God of the Machine

GOD OF THE MACHINE

Full-Length Play

Characters:

 

WRITER

 

GOMORRAH

GABRIEL

 

WAITRESS / WAITRESS / WAITRESS

FLOWER GIRL /LILY / FINGER GIRL

GUARD / PIMP / DOG

 

Setting:

 

There are three settings in the play: 1.) a café represented by a table set-up in the middle of the audience, 2.) a bar perpetually in three AM, and 3.) a horrific representation of the WRITER’s mind.


ACT 1

(A table is placed in the middle of the audience area. Care should be taken that it be illuminated, and demarcated properly from the audience. On the table are a worn-out notebook, a pen, and a mug of coffee. In front of it is an armchair. This set-up should indicate a modern day café. The proscenium stage itself is still bare.)

(Light hits the table in middle of the audience. The WRITER is seated on the armchair, sleeping on his desk. He holds his pen firmly as if he dozed off in the middle of writing.)

(He wears an oversized thatched jacket. His hair is a mess.)  

(He mumbles something again and again. At first his words are but murmurings but slowly become audible with every utterance.)

WRITER

(He wakes with a start.) All life is a stage!

(He begins to write intensely on his notebook. Unsatisfied, he tears the page and throws it away. He notices the audience, and runs on-stage where light looms.)

(To the audience, stuttering)I-I apologize, l-ladies and ge-gentlemen, you caught me sleeping. I-I have been rude to you. (Thinks aloud to himself) We must open our dreary night with an introduction. After all, it is only proper especially in my profession (Laughs). It is my rare privilege to greet an audience face-to-face. (To the audience.) I-I am the writer- a writer of no great importance, mind you. Good evening and I also bid you f-farewell, my dear audience for I have to work, and it’s especially troublesome when no great inspiration is available. (Thinks of something else to say. Thinks better) Farewell.

(The WRITER goes back to his chair. He begins to write then loses concentration when he notices the audience watching him. He rips the page and throws it away. He moans in exasperation.)

(To himself) I need a muse… I need a muse who will touch me with her pale gentle hands. She will whisper to my ear, and finally my pen can move once more. It will dance through the blank page. My pen will create a classic, a moving tragedy, a witty comedy, through her inspiration. Through her inspiration, and only hers. Only hers…

(He stands, and looks up to the flights.)

It’s so simple… as if someone placed her name in my head.

(In a trance he writes on his notebook.)

For my all my sins, your name will be (A pause) Gomorrah.

(As her name is uttered, GOMORRAH walks on-stage to a spot-light on centre-centre, isolating her from the darkness. She is splendidly dressed in a red evening gown. In her left hand, a lily is held. The WRITER stands with his jaw dropped. [1]She speaks in a monotone.)

(Stammering and fidgeting with his pen.) W-what is y-your name?

GOMORRAH

(In a dead pan) You know it already. (She offers her the flower on her hand, but stands firmly on-stage.)

WRITER

(Slowly, savouring the word) Go-mo-rrah.

GOMORRAH

Yes. Gomorrah.

WRITER

Yes. I know your name, but who are you?

GOMORRAH

I am a word you wrote on your notebook.

WRITER

Yes, a word. (Hastily correcting himself) But, a word has no figure, no face, and no flower to offer.

GOMORRAH

Every word has a meaning to it, and I am the meaning of the word Gomorrah.

WRITER

But, I can never take what you’re offering.

GOMORRAH

Why not? You created me to be your muse.

WRITER

A muse? No. (A pause) You are more than a muse! (Thinks. Speaks in rapid epiphanies) You do not only inspire. You are inspiration itself, my embodied aesthetic. Your eyes, your lips, your pale little hands: my inspiration incarnate.

GOMORRAH

That I am. I am yours.

WRITER

No. No. I made you. B-but, your name. Your meaning. These things are not mine. (Pauses) You can never be mine.

GOMORRAH

(Drops the hand holding the flower) Then what am I? (Calmly) What am I to be?

WRITER

Your name is Gomorrah. You (Pauses) You are my favourite sin, my ultimate conceit, a beauty that I can but write but never touch, never possess. (Tries to reach for her face but instantly retracts his hand.)

(A long silence. The WRITER sits down in a daze. GOMORRAH sits down on the stage as well.)

(Suddenly stoops down to GOMORRAH)

Do you want anything? Anything at all? Just ask and you shall receive.

GOMORRAH

(She looks down on her toes.) No. I do not want anything.

(Silence.)

WRITER

(Sighs) Are you… are you… are you lonely, Gomorrah? (A pause) You are lonely. Aren’t you, my dear? (In defeat) Are you cold?

(A pause. GOMORRAH stands slowly. First her feet, then her torso, and finally her head—until she is fully erect.)

GOMORRAH

(Whispers) Yes.

(The WRITER sits down. He fumbles with his pen. He bites the tip. GOMORRAH steps forward expectantly.)

WRITER

(Gritting his teeth) Then I will make you a companion. I will give you someone… so… you will no longer be lonely.

(GOMORRAH bows in thanks, and moves from the centre so that she may witness the creation of another character.)                             

WRITER

(He writes) Gabriel.

(GABRIEL enters in the same fashion as GOMORRAH, and speaks like her. He is dressed much like the WRITER. He resembles the WRITER except everything appears better on him.)

WRITER

What is your name?

GABRIEL

You already know who I am.

WRITER

(Breathes deeply) Yes. You are Gabriel.

GABRIEL

I am Gabriel.

WRITER

You are my messenger. You will tell her that you love her… for me. (Turns his back to GABRIEL)

GABRIEL

With my lips, yours will touch hers. With my body, yours will hold hers. With my words…

WRITER

(Takes his notebook and turns his back. He writes as he whispers.) Gomorrah, I love you.

GABRIEL

(Whispers) Gomorrah, I love you.

(The WRITER charges at GABRIEL with his pen. GABRIEL in turn does not flinch. The WRITER stops in the middle of the audience area.)

WRITER

You are in all fashions me but in a positive superlative. Like me you are a writer. A writer who writes better words.

GABRIEL

Yes. I am your ‘you.’

(The WRITER walks towards GOMORRAH. He tries to hold her but he cannot. He tries to kiss her but he cannot.)

WRITER

For you, my Gomorrah, I will make a world.

I will make you a story of love and passion. Something with a happy ending. You will meet in a lonely bar at three AM. You will kiss, and your story shall begin.

I. I will watch as my pen moves to write. (To GOMORRAH) All this I do for you, my favourite sin, so that you will no longer be cold. (The WRITER snaps his fingers.)

(The stage lights change in colour to represent the creation of a world. Either through the flights or stagehands a night club is created on-stage with a platform, a bar, a table set-up with three chairs representing the table nearest to the bar’s performance area, and a small hanging chandelier. There are two entrances to the bar: 1. leading outside, 2. to the kitchen.)

(The WRITER examines his scene. He takes a cigarette, and lights it. The couple runs to one another in an embrace. They break from their monotonous way of speaking.)

GOMORRAH

(Passionately) I love you.

GABRIEL

I love you.

GOMORRAH

I love you.

WRITER

(As he exits) I love you. I love you. I love you. Three words said three times over. (He claps) Curtain! (Exits)

ACT 1, SCENE 2

(A love song plays. It is three in the morning. The couple is dancing. Their dance is more of a swaying tight embrace.)

GOMORRAH

What are we doing?

GABRIEL

I don’t know. What I do know is that I am afraid to let you go.

GOMORRAH

Me too. I’m afraid that if I let go, you will vanish like a dream in waking.

(They continue dancing in silence.)

(Laughs to herself) I am dancing with a stranger in a closed down bar at three in the morning! Ridiculous!

GABRIEL

Funny isn’t it? I don’t even remember how we started dancing.

GOMORRAH

That’s easy. We held hands. We embraced, and our feet started moving.

GABRIEL

(Laughs to himself) I feel like we’re characters in a play.

GOMORRAH

In a play?

GABRIEL

Yes. Like someone wrote the words I am saying.

GOMORRAH

(She lets go of GABRIEL, and looks him in the eye.) Do you think anyone can write anything as beautiful as this?

GABRIEL

Write what?

