The Watering Hole, 02/25/15: FIVE MINUTES AFTER TOMORROW

FIVE MINUTES AFTER TOMORROW

an opera in one act

© 2015 briseadh na Faire

SCENE 1

A war-torn cell. Poorly lit. A MAN enters dragging a WOMAN. Her hands are bound behind her back. He flings the woman onto a chair.

WOMAN:       If you brought me here to kill me, get it over
with.

MAN:             If I wanted to kill you, you’d be dead already.

WOMAN:       Well, why not!
Go ahead, pull the trigger!
Go ahead, pull the trigger!
You’re nothing but a beast!

MAN:             A beast am I?

WOMAN:       No, lower than a beast.
A beast does not kill for the sheer pleasure.
A beast kills for a reason.

MAN:             And you think I have no reason to kill?
Even a beast kills for self-preservation.

*****
Read on, if you wish. otherwise OPEN THREAD
WOMAN: How is killing innocent civilians
self-preservation?

MAN: There are no innocent civilians!
You are all trespassers!

WOMAN: How can we be trespassers?
This is our homeland!

MAN: Your homeland!
(spits)
Your people were driven out
Nearly two thousand years ago.
My ancestors have been a part of this land
For over ten thousand years.

What you call “your homeland”,
Is my home.
My home!
You have no right to take it from me.

WOMAN: I have every right!
My people have been wandering
O’er the face of the earth
Persecuted for thousands of years.

MAN: That gives you no right
To slaughter my people
To atone for your mistreatment!

WOMAN: If you didn’t bring me here to kill me,
What, then?

MAN: To teach you a lesson.
One that cost me dearly.
(softens)
You are beautiful, for a soldier.

WOMAN: You wouldn’t dare!

(The MAN points his pistol at the woman, then relents)

MAN: I will do as I please!
But right now, it pleases me just to look at you.

And to teach you,
A bit about the history
Of what you call your home.

WOMAN: This is my home,
Your ancestors have taken my home.
This land was the birthplace of my people.

MAN: And mine.
And the Torah,
The Koran,
The Bible;
All were born here,
In this land.

(He picks up a loose rock.)

We share a common heritage,
You and I.
We are more alike,
Than different.

Turn over the stone,
And look at the disgusting things underneath.
We want to step on them all;
Smash them into oblivion:

The crawly things
The crawly things
That suck the life out of the others;
The slimy ones,
The slimy ones,
That fatten themselves on our flowers.

Instead, we go to our cities
And walk through alabaster halls
With marble floors,
And fingers of concrete and steel
Reaching skyward.
And one day,
One day we realize:

We all live under a stone.

(Fade to black)

SCENE 2
(Fade in, the woman is untied now. The man enters
carrying some food.)

MAN: Wake up, little bug.

Food is hard to come by:
I had to give them some reason
Why I’m keeping you alive.

WOMAN: What did you tell them?

MAN: I said you were very beautiful.
That, they could understand.

WOMAN: Beasts!

MAN: I told you,
If I had wanted you,
I would have had you already!

Women soldiers;
It just shows how desperate
Your country really is.

WOMAN: And why can’t a woman fight?
You think nothing of killing women and children
In the marketplace.
Is the battlefield so different?

MAN: I would never allow my sister to fight.

WOMAN: Would you allow her to become a victim
Of a terrorist bomb?

MAN: What do you know of terrorists?

WOMAN: I know of your “Fedayeen”.
The suicide terrorists
That blow themselves up
In our cities.

I know of nails and glass
Tearing through the bodies of children.

MAN: And do you know of your tanks
That level our camps,
And do you know of your helicopters
That fire rockets into our houses?

Is that not terror also?
Look at me.
Look at me!
Is that not terror also?

WOMAN: It is self-defense.

MAN: And are we not allowed to defend ourselves?

Martyrs die so that we might live,
With the right to be free in our own homes.

Can’t you see?
What you call a terrorist,
Is our martyr,
Our freedom fighter.

And what we call a terrorist,
Are your soldiers,
Your “defenders of the peace.”

