A true story
A TALE of TWO SITTERS
(A one-act Play by T.E.Walstrom)
Location Exterior: A park with picnic tables.
Time: 11 am
Lou: Media / News analyst, a religious fundamentalist.
A serious man and extremely prone to literal thinking.
Jerry: Writer, former cultist, amateur crow wrangler. An unserious man with a wry sense of humor.
________________CURTAIN RISES ___________
Our scene begins with two men seated at separate tables working at their laptops.
Lou is a man in a serious suit.
He recently moved from New York to Texas to start his own
He is shooing flies away from his laptop screen with a disgusted expression.
A few feet away, Jerry suddenly begins waving his arms and scowling.
Jerry: (Exaggerated sarcasm) Thanks. They all came over to me now!
Lou: Oh, Sorry. They need to provide fly swatters for people who sit out here.
Jerry: You’re obviously not Republican!
Lou: Um what? Actually--I am. Why do you say that?
Jerry: I’m being facetious. Conservatives preach personal responsibility rather than getting others to provide for them.
Lou: Ahhh, I see. I see. That’s funny. Are you a Republican?
Jerry: You don’t want to know. Trust me.
Lou: What--why not?
Jerry: It’s like asking Jack Nicholson to tell the truth on the witness stand.
Lou: I’m sorry--I don’t understand.
Jerry: What did Jack Nicholson answer when Tom Cruise asked him to tell the truth?
Lou: (Clueless. He shrugs)
Jerry: (Quoting Colonel Jessup in A Few Good Men) “You want the truth? Do you want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!"
Lou: (Face brightening. He ‘gets it’) Okaaay. Okay. Why though? I’m serious. Are you a Liberal, then?
Jerry: There are two things civilized people don’t discuss. One is Politics and the other is --”
Lou: (Jumping in) Religion! Haha, okay sorry. I understand. It’s just that I produce many religious videos and I’m a Website owner providing commentary on news events with a biblical and Christian viewpoint.
Jerry: (Mock serious) I’m sorry to hear that. It means it’s impossible for us to have a civilized conversation.
Lou: I’m Lou, by the way. You’re a pretty funny guy. What do you do?
Jerry: I’m Jerry. I write. Among the things I write are analyses debunking religious fundamentalism.
Lou: Sure. Sure. No really. Do you write books or what?
Jerry: Books, blog essays, CD liner notes, Short stories, poems, bathroom graffiti.
Lou: I don’t know when to take you seriously.
Jerry: Welcome to my ex-wives’ world!
From offstage the sound of a crow flapping and cawing.
Jerry opens his backpack and removes a bag of corn chips.
He proceeds to toss them offstage - as though trying to hit the crow rather than feed it.
Lou: You two know each other?
(Jerry opens his backpack and removes a packet of cashews. He tosses them to Lou and gestures for the man to toss them too)
Jerry: Let’s just say there is an interpersonal dynamic at play here. If I don’t feed him, there are consequences. Accidents.
Lou: Sounds like the Mafia! (Lous tosses cashews at the crow offstage)
Jerry: (Looking furtively left and right, raising his index finger to his lips) Sh-h-h-h. OMERTA! Such tales must not be told aloud.
Lou: Haha. What kind of accidents? Come on - you can tell me.
Jerry: (Delivered like a campfire horror tale.)
“About a year ago Edgar started following me as I rode my bicycle.
He flew alongside keeping pace ...day after day. Then he’d show up at the park. Obviously begging for a tidbit. I made the worst decision of my lifetime. And believe me - I’ve made some bad ones…”
Lou: Are you being serious?Why did you call the crow Edgar?”
Jerry: Why not? May I continue?
Lou: (Completely tuned.) Sorry. Continue.
Jerry: I decided to toss Edgar a cashew. I had brought a can with me. Unsalted. That damned bird went flipping out crazy with it - like a hit of cocaine. He’s been back every day since then. The worst part - if I don’t give him anything he punishes me.
Lou: (Smiling and going along) Oh. How?
Jerry: See my bicycle over there? The leather seat? The rips and holes?
Lou: That’s hard to believe.
Jerry: I did a Google search on crows. There are news incidents that will curl your hair. Crow retributions!
Lou: You’re pulling my leg. (Pauses. Scrutinizes the serious face of Jerry) Okay. Continue, please.
Jerry: There’s a news item from up in Idaho. (Solemn voice)
The town of Decorah. A little girl outside a general store noticed a rather large Crow on the sidewalk in front of her. She tossed part of the cookie she was eating. She fed the crow
Suddenly a man started shouting at her - scaring her enough to make her cry. He’s screaming:
“For God’s sake- never feed a Crow!”
Her mother - instead of comforting her and chastising the screaming man starts yelling at her too!
“He’s right - never feed a Crow!”
The man happens to be the town’s Sheriff.
The Sheriff takes a threatening run at the bird and it flies up on a telephone pole and stares. One other crow is perched nearby. Also staring directly at him.