GOMORRAH

This.

(GOMORRAH kisses him. GABRIEL kisses back. They hold a pose. The WRITER’s scream is heard off-stage.)

GABRIEL

No. (Pauses. Brags.) Not even me.

GOMORRAH

You’re a writer?

GABRIEL

Yes.

GOMORRAH

Throw me a line or two.

GABRIEL

Ah, but you must sing to me first!

GOMORRAH

(Pouting her lips) No.

GABRIEL

Come on. (He bites the tip of her ear.) Pretty lines do not come cheap.

GOMORRAH

(Tickled by the GABRIEL’s bite, she pushes him away.) Just once. And only for you.

(GABRIEL nods.)

(GOMORRAH stands on-stage and sings the song they were just dancing to. GABRIEL is in awe.)

GABRIEL

I love you.

GOMORRAH

(Blushes, realizing she feels the same way) I love you. Too.

GABRIEL

I love you. I love you. I love you. Three beautiful words I can say three times over (They kiss).

(They kiss long, and hard. They are disturbed as thunder is heard and rain falls.)

GOMORRAH

It’s raining. We’ll be stuck here all night!

GABRIEL

What’s your name?

GOMORRAH

My name?

GABRIEL

Yes, a name. I want a name I can place to your face, to your lips, to this what-ever-this-is.

GOMORRAH

For you, let me be your Gomorrah, your favourite sin.

GABRIEL

Gomorrah? Sounds like a name from a play.

GOMORRAH

Well, aren’t we? We’re all characters in a play. Our actions are all artifice written down in God’s giant book, but our persons and our meanings— they are ours and ours alone.

GABRIEL

If my name is not mine but bestowed by some god then let my name be Gabriel. (He kisses her on the neck, and on the clavicle, on her breast. He looks up to her.)

GOMORRAH

Whisper.

GABRIEL

What?

GOMORRAH

That you…

GABRIEL

I love you (She slips off her shoes). I love you (She takes of her dress. He stands still.) I love you.

(She offers him the flower in her hand. He moves closer, and kisses the flower. They kiss.)

(The WRITER rushes in.)

WRITER

No!

(Lightning strikes. The couple makes love, and the WRITER sits down on a chair. He watches them until he sobs. Night turns to day, and rain ceases. The WRITER begins to raise his head.)

Did you enjoy Eden?

(The characters answer the WRITER indirectly, as in ACT 1, SCENE 1, while dressing up.)

GABRIEL

Yes.

GOMORRAH

Yes.

WRITER

(To GOMORRAH) But you offered yourself to me. To me!

GOMORRAH

And you refused me.

WRITER

(To GABRIEL) So how did her lips feel? How did her body feel? How did it feel to be loved?

GABRIEL

You already know.

WRITER

Yes, I know! (He throws a chair. The couple does not notice.) Fantastic!

GABRIEL

Yes. Fantastic.

WRITER

Fuck you. Fuck the both of you. (Throws the table aside, and storms to the café. He watches his scene.)

(The pair, finished dressing up by this time, walks towards each other.)

GOMORRAH

(Snuggles beside GABRIEL) Will you come back to see me?

GABRIEL

(Smiles) Every night.

GABRIEL

Goodbye, Gomorrah.

GOMORRAH

Goodbye, Gabriel.

(GABRIEL leaves and GOMORRAH follows the moment he has exited.)

(As she chases for GABRIEL) Wait!

ACT 1, SCENE 3

 

WRITER

(Reads from his text mockingly) “Goodbye Gomorrah. Goodbye Gabriel. Wait!”

(In impulse) Waitress!

(The WAITRESS comes stumbling through the audience. She is obviously flustered; she apologizes to the audience members as if they were costumers in the cafe. She talks like how waiters talk today talk: extremely, and annoyingly polite.)

WAITRESS

Excuse me. Good afternoon, sir, Coffee or tea?

WRITER

(Perplexed) I come here every day and you ask me if I want coffee or tea?

WAITRESS

I’m so very sorry sir; it is protocol for waitresses in places of business to ask for our valued costumers’ orders. After all, how would you get your order if we don’t take it? (Smiles smugly)

WRITER

(In a temper)Coffee. Deep. Black.

WAITRESS

Would you like anything else to go with that?

WRITER

Anything?

WAITRESS

Something to eat, sir. Maybe a brownie or a slice of good old apple pie. Our apple pie is extremely…

WRITER

No!

WAITRESS

But sir, may I just remind you that coffee without anything is bad for your tummy?

WRITER

Do you think I can afford anything with my coffee?

WAITRESS

I’m sorry, sir. You’re a writer. You’re poor.

WRITER

Coffee. Deep. Black.

WAITRESS

Yes sir! (Copying the WRITER’s tone) Coffee. Deep. Black. Coming right up!

WRITER

Thank you.

(She exits.)

(Murmurs) A hundred a mug and she asks if I want anything else!

(Slowly opens his notebook. In a loving tone)

Why must you love him? Why can’t I be the hero of my own narrative? (Looks up) My story. Mine! But you, Gomorrah, it seems you have a life of your own. I feel chained; forced to write out your story, unable to stop, unable to cease loving a woman I cannot have! (The WRITER cries to himself.)

(A FLOWER GIRL enters. She carries a basket. She catches the WRITER crying.)

FLOWER GIRL

(To herself) What is he doing? Weird. He’s crying.

WRITER

(Hastily wipes away his tears) Nothing.

FLOWER GIRL

(Assumes a pleading voice) Would you like to buy some flo-o-owwers, sir?

(WRITER waves his hand.)

FLOWER GIRL

They’re really cheap, sir. Just one. Ple-ease!

(WRITER waves his hand again.)

FLOWER GIRL

Sir, I haven’t eaten yet and if, and if, and if you would ki-indly buy some flowers from me-e-e…

WRITER

No!

FLOWER GIRL

Sir, please!

(A GUARD comes.)

GUARD

Excuse me, is there a problem here?

WRITER

Her! (Refers to the FLOWER GIRL)

FLOWER GIRL

Nothing’s wrong here. Nothing.

(The GUARD takes the FLOWER GIRL roughly and talks to her by the side. The WRITER is annoyed because he is being disturbed from his writing.)

GUARD

Why are you disturbing the customer?

FLOWER GIRL

I was just selling him flowers. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

GUARD

Well why don’t you sell your shit flowers elsewhere? You don’t know the effort it takes to keep this place clean from the likes of you.

(The GUARD and the FLOWER GIRL go into a rowdy chase with the GUARD shouting profanities. Finally, the GUARD violently catches the FLOWER GIRL. The GUARD tries to hit the FLOWER GIRL on the face.)

FLOWER GIRL 

(Shielding her face) Don’t!

WRITER

(Stands) Can’t anyone find some peace and quiet in here!

GUARD

Sorry.

WRITER

Shut up!

(The GUARD and the FLOWER GIRL exit quietly.)

(The WAITRESS enters with a tray which holds a steaming mug of coffee. She handles the tray in such a way that the mug might fall at any moment.)

(The WRITER starts writing once more. He writes slowly at first, then writes faster and faster.)

WAITRESS

Sir!

WRITER

(Disturbed from his work, the WRITER shouts in surprise) What!

WAITRESS

(Also surprised, she spills the coffee on the WRITER’s lap. Apologetically) Your coffee. (Tries to wipe the spill she made on the WRITER’s lap)

WRITER

(Stops the WAITRESS and wipes the spill with a handkerchief) Just give me another one!

(WAITRESS exits crying)

Wait! Won’t you clean…(He exits, panting on his thighs. He mumbles to himself) Maintenance these days! And the people! The people, and their little inconsequential lives! If you want something done you better do it yourself.

(He stops.)

(An epiphany:) Wait a minute. Real people.  Nuances… Complication. (Excited) Yes. Yes. Yes! I will do it myself, Gomorrah!

(He returns to his table. He writes intensely on his notebook.)

May your souls be crushed by the weight of living in the real world— of loving in the real world. Ingenious.(Pauses. Thinks to himself) Comfortably your fairytale unfolded: the charming prince and the dazzling princess of your fairytale of… LOVE! Let us see your hearts pierced by the cruel hand of the grand storyteller! (Writes again) Love indeed, Gomorrah, my favourite sin. Ruination. I shall cry by your gravestones.

