Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for June, 2011

Thief of Hope – A Novel

Thief of Hope is a marvelous fantasy novel by Cindy Young-Turner (Crescent Moon Press).

Sydney, a street urchin and pickpocket in the town of Last Hope, has managed to evade the oppressive Guild for years, but there is no escaping fate when she’s sentenced to death for associating with the resistance.

After she’s rescued by a wizard, Sydney is forced to accept that magic, long outlawed throughout the Kingdom of Thanumor, still exists and the Tuatha, a powerful faery folk, are much more than ancient myth and legend. When the wizard offers a chance to fight the Guild and bring Willem, bastard prince and champion of the Tuatha, to the throne, Sydney embraces the cause as a way to find her own redemption.

Prologue

“So it has begun even here.” Oryn’s murmur was lost in the shouts of the crowd around him as the hangman tightened the rope around the condemned man’s neck. Pulling a tattered blue cloak about his shoulders, Oryn turned away and weaved through the throng gathered in the public square. The crowd grew silent. Although he didn’t look back, he pictured the man dropping and then jerking with a snap of his neck, the body now swaying back and forth. The crowd roared again.

“If only they knew what they’d started,” he said with a sigh and quickened his pace.

Oryn left the market square and cobblestoned streets that surrounded it, moving swiftly toward the other side of town. After he passed the well-kept, thatch-roofed homes of the town’s merchants and craftsmen, he came to narrow, muddy streets lined with tenements. Many of the people who lived in these hovels, often one family sharing a single room, were those who welcomed the Guild.

In the square, Oryn had listened to eager talk of the prosperity the Guild promised and a new beginning for the town of Last Hope. He saw the hope in their tired eyes, the same hope he had seen in other people’s eyes in other towns and cities. For the past two decades, he had watched the craft and merchant leagues unite throughout the kingdom, promising the same prosperity and independence they now offered the commoners of Last Hope. Most people in Last Hope did not yet understand that as the years had passed, the Guild had become a means of enforcing the oppression it had once so vehemently opposed. Common folk who needed to earn a living had no choice but to join the Guild and contribute a portion of their wages to support it. Those who spoke out against its policies, nobles and commoners alike, risked their lives.

Oryn had once thought this isolated and impoverished hellhole of a town was beneath the Guild’s interest. When the hangings began, he knew he had been mistaken.

The narrow streets led him to a block that housed several small shops and a tavern. The sign above the tavern door bore the faded image of an eagle. It’s been a long time, Oryn thought. Too long, perhaps. He opened the door and entered the dimly lit room that smelled of strong ale and stale sweat. Despite the din of voices and laughter, the stench of poverty and desperation clung to the crowd. Oryn wished he could warn the people of Last Hope of the Guild’s false promises. But he hadn’t come here to stop the Guild; he’d come on behalf of a single child.

He caught sight of a young girl sitting at the bar. At once he knew she was the child he sought. Not more than five years old, Sydney was perched on a barstool, talking earnestly with one of the serving women and jabbing her finger at something she pulled from her pocket. Her face was smudged with dirt, her hair unruly, and her skinned knees and elbows pushed through holes in her clothes. While others saw only a barefoot waif, Oryn glimpsed the threads of fate entwining this child.

He could see the interweaving strands of possibility, but the tapestry they formed constantly shifted. The slightest alteration could unravel all that was to follow. Why this child was so important to the future of not only the kingdom, but also the existence of magic, was unclear. A wizard who tried to arrange the future by altering the present could never be certain of the outcome. That was why Oryn needed to come here, in spite of the edicts against the practice of magic and wizards themselves. He had to make sure she was given the chance to fulfill her potential.

READ MORE OF THIEF OF HOPE

What’s Up Elizabeth?

The Butterfly’s Kingdom by Gwendolyn Geer Field
Excerpt from inspirational novel.

What’s Up Elizabeth?

THE HOUSE WAS SILENT, an abandoned stage set. The occupants and all traces of the lives they lived seemed to have completely vanished. There were no pushed back chairs, no scattered partially-read newspapers, no misplaced drinking glasses, sticky with finger prints. There was only pristine emptiness draped with long flat squares of moonlight. As I passed Annie’s door, I paused and wondered if I should knock. I stood quietly, listening for a sound, but there was none — no breathing, no creaking floorboards, no whispering voice inviting me in. So I tiptoed down the hallway to my room.

As I opened the door, a sleepy voice whispered, “Elizabeth, is that you?”

I fumbled for the bedside lamp as Betsy wrestled with the sheets and sat up, rubbing her eyes. “What time is it?” she yawned.

I glanced at the clock. “It’s after midnight, sweetie,” I sank down on the bed beside her. “What are you doing here?”

“Waiting for you.” Her eyes blinked in the sudden brightness.

“I can see that,” I reached over and rubbed her shoulders as she sat shivering in a thin cotton nightgown. “But why are you waiting for me?”

“Because I was worried about you, I didn’t know where you’d gone.”

“I’m sorry, Bets. I did phone your mom and let her know I was okay.”

