Syndic No.30 ~ July 2020 “Table of Contents”
Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No.30 ~ July 2020 “One Act Play” (Jagdish)

Independence Day

One Act Play

By

Nitin Jagdish

 Characters

Shareen, an Indian-American woman

Ed, her husband

Chorus of election party guests

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  November 8, 2016.  The scene is Shareen and Ed’s living room.  Chorus members and Ed are sitting on couches, chairs, or the floor.  They are drinking. There is snack food on the tables.  Some are picking at the snacks. 

When Shareen enters and exits the stage, it will be at stage left.   When she speaks to the audience, the other characters freeze.  

Other than Shareen, the characters on stage are drinking when they are not talking.   

Chorus Member

The polls are always right. 

Different Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Another Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Chorus Member

The polls are always right. 

Different Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Another Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Chorus

A woman will become President tonight.

(Shareen enters the living room, refilling the bowls. Ed gets up to help. After helping, he sits back down.)

 Ed

I wouldn’t be so sure just yet.

Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Different Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Another Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Chorus Member

Thinking the man will win is a sucker’s bet.

Different Chorus Member

Thinking the man will win is a sucker’s bet.

Another Chorus Member

Thinking the man will win is a sucker’s bet.

Chorus Member

Don’t be fooled.  He’s out of touch.

Different Chorus Member

Don’t be fooled. He’s out of touch.

Another Chorus Member

Don’t be fooled.  He’s out of touch.

Chorus

His view of Muslims is obscene.

We can’t stop worrying about Shareen.

Shareen

He will not win.

(to audience)

They say you marry your best friend, but at this point Ed’s just a best friend.  We live dependably routine lives.  The spark has gone out of our marriage. 

Yesterday he brought me roses as a surprise.  It was not a surprise.  He buys me roses if he thinks he neglected me the day before. He spent Sunday screaming at the television set as the Eagles lost and pouting afterward. I knew I would get roses the next day.

Dependable.

(Shareen exits.)

Chorus

What kind of person would vote for that man?

Chorus Member

Unliberated.

Different Chorus Member

Uneducated.

Another Chorus Member

Unmedicated.

Chorus

That’s the kind of person who’d vote for him.

Ed

I’d feel much better if at least one of the networks would call Pennsylvania for her.

(Shareen enters, sits next to Ed.)

Shareen

He will not win.

(to audience)

Earlier this year, one of my best friends from high school got dumped by her husband.  She knew it was coming when she realized the only reason he agreed to keep trying couples’ therapy was to flirt with the receptionist.  

Ed would never do that.  If we went for couples’ therapy, he would take notes and put together a checklist of tasks to improve our marriage.  He’s rock-solid.  Dependable.

High school me would never have settled for dependable.  Or respectable.  Or comfortable. 

It would kill Ed if I told him it’s not working anymore.  He has given me so much.  I can’t bring myself to leave.

 

Chorus Member

Not enough people want a wall between Mexico and us.

Different Chorus Member

Not enough people want a wall between Mexico and us.

Another Chorus Member

Not enough people want a wall between Mexico and us.

(Shareen gets up and exits.)

Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

Different Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

Another Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

(Shareen enters and refills the snack bowl. Ed doesn’t get up to help. Shareen sits next to Ed when she’s done.)

Ed

If they take Shareen, they’ll have to take me too.

Shareen

That’s sweet, but he will not win.

(to the audience)

But if he won if he scored an upset if he scored the most dazzling dramatic monumental upset in American political history world history if he sent me to a camp for people who look like me a camp hastily constructed in the name of liberty if he sent me and my family to a camp way deep in the desert the heart of America this sweet land of liberty of thee we sing away from everyone here my suffocating dead end state would be smashed into a billion pieces not a glue in the world strong enough to rebuild it the freshest most terrific and hugest do-over.

Goodbye comfortable and respectable life goodbye considerate and dependable mate hello freedom hello living the life I want to live.

If he sent me away if he sent me too far away nobody can say I left Ed I would never hurt him I was only following executive orders. 

Ed

I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

Chorus Member

The polls are always right. 

Different Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Another Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Chorus

A former First Lady will become President tonight.

Ed

Did the polls get Florida right?

Shareen

It looks like you made these drinks a bit strong, Ed.  Let me get some water for everyone.

(to the audience)

I voted for him.

The freshest most terrific and hugest do-over would jumpstart my heart it would jumpstart my tired sad low-energy heart it would be a bright and shiny restart I would start every day walking through the camp feeling great again I would walk along the guarded perimeters I would feel the mud roads sticking to my feet the mud clinging to my exposed feet the best mud I’ve ever felt I would not scrape it I would greet my new neighbors when they left their barracks to collect their morning rations their terrific meals and I would feel great again.

