A Shared Distance by Gregory Boyd


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


ACT I

SCENE ONE

(From the stage right positioned shack exits Bentz, impeccably
outfitted in a uniform similar to that of the Canadian mounted police.
His uniform jacket is atop the shack obscuring the bottom of a sign
mounted to the roof. Bentz walks with a limp favoring his right leg,
down-stage in a rigid, near military march to kneel facing the
audience and begins to silently pray, eyes closed. A radio program
begins to play.)

RADIO ANNOUNCER
(voice over)
(Cheesy pipe organ is playing background music.)
Welcome brothers and sisters to the Prayer Force Radio Program. I'm
Brother Macs reminding you our Prayer Force Hotline is open twenty
four hours each and every day. Our Prayer Troopers are standing by to
listen to your needs and pray with you doubling your voice so the lord
can hear you more clearly. So dial 1-800-555-PRAY. Only 1 pound, five
pence per minute. Credit cards &checks accepted. Must be at least 18
years old or get your parent's permission. If they love you,
they'll let you.
(Explosion sound effect)
And now the man who'll fight hell with a water pistol for you;
Preacher Mann.
(Another voice fills the air. This time an older male with a slight
country accent who speaks in a cadence similar to a Franklin D.
Roosevelt speech.)

PREACHER MANN
Ya donuts and, and, and, ya beer and, and ya red meat a-a-and all
that no-good-for-ya stuff. Hurting ya body, clogging ya veins and your
very soul. Don't need it. Turn from it. What ya need is a new heart.
God is there and he has a holy transplant ah-waiting for ya and,
a-a-and the name of the procedure is acceptance of Jesus Christ
Almighty. Only then will ya heart be made new.
Yes, Jesus Christ, only child he was then but now, now he has a
multitude of brothers and sisters. But know ya this. He wants his
family to grow and it is up to us to expand the circle.
Now brothers and sisters we are all heaven's fruit and when ya soul
is ripe God'll come get ya. He'll come pluck ya up and take ya
home. I want ta leave ya with one question. The question, God's
question is this; when ya go are ya taking more people to heaven or
the sizzling pit?

And all God's people said

BENTZ
Amen.

(After several moments of intense prayer that at times seems vengeful
in nature and includes head nods as if Bentz is firmly agreeing with
himself, his eyes open and he rises with a bit of a struggle.)

(Bentz returns to the shack, reaches a hand inside the door and
extracts a broom. Beginning at his shack, Bentz sweeps the ground
beneath the boom gates flicking the dirt from Havalina towards
Carnaval with long identical sweeping broom strokes preformed with
military precision. Each stroke ends in a crisp snap that stops the
broom short of the border. After sweeping the boarder's length,
Bentz returns to his shack and leans the broom against the shack
exterior.)

(Bentz pauses a moment to straighten his shirt, untucking and
retucking it into his pants. He again reaches his hand inside the door
to extract a World War II style bayonet and affixes the bayonet atop
the broom. He holds the broom forward and then spins it in a
well-practiced complex display. After a few spinning maneuvers, he
snaps it to his shoulder and walks towards the spot where the boom
gate connects to his shack. Turning to face the shack's side, he
spins the rifle from his shoulder to deliver the bayonet into the
ground directly beneath the boom gate. He walks backwards dragging the
bayonet in the dirt creating a visible line in the sand between the
two nations.)

(Bentz returns to the shack, removes the bayonet from the broom and
replaces it and the broom neatly inside the door. He takes a moment to
visually inspect his work while taking a handkerchief from his back
pocket, wipes his brow and repockets it. Seeming very pleased with the
work, he then removes the jacket resting atop the shack. In doing so,
a third line of hand painted text is revealed so that the sign now
reads:
NOW LEAVING HAVALINA
GO WITH GOD
OR GO TO HELL.)