Your terrorists level whole blocks
From the safety of their tanks.
Our terrorists,
Give their life-blood,
their life-blood.

Yet for all their sacrifices,
We have not won our freedom,
We have no justice,
We have no justice.

WOMAN: You cannot justify the slaughter
Of civilians.

MAN: You’re right,
You can’t.

You don’t think civilians die
When bombs rain down
On our houses?

WOMAN: Those houses were bases for
Fedayeen.

MAN: Can you be so sure?
Can you know with certainty
That women,
And children,
Did not live there also?

WOMAN: Then your “freedom fighters”
Have put their own families
In harm’s way.

MAN: There is no other way!

WOMAN: There is…
There is…
You just won’t admit defeat!

MAN: Is that such a crime?
We won’t be herded into camps,
To wait quietly until we are exterminated?
Would you have us do that?

WOMAN: That’s not a fair argument.

MAN: Not fair?
Not fair?
Who are you to speak of what is fair?

WOMAN: My people had no choice about the camps!

MAN: You could have fought back!

WOMAN: Many did!
Many died,
Too many died,
Fighting back.

MAN: And we are fighting back.
And dying.

WOMAN: You have not been herded into concentration
camps.

MAN: Have you seen Jenin?
Ramallah?
The refugees at Gaza?
Don’t tell me those aren’t concentration camps.

WOMAN: I wish they were!
At least then
You couldn’t use them
To stage your attacks.

MAN: And so you would have us
In concentration camps…

WOMAN: Yes…
If it would stop the killing,
Yes.

MAN: (Contemptuously)
Seig heil!

WOMAN: No! No!
I’m not like that!

MAN: Turn over the stone,
What do you see?

WOMAN: I see a clever spider,
Who’s woven an intricate web,
an intricate web,
Of lies and illusion.

MAN: When you look in the mirror,
And see the reflection of yourself,
What do you see?

Can you see the dark truths
The dark truths
That lie within your soul,
Without going mad?

WOMAN: And what do you see?
Do you see one so full of hate,
So full of hate,
That he justifies murder?

What dark truths does your mirror hold,
For you?

(Blackout)

SCENE 3
(Night. The WOMAN is alone in the cell.)

WOMAN: Who counts the sand
Falling gently in the hourglass?
Each grain a memory,
A memory in a crystal of time.

Who counts the tears
That fall in silent rage?
Each tear an outcry,
For vengeance in due time.

As the sand and tear drops fall;
Gath’ring torrents to the sea,
Who can stop the tide?
Who can change the course?
Who can heal the pain of each crystal memory?

Who will stop the sand?
Who will stop the tears
From falling, falling, falling?
Who will come to stop the children
From killing,
From dying?

Who will look into every grain
Of crystal time,
And hear mothers’ voices calling,
Crying,
Crying,
Dying…

When will the sand stop falling?
When will there be
The counter of the sand?

When will there be the counter of the sand?

SCENE 4

(Enter MAN, Fade in.)

MAN: How’s my little bug this morning?

WOMAN: What do you want of me now?

MAN: What if I said
I want you to love me?

(WOMAN spits)

MAN: I thought as much.

WOMAN: You would have a fly
Love the spider?

MAN: Ah, but you are no fly.
You are a wasp
With a dangerous sting
In your tail.

WOMAN: And you;
The desert scorpion;
Hiding by day,
Attacking by night
While we sleep.

MAN: The Desert Scorpion.
I like that.
It has the sound of power;
The sound of danger.

WOMAN: What do you know of power?

MAN: I know I have the power
To let you live,
Or to take your life,
Whichever I choose

WOMAN: Murder, or mercy.

MAN: Hate, or love:
Which would you choose?

WOMAN: I would choose justice.

MAN: An eye for an eye;
What other noble words,
Can you use for a lie?

Justice can be twisted,
Like the strands of a rope,
Wound into a noose around the neck;
Choking off the sounds
Of those who cry,
The sounds of those who cry
For justice.
For justice.

Again I ask you to make a choice:
Love or hate,
Which will be your fate?

WOMAN: My fate is in God’s hands.

MAN: God, Yahweh, Allah;
Your God is my God.

