May Your Judge Smile Sweetly: A One-Act Play by Robert Spiegel

May Your Judge Smile Sweetly: A One-Act Play by Robert Spiegel

Drama, Vol. 5.2, June 2011

Four characters
A hippie
A woman Christian fundamentalist
A male Islamic terrorist
Saint Peter

The Christian woman and the Islamic terrorist are sitting in chairs facing the audience. There’s an empty lectern at the side of the stage. The hippie is behind them rummaging through a cupboard.

Hippie: Jesus Christ, they got beer here.

Christian woman: I would appreciate it if you would not take the name of the Lord in vain.

Hippie: I didn’t know Jesus was the Lord. I thought he was a teacher or something.

Christian woman: That’s what all you secular humanists think. That Jesus was just some philosopher.

Hippie: Whatever. The beer’s pretty good. Tastes kinda like Guinness. I guess this ain’t Hell.

Christian woman turns away from him.

Terrorist: Allah prohibits drinking alcohol.

Hippie: Allah ain’t here, and beer’s not drinking. Whiskey’s drinking.

The Christian woman rolls her eyes. The hippie raises the beer to her.

Hippie: In your eye, so to speak.

Christian woman: You’re going to Hell.

Hippie: If they got Guinness, I’m going.

Saint Peter walks on stage to the lectern.

Saint Peter: I would imagine you all know why you’re here.

Terrorist: Yeah, because that asshole hippie crashed into us.

Saint Peter: That doesn’t sound right. Let me see.

Saint Peter reads through his papers.

Saint Peter: Nope, not the hippie. It was a lawyer actually. He was texting.

Hippie: Well, where’s the Goddamn lawyer? Is he already in lawyer Hell?

Christian woman: Quit taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Saint Peter: Back to business. The lawyer is recovering in the hospital. You three are not so fortunate.

Terrorist: Where are my 72 virgins?

Saint Peter: We’ll get to that. We’re just doing the processing right now, sorting things out.

Terrorist: I want to know now!

Saint Peter: Aren’t you the pesky one.

Christian woman: I already know where I’m going. And I know who I’ll see there.

Saint Peter: You do, huh?

Christian woman: Most assuredly.

Saint Peter: We’ll see.

Hippie: I don’t believe in Hell.

Terrorist: Let’s get on with it.

Saint Peter (to the terrorist): Technically, you didn’t complete your job. You lived. You didn’t sacrifice for Allah. You sacrificed others.

Terrorist: So! I took down a lot of infidels.

Saint Peter: Unfortunately, the Koran doesn’t like murder. The Koran says it’s OK to fight back if attacked. But it’s not OK to attack, certainly not civilians.

Terrorist: I took them down for Allah. It’s not murder. I was destroying infidels who invaded the holy land.

Saint Peter: New York isn’t the holy land, and they were civilians.

Terrorist: They were part of the American imperialist empire. What about my 72 virgins?

Saint Peter: I’m afraid they’ve been set aside for Salman Rushdie.

Terrorist: But I sacrificed my life for Allah.

Saint Peter: No, you died in a car accident, remember? And anyway, you killed innocent civilians. Plus, there were all those lap dances – sometimes it was more than lap dances. I’m afraid you’re not headed for Allah’s arms.

Hippie: Whoa. Lap dances. That’s a problem, huh? I think I’m in big trouble.

Saint Peter (looking at the hippie): Different rules for you.

Christian woman: How come you’re presiding over a Muslim? Aren’t you a Christian? You’re Saint Peter, right?

Saint Peter: To you, I appear as Saint Peter. To the Islamic gentleman, I’m one of Allah’s angels.

Christian woman: And how do you appear to the hippie?

Saint Peter: As Yoda.

Christian woman: Let’s get on with this business. Can’t you just whisk me through? I’ve been a devout Christian all my life.

Saint Peter: Actually, your situation is complicated.

Christian woman: Why, for Heaven’s sake?

Saint Peter: You seem to be wearing a blouse that’s a blend of polyester and cotton.

Hippie: Uh, oh, big trouble.

Christian woman (to the hippie): What do you know about anything? (back to Saint Peter): What on earth does my blouse have to do with processing me to Heaven?

Hippie: Leviticus.

Christian woman (to the hippie): What do you know about the Bible?

Saint Peter (chuckling): Actually, the hippie is right. In Leviticus it states you cannot wear clothing of mixed fibers.

Hippie: And there’s the menstruation thing.

Saint Peter: The hippie’s right again. Leviticus says you cannot be in the same room as a man when you are menstruating. Plus, you ate pork rinds. You’re not even supposed to touch pigskin. You ate it. You have broken all of these commandments thousands of times. There’s even more, but I think you get my point.

Christian woman: That’s ridiculous. That’s trivial.

Saint Peter: We normally agree that it’s trivial. But you have condemned others for breaking the laws in Leviticus – that kind of forces you to adhere to the details. We hold you to the laws that you condemn others for breaking.

