A Devil of a Date

 By John McNeil

Summary

Four very un-angelic beings set out to destroy the dating habits of humans.

Note: There are two versions of this script. The second, adapted by Kenneth Swee of Singapore YWAM, provides an alternative Christian perspective.

 

Characters:

Sergeant Beelby
Private Wormwood
Private Gall
Private Foulbane

 

Script

Scene: Enter at the march Sergeant Beelby, followed by three otherworldly privates. They are dressed in mismatched bits of soldiers uniforms, each carrying a long-handled trident.

Sgt: Left-right-left-right. Squad, halt!

(They crash into each other.)

Sgt: (Faces them with a roar) Right, that's another 300 years in purgatory. Until you fiends can learn to march properly. Good grief, what kind of motley crew do they keep giving me. Well, I'll knock you scruffy lot into shape good and smart. AND STAND UP STRAIGHT WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! Now, from the right, name yourself.

W: Wormwood.

Sgt: Wormwood, SIR!

W: Sir.

G: Gall (pause), Sir.

F: Foulbane, Sir.

Sgt: Right, have they told you what today's programme is? (They shake their heads) I thought not. Co-operation is not a strong point in this place. Well, then, listen carefully. Today is Lesson Six in the series you have been doing on Destroying Lives. A series very dear to the heart of our Leader. How you do in this series will play a big part in determining your next millenium. (To Gall, who is gazing around) WILL YOU PAY ATTENTION! Or you'll be stoking the fires for the next thousand years.

As I said, Destroying Lives, and today we're focusing on that strange human activity, love. Now, I have here the names of three human couples who are about to go on a date. (Hands each a sheet of paper) One couple each. If you look at the screens over there (points out over audience, the screens are imaginary) you can each see your pair now. Your mission is to destroy that relationship and, if possible, the humans too.

Right, Wormwood, tell me what you see.

(During the following, sound effects and/or music could be used to give added dimension to the events the characters are "seeing" on the imaginary screens.)

W: They're getting in a car ... looks like they're heading downtown ... maybe to a restaurant.

Sgt: So what are you going to do about it?

W: Poison the food!?

Sgt: And how will you do that? You've only got the power of suggestion.

W: Suggest the food's bad?

Sgt: Idiot! (Aside) Beyond belief! (To Wormwood) Look, this is a teenager driving a coffin on wheels, trying to impress a girl. They don't come easier.

W: Hey, yeah, he's speeding up, dragging off one of his friends. And she thinks it's cool, too. Go man, wipe him out. Oh, bummer, they're slowing down, pulling into a supermarket. What a wimp! Obviously, they're not paying much attention to us yet.

Sgt: All is not lost, yet, my dear fiend. See!

W: You're right, he's bought a couple of six packs.

Sgt: And even better, he's opening a couple of cans while he's driving. With any luck the tab will stick and .... yes! did you see how he nearly wiped out that marker post while he tried to free his finger.

W: And he didn't even notice. How many of those cans do you think we can get them to drink on the move?

Sgt: Plenty, I'd think. You keep at it, while I see how Gall here is getting on.

G: Bit of a party going on here, Serge. Heavy metal ... dancing ...

Sgt: That's dancing! Looks more like epilepsy. Things have changed since my day. What's the group they're listening to?

G: AC/DC...or something like that. No, I've got it....DC Talk.

Sgt: Aaagh, no!

G: What's wrong, Serge?

Sgt: That's one of the enemy's groups! We've got to put a stop to that. Why should Heaven have all the good music?

G: Someone's pulled out another disc. Smashing Acid Heads, or someone like that. Will that do?

Sgt: Perfect. That will get them in the right frame of mind. That was a close call, I tell you.

G: I suggested to some of the partygoers that they bring along some crack, Serge. Figured it might go well with the booze.

Sgt: Good thinking, Gall. Maybe you've got the makings of a subversive after all.

