the boy alone. I don’t want a big circus or a scandal What happened was a thing that I could handle. And if the Reverend puts right what’s amiss Then never again will I speak of this. But if he doesn’t –
Listen, Brother. The boy came stumbling in and found me here Confiding in your wife about my fear That I would have to give you awful news About your son’s decision to abuse The sacred vessel given him by God. Your wife was hoping you would spare the rod, And Daniel, perhaps scared I’d say too much Yelled out about adultery and such. Poor Alma, wanting only to protect him, Enabling the vices that infect him, Now backs his tale. She’s lax, and I know why She watches a film called The King and I From pre-Plague times, and that’s her education; It celebrates alien lands, and miscegenation, As its bareheaded teacher heroine Bosses a heathen king, then draws him in. They dance a polka, stirring and obscene Of course by Jews: Rodgers and Hammerstein
Their names are. With this filth inside your walls, Why blame your wife when she stumbles and falls?
Why blame the boy? Real love is genuine. We never hate the sinner, just the sin.
And now, let me go back to my room, please. I feel a need to shower, and hit my knees, Once cleansed, and talk to God. The way I see it
If He should call me Home tonight, so be it! It’s not for me to question or rebel;
He is my fortress and my citadel. I’m His to teach, to chastise, bless or kill Whatever comes, I celebrate His will.
You hear that? You’ve both made him feel unclean And yet he stays forgiving, and serene. He’ll go upstairs and wash away the taint Of this, and bless your names. The man’s a saint. I only wish my goodness was as boundless, Since I know his suspicions are not groundless When he says, Daniel, that you’ve lost your way, And stoop to –
We’ll talk another day About those things. I guess I’m not so brave. For now, since I still hope your soul to save: I fear that you’ve grown far too ecumenical With all your fancy theories – smug and cynical. Do you admit you embrace atheism?
No. But I hate Biblical literalism. The Patriarchs say they play by the Book; That’s not true, when you take a closer look; Then you become bewildered and perplexed At how selectively they use that text. Our felons publicly are hanged and shot, But Biblical chastisements those are not. Too many harsh mandated acts are done These days, and yet we don’t do every one. We subjugate the poor but we don’t own them, We jail non-virgin brides, but we don’t stone them,
Fine those who work on Sundays, but that’s all – There are no sins for which stones fly and fall Though if they did, some zealots wouldn’t mind. For now, we still do not forbid the blind And nearsighted from sitting near a pulpit;
I guess we figure they have some exculpa- Tory value, with their flaws, as people ... The Bible wants them banned from ‘neath a steeple.
Leviticus and Deuteronomy Crave deaths. Yet churchmen claim autonomy
To speak out against being vain and selfish, But not the vicious act of eating shellfish, Which we all know is an abomination!
It never seems to earn a peroration, And many who find comfort in a psalter Don’t leave burnt offerings on a holy altar.
Sure, clever young men think it’s fun to mock The shepherd along with his holy flock. They and their jaded friends hunt through the Book And twist things ‘round, until their faith is shook. But Christ brought change, Paul told us all that men Can miss some old commandments – just not ten.
And yet one of the Ten Commandments seems To call for stoning any who blasphemes. So far none has been so strongly chastised, Though when that law comes, I won’t be surprised. It’s not law now, but I still haven’t mastered Why God tells us to persecute a bastard. God is God – God the Father did not change When He exults in war, I find it strange. When Israelites fight Amalekites, or Og, Why does it always seem the epilogue Is smiting, raping, killing babes and sucklings, Mowing them down like rows of arcade ducklings? Why does God wax wroth when any are spared? I’d like to praise a moral God, who cared For human life. Or, how do you contrive To think God wrote Deuteronomy 25? Wherein we read in language most majestical That if men fight, and a wife grab the testical Of her husband, to shield him, then that hand Of hers must be chopped off. Please, understand,
Dad, I don’t sneer. I want your certainty. But – when I read those things, they baffle me.
Why should Alma hear such foul obscenity?
And yet it’s from a Book full of serenity.