Next thing you know the Sheriff pulls out his .357 Smith & Wesson and fires at both birds killing one as the other flies away safe.
A Community meeting is called that very same day and a bounty of a dollar a Crow is offered for the next morning to all hunters in the town.
Lou: Wait! What’s going on? Why is --?
Jerry: Patience is a virtue, Lou.
Lou: Oh. I’m sorry. Continue.
Jerry: (Monolog) The town of Decorah, like so many towns in Iowa, depends almost entirely on their CORN crop harvest for economic health.
Apparently, every corn farmer knows that crows send out scouts. If food is discovered, the next day thousands of crows will arrive in hordes to strip the countryside bare in a single feast!
By offering a bounty, hundreds of hunters would greet the ravaging birds with a barrage of buckshot and save the day!
Lou: Is that what happened? A crow ambush?
Jerry: Patience is a virtue.
Lou: Oh. I’m sorry. Please continue.
Jerry: The very next morning about five hundred locals with shotguns gathered outside city hall. The Mayor gave a pep talk and off the vigilantes drove in their pickup trucks for a day of prophylactic carnage.
At sundown, the hunters returned. Guess what? Not a single crow was spotted by anybody the entire day.
The Sheriff speculated proudly that by shooting the bird off the pole, the other eyewitness crow went off to warn all the others to avoid the town of Devorah. Big hero, you see?
Lou: Oh. I expected something a little more exciting the way you were telling it.
Jerry: (Admonishing tone) Lou. There’s more.
Lou: Oh. Sorry. I know: “Patience is a virtue.”
Jerry: The next two days were days off for the Sheriff who packed his fishing gear and tent, kissed his wife on the cheek, and drove to his favorite fishing spot. Two days later - no Sheriff.
His wife was frantic. She called a Deputy and sent him off to check on her husband.
The Deputy found the Sheriff at the fishing spot. He was seated on a folding chair holding his fishing pole.
He was dead.
The Sheriff's throat had been cut at the jugular and a serrated leaf - yes, I said a LEAF was lodged in the wound where he bled out.
The local newspaper carried the story.
Gossip added to the mystery. Needless to say - but I will say - the murder was blamed on the crow that got away.
A gathering of crows - you know - is called a MURDER, you see.
There are more stories like this and they span the breadth of history itself.
Lou: I don’t know what to say! I’m supposed to believe - your Edgar crow is a potential murderer? Is that why you feed him?
Jerry: Keyser Soze with feathers--that’s what we’re dealing with here.
Lou: (Clueless) I’m sorry?
Jerry: (Quoting Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects)
"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
Lou: (Suddenly changing the subject) You won’t believe this one;
I have performed actual exorcisms on people!
Jerry: (Droll) Of course you have.
Lou: You can hear another person’s voice coming out of the possessed. And when you finally liberate them, their voice changes and a great relief comes over their body.
Jerry: (Knowing it’s time to go off the cliff) Is the voice coming from the person’s vocal cords or someplace else in the room?
Lou: It’s the person’s vocal cords--but a foreign voice. Very frightening unless the power of God is there to protect you.
Jerry: (Sighing) I have a question about Demons.
Lou: Sure, go ahead.
(And now it begins)
Jerry: How big are Demons? I’m guessing they must be fairly tiny for a bunch of them to fit inside a human. I’m thinking of the one in the book of Luke called LEGION.
Lou: Beg your pardon?
Jerry: A Roman Legion was from three thousand to five thousand plus soldiers. That’s a lot of Demons to cram into a person! Must be itty bitty don’t ya think?
Lou: Uh--well. . . Nobody ever asked that before. You do realize they are Spirits, right?
Jerry: Yes - but - What does that actually mean? The word Spirit--it’s conceptual rather than actual, right?
I'm not asking a vague conceptual question. I'm asking about reality.
Lou: Well. Um. There are spirits. God is a Spirit. Invisible.
Jerry: If something is real rather than imaginary--it exists with some measurable magnitude, number, dimension, size--or else--we are just telling tall tales.
What’s the point in possessing a person by getting inside them?
Why cram so many demons inside like clowns in a Volkswagen?
Lou: (Lost) Uh. Well. This is a strange conversation!
Jerry: Without Science or any scientific method of testing and measuring ...
Let’s be candid - we know a thing cannot actually exist if it is not measurable, quantifiable, and testable.
Lou: You must believe in Evolution then, rather than the Bible.
Jerry: Forty-thousand Christian denominations tap into that Bible as the one true source and - at the same time - forty-thousand DISAGREE with each other and sometimes violently. As in the Thirty Years War, eh?
Lou: I let God worry about that. It’s above my pay grade.
Jerry: BACK TO MY QUESTION: How big did you say a Demon is?
Lou: (Trying to figure out where he’s going) I was saying: demons are Spirits and um---(lost in thought). . .