(While Bentz walks around his shack, SLIM, enters from the stage-right
on the Carnaval side and walks towards the stage-left positioned
shack. He has a very pleasant demeanor and is carrying a brown paper
bag lunch. His uniform while similar to Bentz's is unbuttoned and
disheveled.)

SLIM
Bentz!

(Bentz snaps his head up and sternly motions for Slim to be silent.
Then Bentz raises an authoritative index finger and taps his presented
watch twice.)

(Slim presents an exaggerated but playful "oops" expression and
pantomimes locking his lips with an invisible key.)

(Bentz looks back at his watch and robotically raises his index finger
in the air ready to visually alert Slim when they can speak.)

(While Bentz concentrates on his watch, Slim playfully pantomimes
tucking the invisible key up his ass for safe keeping. After inserting
the key, he gives his butt a playful wiggle, grins and pats his butt
twice.)

(Slim continues towards his shack with a grin but his demeanor alters
to discomfort sourced by a pain in his shoulder of the arm nearest the
audience. With his other hand, he rubs his shoulder then moves his
hand down in response to a new pain in his forearm.)

(Unbeknownst to Bentz whose finger is still ticking away the seconds,
Slim falls to the ground in the rigors of a full onset heart attack.
Slim's lunch bag falls across the border into Havalina territory.)

(Bentz, still looking at his watch, retracts his index finger into a
fist that he pumps once in the air to signify the workday's start.
He turns and cheerfully stretches out one arm to greet Slim.)

(Bentz looks down to find Slim on the ground in pain. He rushes to his
side but stops short at the line in the sand where he falls to one
knee. Both Slim and Bentz are speechless and helpless. Bentz notices
Slim's hand is reaching towards the boarder.)

(Slim, unable to speak, desperately points with his index finger and
Bentz looks behind him to see Slim's fallen lunch bag.)

(Bentz frantically looks from the bag to Slim with a confused
expression.)

(Slim brings the previously pointing finger to his mouth and uses his
hand to pantomime an eating motion towards his open mouth.)

(Bentz scrambles to the bag and rips out the contents. Lastly he pulls
a prescription bottle from the bag and holds it up towards Slim for
inspection.)

(Slim gives a weak but frantic "yes" head nod.)

(An emotionally rattled Bentz fumbles the bottle open and shakes a few
pills into his other hand.)

(Slim's hand reaches towards the border.)

(Bentz brings his pill bearing hand parallel to, and as close to the
line as possible without crossing it.)

(Bentz looks down at Slim's slow progress and drops the pill bottle
from his other hand to make an encouraging hand motion to Slim to
please bring his hand towards the border.)

(Slim's hand painstakingly inches forward but suddenly retracts in
the grip of a body wide shutter of pain. Slim turns a begging glare
towards Bentz.)

(Bentz recoils slightly before returning a frantic yet helpless
gesture.)

(Bentz looks down at his hand containing the pills and then lifts one
pinched between the fingers of his free hand. He closes one eye and
visually aligns the pill between his open eye and Slim's open mouth.
Without crossing the border, Bentz pitches the pill towards Slim's
mouth but misses. He tries several more times, each a misfire until
his hand is empty of pills. He turns and desperately searches the
ground for the discarded bottle.)

(Bentz finds the bottle, shakes a pill free, and successfully pitches
it into Slim's open mouth. Bentz celebrates momentarily but freezes
when Slim goes still and his hand falls limp, the fingertips landing
across the border in Havalina territory.)

(Bentz looks down realizing Slim is dead and curls his arms around
himself while his face bears caged sorrow. He stands still a moment
then emotionally erupts and angrily throws the pills across the border
into Carnaval territory then rounds up the bag and discarded food and
does the same with them.)

(BENTZ in a fit of rage, shakes his fist accusatorially towards the
Carnaval city lights and finally releases his anger in a scream.)

BENTZ
Philistines!

(Bentz calms his temper and looks down at Slim. He moves his foot
towards Slim's hand and gently pushes it back across the border.)

(BLACKOUT)

[end of extract]




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