Late October, 2001
[At rise: Al is at home sometime during Week 1 of The Aftermath. The doorbell rings. It is getting colder as October churns onward, leaves are falling and nights are drawing in. Alone, in pajamas and glasses she cannot remember changing in or out of. She answers it and her stomach flinches: THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. But it is.]
Jehovah’s Witness: Good morning!
Al: [under her breath] Not really— [though not really caring who hears her…]
JW: —Have you heard of Jesus Christ?
Al: [thinks and answers carefully] …I’ve… read his book.
JW: [looking Al up and down, assessing her age, he looks about him, confused.] Wait: why aren’t you in school?
Al: My dad is dead.
JW: [unfazed] But you are a teenager.
Al: In college.
JW: Then why aren’t you in college?
Al: I’m taking some time off.
Al: Because my Dad is dead.
[Al wants to say "No, asshole, I'm at home because I just hate responsibility that much," but she doesn’t. She awkward pauses with this evangelist and let’s it stew. Then—]
JW: Would you like to see your father again?
Al: [She hates him] Is this a joke?
JW: No! [Joyfully] You can see your father again if you give your soul over to Jesus Christ! Here, see the drawing in this pamphlet?
|Not in the mood, Sir...|
Al: Um, you need to go.
JW: May I come in?
[Having lost the will to live anyway she shrugs her shoulders and says]
Al: ... Sure.
[The JW does the WHOLE speech. He stands up, he acts stuff out. He is impassioned and expressive and oddly, sort of beautiful without being the kind of desperate one might expect. But Al just sits there--cross-legged and perched in the center of the sofa in her week-old clothes, numb, no will of her own to stop it, hoping this will soon be over. Finally, it ends.]
JW: So, do you have any questions?
Al: Yes. [For a second she considers asking him if he’d like to hear a ‘Knock Knock’ joke, but thinks better of it. These are not the people you start ‘Knock Knock’ jokes with…] Does it feel good?
JW: [taken aback] I’m sorry?
Al: To have done the whole speech?
JW: What do you mean?
Al: You must not ever be able to get the whole thing out; so many people slam doors in your faces. I mean you are…well, you are like the original telemarketers. Does it feel good to have done the whole Thing?
[He stares at Al. There is a part of him that can see he cannot hide from her— a person so raw they are incapable of judgment either passed or received and he looks, for an instant, uneasy. But this quickly fades as he sees the humor and truth in her question. This man is her neighbor and there is a part of him that is so gentle and well meaning it breaks her heart. He smiles and all his theatricality wanes.]
JW: It does, you know.
JW: Feel good.
JW: Thank you.
Al: Thank you.
[They smile at one another]
…But now you probably should go.
[He will always have his friends at the Kingdom Hall...]
|...I mean...I mean: wow...|