What are friends for

By Alden Frye


Raymond has a dream in which he is challenged by his friend as to why he never shared the Gospel with him. A third person delights in pointing out Raymond's deficiencies.


RAYMOND: A man in his early sixties, casually dressed, gentle by nature.
COLLIE: A man of similar age, successful, energetic, dressed in golf attire.
CROW: A young man, dressed in black, cruelly sarcastic, arrogant, venomous.
LISA: A lady in late fifties, casually dressed, loving wife of Raymond.


(As the scene opens, Raymond is sitting in a winged-back chair stage right, alongside him a table holding a bible, a travel magazine, TV remote, and a glass of colored liquid, newspaper being read by Raymond sitting in chair. Raymond sips from glass, puts newspaper on the floor, sets glass on top of Bible. He looks over again, picks up glass, dries the Bible off on his pants leg, and sets both on table. Stretching out, he throws one leg over chair arm and settles back, closing his eyes.)

Lisa: (off-stage) Hon, can I get you anything? Supper will be a little while yet.

Raymond: (drowsy, eyes closed) What's that? Oh, no, I'm fine.

Collie: (anxious voice off-stage) Barbara, where'd you go? Hey, I need help here!

Raymond: (startled and confused) What!? Who is it? Who's there?

Collie: Is that…Raymond? Hey, Ray! I need your help! (rushes in stage left holding a putter)

Raymond: Collie, what are you doing here? I thought you were in Jamaica.

Collie: (exasperated) What am I doing? I'm bogeying this hole!! Can you believe this?! (looking around) Hey, wait a minute… Where… where am I?

Raymond: Well, as far as I know, I'm in my living room. And my guess is… I'm, well, having some kind of weird dream. But I gotta say, you're not my first choice of somebody to dream about! I mean, nothing personal, but--

Collie: Cut it out, Ray! I'm a little scared here! I don't get this! I don't get this AT ALL!!

Raymond: Hey: maybe I'm in your dream right now--right this very second--for some reason. I mean, strange things do happen. I saw that on TV once where two people were in each other's dreams at the same time--

Collie: (impatiently) Ray, knock it off! Something is very badly wrong here, OK? (pacing, trying to sort out thoughts) So, I can't be in the rough... no... I'm sure I made the green… this would be the tenth--no, the ninth hole. And we've got to hurry because the storm is coming (looks to sky).

Raymond: OK! So what do you want me to do? You're not even supposed to be here!

Collie: (lost in thoughts) So I'm waiting for… and then this real bright flash… (very agitated) Ray… what's going on?! Where's Barbara? (pause) Wait...

Raymond: (suddenly serious) OK, OK! Take it easy! Let's sort this all out!

Collie: (long pause) Ray, can you… well, do you know how to… pray? I mean, you know, talk to the "Man Upstairs"?

Raymond: Well, yeah, I guess…

Collie: See, I know you're real religious, and you're always praying for people, and if there's one thing I've learned, when things get scary, get with somebody who's religious!

Crow: (voice off-stage) Now there's a plan.

Collie: What?

Raymond: That wasn't me… Who's that? Who's here? Is somebody else here, too? (pause, silence) That was weird! Anyway…

Collie: Anyway, can you please pray or something? I mean, I think I may be… (deep breath) I might be dead!

Raymond: That's crazy! You're talking out of your head! You're right here! Look around, OK! Quit this--you're scaring me, buddy!

Collie: I am looking around! I know it's crazy, but suppose I am dead. Is this supposed to be Heaven, or purgatory, or am I in… well, the other place? You know… "down there"?

Crow: (off-stage) Yeah, Ray, you know, "down there"!

(long, empty silence)

Collie: Ray? Talk to me Ray!

Raymond: Just give me a second here. (pauses) Collie, I don't know what to tell you…(hesitantly) Hey, that sermon tape I gave you? Did you listen to it?

Collie: (indignant) The one about sin? Yes, all about sin. Yeah, I started to, and then I thought--you know what--isn't this just a little bit arrogant? Who's talking to who about sin? I'm not the guy who's slowly pickling his liver! Does that make the Nasdaq easier to read (points to glass), or is that some new type of "communion wine"?

Raymond: Collie…

Collie: I'm not the guy with the hots for a certain young lady--and I do mean young! You know who I'm talking about, OK? Do I need to go on? (no response, Raymond turns away, badly stung) OK, OK, I'm sorry! Forget all that! We've been friends too long for this. (pauses, then gently) I need some help here. I need something, anything you can give me now. Can you--I don't know--put in a good word for me? I mean, in case I AM dead? You'll stand by me, Ray, I trust you.

Crow: (off-stage, chuckling) Yeah, Ray, he trusts you!

Raymond: Who are you!? In God's name show yourself!!

Crow: (appears stage left, "tah-dah" style) Here he comes to save the day!!

Collie: Who are you? What do you want?

