Remembrances: Those Who Mourn

While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.

Luke 8: 49-55

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Act I. Scene 1.

Inn Keeper: Are the tables set in the banquet room?

Waitress I: Not yet, your wife told us not to set the tables too soon, because she doesn’t want the tables to get dirty before the guests get here.

Inn Keeper: For God’s sake, it’s only a half-hour at most before they start arriving. Set the damn tables. You can get that idiot kid to help you. Now hurry up, I need to check on the dinner preparations.

[He exits, and the waitresses hear him yelling in the kitchen.]

Waitress II: He’s a bear tonight.

Waitress I: Well, this is the night when he gets out of the red – it’s Mandela-Cybele-Christmas Eve. He’ll have over one hundred people from the ecumenical conference here.

Waitress II: He’s lucky they put up that conference center so close. Business was bad before that came in.

Waitress I: It keeps me working.

Waitress II: This is my first Mandela-Cybele-Christmas Eve here – do these people tip a lot?

Waitress I: It depends on how much they drink.

Waitress II: I understand.

Waitress I: Well, I suppose I should find the idiot and get him to help us.

Waitress II: Mr. Marshal doesn’t seem to like him much, why does he keep him around, particularly since the kid is deaf and dumb?

Waitress I: He’s not really a kid, I think he must be in his mid-twenties, and he isn’t deaf and dumb. He can hear, but he can’t speak.

Waitress II: He gives me the creeps.

Waitress I: Well, he is a good worker. He does whatever you tell him.

Waitress II: Is that why Joe keeps him on?

Waitress II: No, Joe thinks he is worthless. He came here 6 weeks ago, two weeks before you started. Mrs. Marshal was sick at the time, nothing serious, but she needed extra help in the kitchen and with the errands. The idiot was just there; I think he was trying to get a handout. Mrs. Marshal hired him on a temporary basis and she has taken a liking to him. He is kind of like a family pet now, at least to Mrs. Marshal. She won’t let Joe fire him.

Waitress I: There he is, Hey, over here, give us a hand.

[The ‘idiot’ proceeds to help with the tablecloths.]

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Act I. Scene 2.

George Jackson, a slight, balding man in his mid-forties, his wife, Joan, an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, and their daughter, Louisa, aged eight, enter the restaurant.

Joan: This is a lovely view, you can see the snow falling on the mountains.

George: I just hope it doesn’t fall on the roads below the mountains. If it does, we’ll be stuck here. I didn’t want to drive tonight…

Joan: You’re such a gloomy Gus, why can’t you enjoy the moment without worrying about things? We’ve just been to the most wonderful Mandel-Cybele-Christmas Eve ceremony I’ve ever seen. And to think that all over the civilized world people are worshipping Mandela and his people and Cybele just as we do.

Daughter: Mommy, why do we call it Mandela-Cybele-Christmas Eve, why don’t we just call it Mandela-Cybele Eve?

Joan: Haven’t they explained that to you in school?

Daughter: No.

Joan: Well, they should have told you about it. Jesus Christ was a very good man who lived a long, long time ago. He went around the country he lived in, teaching the principles of racial equality and feminism. His message was so unpopular with the white males in his country that they killed him. But by his death he paved the way for our true appreciation of the black race and womankind.

Daughter: But we are not all equal mother, teacher says that the black race is the holy race and the white race is the sick and sinful race.

Joan: That’s right, but Christ didn’t know all that in his time, he simply prepared the way for the worship of the black race and the liberation of women. His message was perverted by a terrible man called St. Paul, but ultimately truth won out and Christ became what he was meant to be, the forerunner of the sacred black race and feminism.

George: Dear, I don’t know how much theology Louisa can understand.

Joan: She needs to hear the truths of our faith. I’m really surprised that her teacher is not telling her about our evolution as a people from darkness to light.

George: Just let her enjoy her meal.

Joan: I don’t like that kind of irreverence, George.

George: Sorry.

Joan: I wonder who will be seated at the other three seats at our table.

George: I wish we could have gotten the Tuckers and their daughter to come to the dinner, then we wouldn’t have to share our table with strangers.

Joan: Where is your spirit of adventure? We might get three very interesting people at our table.

George: I doubt it.

Joan: Look, George!

George: Where?

Joan: Over by the door. Those three people might be coming to our table. It looks like one is a priestess and one a priest. I don’t k now who the other man is.

George: Great, now you’ll talk theology all evening, and I won’t enjoy my meal.

Joan: Shut up, they are coming to this table.

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Act I. Scene 3.

One female priestess of the new Roman Catholic African Church, Sister Jacqueline, age 26, one male priest of the Roman Catholic African Church, Father Mike, age 62. And one archivist of the Roman Catholic African Church, Herbert Broadhurst, age 46, are seated at the table with Joan and George and their daughter. They have all introduced themselves.

Joan: [Addressing the archivist, Herbert Broadhurst] What exactly does an archivist do, Father?

Herbert: I’m not a priest, you don’t have to call me father, Herb will do.

Joan: Sorry.

Herb: Nothing to be sorry about.

Joan: What is it that you do, if you don’t mind relating it.

Herb: I don’t mind in the least, although I’m afraid what I do is rather boring.

Joan: I’ll bet it isn’t boring at all.

Herb: Well, an archivist collects and stores documents from the past.

Joan: Who’s past?

Herb: The Europeans’ past. I collect books, manuscripts, and historical chronicles of Europeans from long ago.

Joan: Doesn’t that entail reading many books from the era of racism and sexism?

Herb: Yes, it does.

Joan: But aren’t such works forbidden?

Herb: To the normal citizen they are forbidden. But I am an archivist, I have special permission to read and catalogue the old literature and histories.

Joan: It sounds like a pretty filthy job.

Priest: Filthy, yes, but necessary.

George: Why is it necessary, Father Mike?

Priest: Because sometimes it is necessary to reference the past in order to understand the present.

George: For instance?

Priest: Well, let’s take our liturgy, for instance. We all, those of us who have white skin, kneel during the Mass and strike our breasts 17 times and declare we are white and sinful. Those 17 strikes on the breast and the accompanying declarations of white sinfulness is the result of the 17 black martyrs who were killed when the Free Republic of Banyon was dominated by white people. If we didn’t have an archivist, we would not know why we beat our breast 17 times.

