“DO WE DO GOD’S WORK?”

by OPOVV, ©2016

(Sep. 28, 2016) — Act I

Curtain rises on a neighborhood bar scene in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. The clock above the bar shows 9:45. Various people and groups are standing and putting on winter coats among catcalls of “Leaving early?” and “Careful, it was starting to snow when I came in.” After pretty well clearing out, it’s just the regulars who are left: a motley crew of over-stressed people and retired geezers, with a mixture of young couples sitting quietly in dark booths that align the left wall.

“Hey, Sam, another round for my newfound friends, if you would be so kind, please.”

“Ho-ho! Listen to the kid; ‘please.’ I used to drink with your old man ‘til he passed. Hey, kid, that’s Sam. He’s the hired hand. You don’t ‘please’ the help, didn’t you know that?”

“That’s it, Mr. Big Shot: you’re cut off. Pack up and go home.”

“You’re 86-in’ me, Sam? Why, it ain’t even 10. My old lady will wonder what’s wrong. Maybe it’s ‘96’; which is it, Sam?”

“Look, Don, no hard feelings, but when you mix booze with beer you always go over the edge, and you’re there now. I just talked to Dave, who’s leaving now, and he said he’d drive you home. Now give me your keys and run along.”

“’Run along?’ Why, I haven’t run since I was sliding into second base. You remember that game, Dave?”

“I’m not sure: you tell it every time you get drunk, that’s all. That’s how Sam can tell you’re not fit to drive. Here, let me help you to the door.”

Off go Dave and Don, exit stage right, with Don explaining how his cleat got caught by a stone, “Why, if I didn’t broke my ankle I would’ve been a Cub and took them to the Series.”

“Pretty-well cleared-out; ‘bout time.”

“Ah, no hard feelings, all around. Most of these guys got families and mortgages: no hard feelings for them to get boozed-up at the end of the week.”

“You take care of us, Sam.”

“Look, I take care of Yours Truly, truth be told. You go off to work, well, this-here is my work. See me sitting at the bar drinking? No, I never drink here; never have. Be like you sitting around the office drinking. Or Ted. Hey, Ted! What would you rather do, sit around the courtroom and drink or drink here? I saw that.”

“What he do? I missed it.”

“He communicated by sign language.”

Everyone laughs. Just then a middle-aged man enters, brushing snow off of his coat. He walks in a few steps, stops, surveys the scene, walks up to the bar and sits a couple of stools away from our group.

“I’ll have a cup of coffee with a shot of Jim Beam, if you would, please.”

“Coming right up.”

“Hey mister, starting to snow?”

“Not as much, as it’s getting colder.”

Lights dim amidst small talk.

End of Act I

ACT II

Curtain opens on the group at the bar with all the stools forming a semi-circle. All the other customers have left. Sam has turned off all the lights except for a dim spotlight above the group and the lights behind the bottle of liquor behind the bar, giving a simmering aquamarine appearance. From the right comes the red glow of a ‘CLOSED’ neon sign that dimly flickers.

“Why, it’s still today. What you lock the door for, Sam? We still got two more hours of fun left.”

“Maybe I don’t want too much fun. It’s still snowing and still getting colder. Why, all you guys live right in this neighborhood. Me? I got to drive out to the suburbs to get home.”

A loud knock is heard from the front door, stage right. Sam throws down his towel on the bar and exits, and then quickly returns with an elderly gentleman who, after Sam is ensconced once again behind the bar, slowly removes his gloves, scarf and topcoat, which he methodically hangs on the coat rack in the corner, to the great interest and amusement — and wonder — of the group at the bar. The gentleman is wearing a faded tux and nods at the group as he takes the empty stool at the end of the semi-circle.

“Sam, please, a round for my newfound friends and a boilermaker for me to toast the first snowstorm of the season.”

Catcalls of “Here, here,” “Thanks much,” and “How much snow do you figure we’ll get?” are heard. The gentleman addresses the group:

“We are but captives in the sea of life, gentlemen. Picture the raging storm beyond these walls and us riding a turbulent sea; your bar stool is your life vest; the drink in your hand the nectar that sustains you. Keep a weathered eye on your shipmates, for they are doing the same for you; we are riding in a lifeboat in the raging storm of life.”

“What’s he say?”

“What the tarnation does that all mean?”

“Hey, Mister, who are you?”

“Ah, who am I? Who are we, each of us? Do we do God’s work, or do we founder through life?”

“Now if you were to ask my wife, she’d say she’s doing the work of the Lord and I’m going straight to the devil,” amid laughter and backslapping.

“Jest, if you will; jest, if you must, for we are at the precipice: what we decide here, this night, may change the course of history. Allow me to explain. Sam, another round for my newfound friends – me included — and pour yourself a hot coffee.

“Listen: you must vote for Lady Liberty, for she needs you now more than ever. And we must make our choice public: no more secret ballots, not for this election. Just listen to me: I’m retired, so in 2008 I decided that I would be a voter precinct worker. I personally counted the votes before they were sent off downtown and 100% of the vote was for other candidates except Obama: he didn’t get one vote, and yet, when the election results were posted, Obama won this district; overwhelmingly, I might add.

“I know what you’re going to say and yes, other workers have come forward, and other volunteers – sad to say – have all met with tragic ‘accidents,’ if you know what I mean, as I’m sure you do, being Chicagoans and all.

“Hillary-Obama, what’s the difference, right? Not only do we have to vote, but we have to make sure everyone — and I do mean everyone – votes for Trump and let people know, like, line up after voting, waving Trump flags and Old Glory.

“The opposition will not be waving the flag. The opposition is against our Constitution and, therefore, against America. If you remember one thing, remember this: divided we fall, together we stand.

“And now, I’d like to propose a toast: America we stand! Drink up!”

“Why, where he’d go? He was just here and now he’s gone. Sam, you let him out?”

“No, I ain’t moved. Billy, check the men’s room.”

“Empty, Sam.”

“Front door still locked?”

“Yep: I locked it with my key and haven’t been near it.”

“Ever see him before? He knew your name.”

“He knew all our names. I thought you knew him.”

“Not me. I thought you did.”

“I think I’ll go on home.”

“Yeah, me too.”

Bar slowly empties and the last thing we see is Sam turning off the lights behind the bar.

Curtain lowers to the music of Bobby Darin singing “Beyond the Sea.”

FINI

OPOVV

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.