“I know,” the large brown eyes were smudged with sadness. “But mom seemed really mad, and she wouldn’t tell me what was going on, except that you were with Jackson, and that she guessed you’d come home sometime.”

I kicked off my shoes and stretched out beside her. “Yeah, she was pretty irritated with me.” I turned to look at her. “Do you have any idea why she doesn’t like him?”

Betsy wriggled backward and leaned against the headboard. “It’s just another one of those secrets we live with around here. I know something major happened a long time ago, but no one ever talked about it, not to me at least. I knew dad had a really close friend and they had some kind of fight, but I never even heard his name. When we had Jackson over the other night, I kind of put two and two together and figured he was the guy.” She stared wistfully at me. “What do you think it was?”

“Lordie, I have no idea. You’re right, something big happened, but we’ll just make ourselves crazy if we try to imagine what it was.”

She looked chagrined, and I was afraid that my choice of words had upset her. “Sorry about the word ‘crazy’. I just meant that it’s never a very good idea to try to figure out what other people are thinking. I’m always wrong, and then I just start making a bunch of bad decisions based on a faulty premise.”

“You don’t have to baby me like that and cut the word ‘crazy’ out of your vocabulary. Who knows,” she shrugged, “maybe that is what made everybody nuts around here — the secrets, the doing everybody’s thinking for them.”

I ruffled her hair and tugged her close to me. “You’re a pretty smart cookie, Bets. Lets us promise to never do either of those things to each other — have secrets or try mind reading, okay?”

She sat quietly for a moment and then laid her head on my shoulder. “So if we’re not going to have secrets, tell me what you and Jackson were doing tonight. I thought you were going out for a walk by yourself.”

“Well, I did. That was the problem. Apparently, I didn’t know where I was going, and I didn’t even notice it was getting dark until I suddenly found myself down by the creek in a thicket of trees and I couldn’t see lights anywhere. I got kind of panicky, but I made myself calm down enough to think clearly, and I remembered that I couldn’t be too far away from where we were the other night. So I turned around and groped my way back to the restaurant.”

“You were scared?” she interrupted, tilting her face to look up at me.

“Yeah, pretty scared. The dark does that to me.”

“So how did you calm yourself down?”

“I said a prayer.”

“You just said a prayer and you felt better?” She sounded incredulous.

“Yes. Actually the prayer kind of said itself. It floated into my mind out of nowhere, and I grabbed hold of it and held on. I just kept saying it over and over, and it made me feel better.”

“What was it?” She stared at me suspiciously.

“‘I am safe, I am sound, all good things come to me as God’s beloved child.’”

“That’s it? That’s the prayer? You didn’t ask God to show you the way home or come rescue you or anything?”

“No, I think all that’s in the prayer already.” I saw the skepticism in her eyes. “Don’t you ever pray about things? What kinds of prayers do you say?”

“I never pray. Nobody in my family does. My dad said God was for fools — something they thought they needed, so they just made Him up.”

“Yeah, well I think I felt that way for a long time myself.”

“What changed?” She asked.

“What changed is that I couldn’t stand it anymore. I couldn’t stand being the only power I relied on, being my own God. I got to a place where I wasn’t enough.”

“And so you just made a God up because you needed one? Just like that?” she snapped her fingers.

I smiled and kissed the top of her head. “I like you so much, Bets. You’re my kind of gal. You ask all sorts of questions, and you don’t settle for half answers. When I was your age, I used to drive everybody crazy,” I flinched instinctively. It was as though the word ‘crazy’ had become radioactive. “They used to say I was way too intense because I kept asking and asking until I got an answer I could understand. It didn’t always work and not everybody liked it, but I do. So keep it up. I think it’s healthy.”

She grinned. “Okay, explain it then. How did you go from wanting a God to getting one? Why isn’t that the ‘wish fulfillment’ my dad always talked about?” She grinned impishly. “Aren’t you impressed that I know that term? I think I even know that it was something Freud said.”

“I am impressed, although I must confess to you, in the spirit of our new found honesty, that I don’t think all that much of Freud. How’s that for heresy, saying that to the daughter of a psychiatrist?” I grinned back at her. “But getting back to your question, just because you want something, need something, and then you get it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I mean on a very basic level, you want food, you need to eat, but that doesn’t make the food you get somehow unhealthy or unreal. In fact, some philosophers say that God placed the desire to know Him in us, so our wanting Him is a sign that He exists.”

“That’s interesting. But maybe I don’t like philosophers anymore than you like psychiatrists,” she jousted playfully. “What I want to know is what happened to you. I believe you, I don’t necessarily believe some old philosopher guys I’ve never met.”

“Fair enough. What happened to me, is happening to me, hasn’t been a sudden kind of thing. I spent almost an entire lifetime trying to fix myself — trying to learn enough, do enough, understand enough. Trying to be enough. I always felt I was missing some vital part of me, but I guess I thought I could make up for it if I worked really hard. So I got good grades in school, and I went on to a good university and I got a good job and built an important career. I kept thinking that the next thing I did would make me feel safe and make me happy, give my life meaning.”

“Meaning?” She looked confused.

“You know … a reason for being here on the planet, my special purpose, that kind of thing.”

