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Goddess of Cancer – Scene 2

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

Goddess of Cancer – Scene 2

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 2

(Picture of Wendy appears on screen/wall.)

GODDESS: Wendy. Thirty-five. Legal secretary. Divorced two years. Uterine cancer. Previous surgery. I am spreading again but she doesn’t know it yet or maybe she does.

(Quiet knock on door. Goddess doesn’t answer. Another knock.)

GODDESS: Come in!

(Knocking continues as Goddess goes and opens door.)

WENDY: (Bewildered.) Hello. I’m not sure I’m in the right place.

GODDESS: Who ya looking for?

WENDY: The Goddess of Cancer. Is she here?

GODDESS: She is indeed. T’is I, in the flesh. (Bows.)

WENDY: Oh, I’m sorry. My name is Wendy.

GODDESS: Yes, I know. Come in. Have a seat.

(Wendy hesitates, then walks to chair and sits.)

GODDESS: Like some tea or mineral water?

WENDY: Yes. Thank you.

(Wendy looks at pictures on wall.)

WENDY: If you don’t mind me asking, who are the pictures of?

GODDESS: Oh, those . . . just relatives of mine. Sugar?

(One picture is of the Grim Reaper, one is of an angel and the other an hourglass.)

WENDY: No. Thank you.

(Goddess gives tea to Wendy and sits down on couch.)

GODDESS: So Wendy, what’s up?

WENDY: I’m not really sure. I had you two years ago and they took you out, but something’s not right and I can’t put my finger on it.

GODDESS: Something at work?

WENDY: No, no, work’s fine. A little hectic now and then, but not bad.

GODDESS: Your family?

WENDY: No, they’re fine. My parents live out of town, so I don’t see them much anyway.

GODDESS: Do you like living alone?

WENDY: It can get kind of lonely. I don’t have many friends and I work ridiculously long hours. I haven’t met any guy worth dating. Even if I did, they probably wouldn’t like me anyway.

GODDESS: Why do you say that?

WENDY: My husband left because he couldn’t hack it when I got sick and . . . you know . . . being half a woman and all.

GODDESS: Half a woman?

WENDY: He really wanted kids, you know? Once they removed my uterus he started slipping away. He stopped talking, wouldn’t touch me and acted like I was contaminated.

GODDESS: So . . . he only loved you when you matched a certain image in his head and couldn’t hack it when things got a little rough?

WENDY: Can’t blame him. What’s life without children?

GODDESS: Give me a break! What about your feelings, your dreams, your career, the rest of your life?!

WENDY: Yeah, sure. But I wanted kids so bad.

GODDESS: Ever hear of adoption?

WENDY: That’s not the same thing.

GODDESS: You’re right, it’s not the same thing, but it’s just as challenging. Giving birth only takes a few hours out of your life, raising them takes the rest. It’s a full time job, with highs and lows beyond your imagination. But, you might as well forget it.

WENDY: Why?

GODDESS: Oh . . . you know . . . it’s easier to just keep to yourself. You don’t want to meet someone and have them leave again, do you? What if you got sick? Why take the risk?

WENDY: Is their something you aren’t telling me?

GODDESS: Heavens no.

(Goddess looks at audience and winks.)

GODDESS: I’m just looking out for your best interests. I suggest you play it safe, don’t take any foolish risks and fall in love or anything.

WENDY: (Sighs.) Maybe you’re right.

GODDESS: Of course I’m right. Life is too scary to make commitments that just get broken anyway.

(Wendy looks around for a clock.)

WENDY: Excuse me, what’s the time?

GODDESS: I have no idea. What is time?

WENDY: What’s time? You know . . . appointments, meetings? It helps us keep on schedule.

GODDESS: Oh, right. Humans use it to measure the moments between birth and death.

(Wendy stands and lightly shakes the Goddess’s hand, then walks nervously backwards towards the door.)

WENDY: Right. um . . . I’ve got to go. Thanks for taking the time.

GODDESS: You’re more than welcome. I love taking your time.

(Wendy exits. Goddess turns towards audience.)

GODDESS: Should I have told her? No, she already knows. She wouldn’t believe me anyway.

(Goddess goes and turns off lights.)

Goddess of Cancer Continued – Tomorrow Scene 3

Land Minds – Part 2

Saint Catherine’s Baby – Stories (Excerpt) by Gabriel Constans

Land Minds – Part 2

Late that afternoon the sun caught him breathing heavily and glared questioningly into his fearful eyes just before he disappeared into the woods towards town. He carried all he owned in a small leather shoulder bag flapping loosely against his spine.

Instead of going to the bank or store, as was his custom, he found himself standing precariously at the edge of the sultry blacktop being lured by an invisible seductress called hope. When the occasional car or truck sliced through the air with its metallic precision, he reluctantly lifted his thumb skyward. He wasn’t sure if he could be seen. He felt invisible.

The town’s eyes glistened with surprise, from Jesse down at the corner gas station, to Stella at the store, who promptly hollered at Frank to come outside, “and see for your self!”

Mark heard their thoughts rattle and hum before he saw them staring. Their investigations crawled up his hairy legs and under his cotton shirt like a voyeuristic spider. He slowly turned counter-clockwise and took in the town and its’ citizens, as if he had just arrived from Mars.

Frank waved. Jesse nodded. Mark noted their movements and felt his barrel chest rise and fall. His glasses slid down his sweaty nose, as his eyelids drooped and his bones sunk into his earthbound feet. The receiving instruments in his ears vibrated with the trees’ caution. “Don’t go! They’re animals . . . human animals . . . savages . . . whores of power.”

