copyright © 2006 Jeff Goode

The Apostle John

by Jeff Goode

Scene: A Public Restroom

(PAUL is standing in the bathroom, waiting contentedly.)

(Enter NICK, somewhat urgently. He goes immediately to the first stall, pushes on the door. It is locked.)

Nick. Sorry!

(He tries the door to the second stall. It is locked, too.)

Nick. Sorry!

(NICK stands off to one side to wait. He looks around, antsily. He notices PAUL, smiling benevolently.)

Paul. Hi.

Nick. …Hi.

Paul. You got a minute?

Nick. (a little paranoid) What? Why?

Paul. Do you have a minute?

Nick. No! I mean, why? A minute for what? What do you need?

Paul. I just want to ask you something.

Nick. (relieved) Oh. Sure, okay. Ask me what?

Paul. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

Nick. Oh shit.

Paul. I guess that's a "no", huh?

Nick. (looking for a way out) Uh…

Paul. Can I ask you something else?

Nick. Y'know, I'm in kind of a hurry. I really gotta go. I mean, I gotta "go", and then I gotta get out of here. I'm right in the middle of this thing.

Paul. Yeah, me, too. …It seems like we're always in the middle of something, though, doesn't it? Lunch, or a meeting or a lunch meeting or a conference call. Middle of work. Middle of school. Middle of life. No time. Not a minute to spare. …No time for Jesus.

Nick. Yeah. Bummer.

(Long pause as they both don't look at each other.)

Paul. Did you hear that?

Nick. What?

(They both listen.)

Paul. There it is again.

Nick. What? What??

Paul. That silence. That's the saddest sound in the world. That's the sound of me not telling you about Jesus. And you not having time to hear me if I did.

Nick. Look, I don't want to get into this right now.

Paul. Oh, me neither. That's the last thing I want to do. But you really leave me no choice.

Nick. I leave you no choice??

Paul. You have to go to the bathroom, don't you?

Nick. Yes. No. None of your business!

Paul. What if it kills you?

Nick. What??

Paul. Do you know how many people die on the toilet each year? And more men than women. Trying too hard, I guess. It's our competitive nature. Can't leave well enough alone. Gotta fight. Gotta win. (He gives a long scatological grunt, then…) Bam! Pop an aneurysm and you're gone like that.

Nick. That's disgusting.

Paul. You think that's bad? Try dying on a toilet and then being cast into a lake of fire right after. That's really gotta suck.

Nick. Okay, that's enough.

Paul. I don't know you. You don't know me. After this, we may never see each other again.

Nick. Please, God, let that be true.

Paul. How do you think I'd feel if you went in there and dropped dead and I just stood by and didn't even try to throw you a life line?

Nick. Hey, I don't need a life line.

Paul. You don't need one? Oh, I see, you've got it all taken care of. When the Judgement Day comes, you're just going to walk right up to the Heavenly Father and say, "Look at my schedule! When did I have time for salvation? Thursday I was in meetings all day, and Friday I had that lunch, and you know how tired I am at the end of the day, so let's not do it in the evening, and sure there was that minute I had in the bathroom, but that's my alone time. I need to focus. I can't have somebody looking out for my eternal well-being.

Nick. Okay, look, buddy, this is neither the time, nor the place.

Paul. You're right. No problem. Why don't I catch you later then?

Nick. Good idea.

Paul. How about the next time you're in church? When will that be? This Sunday? Next Sunday? The week after that?

Nick. I don't go to church, if that's what you're getting at.

Paul. And you probably don't want me bugging you at the airport either.

Nick. No, I don't want you bugging me anywhere.

Paul. So, it's not really the time or the place that bothers you at all, is it?

Nick. Yes! Yes, it is! This is a public restroom, for Christ's sake!

Paul. If only that were true. You know, they say that God is everywhere. But I don't think he's here. I don't think he's in a public restroom. You never hear stories about a good bowel movement bringing someone closer to God. You never see people standing at a urinal with their heads bowed in prayer, thanking the Lord for the precious gift of a clean urinary tract. God's blessings are all around us, everywhere you look, except here. Here it's just you, and me, …and temptation.

Nick. Now hold on!

Paul. You say this isn't the place for religion, but I say this room needs it more than anywhere else on Earth.

Nick. (knocking on the stall door) Hurry up in there!

Paul. (going for the kill) You're like the Lord Jesus Christ, knocking at the door to someone's heart, but they won't let him in. But what else can he do? He can't peek over the top. That wouldn't be right. But no one's answering, and he has to get in there. He can't slide under, can he? But maybe that's what the Lord Jesus is doing right now. Maybe he's sent me to slide under the door to the toilet of your heart to save your soul with his holy touch.

Nick. (backing away) Don't touch me.

Paul. What are you afraid of?

Nick. I'm afraid of you creeping me out is what! I'm afraid this is a public restroom and I gotta take a dump and I'd like some privacy, but you're getting in my personal space and it's freaking me out!

Paul. No, I think what's really freaking you out is that you don't have Christ Jesus in your personal space. And without him, you're just a lonely sinner cornered in a dirty men's room by a dangerous psychotic who believes in crazy fairy tales and won't leave you alone until he makes you believe what he believes.

Nick. Yes! Yes, that's it!

Paul. But with Jesus, you're never alone and you're never in danger because it's not crazy, because the fairy tales are true, and all you have to do is let yourself believe them.

Nick. (pleading) Please, just leave me alone, I'm begging you!

Paul. Will you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior?

Nick. Yes, yes, I'll do whatever you want!

Paul. Will you let him into your heart and into your life?

Nick. Yes, anything, please! I just want to go to the bathroom.

(PAUL falls to his knees and "joins" NICK in prayer.)

Paul. Lord Jesus, hear this sinner's prayers. Fill him with the Holy Spirit, and grant him relief from his worldly suffering and a life everlasting with you in Paradise. We ask it in your holy name. Amen.

(NICK is sobbing as PAUL finishes praying.)

Nick. Oh God… Oh God…

(Then PAUL crawls under the door to the stall and opens it from the inside. The stall is empty.)

Nick. What the--??

(PAUL gives the dumbfounded NICK a hug and walks out, smiling contentedly.)


The End


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