A play in two parts, by Paul Carroll.
[Lights up to JERRY walking on-stage. Two stagehands cross the stage from opposite sides holding APPLAUD signs towards the audience. Jerry takes his seat beside two guest seats. He is dressed semi-formally, holding cue cards and a microphone. He lets the audience applaud for a while before the stagehands walk off in the directions they came from. Jerry is an excited character, barely capable of staying still in his seat.]
Jerry: Welcome, welcome, welcome, and hello. Welcome to the Jerry Davidson Show, my name’s Jerry. Today we’ve got a couple of newlyweds in trouble. Joseph believes his wife, Mary, has been cheating on him. He claims the baby she gave birth to a few months ago isn’t his, and that he just wants her to confess to the truth. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’ll welcome onto the show: Joseph!
[JOSEPH walks on-stage. He dresses well, to a surprised look from Jerry, and sits back into the seat. At the same time, the stagehands cross once more with the APPLAUD signs, retreating quickly.]
Jerry: Joseph, newly married. Congratulations by the way. But tell us, why do you think Mary has been cheating on you?
Joseph: It’s simple: we didn’t “do” anything before we got married.
Jerry: Do? You mean sex.
Joseph: Er… yes. I just didn’t think… this is television, isn’t it?
Jerry: Joseph, are you familiar with this show at all?
Joseph: Not especially.
Jerry: Well… this will be interesting. So, sex Joseph. You didn’t have any before marriage?
Joseph: We didn’t believe in it. Which is kind of why I was so surprised when she turned out to be pregnant while we were in Africa.
Joseph: Teaching. We arranged it a while ago, but Mary decided not to go in the end. We had a fight, I left, and she showed up later apologising. I thought: great, she’s finally come to her senses!
Jerry: She went to Africa and you thought that meant she’d come to her senses? Joseph, what exactly did you expect her to do while she was pregnant? You can’t just leave a pregnant woman alone in Ireland like that.
Joseph: She wasn’t pregnant when I left, that’s what I’m telling you. She was a virgin!
Jerry: And she won’t mind you telling us that?
Joseph: I don’t see how I have any choice. She was a virgin, then she was pregnant, and I didn’t have anything to do with it!
Jerry: So, what do you expect her to say?
Joseph: I just want the truth. I love the baby, I do. I just don’t want to have to live some lie pretending I’m the boy’s father and that there were no problems before he was born.
Jerry: Would you leave her again?
Joseph: Leave her again? I went to Africa! We planned it!
Jerry: Just answer the question, Joseph. Don’t try to change the topic.
Joseph: Oh… right… no, I wouldn’t leave her. I still love her. I just want the truth.
Jerry: Well, you clearly think things will be okay. And I think you deserve that truth. Can we bring on Mary, to tell her side of the story?
[MARY walks on-stage in casual clothing. The stagehands cross the stage with BOO signs. They look increasingly bored, but give the audience a little longer to respond to Mary’s entrance. Mary adjusts herself uncomfortably in her chair.]
Jerry: Mary, clearly a viewer of the show going by your clothing. That, Joseph, is the dress code.
Joseph: I just wanted to look respectable.
Jerry: Right… Mary, you seem to be considered something of a slag right now. Joseph wants the truth, but you won’t give it to him.
Mary: I have been honest, Jerry! He’s just not listening because he’s a… a…
Jerry: Use the horn, Mary.
Mary: Horn? Oh, right. [Mary takes an air horn from under her seat.] He’s a *sets off horn* Jerry.
Joseph: I’m a what?!
Jerry: Joseph, please, you had your turn.
Joseph: But what was that?
Jerry: Joseph, I’m warning you. Now, Mary, the truth. You know the drill. Speak into the microphone.
Mary: I didn’t cheat on him. We had that fight, and he left me. But I still didn’t do anything. I just stayed in the flat when I wasn’t working, and a couple of weeks went by. Then I had this weird dream.
Joseph: Oh, not the dream again!
Jerry: Joseph, let her talk. Go on Mary, tell us about the dream.
Mary: I was lying in bed, and suddenly I started getting these hot flashes. But, it was like the room was getting warm, not me. And then there was this bright light, and a man was standing in my room.
Jerry: A man? And did you have sex? Is that how you became pregnant?
Joseph: Do you honestly think a man in her dream got her pregnant? That’s even more ridiculous than the woman who claimed she became pregnant watching porn.
Mary: I didn’t have sex with him! He said to me, Mary, you’re going to have a baby. You and Joseph, he said. And you’re going to have to raise him good, because he’s the son of God.
Jerry: Sorry, the what?
Mary: The son of God. You know, the Lord, the Almighty, Yahweh. Please tell me you’ve heard of God, Jerry.
Jerry: Of course I’ve heard of God! Go on then, Mary, what did this…man say? Did he make you pregnant?
Mary: Make me… no! Jerry, no! He just told me I was going to have the son of God. He asked if it was alright, and I said yes. I thought it would be a bit of craic, sure.
Jerry: And when did God…
Mary: *sets off horn*…me? He didn’t Jerry. But, part of him entered me, and that made me pregnant.
Joseph: I don’t believe this… I man enters your room, ravages you, and tells you he’s God. And it’s not just a part, it’s a penis.
Mary: He didn’t touch me! He was an angel!