She nodded.

“Well, a few years ago, I had everything I ever thought would fix me. I had an exciting job, lots of money, important friends. Everything I’d been aiming for was in place, and I still felt lost and frightened. The worst part was that I couldn’t think of one more thing to do about it.”

“What about getting married and having a family?” Betsy asked eagerly.

“That’s a whole different story. Maybe we’ll get to that another time. The point is I just ran out of things to try. It’s easier when you have some big dream and you can pretend that if you get it, then you’ll be happy, but all my dreams had come true. And when that still wasn’t the answer, I was …”

“Sad?” She suggested.

“Sad’s a good word. Yes, I was very sad. One day about a year ago, I took a walk on the Lower East Side. I was restless and I needed to get away from the office. I don’t know why I ended up where I did, but I found myself outside this old stone church. It was almost like I’d stumbled into a time warp. I found out later it was built in the 1600’s, so it really was like something from another world. Anyway, I wandered around it until I came to these massive wooden doors. When I saw that they were open, I went in and,” I paused. “Well, it was amazing. It just kind of took my breath away. There was this huge white wall up at the front, and in the middle of it, way up high, a window — a little portal actually — flooded gold light across the wall. It looked like a painting, like a gorgeous abstract portrait of light. I don’t know what it was, something about that wall just reached out to me and invited me in. So I sat down in one of the old wooden pews. I stayed there for a very long time, all by myself, and while I was sitting there that prayer, the one I just told you, floated through my head. I don’t know where I’d heard it before, or even if I had heard it before. But it penetrated me. It pierced through my despair. And I felt the presence of something other than myself that was loving me and taking care of me right in that very moment.”

I looked over at Betsy. Her intensity had given way to a kind of focused stillness. She sat motionless, as though she were transfixed. “So, did you know it was God?” she whispered softly.

“I think I did. I think I really did.”

She leaned forward, her young face both serious and sweet. “I believe you, Elizabeth. Thank you for telling me.”

I hugged her in a tight, fierce grip. “Thank you, Betsy, for letting me tell you. I’ve never told anyone else about it, ever.”

She looked so sleepy. I felt a pang of guilt at keeping her up so late. “Bets, it’s nearly two-thirty in the morning. Your mom’s going to kill both of us if she finds out what we’ve been up to.”

She slid under the covers and curled into me like a kitten. “Can I stay here with you?” She was nearly asleep before she finished her sentence.

“Of course.”

“And, Elizabeth, what was the name of that church you went into?”

“The Church of the Good Shepherd, why?”

Her voice was thick with sleep, “I just wanted to know.”

I stood up and smoothed the sheet over her shoulders.

MORE ABOUT THE BUTTERFLY’S KINGDOM

Who Are You?

This may sound philosophical, spiritual or religious and perhaps it is, but “it” is as much science as insight and is an ever present reality that “I” am often blind too.

Lately, “I’ve” been seeing, thinking, feeling and observing how everything is connected and interconnected. It’s not the first time “I’ve” become aware of this, but it seems more prominent in my consciousness of late. The person or being that “I” and/or others identify as Gabriel, is both unique and important, as well as insignificant and a small part of the whole.

People, plants, animals, air, trees, water, earth, the planet, the solar system, the universe, the smallest particles and atoms all effect one another and are interdependent in millions of micro and macroscopic ways. Nothing and no one is immune or left untouched by this ever-changing existence of matter, sub-matter, energy and what is seen and not seen.

There are times when “I” am nowhere to be found. When “my” ego or attachment to “my” drama, personality, circumstances, family, friends and community is absent. Such times, moments or nows, are liberating and freeing.

Since “I” am also apart of it all and “my” thoughts, feelings, desires and actions also have effects, “I” am also of equal importance and responsible for co-creating with everything else. Thus, “I” practice taking personal responsibility in an impersonal way with compassion and intention of doing no harm.

So, what am “I” saying? “I”, who am named Gabriel Constans, whose body resides in Santa Cruz California, is known as married to Audrey Blumeneau and “has” 5 children and 2 grandchildren; is filled with gratitude for having the qualities of consciousness and awareness that make it possible for “me” to be and to “live” this experience we call life. Everything depends on everything. “Independence” and separation are a myth and only appear to exist when “we” forget to remember and be.

Only 30 Days Left!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – Let the Countdown Begin! by Gregory Imler for E Online.

Have you taken a look at your calendar today? Did you happen to notice that we’re only 30 days away from the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga hitting theaters? It’s bittersweet, isn’t it.

But with this announcement comes a new poster from the filmmakers. Once again, the It All Ends path of destruction continues, but this time, our fearless trio are banding together and donning some seriously dedicated faces.

COMPLETE STORY

The Skin of Lions

Short story from children’s story collection.
The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales.
Edited by Gabriel Constans.

At one time, all of the children in this book lived on the streets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Their parents died from the genocide in 1994 or from the AIDS pandemic. They have been given new life and hope at an orphanage called ROP Center for Street Children. The stories from The Skin of Lions are taken from their personal experiences, traditional folk tales or unique creative imaginations. The children range in age from ten to nineteen and tell tales for all generations. They share their words from a thousand-year-old oral tradition and speak for all those that have been silenced.