Joan: But why do we have to know that detail?

Herb: [laughing] I don’t think you are going to convince them that I do something useful, Father.

Priest: Well, historical research can be useful if it is used properly.

Priestess: But what if it is not used properly? I for one have never approved of the archives. If I had my way, we’d simply burn the archives.

Herb: Then I’d be out of a job.

Priestess: So what?

George: [Laughing] Here comes the first course, it looks good.

[The food is placed on the table.]

Joan: Father Mike, will you say grace?

[Father Mike looks uncomfortable]

Priestess: He is not permitted to say grace. When a female priestess is present, no male priest is permitted to co-opt the female priestess no matter how many years seniority he has.

Priest: She is quite right.

Joan: I’m sorry, I forgot.

Priestess: [With a scowl] Never mind. [She says grace.] Dear Nelson Mandela, who represents all the sacred black race, and dear Mother Cybele, who represents all the oppressed female race, bless this food which we are about to receive and may we be ever mindful of the white male menace that always threatens us. Amen.

Joan: Yes, thank you, Sister Jacqueline, that was quite eloquent.

George: They certainly give you big portions here.

Joan: Shut up, George.

George: Yes, dear.

Daughter: [To the priestess] Are you really and truly a priestess?

Priestess: Yes.

Daughter: I’d like to be a priestess when I grow up.

Priestess: It takes a lot of work.

Joan: What, in your judgement, Sister Jacqueline, is the main requirement for being a priestess?

Priestess: You must hold the two great commandment in your heart. You must love the black race and the goddess Cybele with all your heart, mind, and soul, and you must hate the white male with all your heart, mind, and soul. Your average person is lukewarm in their love of the black race and Cybele and lukewarm in their hatred of the white male. A priestess can’t be lukewarm in her love or her hatred.

Priest: Aren’t you going to make a distinction between the white males who have renounced their whiteness and the white males, such as those inhuman monsters in the underground, who have not renounced their whiteness?

Priestess: Some make such distinctions, but I don’t. I do not see why there should be any white males left alive on this earth. We have the means of determining the sex of the child in the womb, so it should be mandatory that all white male children should be aborted.

Herb: Most white male babies are already executed by the state.

Priestess: Yes, but not all are executed. And look at John Taylor, he was lawfully born and raised as a priest. And what happened? He became a member of the white underground.

George: I thought he went to England.

Priestess: Yes, he did, for two years. But now he is back and he works for the white underground. He is with David Morgan.

Priest: Surely because one white male, who was raised to renounce his whiteness, returned to the slime pits of whiteness, you don’t condemn all white males who have renounced their whiteness?

Priestess: I don’t trust any white males and I don’t think we should allow any of them the opportunity to betray us.

[Joe Marshal comes up to the table.]

Joe: Everything all right here? How is the food?

Priest: It’s excellent as always.

George: Yes, it’s great.

Priestess: It’s adequate. But let me ask you a question.

Joe: Ask away.

Priestess: Who was that young white male I saw come out of the kitchen a few minutes ago in order to wipe up that spill at the table near the kitchen?

Joe: He’s just some idiot aide that we hired to help out during the Mandela-Cybele-Christmas season.

Priestess: Does he have papers?

Joe: Of course he does, do you think I’d hire a white male without papers?

Priestess: I want to see his papers.

Joe: What right do you have to tell me who I can hire?

Priestess: I have every right, I’m a priestess in the one Holy Catholic Church of Mandela-Cybele.

Herb: She does have the right, but I suggest you just let it alone and enjoy the meal.

Priestess: Yes, you would let it alone.

Herb: Can’t you just relax for one night, must you always be on duty?

Priestess: Don’t get male with me. Perhaps you were planning to romance me.

Herb: God forbid.

Joan: What God?

Herb: It’s just an expression.

Priestess: Watch your expressions.

Herb: I’m sorry.

Priestess: [glaring at Joe] I want to see that young man’s papers.

Joe: I understand, I’ll go get his papers immediately.

Priestess: And bring him out here with his papers.

Joe, Yes, your… er…

Priestess: Sisterhood.

Joe: Yes, your sisterhood.

[As Joe heads for the kitchen, the priestess picks up her cell phone.]

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Act I. Scene 4.

The Kitchen.

Joe: Who let that idiot out of the kitchen?

Waitress II: I told him to go clean up the spill.

Joe: Didn’t you know that he was supposed to stay in the kitchen when there were other people in the restaurant?

Waitress II: Nobody told me.

Joe’s wife: What is wrong, dear?

Joe: A priestess saw him and wants to see his papers.

Wife: What did you say?

Joe: I said I’d get his papers and send him out with the papers.

Wife: But he doesn’t have any papers.

Joe: I know. If you remember I wanted no part of him when he came here. You insisted I give him a meal. Then you insisted that I should keep him on. He is probably a member of the white underground.

Wife: Oh no, Joe, you just have to look at him to know that he is simply a lost innocent.

Joe: Lost from where? He had to come from somewhere. And where is he right now?

Wife: I sent him to the wine cellar for another bottle of wine.

Joe: He’s taking a long time, maybe he knocked the shelves down on himself and he is dead.

Wife: Don’t talk like that.

Joe: It wouldn’t do me any good if he was dead, that priestess would still want to see his papers.

Wife: Maybe if you tell her that you couldn’t find him she’ll forget about it.

Joe: Not her, she wants his papers and that’s that. There is no getting around her. I wish she’d choke to death on her shrimp cocktail, but we can’t count on that kind of luck.

Wife: What can we do then?

Joe: There is one chance. Remember that accountant that worked on the books off and on during the last five years?

Wife: Yes.

Joe: Well, he died of heart attack a couple weeks ago.

Wife: I didn’t know.

Joe: Well, I didn’t want to upset you, seeing that you had just been ill, so I didn’t tell you. But this is what we can do. I’ll say that he was in charge of the paper work and that he told me that the idiot had given him his papers. It’s a long shot, but it might work.

Wife: What do you mean it might work? They’ll imprison him – I mean the idiot — and they’re liable to imprison Mr. Jenkin’s family as well.

Joe: Jenkins didn’t have any family. And it is better for the idiot to go to prison than us. Besides, for all I know he is a member of the white underground. In which case, he belongs in prison anyway.

