Jim Bellamy's image of the late great genius poet-playwright-author Samuel Beckett.
AWAITING THE SUN (a fragment)
MAN 1: (flatly) Why aren't you driving?
MAN 2: (factually) I can't drive.
MAN 1: (flatly) But time's a Roman plantation
MAN 2: (factually) I know.
MAN 1: (flatly) Time
just keeps on going in detering crucified line.
MAN 2: (factually) In the driver's seat.
MAN 1: (flatly) Yes. And you can't drive?
MAN 2: (factually) No.
MAN 1: (flatly) Whose sandals are those?
MAN 2: (factually)
MAN 1: (flatly) So who's Jesus then?
MAN 2: (factually) I am.
MAN 1: (flatly) I've never seen you breaking bread.
MAN 2: (factually) No.
MAN 1: (flatly) Nor have I seen you turn water into wine.
MAN 2: (factually) No.
MAN 1: (flatly) So what says you're Jesus then?
MAN 2: (factually) My manner, my nature - as involves my
consumption of berries and nuts each day, as opposed
to meat and fish.
MAN 1: (flatly) Oh. When were you last crucified then?
MAN 2: (factually) Oh, last Tuesday.
MAN 1: (flatly) So you've been arising from the dead for a week.
that's sure some hotdog.
MAN 2: (factually) But You were crucified eleventeen times
during the past fortnight.
MAN 1: (flatly)
Yes, but I'm not Jesus.
MAN 2: (factually) What's the time
MAN 1: (flatly) Thirteen 'o' clock.
MAN 2: (factually) Not long till tea-time then?
MAN 1: (flatly) No.
MAN 2: (factually) Where did you get that
MAN 1: (flatly) From Joseph the Carpenter.
MAN 2: (factually) When?
MAN 1: (flatly) At thirteen 'o' clock last Thursday -
just two days after you were last crucified.
MAN 2: (factually) Oh yes. Are you fond of thirteen?
MAN 1: (flatly) Of course - that was the last time I saw you die.
MAN 2: (factually) And when was the second time?
MAN 1: (flatly) At thirteen 'o' clock the following day.
MAN 2: (factually) Ah yes. So how old are the heavens now
MAN 1: (flatly) About fifty-fifty as the Crow flies.
MAN 2: (factually) Pretty old then?
MAN 1: (flatly) Only as old as any wheel, Jesus.
MAN 2: (factually) What do you mean?
MAN 1: (flatly) Simply, Jesus, I mean as old as a castor or
tyre - you know; as old as the driver comes.
MAN 2: (factually) I understand entirely.
MAN 1: (flatly) Can you help me, Jesus?
MAN 2: (factually) But I only healed you last weekend - at
clock in fact - your favourite time -
and I really don't need you healing again for now.
MAN 1: (flatly) Not with healing, with my nose - I reckon it's
broken in nine places.
MAN 2: (factually) That is healing.
MAN 1: (flatly) No it's
not - surely my nose is not broken enough -
it needs a little more Caesaropapy to make it so.
MAN 2: (factually) Stop fussing.
MAN 1: (flatly) Do you kiss your wife, Jesus?
MAN 2: (factually) I don't have a wife.
MAN 1: (flatly) What
happened to that girlie you married, then?
MAN 2: (factually) I turned her into a lampshade.
MAN 1: (flatly) Oh.
MAN 2: (factually) But I guess your wife is doing well - I'm
sure you kiss her regularly - at least as many times
MAN 1: (flatly) No, no - my wife is a lampshade, too.
MAN 2: (factually) Blasphemy. Only Jesus can turn his wife
into a lampshade.
MAN 1: (flatly) Oh well - I'm a disciple, and that means I follow
MAN 2:tually) I suppose
MAN 1: (flatly) Stop picking your nose, Jesus.
MAN 2: (factually) Why?
MAN 1: (flatly) Because there's an insect in it.
MAN 2: (factually) That's precisely why I'm picking it.
MAN 1: (flatly) But you
musn't. That insect makes you holy -
it's home, altogether crucified, provides a nest for
your miraculous brain.
MAN 2: (factually) Nonsense, Man.
MAN 1: (flatly) If you wish for me to serve you, Jesus, you
would not defy me
2: (factually) And if you wished to truly serve me, you would
do no less than see that the insect in my nose
is nothing less than a simple bogey.
MAN 1: (flatly) Very well. (Man 1 punches Man 2 in the nose)
There. Now your nose is also
broken in nine places.
From now on, your insectacidic nostril is flat with
nought but snot.
MAN 2: (factually) That hurt man. That hurt the word of God.
MAN 1: (flatly) Good.
MAN 2: (factually) Good? What if - what if my head bled
that my miraculous nature lost its memory?