You ought to talk to our guest, and repent; He’ll tell you what those Bible stories meant.
Dad, I can’t really talk to Reverend Pusser He’s more a lecturer than a discusser And though you don’t believe what my eyes saw I do. His shamelessness sticks in my craw.
Your Godlessness plain stabs me through the heart! There’s such a thing as too schooled, and too smart. You argue like a Philadelphia lawyer And I don’t let those slick types past my foyer.
As for burnt offerings, boy, though I don’t leave them I read the Holy words, and I believe them! And someday soon, faced with a grave offense,
(looks away from DANIEL)
I – might sacrifice for God’s law, in a sense.
(missing his meaning, happy)
In a sense, yes, take it symbolically! That Biblical approach makes sense to me.
A book that old, composed by many men Demands we use our minds, and think again, Read scripture as a metaphor, or poem –
As long as you are living in this home
You'll fear the Lord, respect his living Word, Ignoring lies that, no doubt, you have heard
From some smooth, sly, insinuating demon
If you think I'll put up with that, you're dreamin'!
I’m not afraid to shake you, or to slap Or, as with little children, use the strap To save my son from worldliness and doubt –
But if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out. And if thy son offend thee ... Listen, son;
It’s true that Deuteronomy 21 Calls for the stoning of a stubborn child It won’t come to that – but if you stay wild And willful, then I surely will disown you And cut you dead – as if I’ve never known you.
That Pusser’s like a pustule on his brain He isn’t quite himself – he’s not quite sane.
I’m not the son he wants; I’m part of why He’s taken in by that smooth-talking guy. I’m one more source of terror and confusion; He soothes himself with Pusser’s Grand Illusion.
Daniel, I only wish you really knew How infinitely proud he is of you, Of your intelligence, and all your promise! He’s just scared you’ve become a doubting Thomas.
I’m sorry that I didn’t speak up more And back your story in that scene, before. I wanted Pusser to lay off your sister ...
We’ve got to lance him, like a fever blister Somehow, before he ruins all our lives.
You’re still the best of stepmoms and of wives. How can you fight that bully when he rips Into your love of classic movie clips? It certainly would lighten all our loads If our pustule/blister man explodes And all his lies burst with him. While he festers Dad won’t believe the people that he pesters And all our conversations are distorted, And love and truth and happiness – all thwarted.
Well, Mary-Anne’s still here. We haven’t lost her. I sew with her, to put off that impostor Twelve bridesmaid bonnets for the wedding feast – That ought to take us two more weeks at least.
I’m scared there’s less time to expose that preacher; Each day he makes Dad more and more his creature.
END OF SCENE ONE
(PUSSER KNEELS, his head bowed in prayer. HE is in the space that HE and ORAL were alone in before. ORAL enters, and watches reverentially.)
Reverend? Again, I only can apologize For all that, and for listening to their lies.
Disloyalty’s a very human vice Peter loved Christ, and yet denied him thrice.
Well, I am shamefaced for denying you. Please tell me if there’s something I can do.
Just stay here, and we’ll sit and talk a spell. I hope your soybean sales are going well?
The foreman sent me word from the plantation; The latest crops are nearing maturation. The sales of my soy protein cakes are high – In some ways, I’m a very lucky guy.
Except on this front. I don’t mean to probe But you must feel as put upon as Job When it comes to that loud housekeeper hellion, And daughter, son and wife all in rebellion. Remember, though, with everything you’re feeling, That Dr. Jesus offers instant healing.
(beat – they sit in chairs)
And I’m so glad your product’s really hot; Be proud of that fine business head you’ve got.
Well, I’m not sure that too much praise is merited. My land, my soybean crops – they’re all inherited.
You’re doing by the Lord the way you should And that’s the reason why business is good. He helps not one who’s arrogant, or cursed. Their vats shall overflow, their barns shall burst Who honor and obey the Prince of Peace And give him the first fruits of their increase.
That’s what it clearly says in Proverbs 3. It’s myth, that God hates wealth, it’s fantasy.