Wife: No, I don’t want him to go to prison. You can tell the lie about Mr. Jenkins to save us, but let’s give the young man time to escape. I’ll tell him right now.

Joe: Are you crazy? They’ll know we helped him to escape and we’ll go to jail. I don’t see why you’re so attached to that idiot.

Wife; I must tell you something. At first, I just felt sorry for him. You never did, but I did. But then there was something else. Remember when I was sick?

Joe: Sure, you had a bad case of the flu.

Wife: That’s what I thought it was at first, but that night, when you slept in the spare room so I could get some rest, I felt the fever burning me up and I knew I was going to die. I tried to call for you, but I couldn’t cry out, the fever had dried my throat up. All I could do was lie there and die. And then he came to me, that young man you call the idiot. He had a glass of water in his hand and he lifted my head from the pillow and helped me drink the water. Then he laid my head back on the pillow and placed his hand on my forehead. And Joe, you must believe me, at the moment he placed his hand on my forehead, the fever left me.

Joe: This is pure nonsense. You were delirious from the fever and you had a dream about the idiot. That’s all it was. Fevers come and go, there is nothing miraculous about that. The only miraculous thing is your overwrought imagination. You really can come up with some doosies.

Wife: How can you account for the glass then?

Joe: What glass?

Wife: The water glass. When I woke up, there it was by my bedstead. It was full of water.

Joe: So what?

Wife: You see I drained that glass of water during the night.

Joe: How would you know, you were feverish.

Wife: I do know. I vividly remember draining that glass of water he gave me. And furthermore, we don’t have any glasses like that glass in the house or the restaurant.

Joe: Where is the glass now?

Wife: I don’t know, after I drank from it in the morning, I washed it and then put it in the cupboard, but when I looked for it the next day it was gone.

Joe: There you have it, it was all a dream.

Wife: Was it?

Joe: Of course, otherwise you would have to say that the idiot was some sort of angel or something like that – that he is right out of a fairy tale. But just look at him, he is an idiot.

Wife: Is he, Joe?

Joe: Of course, he is.

Wife: Still, we can’t give him up to that priestess.

Joe: We must. It’s him or us. [At this point the idiot comes up the stairs with a wine bottle and he walks over to Barbara Marshal and gives her the bottle.]

Wife: You must leave here quickly. Get your coat and see if you can find the Nelson’s house. It’s a mile or so away. Say that I sent you.

Joe: You’ll do no such thing. [Looking at the idiot] I’m sorry about this, I have nothing against you, but we have to turn you in to a crazy priestess out there. I warned you not to leave the kitchen.

Wife: No, Joe, I won’t let you turn him in.

[The priestess enters the kitchen with five policemen, four black and one white.]

Priestess: [Pointing to the idiot] Take him. [The policemen, having knocked the idiot down, put handcuffs and leg irons on him.] You’re not out of this yet [Looking at Joe], but for now, he is all we care about. [The policemen and the priestess leave the kitchen with the idiot in chains.]

Joe: Well, now you’ve done it. If they don’t believe my story about the papers, I’ll be hauled off in chains as well. Is that what you wanted?

Wife: Of course not, but I can’t bear to see him hurt.

Joe: Forget about him, there is nothing you can do for him now. You just concentrate on backing up my story, that should be your only concern.

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Act II. Scene 1.

The snow is coming down in great blankets now. The people in the restaurant, about one hundred and twenty, have been informed that the roads are currently impassable. The idiot was beaten and then tied to a tree in front of the restaurant. He was tied in a sitting position. The snow fall has already reached the level of his chest. The people at Joan Jackson’s table are in the process of eating dessert.

George: My father used to say that no matter how much you ate during a meal, you always had a special place in your stomach for dessert.

Joan: Shut up, George.

George: Yes, dear.

Herb: The dessert is delicious.

Priest: I agree.

Priestess: Is that all men can think of, their stomachs?

Herb: No, sometimes we think of other things.

Priestess: What do you mean by that?

Herb: Nothing at all.

Priestess: I think you are trying to play sexual games with me. That is strictly forbidden in Article VI, section 2 of the Constitution of the American-African Republic. I intend to have you arrested to stand trial for sexual harassment and not only that…

Daughter: Mommy.

Joan: Don’t interrupt when the Priestess is talking.

Daughter: But, Mommy.

Joan: Be quiet, Louisa.

Daughter: But Mommy, all I wanted to say was that the man out there is soon going to be covered with snow.

Priest: Oh, dear, the snow is getting rather high. Perhaps we should bring him inside and chain him in the wine cellar.

Priestess: There is no need for that. Let him stay out there.

Priest: But I really think he is either going to suffocate or freeze to death.

Priestess: That need not concern us.

Priest: But he is entitled to a trial.

Priestess: [Raising her voice to a level slightly below a scream, but well above a normal speaking voice] No, he is not entitled to a trial. He is a white male without papers, he has no rights.

[The Priestess gets up to go to the bathroom, and as she leaves the table she lets go a parting remark at Herb]

And don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. [She leaves for the bathroom]

Herb: Well, this has been a very pleasant dinner.

George: Can she get you in trouble?

Herb: Sure, she can. She has a lot of power. But in this case, if she really intends to pursue it, there isn’t much of a case.

Joan: What did you mean by that remark, when you said sometimes men think of other things?

Herb: I meant what I said. I meant that sometimes men think of other things besides their stomachs. She was the one who decided what the other things were.

Joan: Still, I think you meant something sexual.

George: All remarks are not sexual remarks.

Joan: Shut up, George.

George: Yes, dear.

Priest: I wish we could do something for that young man out there.

Herb: I think he is a goner, Father. She won’t let anyone touch him.

Priest: It’s a pity.

Herb: Yes, it is.

Joan: I don’t think any white male has the right to judge the actions of a Priestess in the Roman Catholic African Church.

George: But Joan…

Joan: Shut up, George.

George: Yes, dear.

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Act II. Scene 2.

Joe Marshal comes up to Joan Jackson’s table.

Joe: I just got word that the power is going out all over the area. And the roads, at present, are impassable, so it looks like we could be here for a long while without any light.

Priestess: [Having returned from the bathroom] This is gross negligence. How can this be allowed to happen?

Herb: I think it is called nature.

Priestess: What do you mean by that?