(Light dims on the coffee table set-up.)

 

ACT 1, SCENE 4

(It is early morning again in the bar.  She checks her watch. She is smoking. Her hair is no longer as pristine as before.)

GOMORRAH

(Examining the cigarette) Love? (Laughs) Love indeed! (Stamps out her cigarette.)

(GABRIEL enters. His costume is slightly unkempt.)

(An awkward pause between the two lovers)

GABRIEL

Hello.

GOMORRAH

(Stares coldly at GABRIEL. Her words are slow and deliberate.) Who are you? Stranger!

GABRIEL

(Surprised by GOMORRAH’s coldness) What? I-I am your angel. Gabriel.

GOMORRAH

(She picks up the lighter, and flicks sparks at GABRIEL at every mention of the word “three.”) Angel? You’re no angel. For three nights, I sang the song we danced three nights ago. Three times over I scanned the audience to find you missing, and finally you appear at three in the morning three days later.

(GABRIEL falls over.)

GABRIEL

(Speaks in a practiced tone) From the empty corridor of my heart do I intend a hollow apology…

GOMORRAH

Stop writing! I am not! I will never be one of your characters (Slaps GABRIEL across the face)!

(Silence)

GABRIEL

There is someone whose head must rest upon my wing.

GOMORRAH

(Breaks from her coldness, and goes into an angry fit) There’s someone else! I knew it!

GABRIEL

I am a writer, yes, but my lies are more real than a slap on the face. Gomorrah, I can say it plainly, this is real.

GOMORRAH

Then what!

GABRIEL

I have a daughter…

GOMORRAH

(Interrupting) And the mother?

GABRIEL

…from a long past romance. The mother died at childbirth.

GOMORRAH

(Calming down) Oh… I apologize.

GABRIEL

Don’t. She did not die on your account.

(A long awkward pause)

GOMORRAH

Should I sing you a song?

GABRIEL

That would be nice.

GOMORRAH

What would you like me to sing?

GABRIEL

Something to cleanse me of my prolonged absence: a song of praise.

GOMORRAH

A church song? (Laughs)I might turn into salt. (To herself) This Christian metaphor is getting too stretched.

(The WRITER’s scoff is heard.)

GABRIEL

You asked me what I would like to hear and I would like to hear the Ave Maria.

GOMORRAH

Ave Maria (Smiles)? So there is another woman?

GABRIEL

(Teases) Yes, I tire of red and have found taste for the colour blue.

(GOMORRAH gets a blue veil. She stands on-stage. She sings the Ave Maria.)

(She gets off the stage.)

GOMORRAH

I lost my temper. I’m sorry, my sex betrayed me.

GABRIEL

(Shakes his head.) Would you like to meet my daughter?

GOMORRAH

Tonight, her name would suffice.

GABRIEL

Lily.

GOMORRAH

What a pretty name.

GABRIEL

Yes, Lily, the flower girl.

GOMORRAH

I would like to meet your flower girl.

GABRIEL

Tomorrow then.

GOMORRAH

And not three days later.

GABRIEL

No, tomorrow we shall be here to hear you sing.

GOMORRAH

Now, I would like you to leave.

GABRIEL

But…(As GOMORRAH is pushing him out) Why are you pushing me to the door?

GOMORRAH

(In mock scolding) Gabriel, you have left your child to sleep alone. Come to her so that she may rest on your wing.

(GABRIEL is pushed off-stage.)

(To herself) Finally… (Hums the song that she danced with GABRIEL three nights ago and dances to herself in pure abandon)

(The PIMP enters. He is the GUARD  seen earlier. He is dressed in an undershirt and baggy pants. He is chewing gum.)

PIMP

 You must be very happy. He’s handsome.

GOMORRAH

(Startled) What?

PIMP

You were singing to yourself (Mocks GOMORRAH’s naiveté).

GOMORRAH

(Ashamed) I’m sorry.

PIMP

Nothing to be sorry about. Tomorrow’s your big night!

GOMORRAH

(Taken aback) No! I can no longer… I can not.

PIMP

Why did your prince charming sweep you away on his white stallion?

(GOMORRAH looks away in terror.)

(Smiles) Well, before he steals you away, you will have your big night.

GOMORRAH

(In fear) You mean?

PIMP

Yes, a customer. The costumer. The customer willing to pay any fee for your… flowers. He’ll come tomorrow to watch you sing.

GOMORRAH

But no! No I do not want the money.

PIMP

I do. Remember, you are a whore. (Brings out a gun) You will lie down like a good girl and spread your silky white legs wide open for his golden shaft. (He puts the gun on her crotch.)

GOMORRAH

No.

(He sticks the gum he’s chewing on GOMORRAH’s face and holsters his gun.)

                                                                         PIMP

You will. (Fires the gun. It is empty. Laughs.) We must all play our roles. (Exits)

(GOMORRAH exits sobbing.)

 

ACT 1, SCENE 5

(The WRITER is back on his table, as before, he is scribbling.)

WRITER

(In frantic fervour) Fantasy will give way to reality. I am sorry, my Gomorrah. I am so, so sorry. I cannot be satisfied with a world not mine. A world that does not, cannot include me. I apologize. You were born just to die! (Stands) By my hand you were created, by my hand shall come your wanting grave. (Runs to the stage. The WRITER wears a pair of shades from his jacket.) Let the show begin!

(In disguise, he sits down on the table set-up on stage. GOMORRAH enters she is pacing, biting her lips. The WRITER watches her intently, his own hands trembling in anticipation.)

 

(A WAITRESS comes, the same girl from the cafe.)

WAITRESS

Excuse me.

WRITER

In whatever world your kind will always serve. You are good for nothing but servitude. Servility. Servant.

WAITRESS

Excuse me?

WRITER

Nothing. (Smiles) It’s nothing. I’ll have a coke and rum.

WAITRESS

A coke and rum. Is that all? We have a special on…

WRITER

That’s all.

(The WAITRESS walks away with the WRITER’s order. Before she could go to the kitchen, Gomorrah pulls her by the hand.)

GOMORRAH

What did he want?

WAITRESS

He ordered something. Wait. I forgot.

GOMORRAH

(Notices the WRITER staring at her) Can you get me whatever he did?

WAITRESS

I’ll just put it in your tab?

(The PIMP enters.)

PIMP

Sure. You can place anything (Mimes coitus) in her tab. (To the WRITER) She’ll be coming to a load of money soon.

(The WRITER raises his glass to GOMORRAH, and the PIMP.)

WAITRESS

(As she exits) Oh, that’s right! (In imitation of the WRITER in ACT 1 SCENE 3) One. Rum. And. Coke. (Exits)

PIMP

Powder your pretty nose. Make yourself (Thinks) shimmer.

(GOMORRAH exits. The PIMP approaches the WRITER.)

PIMP

You sure you’ve got enough?

WRITER

Yes.

PIMP

Just make sure you have the money. (He holds his gun holster) Or else.

WRITER

What kind of gun is that?

PIMP

I don’t think the kind matters. A gun is a gun.

WRITER

(Smiles) I understand.

PIMP

What are you smiling about?

WRITER

Nothing.

PIMP

Later. (Leaves)

(GABRIEL enters with LILY. LILY is played by the same actress who played the FLOWER GIRL. She is no longer dressed shabbily but has been cleaned well for her meeting with GOMORRAH.)

WRITER

(Raises his hand to GABRIEL) Sir, would you keep me company? Drinking alone has never been good habit.

GABRIEL

Why, much obliged.

WRITER

Oh, I wouldn’t have you sit anywhere else. We gentlemen should keep to each other in places like this. Especially you with a daughter.

LILY

Dad-d-dy, why are we-e here? I’m scared.

GABRIEL

We’re here to meet someone very special.

LILY

But daddy, it’s so-o dark here.

GABRIEL

(Comforts his child) The woman I’m going to introduce you to is a beautiful singer, and I know very well that you have a penchant for music. Don’t you, Lily?

LILY

Yes, daddy (Calms)

GABRIEL

Now, behave like the charming girl that you are.

