Excerpt from Fast and Loose, an ethical collaboration

Wake God’s Man

The question: If you discover an awful secret, should you tell?

Scene Zero
by José Cruz González

(The shape of a human body is suspended horizontally above the stage. The body is wrapped in shards of white cloth like a mummy. Green weeds grow out of it. Onstage is a small delicate table with a vase filled with Easter lilies. BETH and ANNIE stand onstage. They are sisters. BETH is older. They are dressed in black.)

BETH
(To ANNIE.)
She’s late.

ANNIE
Don’t start.

BETH
She’s never on time. It’s embarrassing. I’m always the first to arrive. Call her.

ANNIE
Don’t start, Beth. Sarah will be here.

BETH
Why must you always protect her?

ANNIE
Look, don’t even go there.

Scene Two
by John Walch

(An intense light begins to shine from the mummified form hanging over the stage. The light is white hot. Something begins spilling from the mummified form—pecans. The pecans hit the stage deck and scatter. The spilling pecans stop as quickly as they started; the body remains full. A MAN wearing a hat enters carrying a bucket. He steps on one of the pecans. CRACK. He picks up the pecan and eats the nut inside. He gathers all the pecans that have spilled on stage in his hat. He moves just off, sits on the bucket, pulls out a nutcracker, and begins shelling pecans.)

MAN
One thing nobody ever tells you about pecans is that they’re a powerful aphrodisiac, lot like oysters. Stronger than oysters—more zinc, I think. See it’s a chemical thing, scientific fact, nothing to do with ethics or God. Nobody ever tells you that though, ’cause who would want to blame what they done wrong on a pecan?

(The MAN cracks another pecan.)

Scene Three
by Kirsten Greenidge

(Above the stage the body seems to inhale, then exhale. Hat in hand, the MAN climbs the Food Bank ladder, up to where the body is suspended. He uses a knife to cut a hole in the face of the body [the body’s eyes or mouth is a suggestion]. He carefully sifts pecan shells into the body from his hat).

MAN
Nobody wants to blame it on a pecan. (sifts/pours). But. You could. (sifts/pours).

" ‘Not me. Whatever happened it wasn’t me, don’t blame me. It was something I ate, something I thought when I ate, something I thought before I ate: a mistake. Not the real me." We do it all the time. Instead of accept. Instead of listening and accepting, we explain and explain. Or try to explain and explain. That’s got nothing to do with God, either. (sifts/pours).

(The body expands. The sound of something about to burst/stretched to its limit. It grows louder. Bright light fills the stage.)

Scene Four
by Julie Marie Myatt

(The body bag is empty and body is gone from above the stage. The MAN enters with a broom and sweeps the pecan shells across the stage.)

MAN
There's always a trace of something left behind from the appetites of man. Always a crack or a shell or a wrapper or a sock or a feather or a trail of blood. A laugh. A scream. A voice...Unheard. Somewhere. Left behind. Somewhere in the wake. Of the action… (continues to sweep)…what a mess, these nuts—so much trouble just to get that little bite of pleasure--I call them pecans, while some call them peecans—I guess I can’t help myself. I must have a few guilty pleasures. You think you can give them all up, and you do, you do, give them up, but the appetite—the appetite has a mind of it’s own, and I’m not sure I was expecting that—I was a young man when I was called, Idealist, what did I know?—and I’m not sure God understands how powerful that appetite is, that to give it up is—is not always possible.

(Beth enters. Kicks a pecan shell towards him.)

BETH
You missed one.

MAN
Thank you.

BETH
Who you talking to?

MAN
No one.

BETH
God abandon you?

MAN
Perhaps.

BETH
Good.

(He continues to sweep.)

Contributors

José Cruz Gonzalez

John Walch

John Walch is an American playwright based in New York City.

Kirsten Greenidge

Julie Marie Myatt

Julie Marie Myatt has had plays produced in New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Louisville.

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