Christian woman: But I didn’t condemn anyone for this nonsense.

Saint Peter: Actually, you did. You condemned gays.

Christian woman: Homosexuality is a sin.

Saint Peter: Only by the laws of Leviticus. What you’re facing is one of those, “Live by the laws, die by the laws.” You seemed to take the laws of Leviticus pretty seriously in condemning gays, so we unfortunately have to apply the Leviticus laws to you.

Hippie: This is too good.

Saint Peter: I’m afraid you can’t go straight to Heaven. You’ll first have to spend a lifetime as a gay man born in the 1920s in rural Texas. It won’t be particularly pleasant. The 1940s and 1950s are going to be a tad rough. Your only chance of coming out OK is by getting very good at football. Unfortunately, that’s not likely.

Terrorist: Am I going to Texas, too?

Saint Peter (chuckling): No, not quite. But you also have a lesson or two coming your way. You’ll get to see the Nazi movement up close. You’ll be born in Poland. As a special touch, you’ll be born into a Jewish family in the early 1930s. By 1940, you’ll be in the Warsaw Ghetto. After that, well, we all know what happens after that.

Terrorist: The Holocaust did not happen.

Saint Peter: You’ll get to find out about that for yourself.

Terrorist: Are you saying I will die in a concentration camp?

Saint Peter: No. But much of your family probably will. You will probably survive. And you’ll probably end up helping with the formation of modern Israel.

Terrorist: I shall kill myself rather than support Israel.

Saint Peter: You won’t feel that way at the time. You’ll be Jewish. You will probably be quite proud to be part of the Zionist movement. We all have free will, so we’re not sure exactly how your life will turn out. But I believe you’ll very likely work very hard in the early years while Israel struggles against its Arab neighbors.

Terrorist: Never will I fight with the infidels!

The hippie walks over and hands the terrorist a beer.

Hippie: You could probably use this.

The terrorist takes it grudgingly. The hippie also offers a beer to the Christian woman. She takes hers as well.

Saint Peter: Now, that’s the spirit.

Hippie (to Saint Peter): You want one?

Saint Peter: Not until after work.

Terrorist (pointing to the hippie): So what happens to him?

Christian woman: Yes. What special Hell does he face?

Saint Peter: Except for a few minor infractions – for which he felt guilty and later apologized – he’s led a pretty good life.

Hippie: I’ll drink to that.

Christian woman: He’s probably been stoned most of his life. Heaven knows what his sex life has been like.

Terrorist: I have to be a Jew just because of a few lap dances! The hippie needs to burn in Hell.

Christian woman: I’ll second that.

Hippie: I’ll drink to it.

Saint Peter (turning to the terrorist): Your lap dances – and many other activities in that territory – were an offense because you believe it to be an offense to Allah and you did it anyway. With this gentleman (turning to the hippie), he didn’t hold sex to be sinful. So he didn’t break any laws he believed in.

Hippie: Whoa, I like the way this man thinks.

Saint Peter: There was actually nothing hypocritical in his behavior.

Terrorist: So, you can just do all the drugs you want?

Saint Peter: Well, it’s not really like that. Hippie did some fairly spiritual drugs.

Hippie: I did, man. I was surfboarding on the edge of reality. I swear Jesus was right there with me.

Saint Peter: Actually, in a sense he was.

Christian woman: This is preposterous. How can you meet Jesus through drugs?

Saint Peter: It depends on the drugs you take.

Hippie: Listen to him, man.

Saint Peter: It’s been the same with sex. The hippie’s had a very loving and spiritual sex life.

Hippie: I knew I was on the right track. I knew it all along. All I did was give love and get love back.

Christian woman: That’s disgusting.

Saint Peter: And you helped people.

Hippie: I did?

Saint Peter: Yes, your couch was hardly ever empty.

Hippie: That’s right. People were always crashing on my couch.

Saint Peter: So you see you had a good life. A life worthy of Heaven.

Christian woman: That’s a travesty.

Saint Peter (to the Christian woman): It’s time for you and your Islamic friend to get on your way. You can exit right through there. You’ll be processed into babies and you’ll be born back on Earth. The process is really quite pleasant.

The Terrorist and Christian woman exit the stage.

Saint Peter: I’ll take you up to Heaven now.

Hippie: You do look kinda like Yoda. So what’s Heaven like?

They begin walking off stage.

Saint Peter: Oh, I think you’re going to like it. You’ll enter through a peyote ceremony. And the peyote here is way beyond what you find on earth. They also have really great mushrooms in Heaven.

Hippie: Yoda, you’re the best.

Saint Peter: You’re going to enjoy yourself. I think I’ll sit in on it too. I just love the peyote ceremony.

They exit.


Precipitating Factors by Salvatore Zoida

The Hill by Michael J. Berntsen

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