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Synopsis:
In the heart of the night a disheveled man sleeps on a city park bench. Two police officers attempt to move him and his responses perplex them. They place him in handcuffs and get help from paramedics.

Cast:
H.M.- A disheveled man of late middle age.
Dolly- A blow up doll.
Fred- A policeman, tall, fat and brunette.
Barney- A policeman, short and blond.
Wilma- A paramedic, red headed
Betty- A paramedic, dark brunette

Scene: A city park at night. H.M. is sleeping on a park bench with his arms around Dolly. They use newspapers as blankets.
Enter Fred and Barney.

FRED:

Oh, man. Not another one. (Bangs on park bench with night stick) Yo, buddy! You can’t stay here. Where’s your home?

(H.M. peeks out from under his newspapers. He seems alert and aware of his surroundings.)

H.M.:

(He chatters loudly and quickly but without malice or menace.) The sign in the yard it said everything, two simple words but what change they did bring. The house they had known on the street they’d loved, all lost to them now as out they were shoved.

FRED:

What was that buddy? Somebody shoved you?

H.M.:

They’d purchased the house and made it a home, financed the lot with an FHA loan. He’d worked in a shop, she in an office, job terminated for pregnancy’s offense! The money they’d saved could not do the trick, starting all over now made him quite sick.

Barney:

Ho, boy! Looks like we’ve got ourselves a winner. (Pretends to clang a bell.) Ding, ding, ding! Gramps! Is there someplace you can go or somebody you can call? What about the shelter?

H.M.:

But they had each other and two young sons, there was no quit in the life they’d begun. She clawed her way back into the workforce, together steadfast they chartered their course.

FRED:

I think this guy’s soused! Hey, pal! What’s your name?

H.M.:

With effort and striving their ends could just meet, thankful prayers for not being out on the street. Soon the two nickels they did multiply, their lives and the time so quickly flew by.

BARNEY:

Sounds like you’re flying all right, pops! Listen to him! He thinks he’s in a play! Hey! Shakespeare! What’s your name? Falstaff?

FRED:

I bet it’s Schlitz!

BARNEY:

Good one! Look at us, we’re making Shakespeare jokes. I bet you’re right about his name, but without the “L”!

H.M.:

The times they got easier along the way, again came their time to frolic and play. They held on to each other through thick and thin, loving too deeply their venial sin.

FRED:

Wait a minute, now he’s talking about sin, and in Latin! I bet we’ve got a defrocked priest here. Maybe a child molester. Hey pal, are you Father O’Blivion?

H.M.:

So thankful for the gift of one another, these lifelong friends and forever lovers.

BARNEY:

Whoa! I think the man’s talking about his doll! Lifelong friends and forever lovers. He’s creeping me out. I’m calling the psych boys! Hey, friend, what’s your girlfriend’s name? Holly come lightly?

(BARNEY talks on radio during H.M.’s next speech.)

H.M.:

(Very agitated.) I glory not in the darkness of holes, where pistons do thrust and cylinders moan. Machines bent on executing a need, they degrade self in pursuit of the deed. Into gaping maws they frantically drill, mandible ministrations make tools fulfilled. Never a thought for cylinders bleeding, scythes lay low with destruction careening. He’ll fill a hole whether fore or aft, makes no difference to this man and his staff. Thoughtless pursuit of orgasmic pleasure, clothed in anonymous lace and in leather. This sickness may call either day or night, no love for any within his dark sight.

FRED:

That sure as hell hit a nerve! If we can’t get him back in order we’ll have to cuff him. Settle down big guy! Tell us your name.

H.M.:

This dance macabre makes me shudder in horror, can honest love restore Holy order? What of love and this moldering menace? Some sins removed only with great penance.

BARNEY:

Hear that? “Holy orders,” I bet he was a priest! I don’t like this menace talk. You’d better cuff him.

FRED:

Ten four good buddy. Do you think I should taze him first?

