THE RIDE HOME
ACT I Scene 1
PAUL: Twentysomething male, friend to James.
JAMES: Also Twentysomething male, friend to Paul.
SET: Bare except for “car” set Center Stage
(PAUL is pacing slowly waiting by car. JAMES enters SL)
PAUL: (cheerfully) Well, it’s about time. I thought you’d never get out.
JAMES: They just wouldn’t stop going on. (they embrace) Trying to get harmonies right when we’re missing our lead bass and baritone was just pointless.. But, you know Stephan -- Meticulous-Obsessive -- simply can’t let go even though we’ll be just fine next week. Although we’re a little weak in the second tenors now that we’ve lost Billy. He had such a sweet voice.
(PAUL and JAMES get into the car)
PAUL: You lost Billy? I’m very sorry to hear that. (Starts engine) I was surprised he made it to choir as long as he did.
JAMES: Well, his only reason for living was Art, anyway. The two were inseparable. Until now.
PAUL: That's right. How’s Art taking losing Billy?
JAMES: Not very well. I could hear his voice cracking a couple of times tonight, poor thing. I think it‘s the going home alone now that really makes it a reality. You can be in denial for only so long. He knew it was coming someday.
PAUL: Sounds like your group is very well set up for support, though.
JAMES: Actually, that’s how we started out. So many people were disappearing so fast, and then there were the grieving ones left behind. But we couldn’t just sit and sulk at each other. Someone started a singing night one evening and it took off from there.
PAUL: Still, it must be tough to be coming back and finding out who ‘s not going to be there
JAMES: It can get you down, that’s for sure. And I have to say again thank you so much for giving me rides to and from; ever since Robert went away, sometimes just driving here I can’t keep my composure. Too many memories.
PAUL: My pleasure, James. My group gets together for roughly the same amount of time, so it works out fine for me.
JAMES: You don’t wait too long for me, do you Paul?
PAUL: Nothing that I don’t mind. Don’t worry about it.
JAMES: Oh, just the irony of it. They’ve been talking about you, you know.
PAUL: Talking? About me?
JAMES: Just coming in tonight I was assaulted by a cadre of gossips who wouldn’t let me through the door until I told them who “my new man” was.
PAUL: And did you tell them that you were actually catching a ride with a straight arrow “hetro” Bible thumper who happens to be giving you free rides?
JAMES: Of course not! Where’s the mystery in that? It’d spoil our little secret.
PAUL: I didn’t know we had a little secret.
JAMES: (short silence) Besides, at least everyone is looking at me like I’ve moved on now to someone else instead of not being able to get over Robert.
PAUL: Ah. You’re using me in a deception, are you? You cad. (laughs)
JAMES: Oh, stop it. It’s fun. Besides, aren’t you using me in a deception, too?
PAUL: How do you mean?
JAMES: Don’t you tell your little Bible group that the only reason why you are giving this hedonistic heathen a ride is because you’re trying to convert me?
PAUL: I am trying to convert you. I’m sorry if I haven’t made that clear.
JAMES: Well, you haven’t read me the riot act yet. I mean, isn’t that what comes first?
PAUL: The Riot Act? What do you mean?
JAMES: You, you know, “You’re living in sin,” or “God doesn’t approve of your lifestyle,” or ”You will burn in hell for your wickedness.”
PAUL: Sounds like something you’ve already heard.
JAMES: Well, it’s all I hear from Church People.
PAUL: You’ve never heard that from me, James, you know that.
JAMES: You’re not Church People.
PAUL: I’m not? Then what am I?
JAMES: You’re certainly not one of “them”. You’re my friend, for Christ’s sake.
PAUL: Well, not just for Christ’s sake, but I am your friend. And I happen to enjoy your company, if you find that surprising.
JAMES: Despite the risk?
PAUL: What risk?
JAMES: I’m a walking biohazard, shouldn’t that bother you?
PAUL: James, if that were the case with me, and I were the biohazard, would you disown me so easily?
JAMES: Of course not.
PAUL: Then what’s the difference with me?
JAMES: I don’t have your sensitivities.
PAUL: Sensitivities? What do you mean?
JAMES: Moral sensitivities. You know, being seen with the wicked and all.
PAUL: (laughs) James, I think you care more about who you’re seen with than I do.
JAMES: Oh, you’ve got that right, Paul, my boy.
PAUL: Well, there you are.
JAMES: But how can you sit there and hear me talk about boys with boys and "who's doing who" all the time? Isn’t there some law that your ears should remain virgin or something?
PAUL: Does it interest you, James? Is it important to you?
