by Michael A. Charles
A living room. TODD and FLO and LEA are silently sitting.
We hear a gunshot and a scream. More silence. More sitting. Now Flo looks puzzled.
Flo: Did you hear that?
Flo: That scream.
Todd: Oh. Yes.
Flo: Well? What was it?
Lea: It sounded like Sid.
Todd: Oh! Sid's back!
They go to the door. Enter SID. He has been shot in the back. He falls to the floor and moans.
Todd: You're back!
Lea: So, how are you?
Todd: Did you enjoy yourself?
Todd: I said, did you enjoy yourself?
Lea: You know, when I saw you come through that door, I said to myself, Sid's back!
Todd: And here he is!
Lea: I see him too!
Todd: Ha ha!
Lea: So. Let's all sit down.
Todd: Come on, Sid, let's go sit down.
Todd pulls Sid to his feet. Sid screams.
Lea: What was that, Sid?
Todd: I think he screamed again.
Lea: Well. Sid seems to be doing a lot of screaming tonight, doesn't he?
Todd: Ha ha.
Sid is taken to the sofa. Lea and Todd sit. Flo is looking at the floor.
Flo: Say, what's this?
Todd: What's what?
Flo: This, on the floor.
Lea: It's probably a goldfish.
Flo: No, it's not a goldfish.
Todd gets up to look.
Flo: See, it's on the floor, here.
Todd: Well, you know, that might be...
Lea: I'm coming over to see.
As she gets up, she bumps Sid and he screams.
Lea: Quiet, you screamer you! Ha.
She looks at the floor where Flo is pointing.
Lea: Well, you know, that might be...
Flo: I think it's blood.
Lea: Do you think so?
Todd: You know, it could be.
Lea: But where could it have come from?
Lea: So it can't be blood!
Flo: No, I think it is.
Todd: Do you think so?
Lea: You know, it could be.
Todd: Well. Well.
Lea: Ha! I know! It's Sid's blood!
Lea: Yes! He was lying right here, just a few moments ago! It must be his!
Todd: Ha ha! That ends that mystery!
Lea: Sid, you screamer you!
Lea and Todd sit.
Lea: To think, all that commotion over nothing.
Flo: Is he bleeding?
Lea: Well, I don't know. That's a good question.
She looks him over.
Lea: I just don't know.
Todd looks him over.
Todd: What's that there?
Lea: You know, I think that's blood!
Flo: He's bleeding?
Lea: You know, I guess he must be.
Todd: Ha ha! Sid, Sid, Sid.
Lea and Todd sit. Flo comes over to look.
Flo: Oh, it's all over his jacket!
Lea: Not to worry! A little soda water, that'll lift right out.
Flo: What are we going to do?
Todd: Well, I'm feeling a mite peckish.
Flo: Shouldn't we do something?
Lea: We should. We should eat.
Todd: Yes. That's just what I was thinking.
Flo: I mean, shouldn't we do something about Sid.
Lea: No, we should eat.
Todd: That's right, eat.
Flo: What about Sid?
Lea: He can eat too.
Todd: That seems fair.
Lea: So, what should we eat?
Flo: What about Sid?
Todd: A worthy suggestion! But I think Sid might object.
Lea: Ha ha!
Todd: We could order in.
Flo: We have to call a doctor.
Todd: We could order in a doctor!
Lea: Ha ha!
Todd: Ho ho!
Lea: What about Chinese?
Flo: We must call a doctor!
Lea: Is something the matter, dear?
Todd: Are you all right?
Flo (calmly): We must call a doctor.
Todd: All right.
He goes to the telephone.
Todd: I'll call a doctor. (a pause) Now, how would I go about doing that?
Lea: Try dialling nine-three-one twenty-seven thirty-five.
Todd dials. He waits with the phone at his ear.
Todd: No, that doesn't seem to be it.
Lea: Then try four-four-four five hundred and two.
Todd hangs up, dials, waits.
Todd: I think I'm a number short.
Lea: Oh? Try zero.
Todd adds a zero, waits.
Lea: My mother always said, if all else fails, dial zero.
Todd hangs up.
Todd: It's no use.
Lea: All right, then, let's see about getting some food.
Flo: Wait! Why don't you just look in the telephone book?
Lea: Now, why should he want to do that, dear?
Flo: Because Sid needs a doctor!
Todd: Ha ha! The only thing Sid needs is some scream medication.
Lea: That's right, some scream syrup.