G: Hold on, Red Alert! There's a partypooper there. It's the one that brought along the DC Talk album. He's trying to talk them out of swapping drugs. What do I do, Serge?

Sgt: Stay calm, you fool. Strategy number one is to reinforce the individual's personal freedoms. You know the sort of thing: 'What right have you got to tell me how to live my life,' or, 'I'm not doing anybody any harm.'

G: It's not working, Serge. Some of them are starting to listen to him.

Sgt: Okay, move to Strategy number two. Call him names. Hypocrite, killjoy, do-gooder, God-botherer.

G: That's not working, either. Now he's threatening to call in the cops.

Sgt: Good.

G: Good!? How come?

Sgt: Some of those guys are really....high...stoked...whatever they call it. That threat might just tip them over the edge. Yes! Someone's pulled a knife, he's threatening the do-gooder.

G: Wait, a girl's trying to intervene. She wants him to put the knife away. But that's making him even angrier. He lunges at the do-gooder. (Pause) Well, I didn't expect that to happen.

Sgt: I have to congratulate you, Gall. That's a good lot of panic, you've sown there. With any luck, they're so muddled they won't get an ambulance to her in time.

G: Will she die?

Sgt: We can hope. If she does, it will look very good on your report. Now, Foulbane. Can you maintain the high standard being set...I admit, somewhat surprisingly... by Wormwood and Gall?

F: I'm afraid it's very quiet in my neck of the woods, Sergeant. Just two of them, walking along a beach in the moonlight, holding hands.... laughing at little nothings.

Sgt: Are you a closet romantic, Foulbane?

F: (in confusion) Uh, no, Serge.

Sgt: Good. So how do you plan to develop a satisfactory outcome from this situation?

F: I'm baffled, Serge, there doesn't seem to be anything in our favour.

Sgt: (In despair) Spare me! Can't any of you see more than two inches in front of your face? What's on any young male human's mind in a situation like this?

F: Uhh..... um...

Sgt: Go on ... you're allowed to say it. The 'S' word.

F: Uh..... sex, Serge.

Sgt: Right. SO GIVE THEM SOME ENCOURAGEMENT, FOR HELL'S SAKE!

F: Doesn't look like they need it.

Sgt: Haven't you read the dossier on these two? How do you expect to win if you don't do your homework? Research, man! It's vital.

F: (Consults paper) It says, she's very attracted to him.

Sgt: But ...

F: But she wants a long-term relationship. She's fed up with one night stands.

Sgt: And is that what he wants?

F: (Consults paper) Uhh, no. "Love them and leave them," it says here. And ... (pause) ....o0h. He's got AIDS, Serge. But she doesn't know.

Sgt: So what do you do?

F:Get the guy to start talking fast.

Sgt: Close, but not close enough. Promises, Foulbane. That's the key in this situation. Promise her anything. "Mine is an eternal love....I'll respect you, no matter what...." Even talk of marriage. It doesn't matter whether he believes it or not, it'll come to the same thing in the end.

F: She's not very convinced, Serge. I think I'll try the old line, "If two people love each other, why should they wait."

Sgt: No, not with this girl, Foulbane. Patience is needed here. Foulbane, I said no... not that ... Oh, you blithering fool. Look what you've done. He's got all excited, made a grab at the girl, and she's run off in a huff. You've done your future in good and proper this time, you little twerp.

(Turns to Wormwood) Let's hope you're getting some better results with your drinking driver, Wormwood.

W: I think you'll like this, Sergeant. While you were watching the others, my humans finished the six pack, and then bought a bottle of bourbon. Boy, is he smashed. (Gets excited) And now they've met up with a couple of his mates, and they're playing chicken. This could be good.

Sound FX: (Car skidding, followed by a huge crash).

W: Boy, are they both smashed.

(The other two privates crowd round Wormwood, congratulating him, patting on the back, etc.)

Sgt: (Calls them to order sharply) Squad! Enough of this ill-discipline. Atten-SHUN! We'll resume after lunch with Lesson Seven in this series. NOW! At the double, quick march. 'eft 'ight, 'eft 'ight, 'eft 'ight. (The three privates exit).