WRITER

(To GABRIEL) A bachelor father, I assume?

GABRIEL

Why, how did you know?

WRITER

I just know. What’s her name?

GABRIEL

Lily.

WRITER

(To LILY) What a charming name.

LILY

Thank you, sir.

GABRIEL

Lily like the flower.

WRITER

(Pretends to think) Flowers sold by a flower girl. Lily. A flower girl selling flowers for the dead.

GABRIEL

Exactly. Are you also a writer?

WRITER

Yes. (Shakes Gabriel’s hand) We penny-a-pages should stick together.

GABRIEL

Yes. We should. I feel like we’re blood brothers. Sir, may I introduce myself, I am—

WRITER

Oh, we’re more related than you’ll ever know.

LILY

Da-a-a-ddy, let’s get out of here.

GABRIEL

Now, Lily, I promised Gomorrah. Please, just a little longer.

LILY

Okay, daddy.

WRITER

(To GABRIEL) So who is this Gomorrah?

GABRIEL

Have you ever had a picture of a beautiful woman in your head?

WRITER

An aspiration for beauty, an inspiration incarnate: a muse.

GABRIEL

A muse with lips so red…

WRITER

Have you had the chance to taste that red?

GABRIEL

(Laughs) Sir, a gentleman does not disclose secrets of that kind.

WRITER

An angel are we? I suppose you’re here to save her.

GABRIEL

Why don’t I? Just fly her away from all of this.

WRITER

You must really have fallen for her. I’m warning you… (Changes his mind) Did you feel like you were characters in a play?

GABRIEL

(Taken aback) Yes. How did you…?

(The opening bars of a song are heard. GOMORRAH enters the stage. Her make-up has been worn from crying. She starts to sing a song of remorse yet she cannot finish it. She runs to exit but GABRIEL stops her.)

GABRIEL

What’s wrong, Gomorrah? Me, and my daughter, Lily, we’re here to fly you away.

GOMORRAH

(Steals a glance at LILY, and the WRITER) She is a handsome child, Gabriel but I cannot be a mother to her. We were just a one night affair (Kisses him on the cheek). Take her and never look back. (Exits)

GABRIEL

Gomorrah…

WRITER

(To himself) Beautiful as ever.

LILY

Why was that girl sad, daddy?

GABRIEL

I don’t know. (A pause) I don’t know.

LILY

Was she the woman, daddy?

GABRIEL

(To the WRITER) Thank you, but we must leave now.

WRITER

Will you still save her?

GABRIEL

I don’t think she wants to be saved.

LILY

She was crying, daddy. Even without…

(GABRIEL and LILY exit)

WRITER

(To himself) …Even without tears, she was crying, Gabriel. (A pause) Now, where is that drink? (Stands) Service!

(The WAITRESS enters with a glass of coke and rum. She accidentally spills it on the WRITER.)

WAITRESS

I’m so sorry, sir. Let me…

WRITER

You are an ignoramus. You are a buffoon. A hussy!

WAITRESS

(Cries) I’ll get you another drink, sir, on the house. I am so very sorry. (Exits)

WRITER

(Takes a napkin, and wipes himself) My victory is assured. (He takes his notebook.) But first… (Starts to write) the waitress, a sad excuse for a woman trips on the wet kitchen floor where she has yet again spilled some sort of liquid. A kitchen knife, loose from the cupboard, cuts clean through her neck. (A short scream is heard from the kitchen followed by a hollow thud) There. (Throws the napkin and stands to a pacing) She was an inconsequential character. The plot unravels as it did with or without her. (Runs to his notebook) I can no longer be patient. (He writes)  The pimp enters with Gomorrah.

ACT 1, SCENE 6

(The PIMP enters with GOMORRAH.)

PIMP

(To the WRITER) The money?

WRITER

(Throws a wad of bills to the PIMP) Every cent well spent.

PIMP

(Counts the money) Good. Now, enjoy, children.

GOMORRAH

No. Just shoot me. I don’t care.

PIMP

What if I shoot prince charming?

(GOMORRAH moves to the WRITER)

Good. Take all the time you want, we’ll be open all night. (Exits to the kitchen)

(They hold a prolonged tableau: GOMORRAH standing without a trace of emotion, and the WRITER slack jawed. The WRITER slowly stands to hold her face.)

WRITER

Gomorrah… (She does not react) Gomorrah. Gomorrah! I am your creator, you will respond accordingly when you hear your name!

(GOMORRAH sits down on a stage floor. She now acts not like herself but as she did in ACT 1 SCENE 1.)

Oh my, what have I done? I’m sorry my Gomorrah. I am sorry.

(GOMORRAH does not react.)

(Attempting to assert himself) You, woman of red lips. You, woman of fair skin. You, woman of beauty, what is your name?

GOMORRAH

I am Gomorrah. I am a city from a far-off place destroyed for its sins.

WRITER

City far, far away, my Gomorrah, would you have the favours of a god once more?

GOMORRAH

No. I am Gomorrah.  My meaning is that… to burn, to die for my arrogance against a cruel god.

WRITER

And what is your sin, Gomorrah?

GOMORRAH

(Looks up at him) My sin? My sin is love. Love.

WRITER

(Pleading)Gomorrah, love me and your sins shall be pardoned. You can be recreated to any fantasy you desire. A queen. A goddess. Just love me, Gomorrah, take my hand and you shall take a place by my side.

GOMORRAH

Yes, but I shall be cold as your queen. I shall be lonely as your goddess.

WRITER

(Losing his temper) I wrote you! You are a character. I made you up! You are just a figment of my imagination!

GOMORRAH

But I am as real to you as the cold… as the loneliness.

WRITER

(In full abandon) Yes. Yes! Why? Why do I obsess about you so much? In my profession, I have crafted a thousand girls just like you. But you! Why am I so captivated by you?

GOMORRAH

Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And, you have made me just to be beheld. Beauty… is beautiful because it refuses even its own maker; it refuses to be understood, remaining ambiguous, mysterious— capricious as a woman in a red dress.

WRITER

(Calms) I can make you love me.

GOMORRAH

But, you won’t be happy.

WRITER

Because you would be cold, and lonely. (A pause) Then I would rather destroy you.

GOMORRAH

Would that make you happy?

(Silence.)

(The WRITER starts to write, and GOMORRAH follows the instructions given to her.)

WRITER

The woman takes off her clothes slowly. Flesh. Inches of flesh. Growing into landscapes. In her mind, she is with another man in another place, a character in another story. Her red garment of sin fetters down the floor. She cries. She cries in quiet dignity. Her thighs tremble as she speaks.

GOMORRAH

My body is as you will.

WRITER

And the customer replies, “Stay like that.” The stranger with hungry eyes examines his purchase. He drinks it all in—the shoulders, the curves to her chest, her breasts, heaving, sweaty, waiting, just waiting. Then he…

(The WRITER starts lavishing GOMORRAH with unwanted kisses. GOMORRAH becomes limp.)

(While kissing GOMORRAH’s body) Fuck you. Fuck you! Fuck love! Love is man’s greatest folly for he cannot see the follies he himself commits! And you could have said yes, and saved me from foolishness. You foolish woman, you could have been anything, woman-not-mine. But for a moment you are. Mine. I will ravage you.

(Pauses. In heavy breaths) It is complete. (Steps away) The man ravages the woman, and in his lips he tastes salt. He steps back and sees not a woman but a body lain lifeless on the ground.

(GOMORRAH falls.)

What happened? (Screams to the exits on-stage) Hello! Hello out there! Help me! What should I do? (He runs to his notebook, and writes) She wakes up! She wakes up, and everything is alright! Why isn’t it working? Why isn’t the story changing? (He runs toward GOMORRAH) Wake up! Why won’t you wake up?

(GABRIEL enters with LILY.)

GABRIEL

What did you do to her?

WRITER

I have no idea. I don’t know. I. Do. Not. Know.

GABRIEL

(Takes GOMORRAH from the WRITER)It’s me. Gabriel, your angel. I’ve come back. For a song. For breath, Gomorrah, just breathe.

(LILY cries.)

GOMORRAH

(Waking up) Gabriel?

GABRIEL

Thank God.

GOMORRAH

Gabriel…

GABRIEL

Yes?