Jerry: Spirits without any size who can fit inside a human-- making it necessary to extract them by a ritual of exorcism? Is that what you are saying?
Lou: Yes. I have performed exorcisms.
(Jerry is temporarily stunned at his good fortune. This will be fun.)
Jerry: Single occupancy or multiple occupancies?
Lou: (Wheels turning) I. Um. What?
Jerry: Never mind. It’s non-testable in any scientific sense. Like crow rumors.
Lou: Well--you can measure the effects. You can prove Spirits by their effects.
Jerry: That’s like me saying to a Comedian--I’m not laughing, so you aren’t a Comedian.
Lou: (Suddenly chuckling) That is funny. You are a funny guy.
Jerry: You see my point, then?
Lou: Well, let me think about it.
(A brief moment of regrouping)
Jerry: Did you ever hear a little story about a cowpoke known throughout the Badlands as the most accurate pistol shooter in all the land?
Lou: I’m all ears.
Jerry: Dead Eye Dick, that’s him. He spent all day practicing target shooting.
At the end of the day, Townsfolk would come out of hiding.
“What’s he shooting at?”
Then - astonished -The Townsfolk saw targets--very tiny chalk circles barely larger than the bullet hole--hundreds of them and NO MISSES!
That’s how Dead Eye Dick achieved his legendary status.
Lou: That’s pretty good shooting. So what?
Jerry: Don’t get ahead of the story.
One day the town Blacksmith sneaks over to watch Dead Eye shooting at the barn.
Suddenly Smithy smacks himself on the side of the head, sorta like he’s had an epiphany.
In town, that evening, Smithy is throwing back a beer as he tells all the men in the Saloon what he saw.
“We’ve been wrong all this time!” The Blacksmith shouts.
“Why is that, Smithy?”
“Dead Eye Dick. He shoots a hole in the barn FIRST and draws the circle Afterward.”
(At this, Jerry pauses and stares at Lou the Exorcist and waits…)
Lou: (Thinking. Thinking.) Oh. OH, hahaha, that’s good. That’s good.
Jerry: You, my friend, are Dead Eye Dick.
Offstage: the sound of a Crow again. Followed by more Frito pelting.
Lou: I guess I better not continue to feed him or I’ll incur a -as you say - a “debt” and end up like you.
Jerry: If only. If only. If only you hadn’t already fed him, I mean.
Lou: So, do you believe those Crow stories or not?
Jerry: I believe what I’ve seen. The other stuff is opinion, scuttlebutt, and hearsay.
Lou: Do you believe in Evolution?
Jerry: We are going in a circle, you realize?
Lou: I guess it's my turn to miss hearing your answer.
Jerry: I accept the evidence of science to the exclusion of the opinions of Genesis.
Lou: Science is opinion. The Bible is an infallible source of truth.
Jerry: Did God create Eve by taking Adam’s rib from his side or is that a legend?
Jerry: Then it was really Adam’s actual rib?
Lou: That’s what the Bible says. Yes. It is a fact.
Jerry: That would mean Eve was created by cloning and was, in fact, a duplicate Clone of Adam--and therefore, a man! Now that is Science.
Lou: Wuh-wuh-wait a minute--no it doesn’t? No, it isn't.
Jerry: If the story is just a made-up story you can’t expect ancient writers and storytellers to know about DNA. But--if it is the infallible word of God--you’ve got a problem!
Lou: Eve was a Woman--not a man. That’s proof she wasn’t a Clone.
Jerry: Which came first, the rib or the woman?
Lou: The rib--but what--?
Jerry: Adam was a male. His rib contained his chromosomes and DNA. If they didn’t, Adam was a woman too.
Lou: I--I, that’s. . .God could miraculously change Adam’s DNA into female DNA.
Jerry: The Bible is literally correct?
Lou: Infallibly correct. Yes.
Jerry: How many animals does the Bible say Noah placed on the Ark?
Lou: Two of each kind.
Jerry: Genesis 7:2: “You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male, and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female”;
Which statement is factually true?
Lou: Oh. Well. That’s--it’s a matter of perspective.
Jerry: If you’re renting out a one-bedroom apartment and 14 people show up instead of two--is it a matter of perspective or room capacity?
Lou: Hahaha. You’re pretty funny. I enjoy talking to you. I have to go now--I’ve got an appointment. Here’s my business card. I’m sure I’ll see you around.
Jerry: My pleasure. Oh--do you need another packet of cashews to take with you?
Edgar’s favorite, you know. Treat him daily and it will be the beginning of a beautiful one-way friendship. Let’s just say I’m
Exorcising my options!
(Waving goodbye as he jumps on his bike and rides off.
Lou: Wait - wait! Is this what I think? Have you waited day after day for another sucker - another victim to - to offer up in your place? Answer me!”
Jerry: (Offstage voice very loud. “I told you PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE!”
The sound of a Crow behind Lou sounds loud. He turns with startled horror.