The Skin of Lions by AHIKIRIJE Jean Bosco (Age 17)

There was a man, named Cambarantama, who looked after his sheep and cultivated his fields. One day, while he was looking after his sheep and leading them to the grasses, he found a small animal in the bush that had eaten some of his crops. When the man came back the next day, the same small creature had eaten more of his crops. He took the little animal back home and said, “I’m going to have to kill you for eating my crops.”

The small animal said, “Wait; please don’t eat me. Forgive me and I will not eat your crops any more.”

Cambarantama had a good heart, forgave the little animal and let him go.

On his way back to the shamba (field) the next day, Cambarantama was approached by a very big animal. The big animal told Cambarantama that he had to kill one of the sheep in the field and give it to him for his kettle. Cambarantama was scared and did as he was told. He went and killed one of his sheep and gave it to the big animal. This kept happening day after day.

One day, on his way to his shamba, Cambarantama met the little animal that he had forgiven. The little animal said, “I see that you have less and less sheep. What has happened?”

Cambarantama replied, “There is a big animal that comes every day and makes me give it one of my sheep. That is why you see so few that are left.”

The little animal he had saved said, “The next time that big animal comes I will be next to you, hidden in a bush. I will tell you what to say.”

Cambarantama took his sheep to the grasses and the big animal once again came from the forest and told him it was time for him to give him another one of his flock, but Cambarantama said he would not give him any more. The small animal was hidden next to Cambarantama and spoke out loud.

“Who are you talking to?” asked the big animal.

The small animal said loudly, “I am the king of heaven and earth who puts on the skin of lions.”

“Who is that?” asked the big animal.

“What are you looking for?” shouted the little animal, hidden behind the bush.

The big animal was scared and said, “I . . . I’m just looking for firewood.”

“Sit down and don’t move!” shouted the little animal, who then whispered to Cambarantama to get the firewood rope and tie the hands and legs of the big animal.

That is how Cambarantama captured and killed the big ferocious animal and saved his sheep, with the help of the little vegetable eating animal he had forgiven.

MORE STORIES

(All proceeds from sale of book go to ROP Center for Street Children.)

Our Son Shona

Our youngest son Shona graduated from Harbor High School (in Santa Cruz, CA) Friday and we couldn’t be prouder of the young man he has become, the person he is, the friends he has, the decisions he makes and the care and compassion he shows others.

Yeah, we’re still his dorky parents and say things that embarrass him off and on, but he’s tolerated us so far and I have a feeling he might even love us, let alone like us. We sure love him.

Shona has wonderful brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, teacher, friends and mentors will will always surround him with their deepest intentions for his happiness and well-being.

We love you.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 6

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 6

Plays Conclusion

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 6 – FINAL SCENE

(Chantall’s picture appears on screen/wall.)

GODDESS: Chantall. Seventy-six. Retired professor.

(There is the sound of the door opening and closing.)

GODDESS: (Continued) Husband died twenty years ago. Children and grandchildren. Present partner, Audrey.

CHANTALL: Partner and best friend.

GODDESS: Who’s there?

(Silence)

GODDESS: (Continues) Metastatic bone cancer. Chemotherapy unsuccessful. I’m spreading to her major organs. Death is lurking nearby.

CHANTALL: It’s always lurking, what’s new?

GODDESS: (turns on lights and sees Chantall in a wheelchair in front of the couch.) Chantall! You sneak you. You weren’t supposed to know yet.

CHANTALL: What part? That my body is failing or who my friends are?

GODDESS: (Grins and goes to couch to sit by Chantall.) You know which part. Don’t play games with me professor.

CHANTALL: No need. You play enough already.

GODDESS: How did you get in here?

CHANTALL: Same as you, through the front door. Your hearing must be slipping. You look tired. Maybe you should lay down and rest.

GODDESS: That’s my line! Don’t confuse me.

CHANTALL: You’ve been confused for years. You never did know how to divide properly without rearranging everyone’s DNA.

GODDESS: I’m a slow learner.

CHANTALL: You can say that again.

GODDESS: I’m a slow . . .

CHANTALL: (Overlapping) Don’t you dare!

(Both of them laugh. Goddess goes over to bar.)

GODDESS: Like some tea?

CHANTALL: Tea?! You call that a drink? Give me a margarita or a whiskey, straight.

GODDESS: Coming up.

(Goddess pours drink, brings it back to Chantall and sits. Chantall takes drink and downs it.)

CHANTALL: That’s better.

GODDESS: You didn’t just stop by for a drink. What’s up?

CHANTALL: What’s up? Can’t a girl just make a friendly visit to see her killer face to face?

GODDESS: (Suspiciously) What do you want?

CHANTALL: There’s something I have to ask you. It’s very serious.

(Goddess leans closer.)

GODDESS: Yes?

CHANTALL: Does this gray wig make me look too old?

(Chantall pulls off wig, reaches into her bag on side of wheelchair and pulls out a long, dark-haired wig.)