Todd: Why don't you sit down, dear. All this worry about Sid! You've been standing all night.
Lea: He's right. You're so aloof tonight!
Lea: Positively aloof.
Flo hesitates, then sits. Todd sits. A long pause. Sid moans.
Finally, Flo stands, retrieves the phone book, goes to the telephone, looks up a number, dials.
As Flo talks quietly in the background, Lea and Todd engage in the following conspiratorial conversation:
Lea: What is she doing?
Todd: Have you noticed how very odd she has been acting tonight?
Lea: Very odd, indeed! Not to mention aloof!
Todd: You know, I don't want to sound the alarm too soon, but...
Lea: But what?
Todd: Promise me you won't say I'm sounding the alarm too soon.
Lea: I promise!
Todd: No, you have to promise me you won't say I'm sounding the alarm too soon.
Lea: I promise!
Todd: No, you have to promise.
Lea: I promise!
Todd: That's better.
Todd: What? Oh.
A dramatic pause.
Todd: I fear...that she might be crazy.
Lea: Oh no, I'm sure you're simply mistaken!
Todd: Perhaps. But we must be brutally honest with ourselves. Mercilessly honest. We must follow the judgements of our eyes and not our notoriously short-sighted hearts. Are not the clues all there? First, she acts very odd. Then, she acts very aloof. Then, just when we think we've finally got her settled down, she gets up to use the telephone. To phone somebody, no doubt! I don't want to sound the alarm too soon, but...
Lea: Oh! Oh! Oh, I'm sure you're just mistaken! I'm sure you're...I promised I wouldn't say it, but...
Todd: You promised!
Lea: I must say it!
Todd: You promised you wouldn't!
Lea: But I must, I must!
Todd: All right, go ahead then.
Lea: You're sounding the alarm too soon.
Todd: I knew I should never have trusted a woman!
Lea: I'm sorry. But I'm sure you're just mistaken.
A long pause.
Todd: Oh, you're right. Of course I'm just mistaken. I mean, she's probably just...just phoning for some food!
Lea: Some Chinese food.
Todd: Absolutely! She's a fine girl, she's well as a whip, she's phoning for some food!
Lea: What else could it be?
Todd: What else would it be!
Flo hangs up. They all sit. A pause.
Flo: I just called the doctor.
Lea gasps, and she and Todd exchange a look.
Flo: He'll be over momentarily.
Flo: That will be him.
She rises, goes to the window, and looks out.
Lea: Aren't you going to let him in?
Flo: It's not the doctor. It's Jesus Christ.
She opens the door. Enter JESUS CHRIST.
Todd: Oh, Christ!
Todd: Hello, there, Jesus.
Jesus and Todd shake hands.
Jesus nods at the others.
Todd: It's good to see you. I was wondering if you would put in an appearance.
Jesus: Well. You know. It's good to see you.
Todd: And you. Oh, do you all know one another?
Jesus: No, I don't think we've met.
Todd: Well, then, here you are!
Jesus nods again.
Lea: Would you like to sit down, Lord?
Jesus: I'm afraid I can't stay. I just dropped by to say hello.
Jesus: So hello.
Lea & Todd (together): Hello!
Jesus: Is that man okay?
Todd: Oh, he's fine.
Jesus goes to him.
Jesus: Yes, my son?
Lea: He hasn't been too articulate tonight. He's just a little screamer, aren't you, Sid?
She slaps Sid playfully. He screams.
Jesus touches Sid's head. Sid groans.
He turns to leave.
Jesus: Well. It was good seeing you all.
Jesus nods at everyone, goes to leave. As he goes out, he bumps into the DOCTOR, coming in.
Jesus: Oh, I'm sorry, doctor.
Doctor: My fault, Lord.
Exit Jesus. Enter the doctor.
Doctor: I'm the doctor. So.
Flo: I'm the one who called you, doctor.
Doctor: Mm-hmm. And where is my patient?
Flo identifies Sid. The doctor goes to him.
Doctor: So, what seems to be the trouble here?
Flo: He's bleeding.
Doctor: Hmm? Oh-ho. Mm-hmm. A-ha.
The doctor examines the wound. Sid groans.
Doctor (reaching into his doctor's valise): Now, young man, would you tell me if it hurts when I do...this?
He abruptly pokes the wound with some kind of pointy instrument. Sid screams. A pause.
Flo (helpfully): I think he means yes.