I voted for him but it will make not dime’s worth of difference no difference at all Pennsylvania’s blue so blue a bluesy blue the most absolute model you’ve ever seen of blue a bulletproof model too blue there’s no point staying awake.  Sad.

(Shareen gets up and exits.) 

Chorus Member

Is Florida part of the firewall? 

Different Chorus Member

No not at all.

Another Chorus Member

Is Florida part of the firewall?

Chorus Member

No not all. 

Different Chorus Member

Is Florida part of the firewall?

Another Chorus Member

No not all.

Ed

I don’t know what I’d do if they tried to take Shareen from me. 

Let’s be optimistic. Before sending them to camps, the President would probably give Muslims and other undesirables a grace period to leave the country.  We’d leave for Canada.  I could make peace with never being warm again. It would be okay.

(Shareen enters and pours water for everybody.  Ed doesn’t get up to help her, which she notices. She then sits next to Ed.)  

Ed

But what would we do for money?

(Ed puts his arm around Shareen.)

Ed

I remember watching the 2015 World Cup with Shareen’s dad. He explained the rules and different types of matches to me.  I remember us yelling at the TV when India lost to Pakistan. 

Shareen

You were so loud, I thought you were watching the Eagles.

Ed

Pennsylvania’s not just Philly. When we went to Dutch Wonderland with my sister’s family, I saw the looks he got.  Nobody saw a cricket nerd, they saw a terrorist.  That’s Pennsylvania, too.

If that man wins, what will happen to Shareen’s dad? What will happen to the rest of her family?

I’d feel better if one of the networks called Pennsylvania for her.

Shareen

It’s just a matter of time, and everyone will get a decent night’s sleep.

He won’t win. He can’t win. The economy is strong.  We are at peace.  We’re headed in the right direction.  Voters will remember that.

Ed

They didn’t in 2014.

Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Different Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Another Chorus Member

You’re wrong to worry so much.

Chorus Member

The polls are always right. 

Different Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Another Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Chorus

The most visible glass ceiling will be shattered tonight.

Shareen

Our friends are right.

(to the audience)

Ed’s family is wonderful.  His sister is the kind of woman I’d get drunk with if I drank, and her children are adorable. 

The Dutch Wonderland trip almost made me cry.  Going on the train ride and waving to her kids every time they saw us from the merry-go-round and pretending to be excited about the rides and taking all of the family photos and answering questions about our baby plans sapped me.  It highlighted the fact that all of the things I didn’t want for myself are the only things that I have.

Nobody could hope for better in-laws.  How could I break those people’s hearts?

Chorus Member

Too many good people live here for him to prevail and run the place.

Different Chorus Member

Too many people are offended by his views on women, belief, and race.

Another Chorus Member

Too many people want to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

Chorus Member

Too many people know a functioning civil society needs a strong tax base.

Different Chorus Member

Too many people know he’ll use the nuclear codes to lead the world to slaughter.

Chorus

Too many people don’t want a President who lusts for his own daughter.

Shareen

I think it’s in the bag for her, and I plan to buy a special pantsuit for her inauguration.

(to the audience)

I would walk through the camp the best camp ever in history the beautiful taxpayer-subsidized paradise the most terrific paradise you’ve ever seen no the paradise we’d agree to pay for to save the taxpayers there’s a proud very proud tradition a grand tradition of paying for what you use I would walk as a standard-bearer of a new freedom unchained from this life this sad low-energy life a life made crooked and weak by my inability to say no the chains smashed by his glorious triumph a momentous November surprise winning. 

When he smashes the chains and grabs me down there yes my beautiful dark fantasy to pick me up and put me in the camp smiling the most brilliant whitest smile dazzling me blind a smile like no other smile a great smile the greatest smile so much winning how would I use my freedom what would my new path be the wrong questions just wrong I do not need a life plan a beautiful blueprint for a future of endless winning so much winning to know my life right now feels rigged and fake.

It doesn’t matter.  He’s not going to win.  Even if he won, he won’t set up internment camps for people like my family and me. 

Ed is my best friend.  He is my rock. I will endure our marriage.  I will be a good wife and mother.  I will let the isolated moments of joy redeem the dependable, respectable, and comfortable patches of our family life.  I will never leave him, I cannot bring myself to leave him.  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

 (Shareen kisses Ed on the cheek. It is a rather chaste kiss.)

Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

Different Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

Another Chorus Member

Not enough people want to take Shareen away from you.

Chorus Member

The polls are always right. 

Different Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Another Chorus Member

The polls are always right.

Chorus

A former President will become the First Man tonight.

Ed

If only someone would call Pennsylvania for her.

(End.)

 

 

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