JAMES: Well, yes but—
PAUL: —But nothing. You’re my friend, and that’s that.
JAMES: Isn’t there some law or rule against that, too?
PAUL: What? Having friends? I should hope not.
JAMES: Stop it, Paul, I’m serious. I’m gay! Queer! The Enemy! Doesn’t your Bible have a lot to say about that?
PAUL: The Bible has a lot to say about a lot. Let me ask you a question, James.
JAMES: All right.
PAUL: Do you count the Bible, the Scriptures, as an authority in your life?
JAMES: Heavens, no.
PAUL: Have you dedicated your life to God and vowed to live according to His will?
JAMES: Decidedly not.
PAUL: Then how can I expect you to behave in any way that would be acceptable to the Scriptures and to God? I can’t expect you to live by Christian standards if you’re not a Christian.
JAMES: Okay. I’ll accept that.
PAUL: And I accept you, where you are right now. That doesn’t mean, however, that I don’t want to see a change in who you are, though.
JAMES: Okay, then I‘ve got a question for you.
JAMES: Let’s say I became a Christian.
PAUL: Great, all right, let’s say that.
JAMES: Not so fast, there, buckaroo. If I became a Christian, would you be then jumping all over me to abandon my sexual orientation now that I had become one of the club?
PAUL: James, if you were to become a Christian, I would join the thousands of angels in heaven who were having a party for you.
JAMES: All right, but afterwards. Wouldn’t you then start trying to “straighten” me out?
PAUL: I would do my best to help you in your walk with God, to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him.
JAMES: You’re avoiding the answer.
PAUL: No, I’m not, James. It’s just not the answer you were expecting. Why, of all the hang-ups in the world we as people have, should I suddenly try to straighten out your sexual orientation? The first thing I want to do is to help you love God with all your heart, mind, soul and being – that would be the first thing. That’s what being a Christian is, not just fitting into some social or moral formula.
JAMES: But you still think being homosexual is a sin.
PAUL: As much as two heterosexuals living together outside of marriage. Sin is sin.
JAMES: Now that’s different.
PAUL: Only because you say so.
JAMES: That is not a state of being like homosexuality is.
PAUL: What? Declaring that you are merging your life with another without God ordaining it and living day in day out like that? That sounds like a state of being.
JAMES: But a gay man just can’t take the curse off of it by performing a ceremony and waving a moral wand and everything is right as rain.
PAUL: Fair enough. Point taken. But you were asking about me, and what I would do. And the answer is that no, I wouldn’t suddenly try to “straighten” you out.
JAMES: Why not, then?
PAUL: Because I haven’t “straightened” myself out, that’s why.
JAMES: What do you mean? You're not in the closet are you? Be still my beating heart!
PAUL: (laughs) James, Christians are nothing but “out of the closet” sinners. There’s nothing we can do about it. We were born sinners. We recognize our sins. We ask something to be done about it, we try to live a ‘sin free’ life but when it all comes down to it, we are still all practicing sinners.
JAMES: So, you’re saying that if I became a Christian, I’d have to be constantly apologizing to God for being a homosexual?
PAUL: No. I’m saying you’d have to be constantly apologizing to God for identifying yourself as a homosexual first, instead of a child of God first.
JAMES: You lost me.
PAUL: God comes first in all things. Even in who you are. Gender, social status, heritage, culture, skin color, wealth… and sexual orientation.
JAMES: So then you’re saying that it would be okay to be a homosexual if I put God first?
PAUL: I didn’t say that, either.
JAMES: For someone who says a lot, there’s a lot you’re not saying.
PAUL: When you put God first, then you want what He wants.
JAMES: All right.
PAUL: And that includes eliminating the things in your life He’s not very keen about.
JAMES: Such as being gay.
PAUL: Such as everything that fits that definition. Now, remember, being a Christian, you count the words in the Bible as an authority in your life and you have you dedicated yourself to God and vowed to live according to His will. You made that committment by your free will, so don't blame God after the fact.
JAMES: But you just can’t un-gay a person.
PAUL: No? There are precedents and numerous people who have. They just don’t get much press.
JAMES: So, do they get brainwashed or something? You’re talking about genetics, here.
PAUL: No, actually, we’re not talking genetics -- pre-birth biological contributors – definitely, but not specifically genetics. Nothing has been proven on a genetic level, it’s just been widely accepted as so.
JAMES: Ahhh. The Great Gay Conspiracy.
PAUL: Look, the point is, we are all hard-wired into a sinful life, no matter what that may be. Being a Christian, doesn’t take that away. It just rearranges your priorities.
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