Cash is God’s way of telling you “well done.” He blessed King David and King Solomon With fortunes so vast, we can hardly grasp it! When He gifts you with treasure, you should clasp it. The Communists and Socialists and such Think treasure is all stolen, it’s too much To have a thousand times more than the poor – Who always are with us, who will endure, Who squander many gifts of charity; We might as well see facts with clarity. You worked hard to be where you are today.
Your soy cakes help the poor in their own way.
For cheapness and nutrition, you can’t beat ‘em, Though I’ll admit, I wouldn’t want to eat ‘em!
Your marketing is strong, your land is arable ... In Luke 19, Lord Jesus tells a parable:
A noble gave his servants one pound each
To use for trade while he was out of reach.
When he returned, two men showed interest
That they had earned – but one did not invest;
His feeling about money was, why make it?
The nobleman might come home soon, and take it.
That servant’s assets quickly were passed on
To one now rich. A moral can be drawn:
To him that haveth, giveth even more
From him with little, take his meager store.
I think the poor sense God wants more from them; In my last church we had an ATM And I made sure that when we passed the plate Folks forked cash over, at a good, high rate. Some foreign fools think wealth needs an apology; They practice a pinko “liberation theology” And say God calls the rich into account. Those Commies love the Sermon on the Mount! They say Christ walks with poor men, and the meek And twist around some words they’ve heard Him speak.
They’ll re-think that in hellfire, when they’re writhing. Now, Oral, are you keeping up with tithing?
Yes, sir. Each year I take out ten percent Of earnings, to send to the government.
Good for you! And we’ve just gone over facts That show why poorer men pay higher tax. It shouldn’t seem unfair, corrupt or odd;
They’re wanton, lazy and less close to God.
High on the list of acts that are God-pleasers Is: Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Of course today, the Church and State are one; When you pay Uncle Sam, you pay the Son Of man at the same time. But have you thought About how much more grace might could be bought If you gave of your riches even more To the army, or the missionary corps? Your heart is big, your pockets are quite deep, And you know: as you sow, so shall ye reap.
I’d be glad, if I knew how to invest More in the Lord’s work. Reverend, you know best; I’d be so grateful if you’d take a look At this year’s budget in my counting book. My son’s computer program always planned it; He tried to teach me – I don’t understand it. So, I put figures down on a hard copy To have two records, in case things get sloppy. The biggest favor you could do for me
Is: let me help you in your ministry. Let me fund your pet projects and your dreams, So my wealth my unworthiness redeems.
Well, I am moved. My friend, just let me say The Reverend Chadwick Pusser’s seen a day That he’s prayed for. Your old life’s in the dust. It warms my heart to see such simple trust And faith, in one to whom much has been given. I’ll tell you of a few pet dreams. I’m driven To set up a small factory, to sell The vials of holy water you know well.
Since, as I walked, the Holy Ghost touched me By that stream flowing through your property, I’ve sent this holy water to the sick -- It sells on-line, and people get well quick! Your mother found no scientific answer And yet, she says, this water cured her cancer; Now she won’t die – an angel told her so! It goes to show there’s not much doctors know. One lady found it cured her rheumatism, An old man, who had a brain aneurysm
Is paralyzed, but almost comes to grips When his wife puts this water on his lips, She wrote. You know, I could go on and on. My store of small glass vials is almost gone;
If I could pack the water, at a plant,
We could cure thousands! Who’s to say we can’t? And if I buy some ad time on TV
America will get real used to me. We’ll move a lot of product, friend, and I’m Sure I can get my own show, on prime-time.
A prime-time show’s the least that you deserve! A chance to reach the people that you serve, And minister to each lost, broken soul As you have mine, and make them sound and whole.
Now tell me – this program that your son uses: Is it just on his hard drive?
No, he chooses To update everything on my hand-held.
So, you can move funds, should you feel compelled To do so, without Daniel’s interference?
The password’s mine, and no one else has clearance To act for me in making a transaction. I’ll give it to you, when it’s time for action.
