God’s Mission for Clay - a play in one act
Clay was just about to post one of his succinct rebuttals on the Forum when the phone rang. It was Marylyn, God’s secretary, saying that ‘the Chief’ wanted him to stop by the office to discuss Mathew 8:28-34. “Possibly a new assignment,” Marylyn breathed. “Possibly even more important than saving lost souls on the Sam Harris Forum.”
Without delay, Clay showered, shaved, put on his best suit, pocketed his Bible, grabbed the slip of paper on which he had written Marylyn’s directions, boarded the subway, took an elevator to the antiquated suite on the 43rd floor of the Empire State Building and found the door with the flaking gold-leaf lettering, ‘GOD’.
Marylyn is sitting behind her receptionist desk filing her nails.
Marylyn: Mr. Forhim? Pleased. Heard a lot about you. The Duffer reads all of your posts on the Harris Forum.
Marylyn: (chuckles, puts her nail file away and takes out lipstick) A pet name. That’s what I call older gentlemen with gray beards. Have you had a chance to brush up on that Mathew thing?
Clay: Many times. I re-read it on the subway.
(The door to the inner office opens and a pretty young women comes out. Without a word, Marylyn hands her an envelope. The woman smiles at Clay, brushes against him, tosses a mink stole over her shoulder and exits).
Marylyn: (pressing old-fashioned intercom button) Mr. Forum is here, Sir.
God’s voice: 648? Send him in. (as Clay enters, God eases halfway out of his chair and extends hand across his desk) Clay for Him! I like it! (leans back in his swivel chair and taps fingertips together. He eyes Clay skeptically) Nice suit. Interested in a new mission are you? (gestures) Have a seat.
Clay: (looks around for a chair, then sinks into a big, soft couch, which is all there is) You bet! I mean, I’d be honored! Yes, sir!
God: (begins folding a piece of paper which begins to take shape as a paper airplane) Read about the hogs, have you?
Clay: Mathew 8:28-34. Yessir. Jesus commands the demons to come out of the madman, Legion.
God: (sails his plane expertly out the open window) Watch this! Watch the birds! (the plane circles on a warm updraft and a number of swallows launch off the ledges and begin to follow it. It circles higher and higher above the city, the birds twittering and climbing with it) Damndest thing! This time of day the sun warms the pavement and you get an updraft. The birds love it! If you were to follow it with my scope you’d see it glide out over the river and come down.
Clay: And the mission sir? Mathew 8:28?
God: (opening a folder on his desk) Not interested in gliding, eh? Know Rush Limbaugh do you?
Clay: Rush Limbaugh? Yessir. Listen to him quite often. Called in several times. A strong voice for what’s good and decent about America.
God: (closes folder and throws it on desk) Never can find anything around here! Know anything about hogs do you?
Clay: Hogs? Me? No. I’m not a farm boy. We sometimes have bacon and eggs for breakfast, though.
God: Geez. You are a prosaic fellow, aren’t you? Listen carefully. I want you to buy 2000 hogs and rent as many livestock trucks as you need to transport them up to Limbaugh’s place.
Clay: I beg your pardon?
God: Don’t mince with me 648. Are you in or not? When you get there I want you to let the hogs out and then knock on Limbaugh’s door.
Clay: Excuse me, Sir. I’m not follow . . .
God: When he answers I want you to shout, “Come out of him in God’s name!”
Clay: Wait, wait. Back up a little. Did you say . . .
God: If everything goes as planned, Rush is going to fall down weeping, rubbing your shoes, and the hogs are going to take off like bats out of hell. If there’s a lake around, all the better.
Clay: Sir, if you don’t mind my asking, have you been talking to unsmoked?
Clay: Unsmoked. I mean, this sounds a little looney. Surely you don’t expect me to . . .
God: Are you questioning my judgement?
Clay: Me? No! God no! But, I mean, buy 2000 hogs for cripes sake? Do you have any idea what hogs are selling for these days? Have you considered what kind of convoy it would take to . . .
God: Not up to it, are you? (sighs) A summer soldier and a sunshine patriot. After Limbaugh, I wanted you to repeat the process with Benny Hinn. (looks at ceiling and taps fingers together) Might need 3000 hogs for that one.
Clay: Not up to it? Listen, couldn’t you ask me to sacrifice one of my children, or turn my wife into a pillar of . . .?
God: (reaches for his phone book) Thanks for coming in. Have a nice day. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.
Clay: No. It’s fine. You just caught me a little off guard. You mean to say that Rush is possessed by . . .
God: Any numbskull can see them. Coming out of his pores. That’s okay. Don’t worry about it. I’ll ask Traces Elk and the Bad Rabbit to do it.
Clay: But surely there’s a better way to exercise demons. I mean, exorcise them. This is 2009 for God’s sake! Isn’t this hog thing a little outdated? I mean, think of the trampled lawns, the lawsuits! Can’t you see 2000 enraged pigs running down a suburban street? What if there’s a kid on a bike for pity’s sake?
God: Let me tell you something. Did Jesus worry about a kid on a bicycle? Where’s you nerve man? Your flair? Where’s your faith? Your trust?
Clay: I’m just trying to think ahead. You want this to succeed, right? I’ll discuss it with my pastor. We’ll think of a better way. We don’t want to see you getting in trouble. Geez! PAWS would be all over this one! The Humane Society! Besides, why can’t you just call Rush in for a pow-wow? Straighten this out with him man to man. I mean . . . you know what I mean. Come to think of it, why in hell didn’t you chase the demons out of Legion instead of letting Jesus get in hot water with those swineherds? Why do you always have to do things the hard way, letting other people take the rap?
God: (presses intercom button and speaks to Marylyn) Do we have any of those outdated Whitman’s Sampler boxes I was giving out last Easter?
Marylyn’s voice: Yes sir. There’s three left.
God: Give one to 648. He’s on his way out.