Herb: Nothing sexual, I assure you. I simply mean that big snow storms can defy even all our modern technology.

Priestess: You seem to love to attack everything modern. Perhaps you prefer your old world of the archives, the world of racism and sexism?

Herb: I didn’t say that.

Priestess: You implied it, which is the same thing. I’m going to charge you with counterrevolutionary sentiments when I leave this restaurant.

Herb: I suppose I’ll have a lot of charges to answer for.

Priestess: Yes, you will.

Joe: Look, be that as it may, I’m passing out candles for every table. [Looking at Herb] Will you help me?

Herb: I’d be glad to.

[He begins to pass out candles with Joe]

Joe: I really don’t need help with the candles, my waitresses can handle it, but I wanted to get you away from that Priestess in order to talk with you privately.

Herb: If it’s about that young man and his papers, I’m afraid I can’t help you, I’m under a bit of a cloud myself.

Joe: No, it’s not that, I think I can wiggle clear of those charges. It’s about the rest of the night. I still need to keep these people happy.

Herb: That won’t be easy. People don’t like it when the power goes out.

Joe: But that is not my fault.

Herb: I know it isn’t, it’s nature’s fault, but try to tell that to a bitch like her royal sisterhood over there.

Joe: You take chances, I’d be afraid to use that term even in the privacy of my home.

Herb: You know something, I don’t really think I give a damn anymore. Maybe I have spent too much time in the archives. When a man spends 8 hours a day, sometimes 10 or 12, in a different world than his contemporaries, he starts to think and feel about things differently than the people around him. I’m heartily sick of women who aren’t women and men who aren’t men. And I’m sick of trying to pretend I care about this nation we live in.

Joe: Look, that is more than I know about. I just wanted you to do that play you did here four years ago.

Herb: [Laughing] That was just a history play about some Christmases from long ago that I strung together. But I can’t do it tonight because I don’t have any copies of the play with me. If you remember, I picked volunteers from the audience who read the various parts, while I was the narrative voice.

Joe: I remember. And you do have copies of the play to give out. I recorded the play, had the words written down, and then made copies of the play. You can give out the parts to volunteer readers again.

Herb: Yes, but they’ll have trouble reading their lines in the dark.

Joe: I have eight high-powered flood lights powered by a generator that I can shine on the stage. The audience will be at their tables with the candle lights while the stage will be illuminated by the flood lights.

Herb: I suppose it could be done. But as of right now the power is… [The lights go out] I was going to say the power was still on.

Joe: It will be off for some time, at least that is what the reports say. Will you do the play?

Herb: On one condition.

Joe: What?

Herb: Here is my coat. I want you to wrap that young man outside in this coat, give him something warm to drink, and shovel some of the snow away from him.

Joe: Are you crazy?

Herb: Possibly, but that is what I want you do to. Once the play starts nobody will notice you. And without the outside light, it will be too dark for anyone to see you helping him.

Joe: Why does everyone feel sorry for that idiot?

Herb: I don’t know that everybody does feel sorry for him. I didn’t notice any outpouring of sympathy for him when they chained him out there.

Joe: I guess there wasn’t. But my wife has been in tears since they put him out there.

Herb: Good for your wife.

Joe: Okay, I’ll do it. I don’t know why you want to make a big deal about it, but I’ll do it. First let me introduce you to the audience, then you hand out the parts. Once the play starts, I’ll sneak out there and see what I can do for the idiot.

Herb: Don’t just see what you can do for him, I’m telling you to do something for him.

Joe: Okay, but let’s start the show.

Herb: One more thing.

Joe: What?

Herb: In the play, I speak, if you remember, of an old Christmas before it became a Mandela-Cybele-Christmas. She, the Priestess, wasn’t here when I did that play on this stage a few years back. She won’t permit it to be performed, so you’ll have to slip something in her drink to put her asleep.

Joe: Permanently?

Herb: [Laughing] That wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I think that would get you in trouble. What I had in mind was a sleeping potion, something that would put her out for two to three hours. Could you manage that?

Joe: If she drinks, I can manage it.

Herb: She drinks all right. She is quite old-fashioned in that regard; she is a stone-cold alcoholic.

Joe: Okay, then, as soon as I come to your table and give her the drink, you head up to the stage.

Herb: And then you visit that young man out there.

Joe: Agreed.

______________________________________________________________

Act III. Scene 1.

The play within a play. Herb Broadhurst gives out the parts to various volunteers from the audience, then he steps forward to introduce the play.

Herb: This is a one-act play that I wrote, mainly for a few close friends that I knew were interested in the subject.

Member of the audience: What is the subject?

Herb: If you let me finish, I’ll tell you. The subject is the transition from Christmas to Mandel-Cybele-Christmas. The characters in the play are fictional, but they are based on real life people that I encountered in my job as a European archivist.

Joan Jackson: Is the play heretical?

Herb: Certainly not. How can history be heretical? I simply present this play as a history of a bygone era. An era that I’m sure everyone here is glad to know is over. How can the past, which we condemn, reach out and hurt us? It can’t. So I give you the play, which, I hope, will amuse you until the lights go back on and the roads are clear.

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Act III. Scene 2.

The study of a Roman Catholic parish. One old priest, about 75 years of age, is seated in the study as a younger priest, about 40 years of age, enters.

Younger priest: Isn’t it exciting, Father?

Older priest: What?

Younger: The new missal in which we finally give true homage to Mandela and to Cybele.

Older: I don’t know that I care for it.

Younger: Surely you can’t object to it, we are simply making explicit what has been implicit for many years.

Older: I see that, but I wonder if now is the proper time. There are still, I think, a great deal of the laity who are attached to the old image of Christ as the Son of God.

Younger: He is still the son of God.

Older: Yes, He is, in the sense that all of us are sons of God, but He loses, in the new missal, His distinctive identity as the one and only Son of God.

Younger: Surely it is better that we make what we actually believe to be true the main focus of our worship?

Older: I suppose so.

Younger: You suppose so, Father. I’m surprised at you, do you or do you not believe that Nelson Mandela and the black race are the hope of mankind? And do you or do you not believe that Cybele represents the immortal spirit of womankind.

Older; I do believe both. But I am questioning the timing of the declaration of the Pope. Many Catholics are still attached to the old concept of Christ.

