Swans Commentary » swans.com August 29, 2005  



A Summons From God


by Charles Marowitz






(Swans - August 29, 2005)   Scene: The Heavenly Kingdom. The archangel GABRIEL scampers through the swing doors holding his golden trumpet. George nervously scampers to his feet.

GABRIEL: You may enter. He will see you now.

GEORGE: Through there...?

GABRIEL: Through the doors. Best put out the cigarette before you enter.

GEORGE (smiling and blinking): Sorry -- I didn't even realize I was smoking. I kicked the damn things years ago.

(The archangel motions George through the doors to where God sits at a large burnished card table.)

GOD: Come in, boy. Just finishing a game of Solitaire.

GEORGE: I was very surprised when I got the summons to appear... I just couldn't imagine what...

GOD: I know, those damn things always scare the pants off people -- I'm sorry if it distressed you.

GEORGE: Oh no, not at all. I was very honored. I've always wanted to meet you in person. I mean I've heard so much about this spread -- I mean, this kingdom. It's very impressive.

GOD: It's not as large as the Crawford Ranch, but it suits my purposes, and I'm so rarely here, it doesn't really matter anyway. Now George, let's get straight down to business.

GEORGE: Sure... I mean, yessir... I mean, gosh, I'm not quite sure how I should address...

GOD: Let's not stand on ceremony, George. It's not an ordination, y'know, it's just a little chat. Just call me "G." and let's leave it at that.

GEORGE (nervously): Gee... gee...

GOD: No, not Gee-Gee! That makes me sound like a French whore -- just "G."

GEORGE: Gee, I mean, yes, G.

GOD: So to get right down to it, and excuse me if I'm blunt but, we're going have to ask you to leave the congregation.

GEORGE (gulps): Leave the...

GOD: To vacate your place with us... to terminate any further association.

GEORGE: But for God's sake -- I mean, "G." -- what's brought all this on?

GOD: The thing is, you've been alluding to conversations we've had and bringing me into the picture on many different occasions, suggesting that I was in cahoots with a lot of your own crummy decisions and, as you know, that's strictly against the rules. I mean, that's almost as bad as outing a CIA agent. Not only does it give me a bad rap, it kinda demeans me in the eyes of the people and what's worse, it's bad for business.

GEORGE: But I've always given you credit, G. -- in the speeches, with Congress, in the press, on TV -- I've always said I was doing your work.

GOD: That's the point, W. -- Do you mind if I call you "W."? I mean, we sort of are on first letter terms here.

GEORGE: No, not at all.

GOD: That, as I say, W., is the trouble. It's one thing taking my name in vain; for Christ's sake, that happens all the time -- it always has -- I'm used to that. But to involve me in all that phony WMD stuff, and then to drag me into all this "right-to-life" malarkey and stem-cell rubbish... I mean, it's lowered my standing all over the place. I'm too ashamed to tell you where I stand in the polls today, and I'm afraid the slippage is mainly due to you.

GEORGE: But those polls don't mean a thing, G. We had all the polls against me when I ran the last time. They can all be fixed -- just like the ballots. I mean, Karl and I can rearrange all that stuff so you'll be right back up there.

GOD: It's not as easy as that, W. And besides, I've got it on the highest possible authority that K. is already having his lower birth prepared downstairs.

GEORGE (quietly hysterical): K.? Downstairs?!? You mean...

GOD: Beyond the bargain basement, W. -- as far as down goes.

GEORGE: But he's been a godsend to me...

GOD: There you go doin' it again! I never sent K. down to you! I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing. Why, his numbers are comin' down faster than a whore's underwear. And it's me who has to bear the brunt of all that. As you know, I have this 24-7 prayer line and those prayers are comin' faster'n hell. It's an endless stream and all calls come straight to me. I can tell you, what people are prayin' for these days makes me ashamed I ever took up this job in the first place. And the language they use would make your ears turn to cinders. Horrible, wicked, obscene prayers from all over the place, and you're in 'em and so is K. and Condom-leaser what's-her-name, and that Rummy, what's-his-name, and a whole kaboodle of your old corporate pals. It's so unbearable I have to pull out my earphones to avoid goin' barmy.

There's nothing for it, W. You've got to resign from the congregation.

GEORGE: But where'll I go... What'll I do?

GOD: You can always go back to the booze and the drugs -- that's what they're for -- to provide a little aid and comfort.

GEORGE: But You saved me from all that!

GOD: Yeah, but how'd I know you were gonna get me into this kind of fix? How'd I know that all the people down there would start turnin' against me because of all your capers? It's not personal, W. It's just a matter of self preservation. I've got a reputation to uphold. So long as you carry on like you're doing, you're making things impossible up here. I mean, first we lose the congregation, then the donations dry up, and the next thing y'know we'll have to shut down altogether.

GEORGE: Shut down?!? Could you really shut down? That's incredible!

GOD: It was "incredible" for Enron too, wasn't it? And for WorldCom and all the rest of 'em! One day they're thrivin' and the next, they're in the toilet. I tell you, if it can happen to big guys like that, it can happen to Me as well.

GEORGE: Can't we work out a compromise, G.?

GOD: What kinda compromise, W.?

GEORGE: I can slow things down... Fess up about the WMDs, bring home some of the boys, rethink the UN delegate thing, explain that I was just a little pissed off about that Valerie Plame business and get her a cookin' series on PBS -- I mean, try to make amends...

GOD: I dunno, W. Things have gone to a very far pass.

GEORGE: But you've always talked about forgiveness, and giving a guy another chance. That's always been the line, hasn't it?

GOD: It has, but you've been so goddam...

GEORGE: Aw, come on, G., have a heart. Anybody can change. Look, to show you I'm in earnest, I'll fire Rummy right now, send Condy out on a concert tour and give Saddam a free pass -- let him settle down in Bensonhurst or someplace.

GOD: I dunno, W., I dunno...

GEORGE: Give a guy a break. I swear to you I'll make amends, I'll get your old crowd back again. Your numbers'll be right back up there in a matter of weeks. Just let me stay in the congregation. I love those Sunday hymnal sessions. I couldn't live without 'em. I've even learned some of the words. Go on, you won't regret it.

GOD: You're a persuasive little guy, W., and I've always liked that about you. And you never could take "no" for an answer. But you'll have to swear on a stack of bibles: "No more Boltons, no more Wolfowitzes, no more Gonzalezes, no more private confabs with Me..."

And for Pete's sake, keep the missus away from the stand-up comedy -- that just lowers the tone of the whole shabang.

GEORGE: I swear on my father's head...

GOD: Let's keep him outta this or we scrub the whole deal!

GEORGE: What d'you say?

(GOD meditates for a long moment, then a broad smile wrinkles His face.)

GOD: You've heard it before and I hope you never have to hear it again, so here it is for the last time: "Go, my boy, and sin no more."

(GOD stretches out his beringed hand, which W. kisses slobberingly as he backs out of the chamber. On the way out, he encounters the archangel GABRIEL, practicing on his golden trumpet.)

GABRIEL: How did it go, my son?

GEORGE (winking and giving a thumbs-up): Everything's cool. I've got The Old Guy wound around my finger.

GABRIEL: Go in peace, my son.

GEORGE (viciously exiting): Blow it outta yer ass!

GABRIEL: Sorry, I don't know that number.


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art11/cmarow26.html
Published August 29, 2005