It would seem,
My little bug,
That God,
Has left your fate,
Up to me.

WOMAN: You have no power over me!
What I fight for will not die!

I fight for freedom!

MAN: You fight to oppress me!

WOMAN: I fight for justice!

MAN: What manner of justice will evict me
From my homeland?

WOMAN:
I fight to avenge the deaths of innocent
children
And mothers,
And mothers.

I fight for the right to live
Free and secure,
Free from hate,
Free from fear.

I fight for the right to exist.

MAN:
You cannot avenge the deaths of children
By killing children,
By killing children

I fight for the right to live
Free and secure,
Free from hate,
Free from fear.

I fight for the right to exist.

WOMAN: You have no power
Over my life,
Only my death.
Only my death.

Yet in granting me death,
You would be powerless:
Blindly following in the footsteps
Of generation after generation
After generation of hatred.

You have power over me,
Only while I live.
Only while I live.

MAN: Words of wisdom,
From a bug?

Tell me, little bug,
Do you truly know the power of death?
Do you know what it’s like,
To see someone die,
Someone you love,
Die,
Before your very eyes?

WOMAN: I…
I don’t know.

MAN: Don’t you remember yesterday?
The bomb blast in the marketplace?

I pulled you from the carnage,
From beneath the body
Of that dying woman.
That dying woman,
Who shielded you,
Who protected you,
With her very life.

Do you remember?
Do you remember?

WOMAN: (Softly)
Yes.
I remember.

MAN: What does a death like that do to you?

WOMAN: I remember yesterday,
` Though it seems a lifetime ago.

I was in the market with my mother.

There was a young woman,
About my own age.
But her arms were twisted,
Misshapen.
And she had a far away look,
A far away look in her eyes.

I remember her look,
Her sad, strange smile.
But most of all, her eyes.
I remember her eyes.

In one blinding moment,
My mother knew,
And threw herself over me.

She tried to say “I love you.”
But no sound came out,
Only blood.
Only blood.

As she died,
I vowed I would avenge
Her death.

You asked me about the power of that kind of death?
That kind of death is a powerful teacher.
It taught me how to hate.
It taught me how to hate.

In the span of a single heartbeat,
All the love I had for my mother
Has turned to hate.

I hate you!
I hate all of you, Fedayeen!

(Beating the man’s chest)

You killed my mother!
You killed my mother…

(Music segue as man quells the woman’s rage in a brief
physical struggle)

MAN: I too, saw someone die in that explosion.
My sister was ahead of me,
Pushing her way to the crowded center.

She was only a year older than I,
But so much smarter.
She had a smile that would brighten the sun.

When she was only eight years old,
She was caught up in the first Intifada,
Throwing stones at the soldiers until
The soldiers caught her.

I watched as they took their rifles
And swung them down on her arms.
I heard the bones snap.
I can still hear her screams.
And my mother,
Crying,
Begging to take her to a doctor.

But the soldiers wouldn’t let us go.

After awhile, my sister stopped crying.
She never cried again,
But the tears,
Were always in her eyes;
The tears were always in her eyes.

But she never cried,
Not even yesterday, in the market,
As she pushed through the crowds,
With her twisted, misshapen arms.

WOMAN: That was…
Your sister?

MAN: I saw her look at you,
And, for the first time in years,
She smiled.

She had her vengeance.

And now,
Would you have your vengeance on me?

WOMAN: She killed my mother!

I wanted to die that day!

I did die
That day.

Yes.

Yes,
I would have my vengeance on you.
You and all the other beasts
That taught me to hate.

MAN: You’ve lost your mother,
I, my sister.
My beautiful, beautiful sister.

I wanted to stop her.
I tried to stop her,
I tried to save her.
But I couldn’t.
I couldn’t.

Don’t you see?
I couldn’t save my sister from the soldiers,
And I couldn’t save her from herself.

You call me a beast.
But what do you really know of me?
Do you even want to know me?

Of course not.

I might just become a person to you,
Instead of a beast.

WOMAN: Is that why I’m here?
To get to know you?
Then what?
You’ll let me go?

