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Completed Challenges


Week Thirty One: Story about God's favorite who falls...


SETTING — A modern-day campaign office: two chairs and a desk.


AT RISE — JESUS sits behind the desk, rifling through some papers. JUDAS sits across the desk with a clipboard.

JUDAS: Okay, fine. But what about a gift shop?

JESUS: A gift shop.

JUDAS: Yeah, like, in the temple.

JESUS: You know I have very strong opinions about that.

JUDAS: So do I, believe me! There’s a lot of ways to show the big guy your love. Key chains, refrigerator magnets, tee shirts…

JESUS: You do remember that time I found a marketplace in the temple—…

JUDAS: You flipped some tables, yes.

JESUS: I flipped a great many tables. Why did I do that, Judas?

JUDAS: Commerce and religion and something. But that was other people. This would be our gift shop.

JESUS: Next.

JUDAS: Okay, well, I think you should come out strong against the gays.

JESUS: …Why?

JUDAS: Because homosexuality is an abomination?

JESUS: Did I say that? When did I say that?

JUDAS: I dunno. We just kind of inferred.

JESUS: I really never said that.

JUDAS: Okay. (beat) But it is, isn’t it?

JESUS: “Love thy neighbor…?” Are you actually listening when I speak or?

JUDAS: Well of course I listen! But what if your neighbor is a man who lies with another man and they do… man things… with each other?

JESUS: …Is he still your neighbor?

JUDAS: In that he lives near me?

JESUS: That’s what a neighbor is, yes.

JUDAS: Okay, but! Suppose he doesn’t live near me.

JESUS: …Is there anything else?

JUDAS: Jews. (JESUS just stares) Pretty awful, am I right? With their hairpieces and... funny words?

JESUS: For the love of—… I AM A JEW!

JUDAS: Maybe technically, but you’re not Jewish.

JESUS: I think you need to leave.

JUDAS (standing up to go): Alright, fine. But think about the gift shop. We’re still thirty silver short this quarter.

JESUS: God will provide.

JUDAS: Ha! That’s a good one. Seriously though: key chains. Think about it!

JUDAS leaves. JESUS bangs his head repeatedly on his desk.



Week Thirty: Interconnected vi(g)nettes...

The Forgetfulness of Places

I am troubled by the forgetfulness of places.

Why is there no record of the fall afternoon Halle and I clasped hands and ran down Beacon street, right past the historic office building where I would someday work, our feet pounding the uneven brick sidewalk all the way to our first class as college students? Before there was hurt and confusion there was briefly joy, a sense of boundless possibility. Beacon Street does not even keep a muscle memory of this, but it doesn’t seem that I will ever forget.

There’s the alley where, passing through one early September morning, I saw several men standing somberly around a parked car with the radio on. The announcer was saying something impossible about a second tower being hit, and I didn’t understand yet that everything was different now. And here I am again, cutting through that same alley on my way back from the Charles Street post office, having just mailed off my application for a master’s program in Ireland where I will be waitlisted and then, eventually, accepted. But foremost on my mind this morning is 1) that I am so glad to have rediscovered coffee and 2) I cannot wait to kill a lot of goblins on my buddy’s Playstation 2.

Or what about my favorite bench by the Duck Pond—the one framed perfectly beneath a giant weeping willow? There I am at the end of high school, sitting with my high school buddies, contemplating where life will take me. And here I am again early winter of my Freshman year, regretting leaving home. Brooding about the many upsetting things I cannot control. And look—Junior year. In the best shape of my life and convinced I was just average. Sitting there with my girlfriend, who I was not supposed to be dating but was anyway. I don’t know what we’re saying, but I can see us perfectly in the late spring light. She is sitting cross-legged, her blonde-brown hair a study in artfully arranged chaos. She is smiling in that genuine yet mischievous way she did as I gesticulate passionately about theatre, probably. Today, we live on opposite coasts and barely talk, but there we are, sitting together on our favorite bench. Can’t you see us?

Tomorrow morning I will walk from the Park Street T station to work, and before I go inside I might pause to see two college kids laughing as they race down the hill. The other pedestrians will look on and shake their heads and maybe swear, and I will wonder if I ever looked that young.

At lunch, I might grab a sandwich or a slice of pizza from Charles Street. I’ll pass that alley and glance down it, but not go. I haven’t been back through there in years.

I might then cross into the Public Gardens and see if my favorite bench is open. It’s usually not—turns out that a lot of people like that bench. But I’ll sit on another one nearby, and eat, and think.

Sometimes I will write. Sometimes I just brood. And sometimes I contemplate where life will take me.