By James Jack
A man who has suffered great loss asks "why me?".
Ric (Bob's younger brother)
Cathy (Bob's wife)
(Bob is sitting on a sofa in the middle of the stage. He is staring at the ground, looking stereotypically depressed. He continues just sitting there for a while, then looks up)....
(talking to audience) I guess you're wondering why I'm just sitting here. I probably look like I'm just bumming around feeling sorry for myself, which wouldn't be exactly surprising 'cause that's exactly what I'm doing. (pause ) Now that I've told you this much, I suppose I'd better tell you the whole sorry story. I've been married for twenty-five years. Twenty-five great years, my wife would say. We had three kids, all born in the space of three years. Watched them all grow up. John had just graduated, Amy was studying to be a doctor, and Emma, well, I suppose she wasn't doing much at all really. But she was going to do something in the new year. Anyway, what it all boiled down to was that John was driving like an absolute goon. Doing 120 round the city streets, the copper told me. I could launch into a tirade about how irresponsible he was, what with his two sisters in the car and all. God knows I've done it a few times before. But it just seems a waste of effort now. Everything just seems a waste of effort.
(Ric walks in. He seems bright and happy)
Ric: We're all just going out for a drink, if you want to join us, mate.
Bob: Sorry, I don't really feel like company tonight.
Ric: No, mate. It'd do you good. There's some guys coming who you haven't seen....well, haven't seen since you know what.
Bob: Don't want to spoil your evening, Ric. I'm not much of a conversationalist usually, and right now I'm not in the mood.
Ric: We'll just be down at the pub if you change your mind. (Ric exits)
Bob: (talking to audience) That was Ric, my little brother. He can't really understand why I'm just sitting around. Thinks going down to the pub and getting on the drink'll solve everyone's problems. You never know, he might be right. I suppose I should try it some day. But Ric just doesn't know what's it's like. I mean, he loved his nieces and nephew all right, but it's hardly the same. It didn't happen to him, it happened to me. He doesn't know. He's probably out there right now, asking Cathy to come in and have a word with me. (Cathy begins to walk toward the stage) What did I tell you? Here comes the cavalry! Evening Cath.
Cathy: (sits down beside him) I know you're not in the mood for talking, but the fact is you're never in the mood. Ric's gone to so much trouble to get all these old friends of ours together.
Bob: Look, I promise I'll drop down a bit later. Is that enough?
Cathy: As long as you actually do. I really don't want to face all those well meaning "how are you?" and "oh, isn't it terrible?" on my own.
Bob: See you there, then.
Cathy: Don't forget. You're going to have to face these friends of yours eventually, whether you like it or not. (Cathy rises and walks out)
Bob: Cathy's my wife, if you didn't notice. You know, even though
it's a horrible thing to say, it's almost as if it didn't happen to
her, either. Maybe she's just less sensitive. She says that she finds
comfort in the fact that God is in control. That's what our young
reverend told us when he came round to see us for a bit of what I
suppose is the Anglican's church's excuse for grief counselling. He's
a nice bloke really, so I shouldn't be speaking about him like that.
I've always thought that Cathy's more faithful than me. Come to think
of it, that could be why this is happening to me, and not her. Maybe
God's giving me a good kick in the pants 'cause I haven't been the
best of people, and that's why Cath's not feeling the way I am. Young
reverend made it quite clear that I wasn't to think that, but, then,
it didn't happen to him, did it?
I suppose I'd better get going now, otherwise Cath'll be pretty upset. I'll brighten myself up and go in looking all cheerful for the crowd. Don't know how long I'll be able to maintain that for, though. I reckon Dave will be there, and he's the guy who's basically said a big "up yours" to God. And Beryl....well let's just say she has a passion for younger men at her husband's expense. I mean, I'll just find myself asking, why didn't it happen to them. (getting more agitated) Why didn't their three kids die in what the papers called "an horrific triple fatality"? Why didn't they have to go and identify the bodies? Why didn't they have to hold it together to speak at three funerals and pretend they didn't hold anything against their now deceased eldest son who was driving like an idiot? I mean, was it something I did? Was it something I didn't do? Wasn't I a good enough parent? Why would God do this to me? Why me? Why me? (exit)
© James Jack 1999
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This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
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