Younger: But that old concept was false, and it came to us from white supremacists.

Older: Yes, it did, but many people took comfort in that old concept of Christ.

Younger; Nonsense. I think you are exaggerating the emotional appeal of the old concept. The people love Mandela and Cybele. You’ll see, the new missal will be a huge success.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Herb, the Narrator: And the new missal was a huge success. There were a few members of the congregation who walked out of the church, but they were arrested as soon as they stepped out into the street. No one ever heard from them again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Act III. Scene 3

Narrator: An Anglican rectory. This time it is the younger priest who has his doubts about the transition from Christmas to Mandela-Cybele-Christmas while the older priest constitutes the ‘Amen Chorus’ for the Mandela-Cybele-Christmas.

Older priest: [65 years of age] Have you heard the great news?

Younger priest: [35 years of age] About the changes in the prayer book?

Older: Yes.

Younger: I don’t have any problems with the theology. I was brought up to believe in Mandela and Cybele as our saviors. But my grandfather was a great believer in the old European Christ.

Older: Didn’t he go to prison?

Younger: Yes, he was imprisoned, because he refused to accept Mandela and Cybele as co-redemptorists with Christ. In fact he died while in prison. I think his heart gave out on him.

Older: That is a shame, but whiteness must be purged.

Younger: I know, but I wonder if there aren’t more people like my grandfather lurking out there. This change might set them off.

Older: How do you mean ‘set them off’?

Younger: I mean it might drive them to take up arms against the American-African Republic of the United States.

Older: I doubt that there are that many closet European Christians out there. I think we have done a pretty good job of weeding them out of our nation.

Younger: Perhaps.

Older: You worry too much.

Younger; Perhaps, but I can still see that look in my grandfather’s eyes the night they took him away. I was 10 years old at the time. “No man cometh unto the Father except by me,” he screamed, and his eyes were pure fire.

Older: Did you visit him in jail?

Younger: No, my parents wouldn’t permit it. But I’ll never forget the look on his face.

Older: Well, your grandfather was an exception. The people will love the new prayer book because they love Mandela and Cybele and they don’t love the Christ of old Europe.

Younger: I suppose everything will be all right.

Older: Of course, it will.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

[At this point in the performance, Joan Jackson stands up and starts screaming.]

Joan: Sister Jacqueline is sick! She won’t wake up!

Herb: Is there anyone here who can attend to Sister Jacqueline?

[A doctor goes over to Sister Jacqueline, who is asleep, face down, on the dinner table.]

Doctor: [After examining her] She is breathing normally and does not appear to be in dire straits. I think she simply had too much to drink. I suggest you place her on a bed or a couch somewhere and let her sleep it off.

Herb: That is your expert medical opinion?

Doctor: Yes.

[Sister Jacqueline is taken to a back room.]

Herb: Now we can proceed with the play.

Joan: Wait, I don’t think the play should proceed.

Herb: Why not?

Joan: It’s offensive.

Herb: Why is it offensive?

Joan: It is blasphemous.

Herb: Why is it blasphemous?

Joan: It insults Mandela and Cybele.

Herb: I don’t see how an accurate depiction of the process by which the European people moved from the worship of Christ to the worship of the black race and Cybele can be seen as blasphemous.

Joan: It just is, and I won’t let it continue. And Sister Jacqueline wouldn’t let it continue if she was…

Herb: If she was awake and sober? [The audience laughs and Joan starts to sputter in red-faced rage and hysteria.]

Joan: Father Mike, I want you to stop the play.

Father Mike: I really haven’t the authority to stop the performance, as Herb says, it is not blasphemous.

Joan: Then I’ll stop it, I’ll….

George: Joan.

Joan: What do you want?

George: I want you to sit down and shut up, you are making fool of yourself. [The audience applauds George’s statement and Joan sinks to her chair in disbelief as if her pet dog has just turned on her and bitten her.]

Herb: All right then, let’s pick up where we left off.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Act III. Scene 4.

A Protestant parsonage, next to the church. One minister, the pastor, is fifty years of age, and the other minister, the assistant pastor, is in his late twenties.

Pastor: This is great news, the Ecumenical Council of Churches has declared that Christ is no longer to be considered the Son of the living God. He has been reduced to a minor prophet.

Assistant: That is good news. Will it be announced in all the churches this Christmas Eve?

Pastor: Yes, all nativity scenes of Christ and Mary will be removed and replaced by nativity scenes of Nelson Mandela and Cybele.

Assistant: How will they be depicted?

Pastor: Mandela will be depicted as a child in a manger with Mother Cybele hovering over him, surrounded by black tribesmen.

Assistant: That sounds wonderful! Will the Orthodox churches be following suit?

Pastor: Yes, they will, but they will stick to their own dates for the Mandela-Cybele-Christmas.

Assistant: Praise be to Mandela and Cybele.

Pastor: Amen to that.

Assistant: Do you expect any resistance from the laity?

Pastor: There is always some resistance to change, but it is our job to help the people adjust to the changes in their faith. We must be gentle, but we must also be firm. We can’t let them backslide into superstition and racism.

Assistant: I don’t personally know of anyone who won’t welcome this news.

Pastor: I know of one man.

Assistant: Who?

Pastor: My younger brother. He is forty years old, married, with four children, three boys aged nine, seven, and five, and one daughter, aged three. He never goes to church. He always puts up a nativity scene with the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, and the three wise men every Christmas.

Assistant: That is disgusting.

Pastor: Yes, it is. I must at least try to reason with him. I’m not looking forward to it, but I must try.

Assistant: Well, good luck, I don’t envy you the task.

Pastor: Nor do I.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Act III. Scene 5.

It is Christmas day in the study of the offending brother. His wife and children are in the living room.

Pastor: I see you have the nativity scene out again this Christmas.

Brother: Of course.

Pastor: You know that the church frowns on such things.

Brother: What church?

Pastor: The Christian Church.

Brother: We’ve been all over this before. The church you serve is just an organization, it has no soul, no life.

Pastor: There is no other church outside of what we, as modern Christians, determine to be the church. And I must tell you that all the organized Christian churches, including the Orthodox churches which celebrate Christmas on a different date, have decided to dispense with the traditional nativity scene and to go with the Mandela-Cybele nativity scene.

Brother: You do what you like, but I will stay with Christ and His people.

