Copyright 2019 Charles McKelvy
DIALOGUE OF THE DIVINES
A PLAY IN ONE ACT
BY CHARLES McKELVY
P.O. Box 116
Harbert, MI 49115
Cast of Characters: Bill, a draft dodger
Bob, a Vietnam veteran
Set: Black Box, no props.
Time: Fall 1971
Place: a seminary in the Midwest
(At rise, Bill enters stage right, carrying a box of stuff, and Bob enters stage left, carrying a box of stuff. Both set down boxes and begin dialogue of the divines. )
Bob: So, looks like we’re gonna be bunkmates.
Bill: Yeah, appears so.
Bob: You smoke?
Bill: Yeah, you?
Bob: Two packs a day, sometimes three. But I quit. Cold turkey. Been off the cancer sticks for six months now.
Bill: Yeah, well, I’m trying to cut back, but I’m not there yet.
Bob: Weak-willed, are, ya?
Bill: I wouldn’t say that. I just like my smokes is all.
Bob: Well, you can like your smokes outside, because the smoking lamp is never gonna be lit in here. Not on my watch. That clear?
Bill: Hey, whatever floats your boat, man. But, like I said, I am trying to cut back, even though I am a total nicotine fiend.
Bob: Yeah, what else you jonesin’ for? (pokes Bill in the belly) Jelly donuts by the look of you.
Bill: Excuse me?
Bob: You’re soft, bubba. Soft like those jelly donuts you pound down by the sack full.
Bill: No, I’m gonna work out.
Bob: All right. How about tomorrow? O-Dark-Hundred. We roll out for a little five-mile run around the lake before Morning Prayer.
Bob: O-Five-hundred. Five o’clock in the friggin’ morning for you, pardner.
Bill: You go. I’ll catch up with you in a day or two. I’m just driven in from the coast, so I’m beat.
Bob: Oh, did we get some blisters on our feet from too much driving? Poor baby.
Bill: You in the army or something?
Bob: Army?!? What do you take me for, some damn lily-livered sissy?
Bill: Sorry. You said oh-five-hundred, so I figured—
Bob: Well, you figured wrong, Bubba.
Bill: (extends hand) Name’s “Bill” actually. And you’re—
Bob: A combat ready asset.
Bill: I thought you weren’t in the army.
Bob: I wasn’t.
Bob: So, I am a card-carryin’ member of THE United States Marine Corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Hoo-rah!
Bill: Right. My old man was a Marine. In World War II, in the Pacific.
Bob: Yeah? What about you, son? You don’t look like you could do half your age in push-ups.
Bill: I got a calling from God. Holy Orders, you might say.
Bob: You mean a four-friggin’-D deferment, don’t you, Bubba?
Bill: Name’s Bill.
Bob: Sure, and my name’s Elmer Fudd. So you aim to sit out the war here in the seminary, huh?
Bill: Not exactly. I was thinking maybe, after ordination, I’d apply to be a Navy Chaplain or something.
Bob: Or something?!? What something?
Bill: You don’t like me, do you?
Bob: Hey, I’m here at the seminary, aren’t I? Love your neighbor as you love yourself and all that good shit.
Bill: Sure, whatever you say.
Bob: No, Bubba, it’s what you say that counts. And so far all you’ve said is you’re a chicken-shit, draft-dodgin’ son-of-a-Tijuana-whore who don’t give two flyin’ farts for this great and glorious country. Freedom ain’t free, Bubba. And you can’t be bothered. And you don’t give a shit about our flag or our honor. Except you ain’t got none. Honor that is.
Bill: Could I ask you something, whatever your name is?
Bob: Sure, fire away, good buddy.
Bill: All right. Why are YOU here? Yeah, I’m a chicken-shit draft dodger hiding out until the storm blows over, but what’s a combat-ready asset like you doing here? You don’t seem like a man of peace to me.
Bob: Really?!? Aw shucks, and here I thought I was able to get you to nominate me for the Bleeding Heart of the Year Award.
Bill: All kidding aside, why are you here? You have some foxhole prayer in which you made a deal with God—you know—save my sorry ass, and I’ll go be a missionary somewhere. Am I right, or am I right?
Bob: Wrong on all counts, Dee Dee.
Bill: Dee Dee?!?
Bob: Dee Dee as in Draft Dodger. You’d be about as useful counseling some seriously whacked-out, two-tours, combat veteran as tits on King Kong.
Bill: King Kong? Strange simile, dude.
Bob: Works for me.