Well, Oral, you’ve sure cheered me up – and how! You’ve shored up my faith in mankind just now, And more than made up for that incident Downstairs. You’ll know that your wealth is God-sent When you soon see it furthering God’s glory; I’m here to help you spend it – end of story.
END OF SCENE TWO
(DANIEL, alone in his room, sits at his computer and talks to himself – and the computer.)
Spam, and more spam! My inbox filled to bursting With useless mail, and all the while I’m thirsting, Knowing the Oracle alone can quench My need. I swear that I will master French To translate that first draft when it arrives; And once it’s true that manuscript survives – Theocracy implodes! The universe will shift And those of us now hopelessly adrift Will find our strength and stride. After Tartuffe Returns, no longer will we fear reproof.
(dreamy, spins in chair)
There once was a land where people could vote Where students thought, and did not learn by rote Where women and men were honest, strong and free And spoke and wrote and lived life candidly ...
Until a crazy Christian group, desirous Of total power, stole and spread a virus And killed two thirds of our population
Rendering us a scared and backward nation. Us Baptists took control, and we were hostile To Quaker, Methodist and Pentecostal. Most Plague deaths were in once-great urban centers
And nowadays our rulers and tormentors Cling to a backwoods mind-set, and suspend The Bill of Rights that was our truest friend. They moved the seat of power further South And taught each citizen to watch his mouth And back – and speak a holy platitude Rather than risking giving latitude To cogent, secret thoughts. The law of greed Now reigns, and it has come to supersede Consumer rights we once had, long ago Which First World countries guard – like Mexico.
‘Round these parts, those who rule in Alabama
Create a very different panorama
The hatred of science and real education Cherished by Selma’s dull administration
Are why our products suck, and lack design And quality control. We’re in decline. To hide it, the Patriarchs hold big parades And stadium prayer events, and launch Crusades Against our tiny neighbors. Some we plow, And some can hold their own against us now. At home, the church cops try to stop the rumbles Of misery, while the infrastructure crumbles.
A seething sea of those in poverty
Is dotted by us men of property. The poor choke down the soy cakes my dad sells,
And thank their pastors for their magic spells.
He who rebels gets whisked away to prison; The state absorbs all money that was his’n
While, shouting songs of praise, the Holy Rollahs Are basically just like the Ayatollahs Who once had total power in Iran, Which now holds big film festivals, like Cannes And shows the world democracy makes sense ... While we all rot behind our border fence. I can’t live in this nightmare! I suspect it Is a cosmic lie, and I reject it! I curse my life of hiding, compromising – And wistful, Hamlet-y soliloquizing. Much good it does me – sitting here reduced To waiting games, till one old play is loosed.
(HE uses his computer. PUSSER ENTERS.)
I wish that you would call me Reverend Chad And see me almost as a friend or dad. Your future will get easier, you’ll see If you just trust and open up to me.
Sir, really, we have nothing to discuss I know you use my dad, you spy on us, You hit on Alma – you’re just worthless scum. You can’t think I’d trust you; you’re not that dumb.
My wish for friendship’s not all that outrageous; It could be mutually advantageous. A young man needs the guidance of a rector To be his comfort and his close protector. I don’t hate you -- I think that you’re delicious And I can help if your dad gets suspicious About the “direction” in which you’re leaning – I’m guessing that you’ll understand my meaning – I can make sure that things don’t get unpleasant; I’m your best bet to handle him, at present. And as an older man, I know a lot! I’m more than glad to give you what I’ve got.
Now, wait a second. Things just got surreal. This time it isn’t anger that I feel.
Just dizziness. I’m awestruck. Can it be
That you would really make a pass at me?
I save souls when I can, but in your case I’m sensing qualities I can’t erase. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, that’s my motto, So, let’s drink Blood of Christ, until we’re blotto, And I’ll give you more than that Tyler can.
You eat our food. You’re taking Mary-Anne Against her will, but you don’t give a crap. You tried to catch my stepmom in your trap And now you’re after me. I have to say
You’ve really taught me something here today About the nature of a psychopath Who hides behind a big smile and God’s wrath.