MAN: Once I’m no longer a beast to you,
You’ll be free to do as you please.

WOMAN: Just like that?

Then why kidnap me?
Why keep me here?

Why not meet me in the market,
Or at a coffee shop?

MAN: Would you have spoken to me
In a coffee shop?

(no response)

MAN: I thought as much.

You’re here,
Because I had to know;
After the blast,
I had to know,
If you felt the same as I.

But, now I know.

I’m sorry.

We’re too different.

WOMAN: Different?

MAN: Such beauty,
And such hate.

Just like my sister.

I wrote a poem last night,
My eulogy
To her memory.

I share it with you now,
Perhaps you can see,
What her death,
Her life,
Has meant to me:

I touched the petal of the rose,
And felt its blood-red softness turn
And wither to black,
Dry and brittle.

As one accustomed to darkness
Thrust suddenly into daylight
Is blinded and turns from the sun
So too did the rose turn from me,

Leaving me nothing but thorns to grasp;
To feel their barbs piercing my flesh,
Piercing my flesh,
Piercing my soul.

Blood-red softness
Like petals from my hands
Watered the ground.

WOMAN: That’s beautiful
And sad, too.

You said you would never let your sister fight;
How could you let her join the Fedayeen?

MAN: I couldn’t stop her.

I even begged to go in her place.
I, too, was that full of hate.

But then, watching her disappear
In a ball of flame…

I saw her look at you.
She wanted to hurt you
As she had been hurt.

After the explosion,
I looked for you.

I saw you, beneath your mother.
I saw the horror in your eyes
Turn to hate.
And all I wanted to do,
Was to save you from the hate
That took my sister.

WOMAN: That won’t bring your sister back.

MAN: And vengeance won’t resurrect your mother.

WOMAN: Why must there be an eye for an eye,
When someone is killed must another one die?

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
Hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning,
Wound for wound,
Each new affront is calling for amend:
Vengeance goes on,
A circle without end.

Tear my heart from my breast!
My grief’s too hard to bear!
Or let me have at yours!
Let Vengeance have its share!

Why must there be an eye for an eye,
When someone is killed must another one die?

I want to scream to my God!
I want to stare Him in the eye!
What part of His plan is good?
Why did my mother die?
Why did my mother die?

Eye for eye, tooth for tooth,
Hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning,
Wound for wound,
Each new affront is calling for amend:
Vengeance goes on,
Vengeance goes on,
A circle without end.

Why must there be an eye for an eye,
When someone is killed must another one die?

When someone is killed must another one die?

MAN: I thought,
I hoped,
That I could somehow make you see…
In one moment of time,
Your love for your mother turned into hate;
Hate for me and all my people.

WOMAN: And,
Your hatred of my people,
Turned to love?

MAN: Yes.
You are beginning to understand.

WOMAN: For me, and all my people?

MAN: Well, not quite for all your people,
But…

WOMAN: For me?

MAN: Yes.

For you.

It’s wrong, and
I know it.
They would kill me if they found out.

But still,
I thought…

If just two people
Could find it in their hearts
To love instead of hate,
Maybe others will follow.

Somehow the killing has to stop.
Somehow the dying has to end.
Murder, without mercy,
Without end.

Will you take my hand?
Will you help me lead the way?

WOMAN: I…
I don’t know what to say.

What you ask,
Is hard to give.
How can I end my pain,
My grief,
If I let such killers live?

MAN: I don’t know how to take away your pain,
I don’t know how to help you heal.

But, can our two peoples
Find a way to end the hate,
To save our children,
From the agony that you and I both feel?

WOMAN: I wish I knew.
I truly wish I knew…

WOMAN: Thank you.

MAN: For what?

WOMAN: For teaching me.
For helping me.
For loving me.

MAN: Then,
I’m not a beast to you anymore?

WOMAN: I…
I don’t know.

I need time
To sort this all out.
Do you understand?

MAN: Time.
Our ancestors have been battling each other
For thousands of years,
And you want time?

Time is like the desert sands,
Endless, infinite.
Yet,
Put that same sand into an hourglass,
And it becomes measured,
Numbered,
Like the days in a lifetime.