Sgt:(Looks at audience, shrugs.) Still, two out of three ain't bad. (Turns and exits marching.)

 ..............................................................................................................

Version Two

Characters:

Script

Scene: Enter at the march Sergeant Tan followed by three otherworldly privates. They are dressed in mismatched bits of soldiers uniforms, each carrying a long-handled trident.

Sgt: Left-right-left-right. Squad, halt!

(They crash into each other.)

Sgt: (Faces them with a roar) Right, that's another 300 pushups. Until you idiots can learn to march properly. Good grief, the morons they keep giving me. Well, I'll knock you scruffy lot into shape soon enough. AND STAND UP STRAIGHT WHEN I'M TALKING TO YOU! Now, from the right, name yourself.

S: Seow

Sgt: Seow, SGT!

S: Seow, SGT! (snicker)

G: Pte Gong (pause), Sir, erm SGT!

F: Foo, SGT!

Sgt: Right, have they told you what today's programme is?

(They shake their heads)

I thought not. Co-operation is not a strong point in this place. Well, then, listen carefully. Today is Lesson Six in the series you have been doing on Destroying Lives. A series very dear to the heart of our Leader. How you do in this series will play a big part in determining your next millenium. (To Gong, who is gazing around) WILL YOU PAY ATTENTION! Or you'll be stoking the fires for the next thousand years.

As I said, Destroying Lives, and today we're focusing on that strange human activity, called love. Now, I have here the names of two human couples who are about to go on a date. (Hands each a sheet of paper)

If you look at the screens over there (points out over audience, the screens are imaginary) you can each see a pair now. Your mission is to destroy each of these relationships and, if possible, the humans too. Right, Seow, tell me what you see.

(During the following, sound effects and/or music could be used to give added dimension to the events the characters are "seeing" on the imaginary screens.)

S: They're getting in a car ... looks like they're heading downtown ... maybe to a restaurant.

Sgt: So how are u going to make them miserable?

S: Poison their food!?

Sgt: And how will you do that? You've only got the power of suggestion. Geesh!

G: Suggest the food's bad?

Sgt: Are you really that gong?

(To Seow) Look, this is an enemy teenager going out with an unbeliever. They don't come easier.

S: Hey, yeah ... ..perhaps I shall get them interested in one another that they will make it a permanent thing. But ... the girl ... she seems so resistant. She has got that ... what you call ... conscience thing. That small little voice that speaks to them so gently that it is wrong!

Sgt: It is called the ... Ugg ... I hate to use that word ... Holy Spirit! (shivers) You dumbo! We got to turn it around. All is not lost, yet, my dear fiend. See!

F: You're right, she's buying into it! She is getting attracted to him. His looks, his eyes ... .the way he talks, laughs ... haha ... so macho ... .woo hooo ... she's thinking ... its so perfect ... they are so alike ... he's so sensitive, he's so smart ...

G: How did you do it, sarge?

Sgt: Do I have to teach you everything! Don't you ever look into your handbook?

G: It says ... .Yoke the enemy with unbelievers. Get them attracted to their surface. They don't see anything deeper. Emotions tend to get in the way ... Love is blind ... ..

S: Hold on, Red Alert! She's thinking about what her friends, bible study leader, pastor might say.

Sgt: Stay calm, you fool. Strategy number one is to reinforce the individual's personal freedoms. You know the sort of thing: 'What right have you got to tell me how to live my life,' or, 'I'm not doing anybody any harm., 'I've been alone too long.'

G: It's not working, Serge.

Sgt: Okay, move to Strategy number two. Tell her, maybe he'll come to share her faith ... . God is using her to reach out to him.

F: What?!!

Sgt: Don't You know anything! Lull them into a false sense of security. That they are doing something right. They all love that. All those do-gooders.

S: I don't get it!

F: Me neither!

