a circus

act one of three

(an older man is hunkered over a workbench. his back is to the audience. he’s working and hovering over something. another man, younger, is sitting with his back against the wall facing us. he’s tossing a wrench in the air and catching it again over and over.)

younger- did you hear about the wedding yesterday?

older- mm.

younger- you did?

older- no.

younger- it was on the news. another drone strike.

older- how many?

younger- the report said 37.

older- what’d they say about it? that the bride was a terrorist?

younger- they said the best-man was one of the ten-most wanted. it was all about him.

older- they sure they got him? and what about the other 36?

younger- you know.

older- well.

younger- it’s sad to imagine.

older- yes. it is.

younger- weddings are supposed to be about promise.

older- yes.

younger- do they have flower girls in their weddings?

older- they might’ve. just because it happened there doesn’t mean it was all one way.

younger- it doesn’t matter does it?

older- well, they’re all dead. so not really.

younger- maybe they all died happy.

older- maybe.

younger- doesn’t that surprise you?

older- what?

younger- i mean, that something like that happens. doesn’t that surprise you at all?

older- are you surprised?

younger- no. it makes me angry.

older- hand me that wrench.

younger-(passing the wrench. pauses thinking) that may be what makes me the most upset.

older- what?

younger- the lack of surprise i feel when i learn about another slaughter.

older- ha!

younger- why’s that funny?

older- (he stands up straight and faces the younger.) it’s almost monstrous to say that. to say that you feel more angry about your own loss of feeling than for another’s loss of life.

younger- that’s not what i meant.

older- but that’s what you said.

younger- well–

older- if that’s why you’re here, if that’s why you’re helping me build this, then i think you’d better go.

younger- i’m here for my cousin.

older- ah yes.

younger- they held him six years.

older- but he still has his life. and you, you have their passport. you attend their schools. you spend their money.

younger- i told you why i’m here months ago.

older- you did. but you still sound like one who’s not been listening.

younger- but i have!

older- clearly not. you are here for your cousin, you say. your cousin who is still alive. if that is your reason then you are not here for the hundreds of thousands of us who have been slaughtered and imprisoned and tortured and dehumanized. and if you are not here for any of those many reasons, then i have decided that you are not here for the right reasons.

younger- but i hate them as much as anyone!

older- you do, but do you love your own people as much as i’m asking you to?

younger- i love them. i love them so much, i must hate what is happening to them.

older- yes. that is what i’m asking.

younger- i love them so much, i must hate how they’re slaughtered.

older- yes.

younger- i must hate how they’re imprisoned and tortured.

older- yes.

younger- and how they’re dehumanized!

older- yes. perhaps most of all.

younger- i am here to bring justice to my people and to bring justice to the souls of those who received none in life.

older- yes.

younger- i am here for the love of my people.

older- yes.

younger- i am here for the protection of my people.

older- yes.

younger- i am here for the salvation of my people.

older- yes.

younger- i am a soldier fighting for the future of my people.

older- yes.

younger- i am a soldier fighting for my god.

older- yes. that is good. you are learning.

younger- i have learned.

older- you have. now, i will teach you something new.

(he pulls the young man over and begins helping him tinker with the project on the table.)

end of act one.


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