Now, Daniel, since you’re growing up, you know This world contains a lot of quid pro quo And more and more, your daddy’s given me A king-sized role, and the authority To make things nice or nasty here for you, So let’s just stop and think what we should do Before we call names, or we judge or blame – You scratch my back, I’ll more than do the same.
I read a lot of pre-Plague history And there are pillars of hypocrisy Who stand out – great showmen like Jimmy Swaggart: Jerry Lee’s cousin, a lecher and a braggart, Or Marcus Lamb, another pious faker Who chased ass, like Coy Privette and Jim Bakker. But the worst filth, secular and holy, To my mind, were figures like Mark Foley Or Senator Larry Craig, or Eddie Long Men who called homosexuality wrong Denouncing it before a congregation Or else in office, backing legislation That took the rights of gay men, just like them. It makes some sense that you’re that kind of phlegm In human form, I shouldn’t be so staggered;
You’re a pathetic fucker like Ted Haggard Paul Barnes or Lonnie Latham – pleasure seekers Epitomized by that George Alan Rekers Who took a rent-boy on a Europe spree When his game was conversion therapy And telling kids they weren’t born that way: That they should try to “pray away the gay.”
Is it self-hatred that’s the common link For men like you – does it cause double-think From early on, and send you on a mission Against self, as preacher or politician? If only you were funny, you’d be jokes ...
Conversion treatment works for lots of folks. I’ve helped to lead it; I’ve been quite inspired When sissy-boys, with God’s help, get re-wired.
And if you seek it, someday you will find it – There’s lots of darn good science facts behind it! But that’s not for you now, it’s manifest So, why not let me make you my conquest In love, if not in Christ? I tell you, son Life’s short, and we could have a lot of fun.
Take one more step toward me and I’ll be sick.
Is that you, Dad? Come here, quick.
I’ll tell you what just happened, though I fear Again, you won’t allow yourself to hear A word I say. This pious friend of yours, Pillar of faith, one of its guarantors, Just propositioned me, as with your wife; That’s how he thanks you, now he runs your life
And your estate. I’m saying this to you Because I value trust between us two – Or valued it, when I felt it existed, Before our home life turned so dark and twisted. I’m still your son, and I will play that role Whatever this creep’s doing to your soul.
Well, Oral, my poor friend, I might have known He’d find some reason why we were alone And change things ‘round, so my motives look bad
But still, I’m stunned. Son, this is really sad.
I understand you’re desperate, but to think Your daddy would believe that I would sink As low as you – that’s some deep criminology. Is this what smart boys call reverse psychology?
What happened was I told it to him plain: As much as I would hate to cause you pain
Or Daniel trouble, ‘cause he’s a nice kid I had to tell you about things he did
With his corrupter Tyler – not quite rape; My hidden camera caught it all on tape.
What tape? I’d like to see that. Show us both! First, I would like my dad to swear an oath That if no tape exists that shows this scene, You’ll finally consider what I mean When I say Reverend Pusser lies, and lies, While any trace of love and honor dies.
The truth is, Oral, I had to erase That hideous tape. I watched. You couldn’t face
Such images – they’d sear and burn your eyes Forever, when you’d sleep and when you’d rise. I told Daniel as much, so it makes sense He’s yelling now to see the evidence. But if you glance at that chink in the wall
You’ll see the secret eye that saw it all.
So, that’s where you’ve got your spy set-up hidden. I knew this place was bug and camera-ridden. I have one more request. I’d like to see The footage of us talking, you and me Before my father heard me call, and entered.
Boy, why be so dishonest and self-centered? You’re really set on brazening this out?
Yeah, that’s another thing we talked about. I told him that the camera was shut down While, privately, I asked him to leave town. I said I’d keep his secret if he went;
This show-down’s what I wanted to prevent, But if he stays, you need to be alerted Their sex scene was disgusting and perverted. This child that you love is now quite bent; I fear the damage may be permanent.
