Dec 7, 2005

The Black-Eyed Angels of Paradise

I wrote this for the remains of the drama club. There are just two actors left. We did it for the talent show, a wild, rucous affair. All through it people booing or cheering. We won first place for a drama performance. There was only one other performance, that a play about a divorced teacher.

(a play in one scene)

Two black-eyed angels dancing in Paradise. With themselves, more than each other. One dances more vigorously than the other, lost in trance. The other seems reserved, but also on edge. She has a worried expression. From time to time she stops and looks around, then starts again, but reluctantly.

Reserved angel: (Suddenly, she stops dancing) Wait.
Wild angel : What’s wrong?
R: It’s coming....
W:: What.
R:: (she pulls her arm down as though on the trigger on a bomb vest. They both stop dancing, wait, and grasp each other... Suddenly a thunderous explosion)
W: That was a big one.
R: It’s always a big one.....
W: Yes, but that was really big.
R: There’s going to be another....
W: There will always be another. (she starts dancing again)
R: No, but you know what I mean. When they wait for people to run out into the street or if the first bomb was just to clear an obstacle. (just then another thunderous explosion with a long echo. The angels hold each other until the echo has gone....)
W: What do you think it was?
R: I don’t care.
W: I just hope it's not another marketplace.
R: I don't want to know.
W: I do. (she kneels down and looks through a hole in the floor of paradise) Oh my God.
R: Don’t tell me.
W: It’s a hospital.
R: Keep it to yourself. (she begins dancing again, holding her ears, dancing languorously,)
W: In Mahmudiya. South of Baghdad.
R: How can anyone be left to kill in that place?
W: Children. Poor babies. Look at them all. ‘Yes, it’s alright. You’ll see. It’s alright. I know it’s scary, but you’re coming home.’
R: How many?
W: Dozens.
R: My heart breaks every time (she stops dancing, sobs, in a heart wrenching way.)
W: I know. But it’s God’s plan. You know that.
R: How many times can a heart break?
W: The number of times you can be a virgin....
R: I don't want to be a virgin anymore.
W: Don't think of it... Think of the bomber.
R: I don’t want to think of the bomber.
W: He’ll be here in a few minutes.
R: Welcome to paradise.
R: Poor baby.
R: Who is it now?
W: (looking out at the audience) A boy.
R: It’s always a boy.
W: No, remember there was that the Iraqi mother and the Palestinian girls and the black widows from Chechya, and almost that other one: Sajida, what-was-her-name?
R: al-Rishawi...
W: The wedding party in the hotel.
R: She had an ugly mouth.
W: And what do we suppose she was promised?
R: Husbands with full heads of hair.
W: Last minute marriage on earth, that’s all she got.
R: Do you think she did it?
W: consummated? No. Not even a little.
R: She was so ugly. No wonder.
W: (dancing again) Everything is beautiful in paradise.
R: But anyway why would you want to make love to someone you hardly know the night before they're going to blow themselves up?
W: The heart always finds a way.... And if not heart, then loins
R: Who is this one?
W: Hicham.
R: lots of Hichams lately.
W: This one is from Syria.
R: (shaking her head) Well, Hicham from Syria, get ready for the shock of your life. (turning away) I hate it.
W: Hate what?
R: I hate it.
W: When they know they’ve been tricked.... When they realize they will never be with the black-eyed....
R: When they realize where they’ll go instead.... I can’t think about it any more.
W: What do you expect? This Hicham, he wasn’t trying to bomb unbelievers; he walked into a hospital. He wanted to kill his own people. And why? Because of some elections, which I’ve never understood what all that’s about... It’s madness.
R: He’s the first victim.
W: Who? This Hicham?
R: Yes, he’s....
W: You ARE a virgin. Snap out of it.
R: What do they know, these kids.
W: There are rules.
R: Everybody knows that.
W: Anybody can read a book. What good is that?
R: Somebody tricked him. Some heartless jinn.
W: And that one will get what’s coming to him. As for this HIcham, I pity him but I don’t feel sorry. He had a choice.
R: Yes, but being imprisoned for all eternity?
(sounds of distant explosions)
W: Keep dancing. Aren’t you interested in pleasure?
R: I don’t remember.
W: C'mon.
R:C’mon what.
W: That’s our promise, that’s our hope.
R: I don’t remember.
W: Well you’re not supposed to, that’s the whole point.
R: What does it feel like?
W: Plaaaaaaaasure.... The kind you want more, more, more. Because at the end of it is oooooooooooooooooo....... ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh..... 000000000000... Yessssssssssssssssssssss.......
R: What’s getting into you these days?
W: If I want pleasure I’ll get it. It is written. i don't need license.
R: you’ve been abducted by Satan.
W: I don’t see him... Where is he? ‘Come and talk to me, Satan. Let’s sit down’.... You’re so uptight. P L E A S U R E... Remember you’re not on earth. You don’t have to live like that. You don’t have to worry that it’ll never happen or your parents will find out or if you do you’ll be forever untouchable.... You’re free, girl.
R: I don’t remember.
W; And you Don’t have to sew it up afterwards.
R: That’s true.
W: P L E A S U R E.
R: When was the last time I had any real pleasure?
W: You want real pleasure; I want unreal pleasure.
R: I want honest pleasure.
W: What is that?
R: The kind you get with a real man.
W: Oh God. Now's it's a 'real' man you want. What is a 'real' man?
R: A real man.
W: A hero. Oh God, don't get me started.
R: A man deserving.
W: I haven’t had many of those. But yes, alright. I guess I’d like to have a hero. About 6’2”, with lips like this (she French kisses the air...)
R: The warriors at the time of the prophet. Now those were great men. When they arrived, you could smell their horses and taste the desert. The stories they told. Now those were men!
W: Kaab b Sur at the Battle of the Camel. And Saladin, of course. Those are the ones I remember.
R: There were so many then. You could open yourself up to them, you could feel their courage and love them forever.
W: You shouldn't feel so much. That's the problem with perpetual virgins; the pain is always fresh. C’mon keep dancing.
R: (sarcastically) Don’t think about it.
W: What’s the choice?
(they keep dancing, until another deafening explosion)
R: Let’s stop for a minute. (she stops)
W: (Suddenly, she stops) Look, he’s here. Look.
R: He’s just a boy.
W: He’s a good looking boy.
R: Such a pity.
W: (yelling) What were you thinking?
R: You didn’t follow the rules...
W: You dummy. Don’t you see what you did. Look he's wearing a key!
R: You're right.
W: Look what that's got you, you idiot.
R: Where was your heart?
W: Where was your brain.... (to her) Why are men’s brains always between their legs or in their stomachs?
R: He didn’t know any better. Just desperate, that’s all.
W: Dumb as dirt, but cute. You have to say he’s cute.
R: He’s not my type.
W: (to the bomber) Hey, don’t you get it yet?
R: You can't come here.
W; What? (listening to him) (to her) He’s not happy is he..
R: It’s pathetic.
W: (yelling) You can’t come here. You did a very bad thing... (to herself) I know poor baby... You’re just a virgin like us....
R: Sure. This is the first time he’s ever died. What does he know?
W:I’m sorry... You can’t come.... What’s he saying?
R: Somebody promised, I can’t hear.
W: Well, get used to the real world.... But you’re cute. That should count for something....(she starts dancing again)
R: You can’t come. (loud explosions and louder music, now screaming) You can't come here. You can't come here....