Pastor: That is heresy, that is racism.

Brother: So be it then.

Pastor: I must warn you that…

~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Sister Jacqueline has staggered out of the backroom where they laid her down.]

Sister Jacqueline: Stop this performance! [She has the five policemen with her as she steps out onto the stage] I won’t have it, I simply won’t have it.

Herb: But it’s just a little historical drama depicting our transformation from the darkness of Christianity to the light of liberalism.

Sister Jacqueline: It is blasphemy, disguised as history. You are under arrest.

[The guards handcuff the archivist and place chains on his legs. As they are in the act of restraining Herb, Louisa goes up to Sister Jacqueline.]

Louisa: Sister Jacqueline, Sister Jacqueline, the snow is still coming down and I’m afraid it’s going to go over that man’s head.

Sister Jacqueline: Will someone shut that little brat up? [One of the black policemen strikes Louisa. She goes down as if she has been struck dead, which, in point of fact, she has been.]

Joan: [Running up to her daughter] She is dead, she is dead!

Sister Jacqueline: I’m sorry to hear that, but she should not have interfered. That is what happens when you don’t obey your superiors.

Joan: I know she was wrong, but…

Sister Jacqueline: There are not buts, she was wrong and she died for it.

George: You foul, loathsome witch, I’ll kill you [He rushes at Sister Jacqueline and manages to get his hands on her throat, but he is beaten down by the police officers.]

Sister Jacqueline: Chain him and him [pointing to Herb and George] outside by that idiot.

Joe Marshal: I can’t believe it.

[The front door has fallen off its hinges, and the Idiot is standing in the doorway. There is no snow and no chains on Him, only a light that is neither moonlight nor candlelight, emanating from His face. Sister Jacqueline, the policemen, and the rest of the people in the restaurant simply stare at Him, too stunned to move. He goes up to Louisa and lifts her up into His arms.]

George: They’ve killed my daughter. [The Idiot simply raises his hand to tell George to be calm. He places his hand on Louisa’s forehead for a full minute after which Louisa sits up as if she has just woken up from a nap.

Joe: I’ll be damned.

Barbara: I told you, Joe, he is more than an idiot.

Herb: No, Joe is quite right. He is an Idiot. Who but an Idiot would die on the cross, descend into hell, and rise from the dead on the third day for the likes of me and thee?

George: What are you talking about?

Herb: Did you notice that you are no longer in chains?

George: That’s right. And neither are you. [He takes his daughter in his arms.] But I still don’t know what you are talking about.

Herb: Isaiah told us all about that Idiot:

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”

Father Mike: It can’t be. What about Mandela and Cybele?

Herb: Let’s make this the beginning of a new old Christmas. Let us sing praises to the one and only Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world.

[Herb starts to sing “God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen.” At first he sings alone but as he starts the song for the second time, everyone else joins in except Sister Jacqueline, the five policemen, and Joan Jackson, who still seem too stunned to respond to anyone or anything.]

______________________________________________________________

Act IV. Scene 1.

Christmas Eve day, some six hours prior to the events just depicted. We are in the headquarters of a white resistance organization, somewhere in the mountains of what was once called Tennessee.

David Morgan: This will be your first Christmas here since your conversion.

John Taylor: Yes, I was part of The Christmas Carol for two straight years in Britain, but Christopher Grey orchestrated the whole production. I’m a little nervous about being in charge of this production.

Morgan: You come highly recommended, Christopher Grey said you’ll do a “wonderful” job.

Taylor: I hope so. I’m sorry that you won’t be able to see it.

Morgan: I’ll see it on tape.

Taylor: You’re filming it?

Morgan: Sure, how could we not film the directorial debut of John Taylor?

Taylor: Will you be back by Christmas day?

Morgan: Yes, if all goes well. We have a quick strike planned against an official who’s been very, very aggressive in her persecution of our people. She will be celebrating Mandela-Cybele-Christmas at an ecumenical center and then eating supper at a nearby restaurant. We plan to take her there.

Taylor: Will you kill her?

Morgan: Probably not. We’ll take her prisoner like we took Father Todd prisoner three years ago in that rectory where you once resided with him.

Taylor: He is still a prisoner, isn’t he?

Morgan: Yes, we don’t seem to be able to get through to him. He remains in that other world.

Taylor: I pray for him regularly.

Morgan: Well, there is always some hope. As for Sister Jacqueline, she will not, after tonight, sign any more death warrants against our people.

Taylor: I finally heard from Britain again.

Morgan: From Christopher Grey?

Taylor: No, I heard about Christopher Grey. Father Bontini wrote me a long letter about him.

Morgan: Please let me hear it.

Taylor: I’ll condense it somewhat and leave out some of the parts not related to Christopher, but this is what Father Bontini wrote about Christopher.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Christopher received a letter from Pope Francis II, the son of Pope Francis the blasphemer and the same pope who presided over the trial and condemnation of Christopher Grey a few years back, at which he received the death penalty. As you recall, Christopher escaped from his cell because of an earthquake and the aid of an angel of mercy.

“The pope’s letter was an urgent plea to Christopher Grey and to Christopher Grey alone. He said that he was on his death bed and desperately wanted to hear about the ‘real Jesus Christ’ that Christopher Grey spoke of. He went on to say that he didn’t expect Christopher to believe that he was at death’s door and in need of a Christian presence at his death bed, but if Christopher could forgive him his sins, and if Christopher would trust in his word, he would like him to come to his death bed.

“I told Christopher that he shouldn’t go. I told him that I thought Pope Francis II was lying, that he just wanted to get Christopher back in the hands of the Vatican authorities. Do you know what he said? He told me that, ‘I suspect that he might be lying. In fact, there is a very good chance that he is lying, but I must go to him, because he might be sincere. He could be a fellow sinner who needs the comfort of our Lord at the hour of his death.’

“’But isn’t there someone else who can give him that comfort?’ I asked him. He just looked at me with that look of his, the look that says you have said something rather strange. ‘Who among his followers, the people who have surrounded him during his pontificate, would preach Christ crucified, Christ risen to him?’

“’No one,’ I answered at once.’

“’There you have it,’ Christopher responded, ‘I must go to Italy and to Rome itself.’