MAN 1: (flatly) Then, Jesus, you would simply pray more successfully.
MAN 2: (factually) And what if my head was so broken that my prayers
led me to hell?
MAN 1: (flatly)
Well, then, Jesus, you would be hand in hand with Rosemary?
MAN 2: (factually) Who in Satan's name is Rosemary?
MAN 1: (flatly) Your wife, dumkopf
MAN 2: (factually) But I thought I'd told you - my wife is now a lampshade.
MAN 1: (flatly)
Yes indeed Jesus, and by that token she shines on and on
wherever you choose to tread.
MAN 2: (factually) And how's that?
MAN 1: (fatly) Because you, Jehovah, are a green sort of a miracle man,
and green is innocence and innocence is forever
trailed by the
flashlights of the devil; the devil being your lampshade of a wife
and you being the reason for her never-ending devilry.
MAN 2: (factually) Well that's certainly a revelation - even to me?
MAN 1: (flatly) You learn something
new everyday, Jesus.
MAN 2: (factually) You certainly, certainly do.
Copyright JDB 1992.
title of monologue: CALLING THE DESERT DOWNSTAIRS (a fragment)
JOHNSON: calling the
desert downstairs? Do you hear me?
You know, I really need to talk with you...I'm here to tell you
that - that i know all about the dunes and the searing heat
inside...Christ! For year after year, I have put my trust in finding
but, you know how it is, that oasis doesn't come
along. No, no - it never does... But listen now, old desert,
can't you see that I'm just dying to escape the sunshine? Christ!
That sunshine has been cleaving my being away from me for
feels like a century now.... And, you know, if only I could
have a chance, I'd divorce you and your ruddy desert world and
get back on top of things.. But, old Sahel, you and really must
know that your punishing world, with all its burning gesturese
and gestations, does something to a man's sensual divinity. I
mean to say, when all this began, we were all trolling along
just dandily down the disco, dancing and dealing in virtual
love. But, these days, I just don't know, the whole desert
just keeps on getting me down.. Hello? Hello there! Why don't
you damn well listen? Can't you see that a man has urges? You
know what I mean, exigent urges such as laughter, mockery,
madness and grief? Yes, you could say that I am
issue, but, goddamn you, what I'm trying to say is that..
too much of the de facto matter at hand can only end up in an
early grave... What's that you say? There's only a desert downstairs
for as long as one tries to live inside
things? Christ! You don't need
to tell me that.. But - I've always been one for looking into
things.. Even when - even when a tiny child .. I used to search for
fossils at the seaside. No, I never found one, but, you know,
the anger I feel
now at not finding just one damned T. Rex bone
is impossible to define... Christ! If only you'd just listen, then we'd
surely surely get to the de facto centre of the whole damned
thing and - and do something about it.. Well?! What do you
say, old Gobi? Don't I deserve at least a little respect for
trying to my best?.... Christ! I really must loosen my tie...
Take my wife, Polly, she never expects to be taken for a ride,
but, God!, it's in the bag that that's what she needs.
she screams at me, "Johnson! If you're my only husband-type,
then why the hell don't you get down from your pedestal
for once in a while?!" And, dear Nevada, however I look at things,
I just can't seem to find a way to relive
miraculous nature... You see, the irony of it all is that I do NOT
have a pedestal to stand on. No, last time I stood up at all, my
rotten trousers fell around my ankles.... So much waste, old Gobi,
so much damned sadness..So sad,
so full of sadness... Listen!
I'm telling you to stop desertiying the big city me.. Do you hear?
Calling the desert downstairs! Why don't you do damned well
hear me?.. Take last week. It had been one those busy days in
the office. When
I got home, I just lay there and drifted off,
and, do you know, I had that dream I reckon we all have from
time to time; that dream about grandmother standing there before
me in the nude. There she was, all toothless and gnashing
Well, as you can imagine, desert, I thought at first
that I'd turned into a right old pervert - I mean, the burning
I felt in my loins at the time was too harsh to explain away..
But I know we all have those dreams from time to time -
guess we all do and die by the visions of things we neither
yearn nor wish to see.. You know, I sometimes reckon
that all our lives are spent just waiting to make love to
someone old and past it. You see, Nevada, only then'll
the true source
of of purity will be found. You see, old Sahel,
then the maniacally roving eye'll be gone and the matter
of those foolish teenage fantasies'll be dimmed forever;
then, the matter of sexual gratification'll be sated by a
complete lack of
youthful consternation; a lack that is
altogether sacred. Yes, old desert, only then'll the true
source of purity to be found...I suppose what I'm trying
to say to you is that your scorcher of a world is driving
me into the ground. You're
the desert downstairs, see,
and I am just an ordinary man trying to do his best to prosper
under the flatulent heat you flay across my mind and body..