I suppose I can wait,
For a few more grains to fall.

(MAN exits)

WOMAN: He’s risking his life keeping me here,
Just to save me from hating.

Could I be wrong?
If he can give up hate, can I?
Can I let the past go?
Can I give up the pain?
Can I give up my hate?
If I do,
What will I gain?

What of this silent rage,
Burning in my breast?
Is this man’s love
Enough to quench the fire?
Will it let my grieving heart rest?

But what about vengeance?
What about justice?
If I don’t have the right
To avenge my mother’s death,
No one does.
No one does…

There is no vengeance in love…
There’s no room for revenge…

Could I be wrong to hate?
Can I let it go?
If I do,
Would my mother know?

I miss her so much.

Oh, mother, I love you.

But there is no hate in love,
Only peace,
Only peace.

Mother, I cannot avenge you;
I have to learn to let the hate go.

(Fade to black)

SCENE 5

(That afternoon. MAN enters)

MAN: You have to leave.

WOMAN: Now?

MAN: It’s not safe now.
Tonight. Midnight.

WOMAN: What is it?

MAN: I don’t know.
Rumors.
Voices in the shadows.
Something terrible is going to happen tomorrow.

It won’t be safe for you here.

WOMAN: What about you?

MAN: You care?

WOMAN: Yes.
I care.

After you left,
I cried.

For the first time since my mother died,
I cried.

Thank you for saving me.

MAN: You’re not safe yet.
No one in this camp will be after tonight.

WOMAN: You fear an attack?

MAN: I expect a reprisal, yes.

The Fedayeen in this camp have something.
What it is, I don’t know,
But it’s too big for one person.
They’re going to use a van.

WOMAN: Car bombs are nothing new.

MAN: This one will be.

WOMAN: Can’t you warn someone?

MAN: And who would listen to me?
You?

WOMAN: Yes, I will listen to you.
And I can tell others after I am out of here.

MAN: But all I know is that sometime
Tomorrow,
Something terrible will happen.

I don’t know what,
I don’t even know where.
That kind of warning
Is treated as a joke.

WOMAN: Then find out.
Go.
I’ll wait for you.

(MAN exits)

I’ll wait for you…
Like I have a choice…
More grains of sand,
Falling in the hourglass.

What price Peace?
What cost War?
How much longer will this killing go on?
How many children more?

How many bombs will it take ‘till we say
Not one bomb more?

Buildings in ruins,
Villages shattered,
Killing and maiming,
Like nothing mattered.

Like no life mattered.

Bricks and mortar,
Oak and stones,
Stricken by mortars,
Broken bones.

Lifeless eyes,
Everyone dies,
In the ruins
Of their homes.

And when the battle’s over
There’s the silence of the wind,
And peace.

And when the battle’s over
There’ll be peace.

But no one left to know?

We’ll rest,

In peace.

(BLACKOUT)

SCENE 6

(NIGHT. MAN enters with a bundle of clothes.)

MAN: It’s nearly midnight.
Put these on.

WOMAN: What did you find out?

MAN: Before dawn,
A white van,
A cleaning van,
In Tel Aviv,
Will bring Allah’s vengeance.

WOMAN: Allah’s vengeance?

MAN: That’s all I could learn.

MAN: It’s five minutes after midnight.

WOMAN: Five minutes after tomorrow.

MAN: Are you ready to go?

(A rumbling sound is heard, growing to mf, then
fading)

WOMAN: What was that?

MAN: It was Tel Aviv.

WOMAN: That’s over 20 kilometers from here,
How could we hear it?
Unless…

MAN: I’d say 5 kilotons at least.

WOMAN: Oh, God! No!

MAN: How could they be so stupid!
Those fools!
So blinded by hate!

WOMAN: There’ll be reprisals.

MAN: An eye for an eye;
Until there’s no one left to hate…

WOMAN: Or love.

(They embrace. More rumblings are heard in the
background. Distant sirens are heard.)