“So Christopher went to Rome to provide comfort to the dying pope. But Pope Francis II was not dying, he was alive and well. He had Christopher thrown into prison and beaten unmercifully for over a week. After seven straight days of the beatings, the Pope ordered the execution that had been held in abeyance after Christopher’s escape two years ago. The execution was to be on the eighth day. The night before his execution was to take place, Christopher awoke and discovered that there was a man in his cell, who was washing his wounds with some kind of ointment.

“Christopher: Is this to make me presentable at the execution?

“Jailer: No, this was not ordered. I am not supposed to provide you with any medical treatment.

“Christopher: Then, why, my son, are you doing it?

“Jailer: Don’t you remember me?

“Christopher: The light in the cell is not good, and you have just awakened me. Perhaps if you could stand in the small light by the door. [The guard obliges him] Yes, I do recognize you, you are the father of that young boy that was caught in the earthquake two years ago.

“Guard: Yes, I am the father of that child, who would have perished if you had not saved him. And I would have perished as well, because I would not have left my son trapped in the rubble, I would have stayed and died with him.

“Grey: How is your child?

“Jailer: He is a fine, healthy boy of eight years of age now.

“Grey: That is good news.

“Jailer: He is waiting for me at the White Table Inn with two friends.

“Grey: I don’t understand.

“Jailer: Much has happened inside me since that day you saved my son. Everyone that I called to for help simply kept running away. The earth trembled at our feet, and they all were afraid, thinking they would be victims of the earthquake if they didn’t take refuge on what the scientists told them was safe, solid ground, so they ignored my pleas for help. Except you. You stopped and looked at me, you knew me as the man who had, by order of the pope, beaten you while you were chained to the Vatican walls. ‘Don’t worry,’ you said as you lifted the rubble off of my son, ‘There doesn’t seem to be any broken bones.’

“Then you led us out of the center of the earthquake to solid ground. I tried to put into words how I felt, but I was speechless before you. I feel ashamed. You gave me a copy of Christ’s Gospel, in my native tongue, and told me to read it with my heart. Then you blessed me and my son and left for Britain.

“I have searched the Gospels with my heart during the last two years, and I have discovered Christ. And I have tried to provide the comfort of Christ, as you did for me, to the men and women imprisoned within the Vatican dungeons.

“Grey: Bless you for that.

“Jailer: But it is time to leave this place. My son and I, and my two friends, my late wife’s brother and cousin, are coming with us, if you’ll give us sanctuary in Britain.

“Grey: Of course, I will. Arthur’s Britain is open to all the European knights of the cross.

“Jailer: Then we shall leave this place and the Vatican death chamber will lose one of its victims.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Act IV. Scene 2.

“The jailer and his son, the jailer’s brother-in-law, the cousin of the jailer’s wife, and Christopher Grey have managed to procure a ship to take them from what was once called Brindisi, but is now called the port of Mandela, to Christian Britain. AS the others on board sleep, the jailer’s brother-in-law approaches Christopher Grey, who also is not asleep, but is standing alone on the foredeck, looking out to sea.

“Brother-in-law: I’m sorry to intrude on you.

“Grey: You are not intruding, I was just looking at the sea; it is truly beautiful.

“BIL:  You English are all in love with the sea.

“Grey: Possibly, it is all around us. But I grew up in the middle of England, of farming stock.

“BIL: They say you are well over a hundred years old, so I assume that you lived in England before it became part of the Islamic Republic.

“Grey: Yes, it was before that time.

“BIL: That must have been a wonderful period of history?

“Grey: It wasn’t paradise, life was still hard, but yes, they were better times. But, my son, you haven’t come on deck to talk about the sea or about merry old England. You have something on your soul that is troubling you. Why don’t you confide in me?

“BIL: I hate the present rulers of Italy. They will countenance any cruelty, they will approve every atrocity against the white Italian people, so long as the atrocities are done in the name of the noble savages of color. That is why I wanted to come to Britain with you and my sister’s husband. But I am troubled in my heart. I don’t think I belong in Christian Britain.

“Grey: Why is that, is it because of the language barrier? Because if that is all, I must tell you that we have many Britons who…

“BIL: No, it is not that.

“Grey: Then tell me, my son.

“BIL: I don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I don’t believe, as my brother-in-law believes, that Christ rose from the dead. How can I hope to belong in a country where people do believe that Christ rose from the dead?

“Grey: Let me ask you this. Do you want to believe that Christ rose from the dead and that all those who die believing in Christ do not really die?

“BIL: Yes, I would very much like to believe that, but I cannot believe.

“Grey: Why can’t you believe?

“BIL: Because four years ago, I saw my sister waste away before my eyes. She was only 22 years old. At the hour of her death, there was no light in her eyes. And when the mortuary police came to take her body away to be cremated, my sister ceased to exist. It was the same with my wife. How can I say that I believe in the resurrection of the dead? It would be a colossal lie. Yet, I want to live in a place other than this hell on earth called Italy. So I didn’t tell you, till now, that I am not a believing Christian.

“Grey: Did you ever hear of Thomas, also called Didymus?

“BIL: No, is he someone from the Bible?

“Grey: Yes.

“BIL: The Bible is banned in Italy. My brother-in-law has a copy that he has offered to share with me, but I was never interested.

“Grey: Thomas was one of the twelve apostles. You have heard of the twelve apostles who were the followers of Christ?

“BIL: Yes, I’ve heard of them. And I have also heard the Christ story. How He was supposed to have died on the cross and then rose from the dead.

“Grey: Well, after Christ’s resurrection from the dead, He appeared to ten of the twelve apostles. Judas, of course, was missing and so was Thomas. When Thomas returned from wherever he had been, the others told him Christ had just appeared to them in the flesh. Thomas did not believe them. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

“Most of us are in the position, vis-à-vis our Lord, of Thomas. We love Him, but we can’t quite believe in His resurrection from the dead.

“BIL: But some people, our people, the white Europeans, did once believe in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, didn’t they?

“Grey: Yes, most of the European people, prior to the 20th century, did believe that Christ rose from the dead.

“BIL: I thought so. The Vatican officials keep telling us that the churches never said that Christ rose from the dead.

“Grey: They are lying, because they no longer believe in Christ’s resurrection from the dead, they have rewritten the Christ story to make it compatible with their un-faith.

“BIL: Which is?