GOMORRAH

Take me away, please. I cannot take it here anymore. Please, Gabriel, save me.

GABRIEL

Yes.

WRITER

(Angrily) No! (Changes his tone as he pleads )Don’t. I-I mean… please, do not…

GABRIEL

I will.(To the WRITER) What were you doing with her? (Punches him in the stomach, the WRITER falls.)

LILY

No!

WRITER

I don’t know.

GABRIEL

What then do you know?

WRITER

Nothing! I know nothing!

GABRIEL

(Strangles the WRITER) If you ever pull anything like that again, I will kill you.

(The PIMP enters with his gun pulled out. He watches silently in the background.)

(To the WRITER) Did you hear me? I will kill you.

PIMP

Stop.(Points his gun at GABRIEL) You won’t get the chance to. Will you?

GABRIEL

(Calming down) I mean no more trouble. We’ll leave. All of us. (Moves closer to GOMORRAH)

PIMP

Don’t you touch her. She belongs to this place, this forsaken part of the world.

GABRIEL

I’ll pay. I’ll buy her way out!

PIMP

Pay?

WRITER

(Runs to the PIMP) Don’t you dare let them go! Shoot him. Go on!

PIMP

(Elbows the WRITER) Shut the hell up or I will shoot you.

GABRIEL

(Throws his wallet at the PIMP) Take it all.

(The PIMP examines the contents of the wallet and throws GOMORRAH the blue cloth used earlier.)

PIMP

(Checks the wallet) Never say no to cold hard cash.(To GABRIEL) Go.

GABRIEL

Thank you. (Clothes GOMORRAH with the blue cloth, and they start to leave.)

WRITER

Gabriel, I order you to stop! Stop!

(GABRIEL doesn’t. The WRITER takes the gun from the PIMP, and aims it at GOMORRAH.)

Gomorrah, I would rather have you die.

(GABRIEL covers GOMORRAH. The shot is deafening. The WRITER cannot believe what he has done.)

GABRIEL

(To Lily) Lily, close your eyes.

(A silence. GABRIEL falls.)

(GOMORRAH and LILY cradle GABRIEL: a depressing family portrait)

GOMORRAH

I thought you were going to save me?

GABRIEL

(To GOMORRAH)I apologize. Broken wings cannot fly. I love you.

GOMORRAH

I love you, too.

GABRIEL

(To LILY and GOMORRAH) We’re all orphans in our own way. (He dies)

GOMORRAH

Little girl, take him.(GOMORRAH takes the blue cloth)

LILY

Daddy! You’re not breathing.

(LILY grows silent and holds a reverse Pieta pose with her father.)

GOMORRAH

(Strokes LILY’s hair) I’m sorry, little girl. I’m leaving too. (Determined, she moves to the chair while tying the cloth into a noose.)

                                                                        WRITER

No! Stop. You don’t have to do that. Now, the story can go my way! (The WRITER tries to stop GOMORRAH but he can’t. Her body is unstoppable. The volition of her will is too strong.) You can be anything you want to be. Just tell me. You don’t even have to love me. No angel. No god. Gomorrah, you don’t have to turn into salt.

(GOMORRAH pulls the chair)

GOMORRAH

That is my meaning, to be destroyed for my sins. (She stands on the chair, and ties the other end of the belt on the chandelier.)

WRITER

To love? Gomorrah, you do not have to love me! Spurn me! Hate me!

GOMORRAH

The sin of Gomorrah is to love another god.

WRITER

I will bring him back to life. I will! Do not…

(GOMORRAH kicks the chair, and hangs. It looks as if she is dancing.)

(LILY walks to the WRITER’s back. She watches him.)

(Runs to his notebook, and writes frantically) And she lives miraculously. And. She is beautiful as ever. And. She is singing. Happily ever after. (Nothing happens. To himself) Why doesn’t it work? I am the writer, the creator, the god of the machine!

LILY

(To GABRIEL) Won’t you buy some flowers, sir? Flowers for your dead.

WRITER

What? (In fear) W-what did you say?

LILY

Flowers for your dead?

WRITER

(Scrambles to his notebook. Reads every page in a hurry) It’s not here. I did not write that. “Flowers for your dead.” Where is it? I didn’t write that! (Chokes LILY) Who told you to say that?

LILY

(Choking)Won’t you buy some flowers, sir?

WRITER

Did he tell you to say that?

(He examines the scene)

This is my tragedy. Lonely lines. Beautiful words that no one will read. (WRITER writes something on his notebook. He looks up to see the scene. He writes again. Looks up. Writes. Again, and again. Then he finally says what he is writing.) End! End! (Runs to GOMORRAH and screams at her) END!

Why won’t it end?

END OF ACT 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACT 2

(The WRITER is heard grunting with indistinct noises reminiscent of a horror house. Stage lights open to reveal the WRITER rambling and fatigued. He is chained to the cafe table which has been moved to the centre of the stage. The lights give off a mood of terror as in a horror house. The set may be altered to follow the lights and the sound.)

 

(The WRITER is shouting as he is writing in violent hard strokes in his notebook.)

WRITER

I am! I am a friend. I am a friend who watches as she swings. She doesn’t look like she’s swinging but as I am a friend who watches so closely, I see the minute movements of her body. Left, right, left, right, she swings from the rope as in a dance. A dance to an old love song.

(He stops writing for a while and dances the song GOMORRAH and GABRIEL danced to in the first act. At first his humming is gentle but grows to a mad raving. A screeching of the throat)

She sways. She sways as her tongue swells! As her eyes pop out! She is looking at me. She is watching me. Friend who died at three AM, why did you take that… thing… to the roof? Why did you tie it to a knot? Didn’t you know that I loved you? Gomorrah, your sin was not to love. Your love did not offend me as much as your death. (A pause) I see a friend by the corner hanging on a noose! I see a friend by the corner hanging on a noose.

(A whisper.)

I see a friend by the corner hanging on a noose.

(The WRITER calms down. When he has caught his breath, he notices that he is chained to the table.)

(He tries to free himself and fails.)

Help! Hello out there! Hello! Anyone at all, help me!

(He pulls his hands. He fails.)

Please, anyone! No. Not anyone out there at all. No one in here but a writer and his pen, and his loneliness, and his silence, and his stillness, and his nothingness, and, and… and fuck!

(In his desperation, he tries to bite his hands off. The pain is too great. He fails.)

Please fall off hands which have crafted my own tragedy.

(He bites again.)

I have been reduced to my function. I am and will always be alone. (While biting his hands.) I have no need for a hand to carry a pen… I have no need for a pen without a muse. I have no need of myself without Gomorrah!

(Finally blood spills from his hands but he cannot continue.)

To the death I carry the conceit of a writer! The beauty of his hands.

(Pause.) Then I must die.

(He bangs his head on the table.)

Break I call you. Break, my futile skull.

(Bangs his head again.)

Break my perverse mind. Break! Break! Break!(A pause.)I cannot die, after all. My story cannot end.

(The WAITRESS from before enters. She holds a pot of coffee.)

WAITRESS

Bullet or noose?

WRITER

What?

WAITRESS

What is your fancied fantasy, bullet or noose?

WRITER

Nothing. I refuse my fantasies. I refuse my trade.

WAITRESS

Bullet or noose?(She pours boiling coffee on the WRITER’s pants.)

WRITER

What are you doing?

WAITRESS

The only thing I’m fit for.

WRITER

Someone please come, save me!

WAITRESS

I am a servant. (Pours coffee.) I am servile.(Pours again.) Forever, I will be in utter servitude (She pours coffee for a third time).

WRITER

Please stop!

(WAITRESS stops pouring. A pause.)

WAITRESS

Bullet or noose?

WRITER

What?

(WAITRESS pours coffee.)

WRITER

Noose! If I choose the fantasy of the noose will I meet her again? Will I meet her?

WAITRESS

Noose then (Writes on a pad).

WRITER

Yes, the noose.

(WAITRESS exits. She bumps into the FINGER GIRL who enters with a hand basket covered with cloth. The FINGER GIRL is played by the same actress who played LILY, and the FLOWER GIRL in ACT 1. She is dressed like GOMORRAH but in grotesque caricature of a young girl trying to look mature.)