BARNEY:

Naw. He’s just sitting there. Knock him over and stick your knee in his back. I’ll cover you.

FRED:

(Pulls out his handcuffs.) Okay, ready? I’ll go on three. One, two, three!

BARNEY:

Good work! But watch those cuffs! You’re digging into the old guys wrists!

FRED:

Well I’m not trying to! And what do we care?

H.M.:

But sinful too aesthetes who deny flesh, those wearers of hair shirts in testament. Deniers of body who forsake life’s force. Shouters that things corporeal are too coarse. Refusing to see that flesh is a gift created divinely, lives to uplift. Sexuality an engine dynamic- pushing us forward with energy frantic. We can wound with swords we can slash through sheaths, or lovingly embrace His great release.

FRED:

Sounds like it’s a good thing we cuffed him! We better frisk him, he’s talking about swords and slashing and force. He might have a weapon like a Billy club or something under there. Hey! Old guy! Kneel up! We need to pat you down.

H.M.:

We each choose to take our gift from above and use it for love or to subdue and club. The energy’s here for all to see, the harness’ shape up to you and me. I pray that we conceive of our strength and striding forward it’s love that we make. Flesh intertwining is part of his plan we can enraptured be as loving man.

BARNEY:

(Radio crackles.) That was the paramedics. They should be here any minute.

FRED:

Good. I hope they can talk this guy down or give him a shot of what he needs. He’s cuckoo!

H.M.:

(Very loud and agitated.)The little men control with fear as they prod and guide their flock. They speak in tongues of fire! They damn us with eternal pitchforks.

BARNEY:

(Shouting to be heard.) You need to calm down, sir! Shut up and calm down!

H.M.:

So hard to hear the voice of God with these men shouting at us. I often think it mighty queer the way they’re so ominous.

FRED:

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what the hell does this guy want?

H.M.:

We are all but seekers on this sphere, our quickly turning globe. Which to lead and whom to follow disconnected from a robe.

(Sirens in the distance.)

FRED:

Okay, here they come, let’s get him up. (They lift H.M. to his feet but he stumbles and falls.)

H.M.:

In darkest night my sour soul feels as though downward we are falling. But in the early light of dawn I hear His gentle calling.

FRED:

(Truly concerned.) Oh, man. I’m sorry. Are you okay?

H.M.:

I pray that as I live my day I’ll listen to His soft voice. Support or scorn, kindness or contempt it really is our choice.

BARNEY:

Hey, Fred, it sounds like you’re getting through to him. Talk to him some more.

FRED:

Listen, friend, I’m going to empty your pockets, okay? Am I going to find anything in there I should be careful with? A knife or a needle or anything that might stick me? (Fred pats H.M. down and finds a wallet in his front pocket. He carefully pulls it out.)

BARNEY:

Any I.D.?

FRED:

Nope, but he has a boat load of cash. Must be two thousand dollars here. I wonder if he got that panhandling or if he’s a dealer.

H.M.:

Can you tell me which path leads to riches and which to penury? Is that a rich man scrubbing dishes or living in luxury? If you think the answer’s simple then look a little deeper, rags or riches at the end is always the grim reaper.

(The paramedics, Wilma and Betty arrive.)

WILMA:

Well look who’s here, fat boy and little man! How are my two favorite flatfoots?

FRED:

Wilma! Always a pleasure to see you! When are you going to let me take you out for that beer?

WILMA:

Ha! After the apocalypse! I’d have to be a Neanderthal to go out with you!

BETTY:

Hi, Barney!

BARNEY:

Hi right back at you, beautiful. Nice to see you.

BETTY:

Likewise, I’m sure. What’s up?

FRED:

This guy was sleeping on the bench and when we woke him up to move him he started going crazy, then he got all agitated.

WILMA:

(Checking H.M.’s pulse.) Sir? Sir? I’m Wilma and this is Betty we want to check your blood pressure, okay? It’s a shame you couldn’t have left him sleeping there, huh? I mean if he wasn’t bothering anybody.