“Grey: The worship of the abstract collective mind of the white liberals, which is the father, the worship of the noble black savage, who is the savior, and the worship of science, which is the holy ghost.

“BIL: Yes, they do worship those three entities.

“Grey: OF course, they do.

“BIL: But how can I have faith? I don’t believe in the noble savage, but I’m afraid that I do believe, against what I would like to believe, in reason and science.

“Grey: Let me tell you a story, a true story, from my childhood. I grew up on a farm in England. My parents, as with most farmers in those days, could not afford to leave the farm. There were too many things to take care of. Twice a year they spent an evening away from the farm. Once on Christmas Eve, at a big church fest, and once at Easter. Well, it was Christmas Eve, the day before my first birthday. Yes, I was born on Christmas Day. That evening my parents left me with my fourteen year old cousin. She was a reliable young girl, who know how to take care of a baby.

“On that night she placed me in my crib and sat beside it, waiting for me to go to sleep. It was unusually warm that night for a late December evening, so the window in the bedroom was open. As my cousin went to close the window, a hawk landed on the window sill. He flew straight for my crib and perched on the side, apparently ready to strike. My cousin screamed – she was, as she said later, too paralyzed with fright to move. But Smokey, our gray and white cat, who was mainly an outside cat but was permitted inside for his meals, was not too afraid to act. He leaped on the hawk and broke his neck. Then he simply stood there with no more interest in the hawk than if it was a piece of wood.

“My cousin made much of Smokey, giving him the cream that was usually reserved for desserts, and she told the story in vivid detail when my parents came home. From that day onward, Smokey had the run of the house. And when I left the crib, Smokey slept with me in bed.

“Smokey was about four years old at the time he delivered me from the hawk. I grew up hearing about his heroic deed and we became inseparable. Then it happened, as it must happen to all those we love, humans and pets, Smokey died when I was thirteen years old. It was the first time that death, the death of someone I loved, had entered my life. I’m afraid I didn’t take it very well. No one, not my parents, nor the pastor, could console me. After my parents went to bed, I would go out to Smokey’s grave, and lay on the grave weeping and begging God to take Smokey into His Kingdom.

“One night, about four weeks after Smokey’s death, I was lying at his grave and weeping, as I did every night, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was an angel, and the angel had Smokey in his arms. He took my hand and placed it on Smokey’s head so that I could pet him. I felt him purring. Then the angel spoke: “It’s all right, he is with the Lord and he will be safe with Him until you come.” Then he was gone.

“BIL: Was it real, the vision you saw, or was it madness?

“Grey: It was real. I don’t know why I was vouchsafed that vision. Maybe it was because Our Lord wanted me to comfort all those who mourn, like I was comforted that night. I know I have tried to do that my entire life. And I want to comfort you. Christ is there for us and our loved ones, we, and they, do not die.

“BIL: I want to believe that. And I do, right now, in your presence, feel that it is true.

“Grey: Stay with that feeling. Stay amongst people who give you that feeling, that is what the communion of Saints entails. Will you pray with me?

“BIL: Yes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Taylor: I won’t read any further, because I know you have work to do tonight.

Morgan: Yes, we do. But so do you. Good luck with the play.

Taylor: And good luck to you. May Christ be with you.

______________________________________________________________

Act V. Scene 1.

Back at the restaurant, Sister Jacqueline has once again taken charge. The ‘Idiot’ has disappeared, and Sister Jacqueline has ordered George and his wife, their daughter, Joe Marshal and his wife, Herb, and Father Michael arrested.

Joan: Why am I being arrested?

Jacqueline: Because you were part of the trick.

Joan: I had nothing to do with any trick. It was those others [pointing to Herb and her husband] who were in on the trick. They made my daughter pretend that she was dead.

George: She was dead.

Jacqueline: Silence that man. [George is gagged]

Father Mike: I protest this treatment. I had nothing…

[At this point, David Morgan and his European dragoons enter. The policemen go for their guns and are shot and killed.]

Morgan: [Referring to the captives] Untie those people.

Jacqueline: What is the meaning of this? I forbid…

Morgan: You shall never have the power to permit or forbid anything again. Take her away. [Two of the European dragoons take her away.]

Joan: Who are those men?

Joe: It’s the white underground.

Joan: Then we will all be killed.

George: I’ll tell you once more and then I’ll gag you – Shut up!

Morgan: [Turning to Herb] What went on here?

Herb: We had a visitor, if you’ll step outside with me. [They walk to the tree, where the empty chains are still lying by the tree] I’ll explain what happened here. [He motions to Barbara Marshal and Louisa.] You two might want to come along with me.

___________________

Act V. Scene 2.

Outside by the tree, after Herb has told David Morgan about the events of that night.

Morgan: You three saw and believed — what will be the reaction of the rest of the people?

Herb: I think it will be the same as before [He quotes from memory] “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”

Morgan: What should be done with that woman? [referring to Joan Jackson]

Herb: I’m tempted to say leave her behind and let her be killed by the liberals she serves, but I suppose we must take her with us.

Morgan: But as a prisoner.

Herb: Yes, of course.

Morgan: What about the others?

Herb: I think her father [pointing to Louisa] has had a genuine conversion, and he can be part of the underground.

Morgan: [Looking at Barbara Marshal] What about your husband?

Barbara: Please take him with us, I think he believes, or at least he will in time.

Morgan: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”?

Herb: I think so. Let’s take him with us. What about Father Michael?

Morgan: He’ll have to come along too, but he’ll have to join Father Todd in prison. The members of the Sanhedrin are the hardest ones to convince. Okay, let’s pull out of here, we can still reach the mountains in time for the Christmas Eve festivities.

___________________

Act V. Scene 3.

The Christmas Eve performance of The Christmas Carol has ended. The white Europeans, the counterrevolutionary remnant, are gathered together. George Jackson, Louisa, Joe Marshall and his wife, and Herb Broadhurst, the former archivist, are amongst the faithful.

Morgan: Christopher Grey has asked us to sing, in fellowship with him and our brothers and sisters in Christ across the waters, “Abide with Me.”

    Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
    The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
    When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
    Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.
    Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
    Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
    Change and decay in all around I see—
    O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
    I need Thy presence every passing hour;
    What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
    Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
    Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
    I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
    Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
    Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
    I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
    Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
    Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
    Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
    In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Morgan: Merry Christmas!

The End

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