Short Dramas and Plays
THE MADNESS OF PHINEAS GALEN (Act II Scene 2b)
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Phineas: Why do I have this sense of foreboding? The court was conducted in the open with the light, but this dark meeting I shrink from. The unknown is twelve times worse than the known fear, and in the waiting, the moments are as hours, the minutes like days, and the hours -- eternities each one.
(Enter Justice McCroskey, stenographer, aid, and A Man)
McCroskey: Subject, I have come to interview you before we begin the proceedings again.
Phineas: High Justice. What can I tell you?
McCroskey: You can begin by completing the record and telling me what the last thing you told my predecessor that set this Inquiry into a mockery rather than in investigation into Truth.
Phineas: I told her, the Truth, Justice.
McCroskey: Iíll be the judge of that, Subject. You are not given leave to interpret, only to provide data to the Inquiry. Now, what did you tell her?
Phineas: I told her, the Truth, Justice.
McCroskey: I will convict you right here and now if you insist on being so obstinate, do you understand, Subject?
Phineas: Completely Justice. Allow me to clarify. I am not making speculation or attempting to characterize what it is that I told the previous Justice. I am describing what it was in its simplest form. I told her the Truth.
McCroskey: Specify. What specifically did you tell her?
Phineas: I donít know, Justice.
McCroskey: You first claim that you told the acting Justice the truth, and then you claim you donít know? This is contradictory and superfluous. I will have the Psychological Academia enter this as to going towards your character as not being able to discern basic precepts.
Phineas: You misunderstand me, Justice. I do not know what it is that I spoke to the Justice, but I asked that I would speak whatever truth would give her the same Revelation as I had.
McCroskey: And from whom did you request this, I have no record here in the proceedings of you making such a request.
McCroskey: From the same source that gave me my Revelation, High Justice.
McCroskey: Your ďSourceĒ is quite suspect. I have my evaluation reports here that say so
Phineas: Then how do you evaluation reports explain the reaction of the sitting Justice at the time?
McCroskey: Officially, she has only said that she is now predisposed opinion of you and that her objectivity has been compromised. She does not attest to your claim that you spoke the Truth to her. For all I know you whispered something personally damaging to her that would ruin her reputation and so she withdrew from the proceedings.
Phineas: Thatís quite an unsubstantiated hypothesis.
McCroskey: But it is working model with my available data. And it certainly makes more sense than the idea that you spoke the Truth to her and she had some sort of cosmic revelation and now she shares your views. And your crimes by association. Iíll not have this Inquiry made to appear so foolish as that, nor will I see a fellow Justice ruined by your machinations.
Phineas: So you choose between an explanation that suits you and your sensibilities rather than investigating that which might be truthful.
McCroskey: Leave us! (Stenographer and Aid Exit) They told me you were obstinate, but I had no idea. Even your transcript doesnít do you justice from the little I have witnessed here.
Phineas: Truth has a way of being stubborn, Justice.
McCroskey: And so do madmen! Just because we are not under the Directive of Truth and there are no transcriptors here does not mean I will brook this churlish attitude, Subject!
Phineas: And I will not submit myself to your bullying or your penchant for twisting my words to suit your worldview! You asked for answers, Justice, and I will give them, such as I can, but I will not give you answers based upon what will or will not please you!
McCroskey: I suppose I had to witness firsthand the trials my predecessor had to endure with this particularly uncooperative Subject. But, then, she also did not have the resources I have at my disposal. Mr. Galen, there is a man sharing this room with us who has not been introduced to you, and for good reason. Officially, he does not exist, nor does any interaction you or I may have with him. He is an un-person as far as all matters are concerned Ė as far as society at large is concerned, he is a ghost. However, despite this position, and also I might add, because of it, he is able to serve society in a great many ways. Officially, I am going to leave your company for a moment, to check upon some legal or procedural matter. When I come back, we will have a very different conversation, indeed. And I think you will be eager to -- how did you just put it? Present for me answers based upon what will please me. Iíll be seeing you in a short time, Mr. Galen.
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