BARNEY:

Not our call. Ronnie C. says the solution to our fair city’s crime problem is to nip it in the bud, and that includes vagrants.

H.M.:

Each solution creates new problems somewhere down the line, “The only constant is change,” Heraclitus said in former times. If we think we’ve found the answer, the one that never varies, I have stock for you to invest in swamp land and tooth fairy. For each of us is a seeker, a part of His great plan, He knows the answer, sees into the heart of every-man.

BETTY:

I see what you mean, he is kind of creepy! Sir, we want to check your eyes. Look at the light please. (She pulls a tiny pen light from her shirt pocket and flicks it left, right, and then upward.) Hey, Wilma look at the time! Our shifts ended: Overtime pay, baby!

H.M.:

So upward we claw with vengeance from the mire and the slime, know that the world can be our garden decked in fruit quite sublime. Look around your ivory tower at the things we all have lost- no time to spend with loved ones- shall we tally up the cost?

BETTY:

Vitals all seem good. I think we’d better transport him for a tox screen. Call it in will you, Wilma?

H.M.:

Each given the gift of life as we follow our own plan, dare we cast off fear and loathing and then help our fellow Man? Or spend our time upon this earth feeling bitter, feeling small? Each can grow strong wings if from our chrysalis we will but crawl.

WILMA:

It’s like he’s in a parallel universe! He’s having a conversation that barely touches ours. I bet he’s schizophrenic.

FRED:

Oh, listen to her. Shall we call you Doctor Wilma?

WILMA:

Listen, I’ve had a lot more education than you have and I had to pay for it by scrubbing dishes, no GI bill for me, fatty!

H.M.:

Is that a rich man scrubbing dishes or living in luxury? He counts his hours with his loved ones as a treasure for all to see.

WILMA:

Well whoever he is he’s some kind of poet. Do you think we could take the cuffs off? He seems pretty calm. What do you do for a living, sir and do you have a home?

H.M.:

I am a common laborer, no man knows naught what’s in my head, I absorb life’s blows and buffets as I earn my daily bread. The streets I live on are not pretty, they can be both ugly and quite mean. My world is seldom a place of joy where ladies dance in time serene.

FRED:

I’m not going to be responsible for taking the cuffs off. Let’s transport him and be done with it.

BETTY:

I think he’s sweet on you. He’s calling you a lady.

H.M.:

Still as I journey home-ward, after my day of struggling and tedious strife, I take an extra moment’s time and flee to a small earthly paradise. Sweet lilacs shade the hovel to which I wander, it is a small and simple shack, though her exterior is decrepit still she radiates the peace I lack. For on its eastern border, always basking in the sun, is a row, a baker’s dozen, of fragrant lilacs standing tall along the run.

BETTY:

Barney, what do you say? Can you un-cuff the old coot?

BARNEY:

Well, Fred?

FRED:

Nothing doing. I don’t trust this guy any further than I can throw him.

H.M.:

These simple vibrant bushes always give to me a thrill, as in May by them I wander and my nostrils they do fill. I am no kind of gardener, I have no thumb of green, yet to this beautifully pungent smelling garden lovingly do I cleave. Though my toil is long and daily drudgery I do have my fill, still to my fragrant lilacs I dance and never trudge. Lovingly these extra furlongs I embrace with heart wide open, to smell the sweet gift from He who is our final judge.

WILMA:

Okay, then let’s get him on the gurney. The sooner we transport him the sooner I can rest my aching feet.

H.M.:

Expectantly the ultimate corner I turn now anticipating a scent quite heavenly, though exhausted in soul and body I travel to my private Gethsemane. My trek’s sweet fruit soon I will be reaping gifts from the seeds I did not sow, so many times I’ve stood here weeping as God’s great beauty strikes me as a hammer blow.
But as I come to the mean cottage my eyes are met with a horrid sight. The lilacs all have met their maker and said their final good-nights. A baker’s dozen of God’s creatures, ruined, destroyed, forever rent. In stunned disbelief this truth I ponder as though my life’s now wholly spent.