Joseph: Now you’re dropping him compliments?
Jerry: I hate to say it Mary, but Joseph seems to be on to something.
Mary: Well, then you’re both wrong. He didn’t touch me. He was an angel. An actual, literal, angel from Heaven. It was God that made me pregnant, and it wasn’t with a… a… *Mary sets of the horn again*. I swear.
Joseph: Do you have to keep doing that?
Jerry: This is the show you chose, Joseph. If you wanted swearing, you needed the other Jerry. Or Jeremy. Or Steve. But you came to me, and we’ll do things our own way. Now, Mary… this man…
Mary: The angel.
Jerry: The angel, yes. Did he have a name?
Mary: You know… I can’t remember. He said something, but it just isn’t coming to mind at the moment. I can’t even remember his face.
Joseph: You see why I think she’s been lying?
Mary: Well, I haven’t been. The angel said we had to have a baby, so as soon as I gave in the notice to the landlord-
Joseph: You were evicted!
Mary: Technicality! Anyway, I went straight to you. I had to see you. I had to get back with you. And we did. We did get back together Joseph. And it worked. We worked. We were so good.
Joseph: And then you were pregnant, and you couldn’t give me a straight explanation about why.
Jerry: You don’t think she might be telling the truth?
Joseph: You really think angels are real?
Mary: Weirder things have happened to us, Joseph! Remember that blind man who could see when he touched me bump?
Jerry: Sorry, what? I think we’re going a little bit off topic. [Mary and Joseph stare back at him uncertainly.] I know! [Jerry jumps from his seat in excitement.] We’ll bring on the three specialists to help figure out exactly what’s going on, to help you two solve your problems!
Jerry: Bring on the specialists!
[Three people in semi-formal clothing walk on-stage, again to APPLAUD signs from the stagehands. They stand near the seating area as chairs are carried in by the now-sign-less stagehands.]
Jerry: Brilliant. [Quietly to Joseph] I love this part of the show.
Jerry: So, our three specialists. Tell us, how are you going to help this… eh… lovely couple and their marriage?
Specialist 1: It’s simple, Jerry: we’ve got some tests to do! I’ll be arranging the DNA test to confirm whether or not Joseph is the father, so we can rule that part out.
Joseph: But I’m NOT the father!
Specialist 2: Meanwhile, I’ll be taking Mary in for a lie-detector test, to make sure she’s telling the truth about this whole affair of hers with the angel.
Mary: It wasn’t an affair!
Specialist 2: Tell that to child services if you lose this.
Joseph: Child services? What are you talking about?
Jerry: Joseph, hush. We’ve warned you before. People are talking.
Specialist 3: And, just to make sure Mary’s suitable to raise your baby-
Mary: Jesus. His name his Jesus. Jesus Immanuel Christ. [To Joseph] I’ll kill you calling him “the baby” all this time. You have other people doing it too!
Jerry: Mary, do you mind?
Specialist 3: As I was saying. We want to make sure Mary’s not… insane. So, we’ll be performing some rigorous psychiatric testing. You fail, you lose the baby!
Mary and Joseph: What?!
Jerry: Well, we’ll have to tell social services. You know, with this referendum passed, they’ll be able to put your child up for adoption.
Mary: [To Joseph] You did this. You selfish… *she sets of the horn repeatedly*
Joseph: Yes dear… whatever you toot, dear…
Mary: I swear, if we lose Jesus because of you…
Joseph: But you’re the one who saw an angel behind my back!
Mary: You were in Africa, and we didn’t do anything. You’re lucky that child doesn’t cry, or he’d been weeping for a week with your behaviour.
Joseph: You didn’t cry when you gave birth to him, either!
Mary: That’s because he’s the son of God. I was hardly going to need an epidural now, was I? He’s a good baby, and he loves his mammy.
Joseph: But clearly not me!
Mary: He fixed your bad back, didn’t he?
Joseph: Only after you made me carry you up the stairs in that run down B&B on the way to my parents! [To Jerry] Nine months pregnant and she makes me carry her up the stairs.
Mary: My water broke and we were in the middle of nowhere with no phones or money. We were lucky they let us take the room.
Jerry: Okay, okay, okay! Calm down you two or I’ll have you taken off the stage by force. Now, these tests are painless. And I promise, it won’t hurt too badly to lose a child that wasn’t yours in the first place.
Joseph: Did anyone ever tell you that you’re great with people?
Mary: Joseph, be nice. And don’t wear a shirt next time.
Joseph: Well, you could have dressed up better. I swear, you dressed better when you were pregnant.
Jerry: Okay, can we stop them talking? I’m getting sick of hearing other people.
[Mary and Joseph stop and stare at him in confusion. He arranges the three specialists to stand in front of the couple.]
Specialist 1: This is much better, actually.
Specialist 2: They sure do bicker a lot for a weenie and a mad woman.
Specialist 3: Well, we don’t know if she’s crazy yet.
Specialist 1: But he is a weenie.
Joseph: We’re right here!
Jerry: Okay, moving on quickly! Next week, we’ll have Mary and Joseph back on the show with the results of our tests. In the meantime, we’ve got a man who claims God is a talking plant. More on that after these commercials.
[The stagehands cross the stage again with the APPLAUD signs as the lights go down.] END PART ONE