CHANTALL: (Grinning ear to ear.) How about this . . . the Cher look?

(She puts that one back and takes out a short brown wig.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) This is Audrey’s favorite. She says I look like K. D. Lang with wrinkles. Sort of sexy, isn’t it?

GODDESS: Which one do you like best?

CHANTALL: (She pulls off last wig and remains bald.)
This one. My Sinead O’Conner look. No fuss. No bother. Don’t even have to shave, since my hair fell out. (Pause) Think of all the time I wasted in my life washing, drying, brushing and styling; worrying about how I looked and what others thought. Good grief . . . what a waste of energy.
(Pause.) Say, we could market this and make a fortune. ‘New. ChemoDo! Hair treatment for men and women. Take intravenously or by capsule and in just two weeks you too can look like this!’

(She shows off her head proudly.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) ‘No fuss. No bother. Twenty-one day guarantee or your money back. Only nineteen ninety-five, plus eighteen dollars for shipping and handling! Call now and receive free anti-nausea pills at no extra charge. That’s ChemoDo. 1(800) FYU-CHEM. Operators are lying nearby.’

(Both of them laugh loudly until Chantall starts coughing.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) By the way. You don’t have a cigarette lying around do you?

GODDESS: Do I have a cigarette?! That’s like asking John Wayne if he has a horse.

(Goddess gets up and looks around.)

GODDESS: (Continued) I should have one around here somewhere.

(Goddess goes to cupboard, opens it and hundreds of
cigarettes fall out. She picks one up, gets a lighter, goes back to Chantall and lights it for her. Chantall takes a long drag and slowly exhales.)

CHANTALL: Thanks. You better sit back a little. You don’t want to catch any second-hand smoke.

GODDESS: Of course not. It can kill you, you know.

CHANTALL: Really. Oh my. Give me some more!

(They both crack up, then Chantall suddenly stops.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) Seriously. There’s something I have to tell you.

GODDESS: Really? What?

CHANTALL: You’ve gotten a rotten reputation.

GODDESS: (Feigned surprise.) Why, I never!

CHANTALL: Folks blame you for everything. They act like you’re the plague.

GODDESS: The nerve. Well, as Gilda Radner used to say, ‘It’s always something, isn’t it?’

(They both laugh. Chantall takes another drag and looks down at the floor.)

CHANTALL: (Matter of factly.) I’m not afraid of dying you know. I’m even looking forward to it a little. The only thing that’s holding me back is Audrey. She’s the sensitive type. You know, weeps like a faucet. (Pause) She tries not to cry in front of me. She knows I can’t stand such dribble, but I see it in her eyes. (Pause) What can I do to help her understand?

GODDESS: She is understanding, in her own way. (Pause) Let her be. You do it your way, let her do it hers.

(Goddess puts her hand on Chantall’s leg.)

GODDESS: (Continued) It’s OK to grieve, you know. I hear it’s even a healthy thing to do now and then.

CHANTALL: Perhaps, but it seems so asinine.

GODDESS: To you.

CHANTALL: Why can’t she just enjoy the moment . . . roll with the punches? We’re dying the day we’re born anyway.

GODDESS: Some laugh, some cry.

(Chantall abruptly changes subject.)

CHANTALL: Hey, did you hear the joke about the old guy who believed in reincarnation?

GODDESS: No, but you’re going to tell me, right?

CHANTALL: This guy believed so strongly in reincarnation that he had them hang a sign on his tombstone that said, ‘Back in five minutes.’

(They both laugh. A car horn honks off stage.)

CHANTALL: Gotta go Goddess. Audrey’s giving me a ride home.

(Chantall heads towards the door, then stops and turns her chair towards The Goddess.)

CHANTALL: (Continued) You’re a riot. You know that?

GODDESS: Not so bad yourself, for a vibrant, bald-headed, elderly professor. Now, don’t go being foolish with your time, OK?

CHANTALL: Time? Don’t be silly. There is no such thing.

(Goddess opens the door as Chantall exits waving
goodbye. Goddess closes door, turns back towards front of living room.

GODDESS: (Out loud to herself.) Leave ‘em laughing Honey. Leave ‘em laughing.

(Goddess goes to turn off lights.)

GODDESS: (Continued) Let’s see. Who is our next lucky winner?

(Blackout)

THE END

MORE PLAYS

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 5

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 5

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 5

(Barbara’s photo appears on screen/wall.)

GODDESS: Barbara. Sixty. Housewife. Mother of five children, six grandchildren. Married to Yusef. Abdominal cancer and surgery two years ago. In remission? (Act’s surprised.) Oh well, better luck next time.

(Goddess turns off projector and lights on. She goes to the bar, pours a glass of red wine and places it on the coffee table. There is a knock at the door. She goes over and opens door. Barbara enters.)

GODDESS: Barbara, what a pleasant surprise. Come in.

(Goddess offers her hand in greeting.)

BARBARA: (Glares at Goddess. Doesn’t lift her hand to shake back.) Nothing pleasant about it!

GODDESS: Of course not. You’re right. Sit down.

(Goddess and Barbara both go to couch and sit at opposite ends.)

