MIDNIGHT OF THE SOUL
by D. M. Larson
Time and Place
Late Spring, 1991. Eastern Washington town. The living
quarters of a church in a poorer neighborhood.
(The entire play takes place in the living quarters of a church. There is a small kitchen area with a stove, cupboards, counter, and refrigerator UL. All of these things can be implied. The door to outside is L. LC is a set of table and three chairs. Starting R, there are stairs that lead up to a small landing and a door where the bedroom is. DL is a small living room with a sofa. There is a door behind it to the bathroom. Another door, ULC, leads to a chapel) (Late morning. Lights come up on THOMAS in a casual suit standing DR looking out a window. His arms are crossed and he has a drink in one hand. He's lost in thoughts of days lost and an uncertain future. WALTERS, an old widow, who is a loyal church goers enters UR through the door to the chapel.
(Turns, not trying to hide his drink)
Yes, Mrs. Walters?
I was wondering why the service was cut short today?
It's hot out and we don't have air conditioning. I thought people might like getting out before they died of heat stroke.
You should have called me before the service. I could have brought over some fans.
I didn't want to bother you.
It's no bother, Pastor Thomas. I like to help out whenever I can.
I'll be sure to call next time.
Is there anything else?
I was hoping I could receive communion.
You know I don't like to do communion any more, Mrs. Walters.
You really should. Pastor Mike did communion every Sunday. It was real important to him and very special to the congregation.
I know how important it was to Pastor Mike but it doesn't feel right for me somehow.
I don't see why not?
Could we please not argue about this?
I will until you give me my communion.
All right, Mrs. Walters. You win. I'll give it to right here, right now, in God's dining-room.
(Goes to kitchen)
You prefer red or white wine?
Don't you have any grape juice?
Sorry. Fresh out. It's wine or nothing. If it's good enough for Jesus, then it's good enough for me.
I'll only take a little sip then.
(THOMAS pours her a glass of wine. She take a kitchen
chair and places it center. He gives her the wine)
What will you use for bread?
Thomas returns to kitchen.
(As he searches)
I don't think I have any bread left. I haven't been to the
store in awhile. But I think I have some saltine crackers.
They make me thirsty.
Then I'll pour you some more wine.
(Sighs again and kneels at chair)
Never mind. Bring them here.
(THOMAS gives her a cracker)
Aren't you going to say something?
Sure. Eat, drink, and be merry.
I was hoping for something a little more religious, like a passage from the last supper.
All right. (He says the following with difficulty) "Eat and drink in remembrance of me." (She eats and drinks) Don't drink too much now. I might think you like it.
Thank you. I'll see you next Sunday.
Mrs. Walters? Why do you come to my church? You never seem happy with anything I do.
I've come to this church ever since I was a child. I was baptized at this church's altar and married here when I was seventeen. My husband's funeral was here and this is where I intend to have my own.
And besides, this is the only church within walking distance of my house and I haven't got a car.
Mrs. Walters. If you were a few years younger I think I'd be in love.
If you were a few years younger, I'd give you a good spanking.
(Starts for door)
Good-bye, Mrs. Walters.
I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your sermon about the absentee landlord today. What possessed you to use that passage?
I just played Bible roulette and there it was. I always do that when I have trouble thinking up a new sermon.
Why don't you reuse old sermons?
I hate it when pastors do that. I think that's the reason why people never make any progress in this world. They're always preaching the same old sermon and doing the same old things. We still have war and we still have the poor. Women still aren't treated equally and people are still starving. As long as we have these things, I'll preach new sermons until I hit on something that works. Then and only then will I repeat myself. If they won't listen the first time, then won't hear me the second.
Well, your heart's in the right place.
(Turns to go)
Can I offer you a cup of coffee before you go?
No, thank you, Thomas. Good-bye.
END OF SCENE
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