(Crow spies putter, picks it up, inspects it, shrugs, and takes a few practice swings. He glares at Collie, points and snaps his fingers, and Collie takes a ball out of his pocket and tosses it to Crow. Crow putts ball across stage, pumps his fist triumphantly.)

Crow: You're not dead, Collie, not yet. But the clock is ticking! Listen…hear it?

Collie: Hear what? What are you talking about? (plaintively) Raymond…?

Crow: Aren't you going to help your friend out, Raymond? You've got "religion", right? AM I RIGHT?? That makes you the "church man" on-the-scene, now, doesn't it, know what I'm saying? (returns his attention to practice) Why don't you toss him a few morsels of wisdom from your little book of answers. Or sing him a Gospel tune. (turns back, gleeful humming "I'll Fly Away") Hey, yunno what? Pick up your Book, Raymond, and read him some sweet words! Read Hebrews 9:27 for him. (long, painful wait while Raymond fumbles hopelessly with Bible) Pretty handy with that, isn't he Collie? And HE'S your spiritual advisor, your best hope--your only hope--right now. Raymond, I believe that's page 967 in that particular copy... Clock's ticking, Ray!

Raymond: I've got it, OK!? "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face Judgement."

Crow: Man, that's kinda spooky, huh? Gives me the shivers just hearing it! How about Second Corinthians, chapter five, verse eight, if you please, sir.

Collie: Man, you sure do know your Bible! Maybe YOU can help me out here…

(starts to move cautiously toward Crow who repels him with putter)

Raymond: Collie, no…wait…I'll find it…(fumbles with pages)

Crow: 2nd Corinthians 5:8. Why Raymond, are you sweating? Page 930.

Raymond: (proudly) Already there! And by the way, it's page…(turns pages) yeah, anyway (begins to read grandly) "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (Raymond moves toward Collie to show him text, Crow recoils sharply) That's right, Collie! You can't be dead, or you'd be… (trails off)

Crow: You gotta understand, now, Raymond goes to church every Sunday, so these verses make more sense to him than they do to you. And, what's really fascinating is that he knows a whole lot about the future--his, and yours! (turns to audience) But, more on that later (pauses, taps chin studiously) Why yes, of course! That's it! How very brilliant of me! Let's let Collie give it a try! (steps back) Raymond, give him the book.

(Raymond hesitantly hands Bible to Collie)

Crow: Let's try an easy one, just for practice. Page 910…second column... sixth paragraph. That's Romans 10:9 to you, Raymond. This should be really encouraging, I'm sure. Tick-tock Collie! (walks away and covers his ears)

Collie: (haltingly) "That if you confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (looks at Raymond, bewildered, then rereads to himself)

(long, tense silence)

Crow: Tick-tock, fellows!

Collie: So, should I do what it says? Should I confess about some things?

Raymond: (turns away to hide emotions) Collie, I've been meaning to talk to you about this. Really, I have… (searching for words) and it's just that…

Collie: (Desperate) Talk to me, Raymond!!

Raymond: Well, what you need to do is: -

Crow: Tick-tock.

Raymond: Will you stop with that! Please! (turns toward Collie, confident) Remember a couple of weeks ago when you watched "Touched By An Angel" here at the house?

Crow: (giggling, to audience) Oh, this ought to be a hoot!

Collie: (a little relieved) Ok, buddy, now I'm with you! Great show! Seen it twice since then, too. Taped both of them! I like the reality part--you know-- good people go to Heaven! No weird theology, just reality!

Raymond: Well, no… That's what I want to-

Collie: Did you guys see "Ghost"? You know, the movie? I've got the video if you want to borrow it! (looks at Crow) Well, maybe not…

Crow: And they say nothing good comes out of Hollywood! Yes!! (pumps fist)

Collie: (now very excited) The guy who killed the other guy got dragged off by the little demons to his doom, and the Patrick Swazey guy went on to Heaven.

Raymond: No, Collie, no! It's not that way! It's not like that at all! See, you've got to be born again to go to Heaven! Only Jesus Christ can save you!

Crow: (suddenly irritated) TICK-TOCK!!

Collie: Knock it off!! (walks toward Raymond) You gotta do what now?

Crow: (steps between facing Collie) Ray, allow me. What your friend is saying is that he's different from you, so he gets to go to Heaven. You, on the other hand... Well, look for things to get pretty rough down the road. Let's just say your elevator has no "up" button. But hey, lighten up, Ray! His clock is ticking, remember. You get the ecstasy… and my man Collie gets… whatever! But what's that to you Raymond? (turns to face him) It's not your responsibility now is it? You made your choice, he made his.

Collie: (panicking) Choice? What choice? What's he talking about?