GODDESS: (Offers glass.) Like some wine?

BARBARA: (Looking offended.) I don’t drink!

GODDESS: I’m sorry. Are you alcoholic?

BARBARA: Of course not! It’s religious.

GODDESS: Are you a Muslim?

BARBARA: No. Catholic. My family is originally from Lebanon.

GODDESS: So, you are a Lebanese Catholic?

BARBARA: No. I am an American Catholic! Yusef and I immigrated with the children in the seventies. Our faith in God sustained us.

GODDESS: Life has been hard?

(Goddess moves a little closer.)

BARBARA: Nobody said it would be easy. We’ve sent three of our five children to college. Of course, they don’t appreciate the sacrifice and suffering it took.

GODDESS: You’ve given a lot. What did you get?

BARBARA: Just knowing I gave everything I had is enough reward. (Pause) There’s a better place I’m going to.

GODDESS: I hope I can help. After all, if you are so miserable, what is the point of sticking around?

BARBARA: I didn’t say I was miserable. I’ve got grown children and grandchildren. I’m very proud of them. I just pray they don’t get taken in by life’s temptations.

GODDESS: Has that happened before?

BARBARA: (Pause) My middle son, Daud, was disrespectful to his father once. (She looks away sadly.) He moved in with a girl then had the nerve to say it was none of our business. His own parents! (Pause) His father said he would never talk to him again. (Pause) That was four years ago. They have a child we’ve never even seen.

GODDESS: Don’t you miss him?

(Goddess moves closer.)

BARBARA: Every day. (Pause) I try not to think about it. (Pause) When I had surgery a few years ago . . .

GODDESS: (Overlapping) I remember. One minute I was there, the next I wasn’t.

BARBARA: I missed him so. I thought, ‘What if I die and never see him again?’ I begged Yusef to call him. He refused. He misses him too, but he says he’d rather die than give in.

GODDESS: Would you?

BARBARA: What?

GODDESS: Die before making amends with your son?

BARBARA: No! But it’s not up to me. His father…

GODDESS: (Overlapping) You’re going to let your husband’s pride come between you and your son?!

BARBARA: No! I mean, yes! He’s the head of the household. If I disobeyed him he’d disown me.

GODDESS: How can he disown you? You’re not a piece of furniture.

BARBARA: You don’t understand. It’s God’s will.

GODDESS: Ah, but I do understand. If you start to question your beliefs now you may discover that you have been subjected to an archaic system of servitude designed by men, for men, under the guise of religion and morality.

BARBARA: Stop!

(Barbara stands and points at Goddess as she heads towards the door.)

BARBARA: (Continued) You’re evil! Only the devil would say such things.

GODDESS: (Stands and walks towards Barbara.) To you I’m the devil, to others I’m a nightmare, but I told you the truth.

BARBARA: Stay away!

GODDESS: I can’t help it. I want you. I want your mind, your heart, your soul. Anything I can get my hands on!

(The Goddess lunges towards Barbara. Barbara screams and runs out the door.)

GODDESS: Of well. She’s just as good as dead anyway. Her husband’s seen to that.

(Goddess goes and turns off light.)


Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 6

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 4

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 4

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 4

(Picture of Lennie appears on screen.)

GODDESS: Lennie. Fifty-six. Poet. Divorced. Children and grandchildren. Terminal lung cancer.

(Goddess turns project off and lights on. There is a knock at the door.)

GODDESS: Come on in Lennie. It’s open.

(Lennie enters.)

LENNIE: Hey, how you doing Goddess?

(Goddess walks up and gives Lennie a hug. They both stand back holding one another at arms length.)

GODDESS: Can’t complain . . . life, death, fear, hope . . . living on the edge like usual. You’re looking quite beautiful, even sexy I might add, considering your condition and all.

LENNIE: You’re so sweet. I try. People look up to me, you know. I can’t let them down.

(Goddess walks with her arm around Lennie to couch.)

GODDESS: Let me get you some Ginseng tea. It’s supposed to help your immune system stop me from spreading.

(Goddess walks over to the bar and brings back a cup of tea, hands it to Lennie and sits down next to her.)

GODDESS (continued): People look up to you? Why?

LENNIE: I don’t know. I guess I’m a good listener and they know I really care. I try to love people for who they are and show compassion for all living things.

(Lennie looks at flowers and plants.)

LENNIE: (continued) What beautiful flowers!

GODDESS: Thanks. I love being surrounded by life. (Pause.) When you said you love people, did you mean your family and friends?

LENNIE: Yeah.

GODDESS: Do you feel the same towards strangers?

LENNIE: I guess so. Yesterday, I was waiting for the bus when a lady said I had ‘kind eyes’ and started telling me all about her family and how it was falling apart.

GODDESS: Could you love anybody then, even me?

LENNIE: (Surprised. She takes Goddess’s hand.) Of course! It’s not your fault you act the way you do. It’s your nature. I know it’s nothing personal. You’re a biological abnormality that can’t sit still. Blaming you would be like yelling at the sun to not rise. It’s your karma.

GODDESS: And it’s your karma to die?

LENNIE: Of course. I deserve it.

