By Derek Wenmoth
Two friends walking home after an afternoon shopping pass people with various needs.
Rosie - her friend, assertive and opinionated
(The next three characters could be imagined)
A young mother with a child in a pram
A person collecting for a charity (Salvation Army)
[Anna and Rosie walk on together, then stop as if at a pedestrian crossing waiting for the lights to change]
Anna: I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get home - my feet are killing me.
Rosie: [pressing the crossing button repeatedly] Darned crossings - why do the things always say wait just when I get to them? [presses button again, impatiently]
Anna: Calm down, Rosie, our turn will come - the cars need to cross too, you know!
Rosie: Yeah - well why can't they go after us? When I'm finished shopping I just want to get home - now!
[They laugh together - then Rosie looks across the stage - her expression changing as she leans across to Anna and whispers loudly...]
Sally Army - three o'clock
Anna: [looking to see what Rosie is on about] What?
Rosie: [pointing] Over there - the Sallies on the scrounge!
Anna: [Now aware of what Rosie is pointing at] Oh - the Salvation Army. They're not on the scrounge - they're collecting [quickly searches in her purse and drops some coins in the officer's box as he passes.] Here we go then. [Rosie deliberately looks the other way and pretends she hasn't seen him]
Rosie: What did you do that for?
Anna: Do what?
Rosie: Give them money - you'll only encourage them!
Anna: But I want to encourage them - the Salvation Army do a great job!
Rosie: Sure they do - they do a great job scrounging money from you at street corners, and interrupting you while you're trying to have a quiet drink in the pub!
Anna: Rosie - what I mean is they do a great job helping those who need it, they have an excellent drug rehabilitation programme going in our town - and what about Jenny Oliver -she used their food bank when her husband was laid off at the factory a few months ago.
[The lights change, the pair cross]
Rosie: [Sensing she's on the back foot] Yeah, yeah - so they do some good here and there. [More assertively] But that doesn't give them the right to keep pestering us for money.
Anna: Come on Rosie - how do you expect them to do everything they do without money?
Rosie: They believe in God, right?
Rosie: Then let God do something about it
Anna: [exasperated] Oh, Rosie.... you don't mean that!
Rosie: Sure I mean it - it's His mess - let Him clean it up! Their 'God' is supposed to be so full of love and peace and joy - let Him do something about bringing a bit of love, peace and joy to the druggies... or the unemployed....
Anna: But Rosie...
Rosie: [Interrupting - on a roll now...] No, I mean it. I'd find this whole 'God' thing a lot easier to handle if I could only see Him doing something about all these problems we face. Instead all we have is a bunch of do-gooders standing on street corners depriving you of your small change. It just doesn't add up. [Walks on with purpose - Anna does a little run to catch up.] Now - which way to our cars?
Anna: [caught unaware by this question] Uh - down this way, one block along. [both change direction on stage]
Rosie: That's right - let's cross here and go down that side.
Anna: Why? We can get there on this side of the road.
Rosie: Yes - but I want to avoid the buskers - bunch of musical illiterates with out of tune instruments, and...
Anna: [interrupting] And, they're always asking for money - right?
Rosie: [self-righteously] Right.
Anna: Well I quite like hearing what some of them play - I'm going down this side.
[The pair walk on together, pausing now and again to listen to a busker. On one occasion Anna reaches into her purse and throws some coins into a guitar case. Rosie takes her arm and moves her along]
Rosie: What did you do that for?
Anna: Why not? I liked what he was playing, and I wanted to show my appreciation. What's wrong with that? At least he's doing something creative to earn a little money.
Rosie: Yeah - right, and he'll probably spend it creatively too!
Anna : Rosie - you really are in a mood today!
Rosie: [Strides out a little] Hmph!
Anna: Just a minute Rosie...
[Anna walks off to the left for a moment - Rosie stops and waits for her to return]
Rosie: Where did you go?
Anna: Didn't you see - that woman over there was having trouble getting her pram onto the footpath - she needed a lift. These gutters are really such a pain...
Rosie : [stands facing Anna - hands on hips] You just can't help yourself, can you!
Anna: What do you mean?
Rosie: Miss 'goodie two shoes' - if you're not helping the starving in Africa, you're out there rehabilitating drug addicts or helping solo mothers raise their families. You never stop do you?
Anna: And what would you expect me to do - leave them to suffer?
Rosie: Like I told you - if there really is a God up there [looks upwards] then let Him sort it out. What difference is it going to make if I give a bit of money here, or help someone out there? The problems are too big - too complex. It's all too hard to think about.... [remembers that they're headed for their cars] Come on - let's get home.
Anna: Well, I don't care what you say - I think we should be prepared to help - to give something of ourselves. Ah - here's your car - mine's a bit further along.
Rosie: [Rummaging to get keys out of her bag] Oh - I can't wait to get home... [continues rummaging - a frown appearing on her face] Oh no...
Anna: [Stops in her tracks and looks back at her friend] What's up
Rosie: [Pointing in her car window] I've gone and locked my keys in the car - look!
Anna: Oh - Rosie!
Rosie: [Looking at her watch] What am I going to do?
Anna : Well Rosie, as I see it you have two choices...
Anna: You can either ask for help from someone, or you stand her and wait for God to do something about it for you!
© Derek Wenmoth 1997
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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.
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