Bill: Great. So, why are you here? You served your country. You did your time—
Bob: Now it’s time to serve my God. And I do mean serve. I’ve stared death in the face. I’ve seen my buddies blown into bloody hamburger by booby-traps. Lived in and through mind-numbing fear. The worst kind of fear there is. I walked through it. Spit in the Satan’s eye and lived to tell about it. I faced a thousand demons and survived, so I know what the agony of Christ was all about. I walked the walk with him up to Calvary and hung with him up there on the cross while all the hippies and degenerate reprobates like you made a mockery of the whole thing. I was there, and I done that. You hear, Dee Dee?
Bill: Loud and clear, Cee Aay.
Bob: Cee Aay?
Bill: Cee Aay as in Captain America.
Bob: Well, I don’t like it.
Bill: And I don’t like bein’ called Dee Dee.
Bob: Well, you’re stuck with it.
Bill: Well, then you’re stuck with Cee Aay, Cap’n.
(they stare daggers at one another for the longest time)
Bill: Hey, I don’t suppose you brought any of that killer weed home with you from Vietnam?
Bob: That killer weed got more than a few good Marines blown to Kingdom Come because they were too high to sense danger.
Bill: Oh, sorry. Well, we could tip a few. Wine? Beer? Whisky? Name your poison, and—
Bob: I only drink with real men, Dee Dee.
Bill: Okay. So maybe I should go see the bursar about another room assignment.
Bob: Too late, Dee Dee. It’s all set in stone, Stoner. You’re stuck with me, and I’m stuck with you.
Bill: Aren’t I the lucky one? You don’t snore, do you?
Bob: No, but I wouldn’t make any loud noises in the middle of the night, if I were you. Unless you want me to gut you like a pig.
Bill: Quiet as a church mouse. That’s me, Cap’n. So, let’s see if we can find a subject we can agree on. How about the Archbishops of Canterbury?
Bob: That commie faggot! He’s controlled by the KGB.
Bill: Okay. How about baseball? You do like America’s game, don’t you?
Bob: Baseball?!? It’s a sissy sport. Ooooh, I fell down chasin’ a flyball and scraped my knee. Boo hoo. Are you kiddin’ me?!? Baseball!!! No, Dee Dee, real men play football. That’s America’s game. Always was and always will be. Am I right, or am I right.
Bill: I played baseball. Outfield. And I was on the swim team.
Bob: Ain’t that cute. We got us a cute little tadpole here. Well, little tadpole, why don’t you wriggle and squiggle your way on over to the latrine and clean the damn toilet and the sink and the shower and the floor while you’re at it? Inspection’s at seventeen-hundred sharp. Now step lively, Dee Dee, for that mold’s a growin’ as I speak.
Bill: Wait a minute. You’re putting me on clean-up detail?
Bob: Amazing—you caught my drift little tadpole. Now get to it while I scout the perimeter.
Bill: Aren’t you gonna help?
Bob: You can handle it, Dee Dee.
Bill: We’re here—what, all of ten minutes—and you’re already giving me orders?
Bob: Long and short of it, Dee Dee. Now hop to it. Time’s a wastin’.
Bill: I didn’t come to seminary to be a maid.
Bob: No? Then why do you sound like one, little tadpole?
Bill: Maybe I should—
Bob: What? Quit and do the right thing and tell Uncle Sam you’re ready to help out way down yonder in Vietnam? That what you’re sayin’?
Bill: No, but—
Bob: No buts about it, Dee Dee.
(Bill throws up his hands and sighs)
Bob: What’s that supposed to mean?
Bill: I surrender. You win. This time anyway. But remember what Jesus said: the last shall be first.
Bob: And he also said, and I quote: “But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” Meet your new shepherd, Dee Dee, because I have most definitely entered through the narrow gate, and you are one lost little lamb. So listen to my voice and follow me, and, maybe, just maybe, there will be some hope for you. But don’t you go thinkin’ you’re going to be a Navy Chaplain or any other kind of chaplain, if and when you ever get ordained. Got me?
Bill: I don’t know what to say. I’m—
Bill: Yeah, actually—
Bob: Actually you are, Dee Dee. Flabbergasted that is. And flabby and soft and adrift without a paddle. But now you have a shepherd to bring you back into the sheepfold and you can begin your journey right now by spit-shining the latrine. Now get a move on, tadpole.
Bill: (snaps to attention and salutes) Yes, sir Cap’n.
Bob: (takes cigar out of pocket and prepares to light it) The smoking lamp is lit.
Bill: What?!? I thought you said there was no smoking in here.
Bob: Yeah, for you. Not for real men like me. Now turn to, little tadpole, I want that latrine squeaky clean before I execute my next bowel movement.
Bill: This isn’t fair.
Bob: Who said anything about fair. Now get to it, because my bowels are a rumblin’.
Bill: (sighes) Yes, sir Cap’n.
(Bill goes off to clean bathroom as Bob lights cigar and disappears in a cloud of smoke as lights fade to black and play ends.)