GODDESS: You deserve it?! I thought everyone loved you.

LENNIE: They do, but . . . something happened once . . . I’ve never told my kids. I’m sure it’s why you came.

(Lennie sadly turns away from Goddess)

GODDESS: Tell me. Please.

LENNIE: I can’t. It’s disgusting. I’ll take it to my grave before I tell anyone.

GODDESS: (Laughs) Hey . . . that’s not a problem. I’m going with you, remember?!

LENNIE: (Looks around and sighs deeply.) Oh yeah. Well . . . how do I start? (Pause.) My father died suddenly from a heart attack when I was thirty. I hadn’t seen him for twelve years. The day I turned eighteen I left home and never turned back. He was a real Jekyl and Hyde. People in town thought he was a saint or something, but when he got home from work and started drinking . . . If my brother or I tried to stop him from hitting Mama he’d slam us against the wall and call us foul names, especially my brother. I don’t see how he survived. He ran away when he was seventeen. (Pause) We’ve never talked about it.

GODDESS: You’ve never told anyone?

LENNIE: No. We were taught to keep things in the family and he swore he’d kill us if we didn’t. But that’s not the worst.

GODDESS: What could be worse?

LENNIE: What I . . . I did . . . in front of his family.

GODDESS: What?!

LENNIE: I didn’t know I was going to do it. (Pause) You sure you want to hear this?

GODDESS: I’m dying to hear!

LENNIE: Well . . . everyone gathered at the graveside for my Dad’s funeral, with the family up front, you know how it is. (Goddess nods with understanding.) I was standing between my mother and brother, with my grandparents next to them. The priest was praying and everyone had their heads bowed. Suddenly, I felt a burning in my belly. It worked its way up my gut, got stuck in my throat, then spewed out of my mouth in a guttural scream, ‘I hate you! You bastard. I hate you! You’re a filthy Jack ass! Thank God you’re dead!’ (Pause) Then I leaned forward and spit on his grave. (Pause)

GODDESS: That’s it?! You think that is why I came?! (Goddess starts laughing.) Lennie Lennie Lennie. Listen. I had no idea. I didn’t know anything about it. How could I be your karma?

LENNIE: I just figured . . .

GODDESS:You just figured that since you’re so sweet, compassionate and understanding that you weren’t capable of such hatred. It doesn’t fit your self-image, does it?

LENNIE: No. I spit on his grave . . . in front of the priest . . . his parents!

GODDESS: Honey, that’s nothing. Sounds like you could have killed him yourself and it would have been justifiable homicide! He put you and your family through a living hell and believe me, that’s far worse than dying.

LENNIE: But he was my father!

GODDESS: I don’t care if he was the Pope. Nobody has the right to treat another human being like that, let alone his own daughter.(Pause) How about practicing some of that love and compassion on yourself, or don’t you think you’re worthy?

LENNIE: (Crying) I guess so, but . . .

GODDESS: Shhhhh. No buts about it. You are creative, beautiful, a talented poet, caring mother and extraordinary human being. The feelings towards your father are just as real and valid as your compassion.

LENNIE: OK OK. It’s useless to argue with someone who is killing me.

GODDESS: There you go. Now get out of here. You don’t have much time.

(Whispering to herself.) Damn. Now they’ve got me saying that time thing!

(Goddess turns back to Lennie and gives her a hug.)

LENNIE: Thanks. I hope I don’t see you for awhile.

(Lennie waves as she closes the door.)

GODDESS: (Crosses her arms and shakes her head side to side.) Sometimes this job stinks. But hey . . . it’s my karma.

(Goddess turns off lights and starts singing to way to the projector the tune of “Wouldn’t It Be Lovely” from My Fair Lady.)

GODDESS: All I want is a body somewhere, far away from the mammogram’s stare, with one lump here and one lump there, oh wouldn’t it be lovely. Lots of cells for me to eat, lots of tissue for me to meet. Warm hands, warm face, warm feet, oh wouldn’t it be lovely.

(Goddess turns off projector with picture of Lennie.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 5

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 3

Excerpt from Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays by Gabriel Constans.

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 3

Characters

GODDESS: Multi-cultural woman of no particular age. Face painted a variety of flesh tones. Hair a mixture of blond, brown, red, black and gray. Long rainbow-colored robe. Changes persona frequently.

VICKI: Asian-American woman in her twenties. Casual dress. Animated. Angry. Anxious. Scared.

WENDY: European-American woman in her thirties. Conservative dress. Quiet. Shy. Fearful.

JENNIFER: African-American woman in her forties. Business suit (beeper). Intellectual. In control. Avoids emotion.

LENNIE: Mexican-American woman in her fifties. Flowing skirt, flowery blouse. Insightful. Compassionate.

BARBARA: Arab-American woman in her sixties. Gray skirt and sweater (wearing a cross). Strong. Survivor. Dogmatic. Angry. Tired.

CHANTALL: Jewish-American woman in her seventies. Slacks and blouse (gray wig, in wheelchair). Humerous. Matter of fact. Sarcastic. Worried.