FINGER GIRL

Would you like to buy some fingers, sir?

WRITER

Fingers?

FINGER GIRL

Yes, sir. Fingers.

WRITER

Don’t you mean flowers?

FINGER GIRL

No, sir. Fingers.

WRITER

What would I need fingers for?

FINGER GIRL

Aren’t you a writer?

WRITER

Yes (corrects himself}, but not anymore.

FINGER GIRL

A pity.(Opening the basket. In it are fingers.) I have all sorts of fingers.

(She pulls out a bloody thumb. The WRITER is repulsed.)

Here, for example, is a thumb. With another thumb, a writer could hold another pen. Using two pens at the same time, you just might be a better writer.

WRITER

No. I have no use for another thumb.

FINGER GIRL

Well then, you might be interested in a pinkie.(She takes one out of her basket.) All writers are haughty and have been known to raise their pinkies on occasion. With another pinkie, you might doubly increase your status in social affairs.

WRITER

No.

FINGER GIRL

Oh, you might be interested in this!

(She takes out a ring finger with a ring on it.)

It’s our best seller. A ring finger which comes with, no value added tax, a wedding ring. With this, you might just… just might… finally be loved.

WRITER

Love?(Loses temper.)Love!

FINGER GIRL

Yes, sir, love. I know how writers are all so alone-lonely in their writing. Always alone by the table with a pen and a notebook. With this you can finally be loved!

WRITER

I have no use for love.(The WRITER tries to charge at the FINGER GIRL but is held back by his chains. In a monotone)Love is futile. Love is a deceased fantasy rotting away at man’s ambitions. Love is…

FINGER GIRL

I thought you refused your profession.

WRITER

I have! I am not a writer. I do not write. I will not write. I will never write again. I am. Not. A writer.

FINGER GIRL

That love-is-love-is sounded like poetry to me. Pretty phonetic poetry.

WRITER

What would an idiot know about poetry?

FINGER GIRL

Be careful of your language, sir.

WRITER

Why should I?

FINGER GIRL

It’s unbecoming.

WRITER

Why! What am I to un-become to? What did I become-to to un-become, you blithering idiot?

FINGER GIRL

Be careful of your language sir.

WRITER

Why?

FINGER GIRL

Because I will sic my dog at you… sir

WRITER

Let him then. Let him bite me. Infect me with his animal bite. Let him, you freakish delusion.

FINGER GIRL

Boy!

(She whistles.)

(The DOG enters. The DOG is performed by the same actor who performed the GUARD and the PIMP. He is now naked and scarred all over. A bite guard is placed on his mouth which is then attached to a leash. He moves as his name now implies: like a dog.)

(The FINGER GIRL holds the DOG’s leash.)

FINGER GIRL

Now apologize…

WRITER

(Obviously afraid of the DOG.) No.

FINGER GIRL

Apologize!

WRITER

No!

FINGER GIRL

Apologize!

WRITER

No!

(The FINGER GIRL sets the DOG loose. It suddenly paws at the WRITER.)

(Trying to fend the DOG off with his feet.) Move away from me! Move away!

FINGER GIRL

Apologize.

WRITER

No!

FINGER GIRL

Bite! Bite him! Bite his crotch! (Applauds to herself in sheer glee)

(The DOG removes the bite guard, and bites the WRITER on the crotch. The WRITER screams in pain.)

WRITER

I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Remove him from me.

FINGER GIRL

Do you promise to play nice?

WRITER

Yes!

FINGER GIRL

Do you apologize?

WRITER

Yes! I apologize!

FINGER GIRL

(To the DOG) Stop, boy!

(The DOG comes to the FINGER GIRL who taps his head.)

FINGER GIRL

That’s a good boy.(She throws a finger on the floor, the DOG gobbles it up.)

WRITER

(To the DOG.) What are you doing? Don’t! Don’t eat that!

FINGER GIRL

And why shouldn’t he?

WRITER

(Sarcastically) I don’t know. That’s a human finger!

FINGER GIRL

No that’s not a human finger. That’s a writer’s finger. His favourite.

WRITER

You’re insane.

(The DOG growls at the WRITER.)

FINGER GIRL

You promised to play nice.

WRITER

Yes. Yes. I did. I’m sorry.

FLINGER GIRL

Good. Wouldn’t you like to buy a finger, sir?

WRITER

Yes, take my wallet. Take my money. All of it! Please…

(The FINGER GIRL gets the WRITER’s wallet. It is GABRIEL’s.)

FINGER GIRL

Thank you.(She leaves the basket of fingers on the WRITER’s table.)

WRITER

No. Take them with you.

FINGER GIRL

What would I do with all those fingers? I’m not a writer.

WRITER

Take them. Feed them to your dog.

FINGER GIRL

Thank you, sir. That’s very kind of you.

WRITER

No thanks required.

FINGER GIRL

No. I insist.(To her DOG.) Doggie, thank the good man.

(The DOG humps the WRITER’s leg.)

WRITER

It’s quite alright. Now please take him.

FLOWER GIRL

No, you must teach puppies to show gratitude else they will never grow to become good doggies.

(The DOG jumps on the WRITER’s torso and rubs it with his penis.)

DOG

I love you. I love you. I love you. Three words said three times over. You will scream. And you will love me. You will scream and you will love me.

(The WRITER writhes in his chair. He tries to push the DOG away. After some time, he manages to do it.)

WRITER

What! Dogs can’t talk!

FINGER GIRL

Oh, that’s what a diet of writer’s fingers does to a dog. It miraculously learns to speak the words the writer writes.

WRITER

Then feed him so he can write.

FINGER GIRL

(Moving to a corner to feed her DOG.) Dogs can’t write. Everyone knows that. Writing dogs! Tsss…

(The WAITRESS enters holding GOMORRAH, by the noose tied to her neck. She is dressed in a tattered red evening gown.)

WRITER

Gomorrah!

WAITRESS

How will you have your noose? Depressed? Grief stricken? Or just workaday sad?

WRITER

Don’t hold her like that.

WAITRESS

I thought you would have the noose.

WRITER

Yes, I would have her on the noose.

WAITRESS

So depressed, grief stricken or just workaday sad?

WRITER

I would have her sing.

WAITRESS

(To GOMORRAH.) Did you hear him? Sing he says! (The WAITRESS pushes GOMORRAH to the stage.)

(GOMORRAH sings the Ave Maria but she does not produce the words. She sounds like a deaf-mute.)

(The WRITER sobs.)

WRITER

(In the middle of the song.) Stop! (She doesn’t.)

WAITRESS

I thought you would have her sing.

WRITER

That’s not my Gomorrah. My Gomorrah has the voice of a muse.

WAITRESS

I’m sorry, we have a no-return policy. She’s still okay though, the noose just broke her vocal chords.

WRITER

Make her stop.

WAITRESS

No. I will not. She will sing. (To GOMORRAH.) Sing louder!

(GOMORRAH strangles her throat and produces louder awkward sounds.)

WRITER

Stop! Stop! Please stop, my Gomorrah. Please stop! For the love of God, please, I beg of you stop!

GOMORRAH

(In a scratched voice.) I am not yours. And I will never be.(She falls.)

WRITER

Gomorrah! Wake up! Please wake up! I order you to wake up. (He writes in his notebook as he utters.) She wakes up. (To GOMORRAH.)Why don’t you wake up?

WAITRESS

Because you killed her.

WRITER

No, I didn’t. She did it herself.

WAITRESS

No. You wrote it down.

(Picks up the notebook and reads aloud.)

WAITRESS

“She sways left-right-left-right. She sways as if dancing to an old love song.” See? You were the one who killed her.”

WRITER

No I didn’t. I saw it for myself. She walked and I couldn’t stop her. However hard I tried and I tried so hard yet I could not stop her.

WAITRESS

But you wrote all those things too. The walking slowly. The snapping of the neck. The (Coughs) dying. So you were the one who killed her.

WRITER

But I didn’t mean to.

WAITRESS

What do you mean you didn’t mean to? You moved your hand like this.

(Writes on air) And, she died. She turned into salt.

WRITER

No. No I didn’t.

