TITLE: Can I have that?
By Jack Finney
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Can I have that?
Props: A bench seat, two large bags (large garbage bags will work), stuffing for one of the bags, two paper mache rocks one larger than the other
Jay – Jesus, dressed in a way to give Himself away to the audience (robe, sandals, etc…), but the other characters ignore the way He is dressed, has an empty bag with Him
Joe – typical business man, kaki pants and a golf shirt, carrying a big, stuffed bag
Jennifer – typical business woman or student, casual dress, carrying the same bag Joe had
Scene: A man is sitting at a bus stop reading a paper. A second man, carrying a large bag, sits down next to him and begins to grumble about his day.
Joe (second man): (fidgeting and anxious) ...missed my ride, gotta take the bus...(mumble)...boss is gonna ride me when I get there...
Jay (first man): Good Morning.
Joe: (Distracted) Yeah, good morning.
Jay: Isn’t it a beautiful day?
Joe: What? Yeah, I guess so.
Jay: What’s the matter; not having a good day so far?
Joe: Not really. Missed my ride this morning so I have to ride the bus.
Jay: That big bag probably doesn’t help, huh?
Joe: It’s ok. I’m kind of used to it I guess. Where’s the stupid bus? It should have been here by now.
Jay: It will be along. Marty takes his kids to school on Tuesdays. That puts him a little late on his route, but he’ll catch up. He always does.
Joe: You take this bus a lot?
Jay: Not really. I just know the driver.
Joe: Hummm. That’s nice.
Jay: My name is Jay by the way.
The two men shake hands
Joe: Joe, that’s my name.
Jay: So, what you got in the bag, Joe?
Joe: What’s that?
Jay: The bag. What’s in the bag?
Joe: Oh, the bag. Sorry, I forgot it was sitting there. Nothing much, just the usual odds and ends.
Jay: Really? That’s a mighty big bag for usual odds and ends.
Joe: You think so? Well it has grown a bit. It used to be much smaller.
Jay: So what do you have in there?
Joe: Well, this one (pulling out a small rock) is new. I had a fight with my wife last night and I just can’t let it go.
Joe: Yeah. We’ve been trying to save some money, you know, to buy a house or something, and last night she told me she spent some of it on a graduation present for her niece. That really set me off.
Jay: Why did it set you off? People graduate. People send them gifts. It’s not so unusual.
Joe: I don’t know. (louder, angrier) She should have talked to me about it first. She disrespected me. We’re a team and she should respect my feelings about things.
Jay: Ok, but do you think she did this just to spite you or did she just buy her niece a present and you are making more out of this than it needs to be?
Joe: Well, maybe. But she should think of me sometimes before making decisions.
Jay: Maybe you’re right. (Pause) Can I have that?
Jay: Your fight.
Joe: This fight? (holding up the rock)
Jay: Yeah, that fight.
Joe: I guess; keeps me from having to carry it around.
Jay takes the rock from Joe and puts it in his own bag. Confused, Joe stares at Jay for a minute then begins looking down the road for the bus.
Jay: (pointing in the bag) What about that one?
Joe: What one?
Jay: In the bag. That one right there. (Continuing to point)
Joe: (Taking a larger rock out of the bag) This one? (Jay nods) Oh, this one is a good one. This is grudge I’ve been holding against Beck’s mom. Becky is my wife by the way. Her mom never really liked me. I wasn’t good enough for Becky. I’m probably not, but that’s not the point. It’s none of her business and she should keep her nose out of our marriage.
Jay: So, she pokes her nose in there a lot, does she?
Joe: No, not really. (louder) But she made it very clear that she didn’t like me. Just because I partied a lot in college doesn’t mean I won’t be a good husband.
Jay: So she loves her daughter and was concerned about her future. I can see why you’re upset. Sounds like a terrible person.
Joe: Well, she isn’t terrible. She actually has some good ideas about some things. She’s the one who suggested we start putting away some money here and there.
Jay: (pausing) Joe, can I have that? (pointing at the rock)
Joe: (Lost in thought, snaps back) What? Yeah, I guess, here.
Joe is less agitated now. He isn’t fidgeting or looking for the bus. He is quiet and seems a little self-reflective.
Jay: What’s that one there (pointing in the bag)?
Joe: I know you want it too, but I’m not sure I can give you this one.
Jay: Let’s talk about it. Here’s the bus. Let me ride along with you and we can talk about the rest of your bag.
The two actors stand up and move toward the audience as if boarding a bus and the lights dim down. As the lights come back up Jay is sitting on the bench. A woman runs up to the bench with a large bag.
Jennifer: Awww, did I just miss the bus? Can this day get any worse?
Jay: Have a seat.
Jennifer sits down.
Jay: Hey, what’cha got in the bag?
1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22
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