Setting

Living room. White couch center stage facing audience. White chair next to couch, stage left and black coffee table in front of couch. Large green plant on floor between couch and chair. Flowers in a vase on table. White door stage left. Three large pictures with red frames on wall behind couch. One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass. Black bar facing audience stage right, with potted plant on its corner. A light switch is on the wall by the bar. Closed cupboard behind bar is full of cigarettes.

A slide-projector (with a color slide of each actor’s face shown at beginning of each scene) is placed on one end of the bar for the Goddess to operate or in front of the stage and controlled by a stage member.

Time: Afternoon or early evening. Present.

ACT I

SCENE 3

(Stage is dark. Picture of Jennifer appears.)

GODDESS: Jennifer. Forty-three years on this chaotic planet. Physician. Married to Jeremy. Two young children – Zack, age ten and Delia, six. Breast cancer. Mastectomy and radiation two months ago were successful. No sign of me now. Another great opportunity to multiply cut short.

(Goddess turns off projector and switches on lights. Doorbell rings. he goes to door, opens it slightly, looks out apprehensively, then opens door all the way.)

GODDESS: I’ve been expecting you. Here to rub it in, right? Come on in and gloat.

JENNIFER: (Puzzled.) What on earth are you mumbling about? I just came to figure you out.

GODDESS: Really? You mean you didn’t come to show me up?

JENNIFER: Show you up? What on earth for? It’s not like we were playing a game or anything. I had no choice and neither did you.

GODDESS: Could have fooled me. Let me get you a martini.

(Goddess goes to bar as Jennifer sits on couch.)

JENNIFER: Thanks. I deserve it.

(Goddess hands her drink and sits on chair.)

GODDESS: You sure do. Won fair and square. All is fair in love and war they say. You have to admit I messed you up a little though?

JENNIFER: Just a touch. I knew it was a fluke. One or two flaws in my genes, something in the environment and wham!

(Jennifer claps her hands.)

JENNIFER: There you are.

GODDESS: That’s me all right. They don’t call me invisible lightning for nothing! Actually, I’d been hanging out for some time. Lucky chance you felt me in the shower that morning.

JENNIFER: Chance had nothing to do with it! I examine my breasts frequently. I caught you just in time.

GODDESS: (Talking to herself.) There’s that time thing again.

GODDESS: (She turns back towards Jennifer.) Yep, you spoiled my party, but I took part of you with me.

(Jennifer looks down at her chest.)

JENNIFER: Can you tell?

GODDESS: Not really.

JENNIFER: (Relieved.) Good. I paid a lot of money for that surgery. (Jennifer sits up straight.)

GODDESS: Had you scared, didn’t I?

JENNIFER: Not in the least! Well . . . maybe a little. Dying did cross my mind a time or two. There was one night, two weeks after the surgery and my second radiation treatment, when I couldn’t sleep. I found myself wondering, ‘What if they didn’t get it all? What if it comes back? What if I die? What about the kids? What if . . . what if . . .’

GODDESS: (Smiles.) You lost control.

JENNIFER: No, I didn’t lose control. It was just a momentary lapse. I got over it. (Pause) By the way, how do you decide who you are going to attack?

(Goddess goes to bar and gets herself another drink.)

GODDESS: Well . . . I don’t really decide, I just react. Smokers are a cinch. I usually single them out first. After that I look for those being effected by environmental chemicals and toxins . . . you know – gas, lead, pesticides, radiation. And some folks get the privilege of inheriting me straight from their relatives’ DNA.

(Goddess walks back to chair and sits.)

GODDESS: (Continued) Far and away my most prized possessions are those I select for no rhyme or reason. I love to see the shock on their faces. Especially those who think death doesn’t apply to them.

JENNIFER: You can’t keep killing us forever.

GODDESS: Why not? You think you’re woman enough to stop me!

JENNIFER: Every day we’re closer to discovering your secrets. Once we do, you’re history!

GODDESS: Dream on Doc. If it makes you feel superior to believe that propaganda, be my guest. Sure, technology can see me more clearly, but I break through anyway. A few of my forms have been lessened with chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and diet; but all in all I still get my share. And some treatments are worse than the cure. All you scientist types are still hung up on the symptoms, not the cause.

JENNIFER: You’re full of it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

GODDESS: So, now you’re resorting to stupid old cliches. Must be getting pretty desperate, huh?

JENNIFER: (Angrily) You think you’re so hot! (Stands.) Better watch your back! We’re not through with you yet!

GODDESS: (Feigning fear) Oh no. I’m soooo scared! (GODDESS shouts suddenly) Watch out!

(Jennifer jumps and looks behind her.)

JENNIFER: What?!

GODDESS: (Points her finger at Jennifer and laughs.) Got ya!

JENNIFER: (Smiles and points back.) Pretty cocky, aren’t you?

GODDESS: Look who’s talking.

JENNIFER: See you around.

(Jennifer turns and walks towards door.)

GODDESS: I sure hope so.

(Jennifer exits. Goddess turns towards audience.)

GODDESS: (Acts like she’s boxing.) Damn! I love a good fight.

(Goddess goes and turns off light.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 4

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