FINGER GIRL

(Throws a finger at the WRITER) Yes you did. (The DOG attacks the WRITER.)

WRITER

No I tried. I tried with my strength with all my strength with my very humanity! I tried to save her. I gave her a chance. I asked her if she wanted to be saved and all she had to do was say yes. But she didn’t and the story wrote itself. The story wrote itself and she killed herself. It was her hand that tied the noose not mine. Not my hands. I loved her how could I possibly kill her. I made her. She is my Galatea and I honed her from head to toe in perfection. Lovingly, I sculpted her. Why would I destroy my most beautiful creation?

WAITRESS

Galatea? Gomorrah? Stop mixing up your metaphors.

WRITER

Act 2, scene 2!

ACT 2, SCENE 2

 

GABRIEL

(From the flights, on a literal deus ex machina) Having trouble with your characters are you?

(The characters onstage pause and stare up at him.)

WRITER

What?

GABRIEL

You, the writer, are having problems with your characters.

(GABRIEL walks on-stage while removing the harness attached to the flights.)

WRITER

Yes. It seems so. What’s that?

GABRIEL

This is your hand, and my wings. Deus ex machine. (He throws the harness which is brought up to the flights.) Yeah. They do that sometimes. They get out of control and you lose control of your story.

WRITER

Would you know how to stop them?

GABRIEL

Of course, I’m a writer too.

WRITER

Then how?

GABRIEL

Calm yourself and think them to non-existence.

WRITER

I already tried that. It doesn’t work.

GABRIEL

Because you’re so tense. Ease up. Close your eyes, and stop them.

WRITER

Stop them?

GABRIEL

Yes. Just stop them. Stop them from being.

WRITER

Just like that.

GABRIEL

(Takes a seat in front of the WRITER.) Just close your eyes and count from ten to one.

WRITER

(Closes his eyes.) Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six.

(GABRIEL signals at the other characters to exit. They refuse.)

Five. Four. Three.

(GABRIEL pulls out a gun. They leave quietly.)

Two. One.(Opens his eyes.) They’re gone.

GABRIEL

(Quickly hides the gun before the WRITER could see it) Yes, they are.

WRITER

But why are you still here?

GABRIEL

I am you. I am your ‘you,’ the hyperbolic self-conception that you perceive you can never be. You can’t think yourself to non-existence can you?

WRITER

I guess not.

GABRIEL

Don’t guess. You’re a writer for God’s sake. A writer must always be sure. Precise. Choose every word precisely. Rapid? Fast or faster? Or blazing?

WRITER

Yes… but I am not a writer. Not anymore.

GABRIEL

How can you say that when you’re still writing?

WRITER

I’m not.

GABRIEL

Read your notebook.

WRITER

(Reads his notebook.)Reads his notebook.(Drops his notebook.)

GABRIEL

That’s the only thing you’re fit for, making up beautiful nothings. Servant. Servile. Servitude.

WRITER

But I’m tired of beautiful nothings. Pretty words have no weight, no substance. They’re just that: beautiful nothings. Meaningless as the pages their written on.

GABRIEL

How can you say that when, you, the writer, can make worlds.

WRITER

Angels and sinners.

GABRIEL

Precisely.

WRITER

But I cannot. I cannot anymore.

GABRIEL

Because of Gomorrah?

WRITER

Don’t you dare mention her name!

GABRIEL

But that is my function. (In mock copy of ACT 1 SCENE 1) To call her name for you (Laughs), isn’t that right?

WRITER

(In defeat) Yes. Yes, you are Gabriel, my messenger.

GABRIEL

And I played my part. I fell in love. Head over heels. I made love to her. Kissed her. Held her. Told her, “I love you.” And I died. I died by a gun.

(He removes a gun from his coat pocket and places it on the table. It is same gun that was used to kill him.)

Do you remember this?

WRITER

Yes. Will you kill me?

GABRIEL

Don’t worry. I won’t.

WRITER

You should.

GABRIEL

Yes, I know. Every writer knows that.(In an academic tone) Once a gun is introduced to the stage, it must be shot: The rule of the gun. Quite a literal use for it, if I may say so myself.

WRITER

But you won’t kill me?

GABRIEL

No. I don’t want to.

WRITER

But aren’t you furious at me?

GABRIEL

Yes and no.

WRITER

What do you mean?

GABRIEL

I am mad at you because you killed me. I am not mad at you because I was made to die.

WRITER

I’m sorry.

GABRIEL

(Laughs) You don’t have to apologize to your characters. Imagine a cook apologizing to the bacon he’s about to fry! Sorry, bacon. I’m sorry.

Wouldn’t that be the quaintest thing?

WRITER

Yes.

GABRIEL

So what are you going to do now?

WRITER

I will write. That’s the only thing I’m fit for.

GABRIEL

And, how will your story go?

WRITER

Simple. Gomorrah lives.

GABRIEL

And, what of me?

WRITER

You will leave her. You will leave her the night you promised to introduce her to your daughter. (Smiles) For in fact, you have another lover, a flower girl named Lily.

GABRIEL

(Stands) Then that’s that. (He starts to exit.)

WRITER

Wait.

GABRIEL

Yes?

WRITER

Where are you going?

GABRIEL

To a girl named Lily.

WRITER

Will I ever meet you again?

GABRIEL

Whenever you write, you will meet me.

WRITER

Yes. I will. In the end ‘you’ are me.

GABRIEL

The key’s in your coat pocket.

(The WRITER releases himself from the cuffs.)

(GABRIEL turns to leave but stops. He turns back to the WRITER.)

GABRIEL

Hey writer! (He pulls out his gun. Silence. They stare at each other. He pulls the trigger but the gun is empty.) Sorry, I just had to do it. (He exits laughing)

 

ACT 2, SCENE 3

(The WRITER removes his cuffs. He cleans himself a bit and turns to the audience.)

WRITER

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, I welcome you to the centre of heart’s desire, the proverbial id, the forest where want and reality become one: a lonely bar at three AM. Leave all conscience by the door. We’re open all night.

(He exits.)

(The stage lights return to normal. Gomorrah enters checking her watch. She paces. She sits down on the platform floor. She takes a cigarette and puffs. Suddenly the door opens and the WRITER enters. GOMORRAH stands expectantly but sits down in disappointment.)

GOMORRAH

Sorry, stranger. We’re closed.

WRITER

I know.

GOMORRAH

I thought you were someone else.

WRITER

I know.

GOMORRAH

You seem to know a lot of things.

WRITER

(Apologetically) He’s not coming.

GOMORRAH

What?

WRITER

Gabriel is not coming.

GOMORRAH

(Frantically) What? How do you know that? Who are you?

WRITER

A friend.

GOMORRAH

You’re no friend of mine! (Stomps on the cigarette)

WRITER

(Sits beside her) I’ve known you… I am already in love with you.

GOMORRAH

If you’re Gabriel’s friend, you must be a writer too.

WRITER

Yes.

GOMORRAH

Would you like to kiss me, writer?

WRITER

Ever since I met you…

GOMORRAH

Then kiss me. I’ve nothing to left to lose.(The WRITER kisses her.) Your lips have no taste.

WRITER

But maybe if I try again… (He does so.)

GOMORRAH

Your lips are dry. His… his lips had taste. It felt as if his lips were made to kiss mine. As if we were written to be lovers.

WRITER

But he’s not coming.

GOMORRAH

(Sighs.) No. He’s not.(Pulls away a tear.) He’s not coming, and tonight I will have to be satisfied with a man with tasteless lips.

WRITER

I can learn. You can teach me how to flavour my lips.

GOMORRAH

You will never learn how to kiss like him.

WRITER

I can. And I will.

GOMORRAH

Promises. Pretty words. Beautiful nothings.

WRITER

Yes, That’s him. This is me. I’m different.

GOMORRAH

Do you have a car?

WRITER

It’s parked outside.

GOMORRAH

Take me home.(She exits.)

(The WRITER walks to the table set-up in the audience area and leaves the notebook.)

WRITER

(To the door.) Yes, I will. (To himself) And we will have an affair lettered with loneliness and despair. You will never grow fond of my lips. Never of my love.

GOMORRAH

(From the wings.) Aren’t you coming?

