God: Good morning/evening. I am God. (Pause) I see youíre amused at
that. Some of you are thinking, ĎThatís not God, thatís just an ordinary
guy dressed up funny.í Some of you are thinking, ĎSince when was God short,
bald, and needed to wear glasses.í And some of you are thinking, ĎThatís
John McNeil Ė whatís he on about this time?í I could answer, ĎHow do you
know Iím not God. How do you know I donít choose to look like John McNeil
at this time Ė even though he is short and bald and needs glasses.í After
all, Iíve appeared in some even funnier disguises down through the centuries.
Burning bushes, and lambs, and so on. Whatever was needed at the time.
The truth is, I appear in a thousand different ways to each of you. Youíve all seen me, but most probably you didnít recognise me at the time. When you were kicking your mother in the ribs Ė from the inside Ė I was there with you. Actually, that was probably when you came closest to recognising me. But children do forget quickly once they leave the womb. When your mother first fed you, I was there. Your mother was me, in a very real sense. I gave her the job of caring for you, teaching you, changing your nappies. You certainly looked on her as God at the time Ė she was the centre of your universe for many months. And the same went for your father, of course.
Then others came along, and each of them in turn was me to you. Your teachers, your football coach, the owner of the corner dairy who gave you a free replacement when you dropped your ice cream. I admit that some of them didnít represent me too well at times. But even then, I was still there.
I see that some of you are still puzzled. Why am I bothering to tell you all this? Iím just setting the scene so that I can introduce you to a young acquaintance of mine. His nameís Richard West. Youíll meet him in a moment. Richardís a pretty average sort of dude. His mum and dad divorced when he was 12. He only just scraped a pass in 6th Form Certificate. Heís working now stacking shelves at the Warehouse, and he only does that so he can earn enough to go partying down The Strip at the weekend. Heíd like to move in with his girlfriend, but heís worried about this de facto property law.
Richard doesnít believe in me, even though Iíve been there with him in many different guises down the years. But I donít give up.
(As Richard enters, God turns round, taking off his toga).
Richard: Hey, Uncle John!
God: Hey Richard, good to see you. Howís the job going?
Richard: (cynical) Great career prospects. Weíre all trainee managers now. Not.
God: So why do you stick it?
Richard: It gives me enough to get by. Well, normally it does. But ...truth is, I canít pay my rent this week. I had to fix the muffler on the car or they wouldnít give me a warrant. And ... (quieter) I havenít eaten for two days.
Richard: Can you loan me? IĎll pay you back.
God: This is the third time in four months.
Richard: Itíll be the last. Honest.
God: You could do better than this...
Richard: Donít you go on at me, too! I didnít come for a lecture, just some help.
God: Which is more loving, Richard? To give you a loan and see you no better off in another couple of months...or to offer you a better way?
Richard: There you go again, ramming your religion down my throat. I donít need this.... (exits)
God: (sadly) Heíll take the gift, but he wonít take the giver. (Brightens) But, hey, itís party time. And now itís time to be Richardís second-best mate, Greg.
EFX: Rock music, flashing lights.
(God dons a baseball cap and begins to dance.)
(Enter Richard, drunk. He staggers across the stage, trying to dance, blunders into God and clutches on to him.)
Richard: Hey man, what a great party. I feel awful.
God: You look terrible. What have you been drinking?
Richard: Iíve only had a couple of beers. I canít be drunk yet.
God: Youíve had more than two beers. Youíre plastered.
Richard: Iíve only had two beers, I tell you. I bought one, and I drank Susieís while she was dancing. Some dude gave it to her, but she didnít want it.
God: I can guess whatís happened, then. That beer was spiked. He probably planned to drag Susie off and have her. I told you this wasnít a good scene. Iíd better get you home.
Richard: Youíre always Mr-know-it-all, arenít you! (Drunkenly grandly) ĎThe truth shall set you free!í (beat) Well, hereís a truth for you. Iím fed up with your holier-than-thou attitude. Your kind of truth is a pain in the butt. The only truth is experience, but you wouldnít know what that is.... (he staggers and collapses).
(God takes off his baseball cap, dons a doctorís coat and stethoscope. He lifts Richard onto a bed, takes an oxygen mask and places it over Richardís face. Richard remains motionless.)
God: (Talking to himself more than Richard) Itís a good job your friend had a cell phone with him. If the ambulance had been much longer getting to you, you would have been in real trouble. Choking on your vomit. Goodness knows what sort of poison that was in your drink. A stomach pumpís not pleasant, but itís saved your life. Thatís one you owe us.
(Stands, takes off coat and stethoscope)
God: Youíve been running hard, Richard, but this episode has shaken
you more than you realise. Your way, your truth, your life... they havenít
worked out too well, have they. It hurt me to let you go on that way, but
I had to let you try it Youíve no idea how devious I can be, though. Your
night nurse is a lovely Christian girl, and I think you are just about
ready to listen to her. The chaplain is a good friend of mine, too. And
funny thing, this chuch they go to runs a very good Alpha course. Weíll
be meeting again very soon.
© John McNeil 2002, all rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 8024, New Zealand.