(to DANIEL, near tears)
There’s nothing you can say that will not sicken Me now. You’ve got me gasping, heartbroke, stricken! No more lies, please, your voice fills me with shame.
(also near tears)
If I speak lies or truth, it’s all the same To you now, but it’s truth that I prefer. He went to Alma and came on to her, And he came on to me, and fabricated This story of a tape he’s just related. The only truth in what he had to say Is what you’ve known a long time now. I’m gay. I’ve wanted to come out to you, for years; I couldn’t get past either of our fears. This wouldn’t be the moment that I’d choose To tell you, but there’s nothing left to lose, So why not? There, between us like a wall Was that one lie – so why not let it fall? I love you, Dad. And what is best in you Could let me be myself, and love me, too.
Enough. You’ve ground my dreams into the dust. I close my heart to you, and your foul lust And deeds. I have no son! Or, when this man Becomes one with your sister Mary-Anne, Then he will be my only son and heir. For you, I do not even have a prayer To spare. My heart is hardened, it won’t thaw, If Reverend Pusser saw the thing he saw.
Friend Oral, I sure wish that I could fix Boys called out by Romans 1:26.
What I saw was unspeakable, and graphic.
If you leave soon, then you can beat the traffic. I’ll tell Doreen to come and help you pack.
I’ll only take the shirt that’s on my back And my computer. Can I take my car?
(reaches into his wallet)
Here’s cash for gas –
I won’t go far. My friends are waiting, and when I get there Tyler and Vaughn will lend me things to wear.
(HE picks up his computer.)
Confirmed! You’ll go to their house – ain’t that nice! Just run to Tyler, wallow in your vice! Disgraced before the Lord, just like he said!
(MARY-ANNE and ALMA have ENTERED)
Why should that matter to you now? I’m dead. Remember? Please, Dad, just let me get by.
Oh. Hey there, little sister. Don’t you cry. Goodbye, and may God bless your heart, so good. I swear that I would save you, if I could.
It’s true. He’s dead to me. He has no right To be my son, if he’s a sodomite.
Oral, call the boy back while there’s time. You’re breaking your own heart, and that’s a crime.
My heart is closed to him, by God above!
(MARY-ANNE holds her hand up to ORAL, like a traffic cop – or a Supreme.)
Stop it, Daddy, in the name of love!
You’re always telling me to think of Mother; She’d want us to be good to one another.
You say these days you’re feeling like a new man But what you just did isn’t even human.
If being “saved” means acting like you’ve lost Your decency, then that’s too high a cost. I know you say a girl should just obey And I have tried to live my life that way; You were the one I looked up to, and trusted, But now it’s like what’s good in you got busted. There’s no one who loves Daniel more than you –
Why hurt him, for something you always knew Deep down inside? Make peace with it, at last.
Do you think I’ll just stand here and be sassed By you, young miss? Well, least said, soonest mended.
(with a nod at PUSSER)
It’s time you said your vows with your intended.
(frightened glance at PUSSER)
No, Daddy, there’s too much I have to plan I’m finishing it up, fast as I can. Already I have something old, it’s true And Alma’s helping me sew something blue, I’ll buy new shoes, but I still have to borrow –
Quit stalling, girl! You’ll marry him tomorrow!
As God is my redeemer, you’re my rock. You shielded me, then helped me through this shock. In twenty ways, you’ve proved yourself my friend – The only one on whom I can depend. Tomorrow we will change up the accounts; Not only will I give you large amounts Of cash for more commercials on TV But as you’ll soon be in our family, This house and all that’s in it should be yours.
I like to help you soldier through the wars Against the Devil and his disguised minions You know I always give you my opinions, But I don’t want your warm heart over-reaching In gifts to me, just ‘cause you like my preaching.
You’ve earned more than each penny I can give; You give me strength, you show me how to live. Beside this house we’ll build your factory For Holy Water.
Well, it seems to me If it’s a comfort just to have me by you – I wouldn’t be a Christian to deny you.
END OF SCENE THREE