Doctor (reaching into his bag again): Oh, he's a foreigner, is he? Mm-hmm. What about when I do...this?
The doctor pokes the wound with another, slightly different, pointy instrument. Sid screams. The doctor looks to Flo for translation.
Flo: What is it, doctor?
Doctor: I think there's something the matter with his back.
Flo: Can you be more specific?
Doctor: I can't make an official diagnosis without seeing some X-rays and CATscans and EKGs and Erlenmeyer flasks. But from what I can tell, judging from the presence of what appears to be blood on his lower back, his skin seems to have been broken at some point along the Lower Backal area. Now, what this means, I'm not sure; I'm no specialist. But it would tend to point towards some sort of...perhaps, penetration? With a sharp object, for instance? I wonder, just out of curiosity, has any one of you...stabbed him this evening?
They shake their heads.
Doctor: No. Then, perhaps...shot him? For instance, with a gun?
They shake their heads.
Doctor: Then I'm stumped.
Flo: What do you think his chances are, doctor?
Doctor: Things are looking a tad grim for your friend. I would say he has less than two minutes to live.
Todd (leaping up): What!
Lea: He means Sid.
Todd (relaxing): Oh, thank God.
Flo: What should we do?
Doctor: My recommendation would be to have him taken to a hospital for further tests...and quickly.
Todd takes a step forward.
Todd: Hold it one second, here, doctor! Now, I've been keeping quiet, but I'm only willing to put up with so much nonsense before I say something! And I've surpassed my quota tonight! I'm willing to indulge someone if they want to make a big deal out of nothing much at all, but only to a certain point! And we're now beyond that point!
A fairly long pause. Finally, Lea nudges him.
Todd: What? Oh, yes. You see, it's like this. Ever since Sid came through that door, she (meaning Flo) has been behaving very strangely. First it was a whole lot of concern over a few little spots of blood on the floor, and then a big to-do over calling in a doctor! And now you're here, doctor, and I gather that you're buying into this! I'm sorry, but I won't stand for it! I just wanted to have a quiet little get-together tonight, perhaps order in some Chinese food, maybe talk a little about this or that, and she seems to think she can ruin it with impunity! I hesitate to bring this up, but I feel I've no alternative! It's time to sound the alarm -- she is crazy!
The doctor is shocked.
Doctor: She's what!
Lea: That's right, just like he says. She's crazy.
Flo: I'm not!
Lea: You are, too!
Todd: And you've been hiding it from us the whole time we've known you!
Lea: If you had told us, we could have accepted you, learned to love you despite your mental instability.
Todd: But to hide it from us like this...
Lea: It's quite simply unforgivable.
Doctor: Young lady, this is a very serious charge they're bringing against you! How do you respond?
Sid screams very loudly.
The scream ends. All is silent. Flo goes to Sid.
She kneels and places her ear on his chest.
Flo: I think he's dead!
Lea: Oh, nonsense.
Todd: Don't listen to her, she's a crazy woman!
Doctor: Let me see him.
The doctor goes to Sid.
Lea: I don't believe this! What ruin this evening has come to!
Todd: It's all so absurd.
The doctor checks Sid's pulse, pulls open his eyelids, nudges him, slaps him, and so on.
Doctor: Hey! Hey! You dead?
The doctor stands.
Doctor: It's as I feared. I can't tell you how much it pains me to inform you...and of course, I can't make an official diagnosis until I have conducted a few more simple tests...to inform you that your friend is dead. I think.
Flo sinks to the floor. A pause.
Todd (to Lea): He means Sid, right?
Doctor: I suppose I ought to call an ambulance. May I use your phone book?
Lea (pointing): It's in that drawer.
The doctor gets the book and looks for a number. The door is opened and a MAN WITH A GUN enters.
Todd: Hello, there. (a pause) I'm sorry...should I know you?
Man: I don't think so. I'm looking for a fellow with a bullet wound in his back. Is he here?
Todd: We do have one man who's bleeding from a wound in his back, but we can't be certain what's caused it until a few more simple tests are done.
The man looks at Sid.
Man: No, this is him, all right. (a pause) Say, is he dead?
Todd: As a matter of fact, he is.
Man: Oh. That's that, then. Would you mind taking this?
He hands Todd the gun.
Man: Thanks a lot. It was a pleasure meeting you.
Exit the man. A pause.
Doctor: I can't seem to find the number in here.
Lea: Have you tried seven-seven-one fifteen seventy-one?
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