FRED:

And again with the blows! See, there’s no way we should take the cuffs off him.

WILMA:

(Brings gurney next to H.M.) Sir, please sit up on the gurney. That’s it. Good job!

FRED:

Cuff him to the gurney, Barney.

H.M.:

In my grief my eyes mist with tears, I see a sight that is not there: Centered ‘tween twelve martyred lilacs stands my Lord with stigmata bared. I shake my head to clear my eyesight and allow my world to stop its spin. The destruction of my fragrant twelve apostles surely is a mortal sin. (H.M. is in tears.)
At times I’ve reeled in wonder at the folly of those men who willingly spend fortunes saving whale, horse or ancient tower. I’ve thought it waste to spend time and money on such insipid folly but now in this time my life’s laid bare by this destruction of a flower.

BETTY:

I don’t know about that schizophrenia thing, I think he’s bipolar. Look at him crying over a bunch of flowers. And they’re only in his head!

WILMA:

Maybe he’s both. One more and he’ll have a hat trick! (They bring up the side of the gurney and place Velcro restraints around his head, body, legs and arms.)

H.M.:

I need the power of God’s mercy on one who knows that he is lost. Gone was my beautiful earthly garden and I could not count the cost. So I stood before the bodies of His twelve all stripped of life, reflecting on my folly as I play Thomas all my life. Countless times You have complied as I’ve asked to plunge my hand into your side, Lord; I have seen your crown of thorns yet ever do I leave you asking, “Show me a little more.”

FRED:

Okay, he’s getting weird again. You parked around the corner?

WILMA:

Yeah, just over there.

H.M.:

The death of twelve sweetly scented angels had me down upon my knees, I pray that I will stay there as it is you I know that I should please. I need not beg for your forgiveness, it is a gift you freely give, I’ll try to share your loving mercy as my days for you I’ll live.
There are times I’ve smelled of Judas as I drank my coke and rum, watching as the blood of children ran red in gutter’s slum. Oh the times I’ve reeked of sadness and with opiates I anesthetized, as I looked into the mirror and saw only eyes that I despise.

BETTY:

Kick the parking brake off the wheel, will you, Barney? Thanks!

H.M.:

How many times have I abandoned the needs of my fellow circumscribed, clawing with Lucifer’s pitchfork to the top I most despise. So often have I seen the children donning soldiers’ vestment, while to their sacrifice I withhold His holly testament. These warriors who defend us as in mire we do crawl, God release me from my torment show how to again stand tall.

BETTY:

I’m off as soon as we drop him off. You wanna’ go get a drink or something?

BARNEY:

Yeah, I’m game! We’re done too. How about you, Fred?

H.M.:

I want to drink the wine like blessed Jesus, eat his body drink his blood. If my actions meet not his purpose why have I rejected his sweet love? We all can rise up in our anger, curse the light and damn the truth. My simple buds of May’s sweet lilacs surely from our bonds can loose.

FRED:

Well I’d love to, but only if Doc Wilma’s willing to be seen with a Neanderthal.

WILMA:

Are you buying?

H.M.:

Please up-sweep me in your arms my Jesus, help me live my life in thee. Slavery or total freedom, which is the path for me? For you my life and soul forever reaching, please don’t leave me in the ground. My heart so small and that of a weakling, minute in size and with murmurs sounds.

FRED:

Yeah, I’m willing to pay for the pleasure of your company.

WILMA:

Har, har, har! Very funny. You buy and we’ll see how it goes.

BETTY:

Great! We’ll see you at the hospital.

BARNEY:

See you there.

H.M.:

(Wheel out H.M. as he speaks.) My streets are still the mean ones, nothing looks as though it’s changed, but in my mind the world’s reborn, priorities all rearranged. I am a common laborer, no man knows naught what’s in my soul: As life strikes and buffets me, loving all’s my worthy goal.

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