Crow: Oh my gosh, that's right! You forgot to tell him about the choice! (pauses) Sort of slipped your mind, huh Raymond? But, hey, what are friends for? (Collie, in growing desperation, leafs through Bible he's holding, looking for something, anything. Crow, still grinning in Raymond's face, calls over his shoulder to Collie…) Collie, turn to page 999… first column, verse fifteen. Share that with us,

Collie! That's Revelation 20:15, Raymond. Certainly do know your Bible, don't I, Raymond?

Collie: (trembling) "If anyone's name was not found written in the 'Book of Life', he was thrown into the lake of fire." (repeats slowly, searching for meaning)

(long, painful pause. Crow struts off stage. Collie approaches Raymond)

Collie: Ray… what's this, this Book of Life? I think I need to get signed up, or registered, or something!

Raymond: (turns away slightly) Collie, I don't know where to begin… I'm so sorry! Collie, I've messed things up real bad! Real bad!!

Collie: Whatever, OK? Just tell me about this Book!

Raymond: (haltingly, scared) I... I don't think... (starts to break down) I'm sorry...

Collie: You're sorry!? I took you and Lisa to THE Citrus Bowl! We fished every lake we could find--in MY boat! When you two were on the rocks, I was there to help you mend your marriage! You're sorry!? Hey, I'm the friend who talked YOU into going back to your church when you dropped out of everything, because I knew it was important to you and Lisa both! And now, when I need help, there's a problem?! "Sorry" doesn't work, Ray!!

Raymond: But you went with us--twice--to church remember! I invited you!

Collie: So how's that help me now? I didn't need another social club--I needed answers! Answers I didn't get! (coldly) Answers you didn't feel were important enough to share with me!

Raymond: I don't know…(pause) I guess I wanted you to like me. I needed a good friend. Anyway, you got upset when we talked about it the next day. I wanted to tell you about, you know, Jesus, but I was afraid I'd drive you away, ...that you'd think I was some kind of religious fanatic!

Collie: I knew that if it was really that important, you'd let me know. I trusted you. I knew how to get good tickets, and you knew about religion. (walks away, long pause, mind racing, then a growing realization) Hey… wait a minute! That means you knew about this Book! And you knew about this Lake of Fire business…(turns to Raymond) That's... Hell, right? (anger builds) That Lake of Fire is Hell, isn't it Raymond? And you knew this all along--and you never explained it to me!? RAYMOND! (in a rage) WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?! (shoves Raymond, who falls back in chair and covers his face. Walks away growing more quiet and reflective. Long pause as Raymond sobs. Then speaks slowly, calmly, and with great emphasis) But you needed a fishing buddy with a bass boat…! (pause) Please... can you tell me just this one thing? Can you tell me how to get my name in that Book? (long silence)

Crow: (off-stage) Tick-tock!

Collie: But wait… that's right! (flood of relief) I'm not dead!! That guy said so! And so did you! Raymond, it's NOT too late!!

Crow: (faintly, off-stage) Tick-tock.

Collie: (ecstatic) Raymond… IT'S NOT TOO LATE!! I've got to find Barbara!

(Collie runs off stage right. Loud buzzer sounds off-stage. Lights come up. Raymond uncovers face and looks around, puzzled)

Raymond: What was that?

Lisa: (voice off-stage): What did you say, Hon?

Raymond: What was that buzzer?

Lisa: That was the dryer, my dear! You've heard it a hundred times! You were sleeping in there, weren't you? (Raymond stands as Lisa enters stage- right) You need to start going to bed earlier, don't you think? Come on, supper's ready, and I've got a class tonight.

Raymond: That was strange. Did you hear voices in here a minute ago?

Lisa: I thought you had the TV on, but it sounded more like you muttering. Talking in your sleep, I guess.

Raymond: Yeah, I guess I must have been dreaming. Hey, can I maybe eat later? I'm sorry, but I need to run over to Collie's for a few minutes.

Lisa: That might take a while. They're on vacation, remember? Boy you sure do need to get more sleep!

Raymond: Oh yeah, that's right. I guess I forgot.

(Lisa picks up travel magazine and thumbs through it.)

Lisa: Four whole weeks on a Caribbean island… can you imagine!? Knowing them, she's in a hammock in the shade with some romance novel, and he's golfing… or jogging and listening to some "self-improvement" tape. You know, with all the money they have, he's still looking for some new way to succeed in life. He's never happy with anything he achieves. (stands and gently adjusts Raymond's collar) I am so blessed to have a husband like you.

Raymond: (still distracted) Did they leave a phone number with us? I need to talk to him about something.

Lisa: I think I wrote it down somewhere, OK? But can we eat first, please? (looks at watch) I've got a class to get to, remember? (exits stage right)

Raymond: You're right, I'm sorry. They'll be back by Sunday, won't they? I guess it can wait until then. Lord knows I don't want to interrupt their vacation.

(follows her off stage right)


Copyright Alden Frye, all rights reserved.
This script may be used free, provided no charge is made for entrance to the performance. In return the author would like to be told of any performance. He may be contacted at pandafrye@yahoo.com