WRITER

Yes… love. (He exits.)

 

 

ACT 2, SCENE 4

(The WAITRESS enters from the back of the audience. She has a tray with her. She collects the mug the WRITER used and notices the WRITER’s notebook. She reads the title page aloud.)

WAITRESS

“God of the Machine”

(She continues to read on. Her expressions are very candid. Laughing unabashedly. Crying at times, and sometimes in pure repulsion. She is completely taken by the text. The GUARD and the FLOWER GIRL enter. The GUARD chases the FLOWER GIRL.)

GUARD

Hey, I told you, you aren’t allowed in here!

FLOWER GIRL

I’m just making a living!

WAITRESS

(Disturbed by the commotion.) Could you two be quiet?

(The GUARD and the FLOWER GIRL pose in a tableau. The GUARD has nearly caught the FLOWER GIRL.)

GUARD

What’s that?

WAITRESS

A customer left it.

GUARD

The grumpy guy who always sat around writing until we closed?

WAITRESS

Yes, the guy who would cry and scream as he was writing.

GUARD

Where is he anyway?

WAITRESS

I haven’t seen him for a few days.

GUARD

Yeah? Me too. He used to come here every day.

WAITRESS

And he always ordered the same thing. Coffee. Black.

GUARD

Smoked a lot too!

WAITRESS

Yup.

GUARD

(To the notebook.)That any good?

WAITRESS

I don’t know. I haven’t finished yet.

GUARD

Well, what is it?

WAITRESS

It looks like a love story. Written twice over. About an angel, a god, and a woman who turned into salt. A love triangle.

GUARD

How does it end?

WAITRESS

I haven’t finished it yet.

(FLOWER GIRL takes the notebook. Skips to the end, and reads aloud.)

FLOWER GIRL

“…and he, a god of sorts was enchanted by a woman who has always turned her back at him…”

WAITRESS

Don’t ruin it for me. (Tries to take the notebook.)

GUARD

No.(Stops the WAITRESS)I want to hear!

WAITRESS

(Exasperated)Fine.

FLOWER GIRL

“He always met her at three AM. and they would make love. The god with his inconsolable passion, and the woman with her salty eyes. They have been together for awhile…”

ACT 2, SCENE 5

(The WRITER enters the bar. He takes off his jacket.)

WRITER

…and the man loved her as only gods can, fully giving himself. And she, she was no longer as beautiful, and her dress faded to a morose colour as did her lips, and her hair, and her heart but the god never noticed. He has loved her fiercely since the day they first met.

(GOMORRAH enters as she is described by the WRITER. She carries a bottle of rum.)

Sometimes I would hear her utter his name. Absent-mindedly, she would open her lips, and say…

GOMORRAH

(Takes a glass.) …Gabriel.

WRITER

She would then look far away and salt would trickle from her eyes.

GOMORRAH

Gabriel, and your wings I remember you, and your lips.

WRITER

(To GOMORRAH.)Gomorrah, don’t you love me?

GOMORRAH

(She plays with the bottom of her glass.) No. But don’t take me wrong. Don’t think ill of me.

WRITER

I can never do such a thing.

GOMORRAH

(Not minding the WRITER’s answer.) We have been together for awhile. And you have been nothing but good to me. You give me everything that I want. I know I don’t deserve you. I know that my beauty has faded.

WRITER

No. You are as beautiful as the first day I met you.

GOMORRAH

(Loses her temper) Don’t you give me that! I know what time has done to me. (Calming down) You have been nice to me. You have blessed me with a carefree life. But…

WRITER

But what?

GOMORRAH

(Embraces the WRITER) But I do not love you.

WRITER

That’s okay. I can teach you to love me.

GOMORRAH

(Laughs. Finishes her drink)You cannot teach a person how to love.

WRITER

(Refills her glass) You taught me how to kiss, didn’t you?

GOMORRAH

That’s kissing. That’s not love. Kissing is easy. You hit two pairs of lips together, that’s that. But love. Love is a weightless burden, a dazzling adventure, a blessing from God. (Drinks)

WRITER

Then I will try harder.

GOMORRAH

Try as you might, you will never grow wings. Unlike him.

WRITER

He won’t ever come back.

GOMORRAH

I know he won’t but what’s to stop a girl from trying? I know it’s crazy but I come here every three AM just to see if he would come to save me.

WRITER

But I’m here. I’m here at three AM, and I am here to save you.

GOMORRAH

(Not meaning to offend) Thank you but no thank you.

WRITER

I can save you. I can take you away from this place. You won’t ever have to sing again.

GOMORRAH

I can’t leave. Ever. This is my home. I feel I was written for this place. (Looks around her) A city pardoned by God.

WRITER

Gomorrah.

GOMORRAH

And besides, who will take his jacket and his shoes and his love when he finally passes through that door one fateful three AM.

WRITER

(Taking his jacket) Gomorrah, you’re a fool.

GOMORRAH

I’m sorry. I think I was made that way.

WRITER

That you were. (He storms out)

GOMORRAH

(Finishes her drink. To no one in particular) I’m sorry.

(She sings the Ave Maria as she makes herself up. She looks at herself at a compact mirror.)

There. That’s good enough. Like the first time you met me, and we danced. A swaying tight embrace really rather than a dance. And since then… I have not… (Smiles)

I still love you, you know that? I love you. I love you. I love you. Three beautiful words I will say three times over.

(She sings the Ave Maria again. She exits to the kitchen door but her voice is still heard on-stage. She re-enters with a belt. She enters with the blue cloth in ACT 1. She is evidently drunk.)

Gabriel, I am your favourite sin. I am your Virgin Mary. I am yours. I have always been yours. We were written for one another.

(She makes a noose.)

And tonight at three AM, I call upon the winds to fly me to you.

(She stands on the table. She ties the cloth onto the chandelier.)

Gabriel… (She shoots her head through the noose.) Gabriel, take me with your wings!

(She jumps off in an imitation of a bird. She dangles for a while. A prolonged silence.)

(The WRITER enters.)

WRITER

(To himself) Look. Gomorrah, I’m sure we can work this out if we just try. I mean, I know I’m not the most practical choice for a lover but…(He notices GOMORRAH’s hanging body.) What! No! No! I changed the story. I re-wrote it. How could you, Gomorrah! Gomorrah. Live! I order you to live. My God, not again!

(He goes to GOMORRAH’s hanging body tries to pull her down.)

Gomorrah you are my favourite sin.

(Pause)

My notebook where is it? Where is it?

(He runs to the WAITRESS and gets his notebook; he writes on it.)

She lives. She lives!

(He closes his eyes.)

Ten. Nine. Eight. Three. Two. One.

(He opens them.)

Why don’t you breathe? Breathe, please.

(He lets his tears fall.)

(He stands. The FLOWER GIRL, the WAITRESS, and the GUARD watch him.)

(Examining the scene) This is my sin, my hubris, my tragedy yet it is not only mine. (Chuckles to himself) Maybe even god is a cog in the machine. Maybe I am also just another character. Maybe I am just a character of another character in some morbid stage that some audience is watching. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. It’s all written down somewhere but then…

(He notices the three characters from the cafe.)

WRITER

Hey you three! Did you read this?

WAITRESS

Yes.

WRITER

What did you think?

WAITRESS

It’s a sad story.

WRITER

No. My story isn’t sad. The fact that I can breathe, love, and hope proves that this is not a sad story.

(The WRITER shouts to the ceiling.)

If the world is a stage then what if the stage is living-breathing-life? What are the implications of that? (To the flights) Then, we your characters, can move from your predestination!

(He points upwards)

End it! I tell you, end it. Nothing more can happen. End your fucking story! Write it down. E-N-D.

(To the audience.)

Right now the stage lights, will dim. Ladies and gentlemen, the lights will dim!

(Lights dim. The WRITER raises his pen.)

But it will never end.

(Lights are almost gone.)

So He thinks!

(He stabs himself in the neck. He falls. Lights out.)

 

END.


[1] NOTE IN DIRECTION:  The characters made by the WRITER will both speak in a monotone in this scene to represent a drawing-board world where the characters’ characteristics are still being made-up by the WRITER. This device will also be used later on in the play.

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