Hello! Hello there?! Please, old Sahel, just listen to me for a
second or three, 'cause
I am trying to please those b'stards
on the topmost floor, tired - tired of scrawling and scraping for
the mutations who make me break my back all these
live long times. Christ! If only - if only Polly'd see that I
just cannot be held responsible
for the roof falling down
and the state of her womb and the slope of her breasts,
and the, and the... Please listen! All I want, Gobi, all I want,
old Sandy, is for the chance to prove that I care about the
indifference of society. You
know, I could be like them:
doing as I please, eating high-fat foods, reading mucky books,
asking for as many holidays the State can possibly provide,
but, you see...you see, I - I served my time being trammelled
into accepting the apathy
a material machine. Old Sandy, these days,
I just don't know my place. One moment, I'm king of
the castle, churlishly clad in my business suit and all
all-weather, lace-up leather, man-made shoes, and the next thing
I'm just biding my very
own multi-sufficient prison-cell..
Hello? Calling the desert downstairs! Hello! Goddamn you,
if only you'd just listen, even for just one deliberated nanosecond,
then you'd learn a thing or two.. I am here and you are here
and all this
wide world is here, but still no equanimity is made -
still no sight of the land of milk and honey comes into rotten view..
So, I am asking you, old Sandy, so I'm simply asking you, just
give us a chance... just give us a break!! 'Cause if I
to close my eyes, I'd begin to see those other closed eyes and
eyes just looking in on me, and those other closed eyes eat
away at your brain and eat away at your soul and never, never,
never give you the chance again to question
blanking, non-seeing purpose of the material world... Christ!
All those bastard eyes leading us all into the weeds and not
giving us the chance to live again! Eyes! Eyes! Eyes! And, d'you
know, old Sandy, it's you and your
desert downstairs that makes
them flicker and a-flutter like they damned well do... Sometimes
I reckon those eyes were created by the devil, seeing the way
that they always glare and glaze over at the things they should
be loving the most.
'Cause those eyes breed further eyes and
further eyes breed further pain and further pain breeds a
whole morass of sadness. - 'cause it's all so sad, so full o
goddamned sadness... Hello? Hello there! Calling the desert
asking you to listen to me! Just shift your fat
and burning and sandy arse away from my compos mentis. I
mean to say, if you and your shirty pals out there on the desert
plain don't damned well do something soon to take away the angst
the agony of this low-blow heat, I will just not be held
responsible for the circumstances.. You see, that naughty wife of
mine, Polly, she won't ever let up except when I'm serving time in
my garden shed, and, you know, it's all down to you,
that your desert downstairs makes her lose her handle with me.
Christ! We'd just be all right if you'd let us lose our passions to
flirtatious exploits. But, let's face it, you and your burning pals
out there on the Sahara just
won't give a second look at one
so hare-brained as to wish for a little flirtation...You see, old Sandy,
eyes breed further eyes and an eye is an eye and a tooth a tooth,
yet, when it's all said and done, we've just go to burn the
they say, old Gobi, that it is the Scriptures.
Well, when it comes it comes down to it, all I know is that
an eye is an eye and a tooth is probably an eye as well,
seeing the way a tooth flashes down on to all things that
look its way -
just like an eye, just like a bloody eye itself. Yes, old
Sandy, a single grimace is as all-seeing as a billion glaring eyes..
In fact, if I had it my way, eyes of all kinds would be carved out
their blaring sockets so that me and my wife could
just have some
privacy and you, you and your multisonous burning, would be
burnt out in one great molten fury.. Don't you know? Your heat,
old Nevada, scours a man's heart and mind entirely away from
the purpose it was born to, which is
to propagate a little faith,
dam a few emotional rivers, bear a tide of truth upon the land,
and, of course, to make way for the moans of bed and bier
that plucks the chords of the whole damned universe... Hello? Calling
the desert downstairs.
Calling the blood and guts of mystic misery.
Calling the aridity below the bestiary of the belt.
..Calling, calling, calling the desert downstairs...Calling, calling,
calling, calling, calling the desert downstairs... Calling, calling, calling,
calling the desert downstairs...
(THE VOICE OF JOHNSON BEGINS TO FADE AWAY,
BIT BY TEARFUL BIT, UNTIL, ON A SUDDEN, THE SOUND
OF A TELEPHONE RECEIVER BEING GENTLY REPLACED
IN ITS CRADLE BRINGS THE MONOLOGUE TO A CLOSE).
Copyright JDB 1992.
jim has written a fair number of 1 act plays/monologues/duologues/soliloquys.