copyright © 2002 Jeff Goode

This Rock (working title)
by Jeff Goode
copyright 2002
(A TORTURED SOUL considers a large ROCK.)
You know...
He doesn't need you.
The rocks and trees could do it.

If there were no evangelists
And no missionaries.
If someone was growing up
On the planes of the Serengeti.
With nothing around for miles
Except elephant grass and cheetahs.
And no books. And no bibles.
And no way to even hear the word Jesus used in a sentence.
He would make the rocks and trees tell them about it.

That's reassuring.
Because how would you feel if some little starving child
Went to rot in everlasting torment
Because you missed your flight and couldn't get over there in time to talk to them before they died of Ebola at the age of 7.
And they didn't even get a shot at the after life.

Because that's what this is all about, right?

This whole thing is supposed to be one big test of faith, right?
Really, it doesn't matter what happens here.
Because this life is just a pop quiz to see who gets into the next one.

So if you've got a drinking problem. Or an abusive stepmother. Or maybe you're black.
That's your cross to bear.
And let's see how you do.
And if you bear it well.
You'll see your reward in the hereafter.

If you get behind the wheel of a car.
And I'm not saying whose fault this is.
But if you get in a horrible drunk driving accident.
But you survive.
But you're paralyzed.
That's a supreme test of your faith.
Question is: Are you up to it?
And if there was someone else in the car with you.
And they didn't survive...

Maybe they didn't need to be tested.

Maybe they've already been through the wringer
And they passed.
And now they're sipping Mai Tais with the Holy Ghost in Heaven.
Or maybe they're in hell.
But God already knows that's where they're supposed to be.
God already gave them a chance. Or two chances. Or five.
And sure he could give them one more.
But God already knows that they were never going to change.
God is all knowing, you know?
And even if he had let them live out another 20 years
And sent someone to share the word of God with them every day from now to whenever for the rest of their life,
They still never would have accepted it.
And they'd still end up burning in hell.
So why not now? Especially if it means someone else in that car still has a chance at redemption.

(long pause)
I was watching it on T.V.
And when that second plane hit...
That's what I thought.
Some of those people are with God now.
And the rest of them were on their way to hell anyway.
But none of them needed to be tested. He knows.
But for the wives and children and husbands and families of all those people.
For them, this is a test.

That's the brilliance of God. Who knows every hair on your head.
His divine mercy is pinpoint accurate.

When you get behind the wheel of a car, as soon as you put the key in the ignition, he knows:
Driver needs to be tested.
Rear passenger driver side. Good to go.
Passenger side. Needs testing.
Front passenger. Straight to hell.
And if he can slam a pick up truck into your blind spot in such a way that he takes out the front right and rear left passengers but spares the other two for some kind of earthly torment.
And also the families of the two that don't survive.
But not the family of the two that lived.
Then that's what he'll do.
And if not. Then everybody gets home safe.
God's not going to take chances with eternal damnation.
This is not a game.

But when that first building went down...

You know, no one above the 80th floor got out.
Everybody below the 20th floor got out.
And the floors in-between?
Depends on their health.
Heart condition? Bad hip? Dead. Talk to the hand.
Eat right? Exercise twice a week? Office near the stairwell?
This is only a test.

The wonder of it. The sheer Artistry.
How he got all those people who needed to be to be tested to all get jobs with the same company on the third floor.
While all the people on the 110th floor who worked for that company were either totally pious. Or too far gone to bother saving. Case closed.

But the children of the people on the 110th floor. The juries still out on them. Better run a test.
But not the children of the people on the 3rd floor because those parents did come home that night.

And the timing of it.
When you think about it, he had to be watching that building constantly since 1976 waiting for just the right mix of people to fill up that building.
Plus the people on the two planes.
For just the right moment to do the maximum amount of good.

And he even made the one tower last a few minutes longer than the other.
Because somewhere on the 32nd floor there was a future Christian who needed to just barely get out.
But in the same office on the same floor of the other building, was a lesbian with two kids who was simply never going to learn.

So when that second tower fell.
I thought... That's it.
There is no God.
Because even if he had it all worked out.
And got everybody lined up just right.
Even if he had it planned down to the last sinner.
Tested. Dead. Tested. Dead. Test that one.
Not that one - Test his family though.
Test the families of the fire fighters. Not the paramedics.
Test the stock brokers. Not the dockworkers.
Test the window washers. Not the street cleaners.
Test the people in New York. Not the people in L.A.
Even if he did all that.
Even if he did.
Even so...
What an asshole!

I used to have this friend who was an atheist.
And I always used to tell him,
"No, you're not an atheist. You're an agnostic."
Because how can you know? How can you know there's no God?
How can you know? You can't know.

But that's how you know.
The same way you know there's no Santa Claus.
Because there's not.

Because it's not physically possible for there to be a loving God
Who gives a rats ass about our souls
Or whether we have faith in him.
And wants us to love him back.
And he pulls this shit.

So after the second building fell...
I just had to get out of the house.
I couldn't watch any more TV.
I went out in the back yard.
Into the field behind the house.
And I just kept walking.

And the sky felt so empty.
Because for the first time in 100 years, there were no airplanes in it.
And for the first time in 10,000 years, there was no God in it either.

Not because I doubted his existence.
Because he doesn't exist.
And he never did. This whole time.

And just when I thought that was that...

I came upon this rock.
Laying in the middle of the field.
And I'm not saying it spoke to me.
That's not what I'm asking.

But let me ask you, hypothetically.
Say you were walking through a field.
At the lowest point of your life.
At the lowest point of your faith. When there was no God.
And nothing else in the earth or in the sky
Could possibly convince you otherwise.

And at that moment you were to come across this rock.
And if it opened up it's mouth and said...
"Keep believing."

(Pause. Frozen.)
How could you not?
Even after all that's happened.
Even after everything.
If he could make the rocks and trees to speak.
That's all it would take.

You would have to believe.
You'd have no choice.

(Stares at the rock for a LONG time.)
Why won't you talk to me?

This is one of a series of monologues developed at No Shame Los Angeles which became part of the play Anger Box. The text above is the original, unrevised version of the script as performed at No Shame.

This marked the first time (at No Shame L.A.) that someone walked out in the middle of a piece. Scott McGee was sitting next to that person, this was his description of the piece:

"One of the strongest commentaries on 9/11 that I've heard so far. And we had a casualty as well. The girl sitting next to me was squirming the whole time, and when it got to calling God an Asshole... she bolted. Half a minute later, everyone could hear the faint bell of the elevator ringing as she fled the theatre. I love when theatre moves people, especially when it moves the short-sighted right out and down the hall. Really, it was too bad, because she missed the ending... which she may just have liked. Ah, well..."

[Jeff Goode's website]

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