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An Inner Conflict

Set of Characters in Play
John: Factory worker
Mary: John’s wife
Jeremy: John and Mary’s son
Walter: Chief of a Publishing Company and John’s former coworker
Jane: Walter’s wife












An Inner Conflict

Scene 1
[Set: a dark room with a single, flickering candle. The tiny room is full of furniture: a desk in the front and two bookcases on each side. The desk is full of papers, and everything is in a mess. A small window lines the wall left of the desk and bookcase. A wooden chair is in front of the desk. At the back of the room, two beds stand. One is larger than the other. The apartment is in two abandoned rooms of a furniture factory. The factory is in an industrial community, right outside New York City. It is December, 1939]
John: [writing, midnight]
One more sentence and I’ll be done. Tomorrow I will head to the publisher’s office and open the world of success for myself. Through my sorrowful story, I will quench the thirst, feed the ravenous hunger, and ignite the fire, for myself and my family.
[Heading to bed]
I will tell my harsh story, and with the help of God, will thrive from it!
Scene 2
[The next morning, in the kitchen. The kitchen is the same room as the living room. The bedroom is shared by John, Mary, and Jeremy]
Mary:
Good morning.
John:
Good morning. Do we have something to eat?
Mary: [with a hint of tears in her eyes]
You know the details of our livelihood. Better not to repeat it every morning. There are two pieces of stale bread for Jeremy and us.


John:
That will suffice. And now, let’s not stay on this issue. I know well enough our situation, something that’s bound to change this very day.
Mary: [Softly, her voice breaking]
And if it doesn’t?
John: [hesitantly]
It will.
Jeremy: [Entering, excited]
Good morning!
Mary:
Good morning. How did you sleep last night?
Jeremy: [Speaking rapidly]
It was horrible. Something strange is happening. The trains never used to run so late. But that’s not all. The factory workers were blasting the radio all night long. I heard every single word.
Mary:
The world is at the brink of war, that’s why. But John, hurry on. Your meeting is in two hours, and you must walk to the bus station.
John:
I must admit that I am feeling under the weather today. Mary, could you please go and present my book to the publisher? You know it as well as I do…
Mary:
I would do anything for you, and this is certainly not an exception [Putting on her coat]
John:
Thank you.
Mary: Well, off I go. Goodbye.
John: Good luck.
Scene 3
[Set: at the publisher’s office in central Manhattan. The room is adorned with plaques and paintings. A mahogany desk stands in the middle, with piles of books and papers and a lamp. There is a file cabinet in the back.]
Mary: Good morning, miss.
Secretary:
Good morning.
Mary:
I have an appointment with the publisher.
Secretary: [genuinely]
I’m sorry, but the publisher has gone to California because of a family emergency. He won’t be coming back for a significant amount of time. If you would like, you can give me the manuscript, and I will give it to the publisher once he returns.
Mary: [With tears in her eyes]
Thank you, and sorry.
Mary:
That would be very nice of you. Thank you and goodbye.
Scene 4
[Set: Three weeks later at the publisher’s, Walter Higgins’, house in Manhattan. The three-story house is decorated with paintings and statues. The floors are marble. The furniture is all made of mahogany. The silver is made of pure silver. The contents of the house are worth millions of dollars.]
Walter: [pacing nervously]
Hello, darlin’
Jane:
Hello, honey-bun. Why are you actin’ nervous?
Walter:
It’s nothin’.

Jane:
No, Walt, I see somethin’s botherin’ you.
Walter: [Screaming]
It’s nothin’ I tell you, nothin’!
Jane: [calm but persistent]
Now Walt, calm yourself down and tell me what’s makin’ you nervous.
Walter: [very nervous]
Okay. I’ll tell you. [They sit at the kitchen table]
Do you know how our business selling narcotics started?
Jane: [beginning to be worried]
No…
Walter: [trembling]
Eight years ago, when I was workin’ at a bank, I barely had enough money to feed myself. Most of my paycheck went to the rent. I decided to steal some money because I had access to all the bank’s cash. I was goin’ to use it to buy narcotics and then to sell them for a higher price. After I stole the money, I wrote a note to a friend of mine whom I knew had a connection to drug dealers. I was hopin’ he could connect me to them so I could start sellin’ drugs. At the bank, this note fell out of my pocket with out my noticing it. My friend John picked it up and read it. He later confronted me about it. He told me he was worried about me and warned me that what I did could lead to very bad things. I got very angry at him and told him not to interfere in my life. I made him promise he would tell no one, dead or alive, what I was doing.
Jane: [composed]
Yes, go on.
Walter:
I suddenly became very paranoid. I kept thinkin’ that John would report me to the police. I thought I was goin’ crazy and I didn’t know what to do about it. Then I came up with a plan. I would tell the higher management that John was sellin’ the company’s secrets to other corporations. I figured this would keep him busy with findin’ a job, and would ensure he had no time or credibility because of his social status to tell anyone what I was doing. I told him I was going to make sure he was killed to just in case. A bit later I decided to change my last name because I wanted to clear my name from drug dealin’. Now I have to meet with John and if he sees me, he will know who I am.

Jane: [very calm]
Why are you telling me all this now?
Walter: [yelling]
Don’t you get it??? Are you an idiot??? The bastard has written a book about how I was selling drugs, stealing money, and how his whole family is sufferin’ from poverty because I got him fired! If he sees me, he will realize who I am, change my name in his book, and I will be arrested.
Jane:
How do you know this?
Walter: [starting to lose control]
You idiot! They came to my publishin’ house to publish the book.
Jane: [innocently]
Is that bad?
Walter: [Shouting at the top of his lungs and starting to slowly and nervously walk around]
You are definitely stupid! [he throws a crystal vase] What kind of person did I marry? [he throws a porcelain plate] The whole thing is bad! I’m going to be arrested for life! [he knocks a chair over]
Jane: [starting to understand]
Okay, I understand. What should we do about this?
Walter: [with a strange look on his face]
Murder. Murder will get both of us out of this situation.
Jane:
There must be another exit from the maze.
Walter:
I don’t want to do this. I have ruined my life already. It is enough. But once you start the winding path to Hell, there is no trapdoor that will get you out.


Jane: [suddenly becoming aware of the seriousness of the situation]
Let’s not do this. [sinking down to her knees]
[praying] Please, please spare me from this monstrosity of an act!
Walter: [becomes calm]
Jane, you’re right. Let’s spare ourselves the trouble of livin’ right away.
Jane: [in a frenzy]
No Walter! I forbid you…
Walter: [to himself, in a trance]
Before John found my note, we always helped each other.
Jane: [praying]
Please God.
Walter: [to himself, in a trance]
I don’t understand.
Jane: [praying]
Save us from the looming disaster.
Walter: [to himself, in a trance]
He tried to save me from my life’s path as if an angel sent him.
Jane: Restrain us from hurting our fellow.
Walter: [to himself, in a trance]
But the devil took hold of me, and I betrayed my friend. I cannot lift my finger against him.
Jane: [hearing Walter’s last words]
Thank you, God.
Walter: [terror stricken, getting out of his trance]
Jane, I’m lost. What should we do?

Jane: [crying]
I don’t know. Is murder our only option?



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