BOTH: When dreams are swept away,
And the jagged edges of crystal time
Have etched their painful mem’ries in the hourglass;
When angry seas crash
Upon the upturned fist of the shore,
Well worn, well worn,
And the clay breathed no more;
When blinding truth and reality collide
Into time’s crystal,
Blinding, binding,
And the sounding of the bell,
The deep sounding of the bell,
Prophesying the virtues of the sand,
The sounding of the bell,
The sweet sounding of the bell,
Tolling for the dust.
Then tears shall fall,
Falling for the counter of the sand.

(Tableau, then, a brief flash of intense white light,
BLACKOUT. Sound of wind fading to ppp.)

the end

32 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, 02/25/15: FIVE MINUTES AFTER TOMORROW

  1. While it looks like the FCC will be enforcing Net Neutrality, the vote isn’t until tomorrow. There’s still time to make your voice heard, and to ensure it, your message will go to the Jumbotron in front of the FCC. Here’s the link:

    https://stoptheslowdown.net/

      • Yes, and the hints dropped by various Russian pols and media reminding the West that Russia is nuclear (not that Ukraine disarmed in 1994 in return for US, UK and Russian security guarantees – the Budapest Memorandum).

        Again, as Churchill observed, as the point of no return was passed when appeasement was simply an act of doing nothing… Merkel has got a war – it’s just where she chooses to fight it.

    • from our friends at Wikipedia
      …”under the Incorporation doctrine, the Bill of Rights has been broadly applied to limit state and local government as well. The process of incorporating the two Religion Clauses in the First Amendment was twofold. The first step was the Supreme Court’s conclusion in 1940 that the Free Exercise Clause was made applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment… Conceptually, this raised few difficulties: the Due Process Clause protects those rights in the Bill of Rights “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,”…and free exercise of religion is a quintessential individual right (and had been recognized as such at the state level from the beginning).”

  2. Nice work, BnF.

    . . . When dreams are swept away,
    And the jagged edges of crystal time
    Have etched their painful mem’ries in the hourglass;
    When angry seas crash
    Upon the upturned fist of the shore,
    Well worn, well worn,
    And the clay breathed no more;
    When blinding truth and reality collide . . .

    Brings to mind T.S.Eliot’s “The Hollow Men” —

    . . . Between the desire
    And the spasm
    Between the potency
    And the existence
    Between the essence
    And the descent
    Falls the Shadow
    For Thine is the Kingdom

    For Thine is
    Life is
    For Thine is the

    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.

  3. Work has about ten more minutes to call me before I call them and tell them I’m not coming in tonight. The snow is almost here, and it will probably snow until midnight.

    • Funny. I think most everyone who gets news from anywhere but FAUX”News” was well aware that Bill0 is a bald-faced liar, shameless self- promoter, bully, and all around dick but it’s taken the “librul media” till now to start calling him on it. Heck! All they would have had to do is occasionally check Media Matters and they would have all the relevant facts complete with clips and transcripts. I’m actually starting to think there might be something to his claim that it’s in retaliation for his comments about Brian Williams and the “librul media” in general. Not that they have to make anything up to make Bill0 look bad it’s just that they always seemed reluctant to call out his crap. Is it possible that they have finally decided that no one with an IQ higher than an eggplant cares if Bill0 calls them “far-left loons”?

      Whatever. It’s fun watching him squirm and throw tantrums and, if they can just space the allegations out, he might be too busy retaliating to lie about current events for a spell.

      • Oh yeah, in case you missed it, yesterday he was so flustered that he all but admitted that he’s a partisan hack. The bit about giving a platform to conservatives and “traditional people” with no mention of being “fair and balanced”.

    • Seeing as how FauxSnooze isn’t really a ‘news’ show, and Billo isn’t really a ‘journalist’, he prolly won’t get the same treatment as Brian Williams, the JOURNALIST who works at a News Agency.

      • That’s sadly true. But? If he loses credibility with even a few casual viewers it’s a job well done. And there is some room for hope. I never thought they would boot Glenn Beck either. If Rupert and Roger decide that he’s hurting their brand the only thing keeping them from turning him out is the near certainty that he already has a tell-all book in a safe deposit box waiting for news of his demise to see the light of day.

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