Nineveh

Nineveh

Nineveh_03

4 male actors one should be African.

JOEL

But this tower stuff, it’s all cocky-poppy. I know. This whale. She’s got holes on the top of her head. Blow holes. One or two. We could climb out! Jump out.

CHANCE comes up to them with a leaf.

RICHIE

What’s he telling us?

JOEL

We’re near land!

CHANCE

rips out the stitches.

(SOUND of guns in the distance)

CHANCE

Die- A- Monds.

JOEL

What?

CHANCE

My uncle/

RICHIE

What?

CHANCE

/his stomach big swelling he’s sick and they think he has diamonds so they cut him open

JOHNNY

Come on!

CHANCE

I go to the tap. With the kids and the wives. Fill the bucket. Wash. Then school. Bang! The rebels are coming. But I have to fill the bucket. What will they say if I come home and the bucket is empty. And I run and the house is empty. And the rebels are coming. They want the diamonds. They want me. And I jump to my neighbour’s house and I hide in the wall. And they scream where is he and they beat the neighbour until he is screaming no more and his wife is screaming no more, what can I do, if I come I am dead and my heart beats in my ears so loud they will hear it and take me and I run back to the house and they find me and they make me carry their guns and if SI run I am dead

RICHIE, JOHNNY and JOEL overlap

RICHIE

What did you do kid?

JOHNNY

What did you do?

JOEL

We’ll never get out. I’ll never learn to read properly. I’m going to die here. With the stink. With the water. His blood in my mouth down my lungs and waves and waves of it inside me.

(JOEL hits himself)

(During the past few minutes CHANCE has been constructing the scaffolding)

RICHIE

He’s at least doing something

JOEL

Stupid! We’ll die here and it’s all your fault. You could do something and all you do is read your cretin book.

(JOEL grabs it. They fight. JOEL gets it JOEL goes to the glued pages.)

JOEL

You want to read this? Do you? You know what’s in it? Open it. I dare you!

(RICHIE remains inert.)

SILENCE

SOUND of a high wind.

CHANCE takes the book from JOEL.

He unglues the pages with a knife.

RICHIE

What does it say?

JOHNNY

(takes it from him)

Men

RICHIE

What about them?

JOHNNY

Women- children. They got faces like yours. How is that?

RICHIE

I don’t want to hear.

JOHNNY

In pits. Thousands and thousands of them shovelled into the ground-so-full it’s moving with the dead. Dead people and they’re all carrying books. And kissing them.

RICHIE

Shut it!

JOHNNY

And coming to the moving soil and the moving people and the men (BEAT) soldiers

RICHIE

What soldiers?

JOHNNY

They are being sick. Sick from what they see. Skeletons kissing books!

RICHIE

(Shouting)

Why was it glued?

JOHNNY

And the dead rise up

RICHIE

(as if he is now telling the story. As if he understands it through touch/reading with his fingers).

Want to kill.

JOHNNY

The dead want to kill?

RICHIE

Kill the satan-men who killed them. But they can’t find them. They all ran away. Those devils, they hid what they did.

JOEL

So the dead, they find others and they kill them instead. So angry they have to kill somebody.

JOHNNY

And then it’s done.

RICHIE

And the children of the new dead, they seal the books because they want to hide what happened to the men and women in the pits. They seal the books. The books that used to be kissed.

JOEL

(clowning and jumping up and down as if being blown to bits in a grenade attack)

And so it goes on

And so it goes on

And so it goes on

And so it goes on

SPOT on CHANCE.

CHANCE

And they put the long cold steel in my hands and they scream at me

Kill your mother!

Kill your father!

Mother! Father! Your mouths are two rounds like two empty cooking pots

(He falls to the floor as if hit. When he speaks it is the man’s voice that is in his memory.)

CHANCE

Do it or we kill you!

Mother! Your eyes, swimming all over your face. Father! You give me the money to go to school. And I don’t spill the water. I come back. The tap so high I have to reach and reach. And when I come back with the bucket the plates are on the table but the wives and the children are gone. Father, don’t look at the ground. Why does the man with the gun smell so bad?

(Memory. He is hit on the back)

Ow!

(His mother’s voice in his head)

Do it son! Do whatever he wants. It doesn’t matter if we die. You must live!

Run! I have to run away. But mother. I can’t leave you.

Father I can’t leave you.

(He slows down.)

Come on boy. Drink this.

It smells bad like the man. Like the men who come for me.

(Swallows)

It’s fire!

Drink boy, drink boy, you come with us.

(SILENCE as his breath is very fast)

Mother!

Mother!!

I can’t leave you!!!

(Man’s voice from inside him)

Drink boy, drink a lot!

(Mother’s voice)

Do what they tell you son.

(BEAT)

ENDS

The full script is published in Political Plays  by Julia Pascal from Oberon books