Sgt: Arrgh! The things I have to put up with! You obviously haven't done your readings! Gong! Read the book!

G: Umm ... The picture is that if you hitch up two couples like a cow ... Umm ... cows who haven't pulled a plow together before, or a cow and a camel, they end up pulling in different directions or at different speeds ... .. It just wouldn't work ... What has this (points to the screen) got to do with farming? (points to the book, scratches his head)

Sgt: Idiots! This is like, an illustration! Gosh! (sighs) ... .get them interested in each other. Sooner or later ... who knows? They'll marry. One would want to think only about cars, his stomach, basketball, he'll have no time for church, ha! He'll even laugh at her for being religious. He'll have no time for spiritual matters. She'll be miserable ... haha ... and what was she wanting to be?

G: (Looking at the dossier) A missionary! But ... He is so sweet now!! (flicks his hair up)

S: They all are. Courting you see ... .?

G: But won't there be a possibility that he might ever become ... .

Sgt: Yes! But only if the enemy intervenes. By that time, she will have spent many years miserable, useless and regretful. Seow!

S: Yes, Sgt!

Sgt: Carry on with them!

Sgt: Now, Foo. Can you set a higher standard with the next couple? (second screen opens)

F: I'm afraid it's very quiet here, Sergeant. Just two of them, walking along a beach in the moonlight, holding hands.... laughing at little nothings.

Sgt: Are you a closet romantic, Foo?

F: (in confusion) Uh, no, Sarge.

Sgt: Good. So how do you plan to develop a satisfactory outcome from this situation?

F: Uhh..... um...

Sgt: Go on ... you're allowed to say it. The 'S' word. Go on ... .

F: Uh..... sleep, Serge.? Yeah ... .I am pretty tired out myself ...

Sgt: Sex foo! Sex! (sighs and shakes his head) Right. SO GIVE THEM SOME ENCOURAGEMENT!

G: Doesn't look like they need it.

Sgt: Haven't you read the file on these two? How do you expect to win if you don't do your homework? Research, man! It's vital.

G: (Consults paper) It says, she's very attracted to him and him, her.

Sgt: But ...

F: But she wants a long-term relationship. She's not into one night stands.

Sgt: And is that what he wants?

G: (Consults paper) Uhh, no. 'Love them and leave them,' it says here. And ...

Sgt: So what do you do?

F: Get the guy to start talking fast.

Sgt: Close, but not close enough. Promises, Foo. That's the key in this situation. Promise her anything. 'Mine is an eternal love....I'll respect you, no matter what....' Even talk of marriage. It doesn't matter whether he believes it or not, it'll come to the same thing in the end.

F: She's not very convinced, Serge. I think I'll try the old line, 'If two people love each other, why should they wait.'

Sgt: No, not with this girl, Foo. Patience is needed here. Foo, I said no... not that ... Oh, you blithering fool. Look what you've done. He's got all excited, made a grab at the girl, and she's run off in a huff. You've done your future in good and proper this time, you little twerp. (Turns to Seow) Let's hope you're getting some better results with your couple.

S: I think you'll like this, Sergeant. While you were watching the others, my humans decided to commit themselves to a relationship. She's bought in!

Sgt: Congratulations, Pte Seow. You are showing more sense than the others. Hmm..maybe you have a good potential to become a subversive after all.

(The other privates crowd round Seow, congratulating him, patting on the back, etc.)

Sgt: (Calls them to order sharply) Squad! Enough of this ill-discipline. Atten-SHUN! We'll resume after lunch with Lesson Seven in this series. NOW! At the double, quick march. 'eft 'ight, 'eft 'ight, 'eft 'ight. (The three privates exit).

Sgt: (turning to the audience) Hmm ... . 1 out of two isn't that bad after all eh? Hehhe ... ..(walks out rubbing hands gleefully)

........................................................................

© John McNeil 1998
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at soulcommunication@paradise.net.nz
Or at: 36B Stourbridge St, Christchurch 2, New Zealand.