A silver Honda Civic had slowed and come to a stop about a meter from Mark’s khaki pants before he sensed its presence and opened his far-sighted eyes. His pupils adjusted to the light bouncing off the chrome fender as he realized the car was waiting for him to acknowledge its existence. Warily, he moved towards the open window on the passenger side, bent his knobby knees and slightly bulging waist and peered in to the interior.

“Hey, Mr. Keeler, where you headed?” The blurry face came into focus. “Don’t remember me, do ya?”

Mark’s head wobbled side to side acknowledging the correctness of the man’s assumption.

“Yosh, Yoshi Matsuma. My sister and I moved in just a ways down from your place last August, remember?” Again Mark’s head motioned his ignorance. “I’m going to the city if you want a ride. You are wanting a ride, right?”

Mark forced his haggard face to nod a meager yes, opened the door stealthily and willed his body to sit. He reached out with his sunburned and peeling arm, grabbed the plastic door handle and slammed it shut with a dull thud. As the mechanical convenience accelerated a renegade breeze blew in the open window. The stoic, composed redwoods cried a warning, their limbs rustling with nervous jitters and ancient fears.

Five minutes into the ride Yosh opened the curtain of silence. “We’ve fixed the place up pretty good; a little paint, some elbow grease and voila!” Mark’s tongue remained frozen. Yosh thought he saw his passenger’s eyebrow ascend slightly but couldn’t take his eyes of the road. “Of course my sister, Janey, added all the nice touches. You know, flowered curtains, pictures, table cloth, that kind of thing.” No reply. “Yes indeed, she’s made it quite livable.”

Yosh sipped his coffee from a lidded cup below the dashboard. “Like something to drink?” Replacing his cup he reached behind the seat, grabbed a bottle of Geyser Natural and offered it to his guest.

“No thanks.”

Yosh flinched at the sound of Mark’s voice, which had crept from his face like a toddler peeking out from behind their mother’s skirt. “If you change your mind just help yourself.”

The car left the winding mountain fortress and glided along the golden, rolling hills of brown and yellow grasses.

Yosh took a deep breath and felt the knots in his shoulders sigh with relief. “Always happens,” he said. “I never realize how uptight I am driving that part of the road until it’s over.” He took another sip of coffee. “We’re buying you know. No more money down the drain renting. It’s our place now. We’re going to be neighbors for a long time.” He looked at Mark’s backpack in the rearview mirror. “That is, if you’re coming back.” Mark looked out the window at the receding mountains. “Are you?” Yosh reiterated.

It took Mark a moment to realize he was being asked a question.

“What?” he said, looking out the windshield.

“Are you leaving for good or just going on vacation or something?”

He looked casually at the man who had been speaking. Yoshi Matsuma was a young, dark-haired man, without a wrinkle or hint of severity or judgment in his friendly face.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, it’s none of my business really, but you seem a little, I don’t know, a little out there.”

Mark’s mouth contorted into a grin, shocking them both. “You could say that.”

Yosh, surprised and encouraged with the sudden reply, gently pushed the boundaries, “I hope you come back.”

“You barely know me.”

Yosh slowed for a long curve. “There’s something . . . I don’t know . . .” He rounded the corner and let the wheel straighten itself out. “Just something about you I trust.”

“Trust! What does he know about trust?” he started to say, but Yosh interrupted.

“Look, I’ll tell you the truth.”

“Oh my God,” thought Mark, “not the truth.”

“Janey isn’t my sister, she’s my fiancée.”

Mark tried acting surprised, but wasn’t good at faking indifference.

“I know,” Yosh persisted, “it sounds stupid, but we weren’t sure how people in town felt about these things, so we thought we’d play it safe.”

The words rolled around in Mark’s head like a lead marble in a pinball machine. “Play it safe. Play at safety. Safe at play.”

“We plan on getting married, but our parents kind of freaked out about it. She’s not Japanese and my folks are real traditional about this stuff, you know?”

Mark nodded, he knew about prejudice. He knew how hate could consume your soul like fire, brand your hide and leave permanent shrouds of black ash lodged in your heart.

“You won’t tell anyone, will you?” Yosh pleaded. Mark sat encased in his private inferno. “Mr. Keeler. Mr. Keeler!”

“What?”

“This is between us, right?”

“What?”

“Janey and me.”

“Yeah, sure.”

The sigh of a man who’d just been pardoned escaped from Yosh’s wound-up body, as they drove towards the concrete encampment. Over a hundred minutes of dead time ticked methodically on the dashboard clock until the cities outstretched fingers, delicately referred to as suburbs, fondled them with their manicured yards of caged nature.

Mark sensed the turnoff for Enterprise Estates before the green and white sign flashed into view. “Enterprise Estates,” he said out loud. “This is it.”

“You sure Mr. Keeler? These places are pretty ritzy, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes,” he replied, “I know.”

The exit overtook them quickly as Yosh veered right and turned into the walled subdivision. He slowed for the speed bumps and kept his eye on his hitchhiking friend. Mr. Keeler was trembling like someone with Parkinson’s.

“You sure about this?” Yosh said with concern. Mark nodded stiffly.

Yosh drove slowly along the squeaky-clean street until they passed a large, white, Mediterranean style home with blue fabric awnings and a long, brick driveway which stood out like a parading peacock.

“Turn here.”

Their small, Japanese model transport hesitantly crept up the wide u-shaped drive. Mark felt each indentation between the bricks thump, vibrate and spread to the soles of his feet from the rubber tree tires below. They came to a smooth stop in front of the extravagantly landscaped walk, which was lined with red and yellow roses, pink carnations and purple Mexican Sage.

Mark opened the car door gingerly and stepped into the external atmosphere of opulence. His knees buckled. He quickly recovered, grabbing the door and slapping his right cheek until it turned bright pink, then headed like a kamikaze pilot towards the front entrance.

END OF PART 2

(CONCLUSION TOMORROW)

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