Purgatorium | Teen Ink


May 19, 2013
By ChristianS BRONZE, Shippenville, Pennsylvania
ChristianS BRONZE, Shippenville, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A fool flatters himself, a wise man flatters the fool." - Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton



GABRIEL angel of death

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE receptionist like woman behind the counter of the lobby

[ the stage is dark as a single light hits the floor along the aisle between the audience, TRISTAN enters the auditorium following the light confused. the light leads him onto the stage and the stage lights up. Before TRISTAN is a lobby like room where a man lay sleeping on three chairs and a older woman behind a counter is writing something. There are several chairs and a few small tables with magazines on them.]

TRISTAN: Um... hello?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: ( DEVIL’S ADVOCATE looks up from her papers with a bored facial expression) Come on in dear. Take a seat and fill out these forms. (slaps a large stack of papers on the counter)

TRISTAN: Where am I?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: ( flatly) Welcome to purgatorium, I’m sorry for your loss, and so on and so forth...

TRISTAN: What loss I’m fine?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Oh don’t do this to me now hun! It’s always the same with you stiffs. ‘ Where am I? How did I get here?’ You walked in front of a semi truck, where do you think you are?

TRISTAN: Am I... dead?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Oh sweet jesus! I’m sorry hun but I hear the same stuff day in day out.

TRISTAN: I’m too young to die! I’m only 27! I have plans... (interrupted)

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: We all got plans baby boy. But sometimes fates got other ones.

TRISTAN: You got the wrong guy lady, I should be at the greek deli across the street right now! I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t mean anything!

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Yeah, the Greek Isle Deli. He’ll be the judge of that.

TRISTAN: (slumps down to the ground; then after a moment looks up) Wait a minute. Is this... heaven?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Do you see any pearly gates? Maybe you are hearin’ choirs of angels.

TRISTAN: Am I in hell? (shoots up into stand again angrily)

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: No you are a little ways up from the brimstone bath house. You’re right smack dab in the middle. You can’t just go one way or the other you gotta have a trial. So consider yourself summoned. Now if you’d fill out these forms we can get this show on the road.

TRISTAN: So who are you then? Some kinda receptionist for the damned?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: I ain’t no receptionist sweet cheeks, I got just as much power as all the others, I was just placed here by um.... corporate we’ll say. I’m the Devil’s Advocate. Now again I’ll ask, fill out these forms!

TRISTAN: (TRISTAN takes the papers and a pen and sits on one of the chairs looking over the papers) You want me to make a completed list of confessions and apologies for every sin I can remember?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: I don’t make the rules, I just go with it. They judge you on that stuff so I’d be detailed, if you feel guilty it’s time to get it off your chest. He knows anyway.

TRISTAN: Who’s he?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Death. He runs this piece but he doesn't rule it, he’s just middle management.

TRISTAN: So what, this is Judgement day! Frickin Armagedon!

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Not armageddon. ( goes back to working) You got another thousand years till then.

TRISTAN: What if I can’t remember every sin I have ever done?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Well then my guess is it wasn’t all that bad hun.

TRISTAN: You can’t just guess! This is my eternity here!

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: (quits writing and looks up at TRISTAN) You have no idea what eternity is mortal! You have spent twenty some years pointlessly searching for your own version of truth in your moraless swamp of saturated sins you call earth. Do not act as though I can change that, or the outcome of today’s trial. You will crash and burn and how you do so is up to you. So no I have no idea what you should do concerning you forgetting your sins.

(quiet ensues as DEVIL’S ADVOCATE returns to her work)

TRISTAN: Am I going to be judge for things I don’t remember?

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Well just because you forget doesn’t mean he does.

TRISTAN: Well I understand that, but like you said if it isn’t a big deal...

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: Everything is a big deal in the cosmos. The fact that you exist is a big deal. The fact that if you drop something it will always hit the floor and fall is a big deal. So no it is not a big deal even if the sin is miniscule.

(ding is heard across the stage)

DEVIL’S ADVOCATE: They are ready for you. Down the hall, double doors at the end.

(Scene ends)


[GABRIEL sits behind a raised podium. He is a tall man in a suit. Nothing very abnormal about him other than his lack of eyes in his eye sockets. His hair is slicked back and he sits writing on some sort of scroll. Two doors lay behind him. One leads to heaven and the other to hell. Neither is marked from the other. TRISTAN enters the room and GABRIEL keeps his head down and does not acknowledge his existence as he cannot see him]

GABRIEL: Come in.

TRISTAN: You’re death?

GABRIEL: That’s one name for me. My birth name is Gabriel.

TRISTAN: Where are your eyes?!

GABRIEL: I have no eyes, I am Death itself and death is indiscriminate and blind. Therefore I am objective and do only as I am instructed.

TRISTAN: The lady out in the lobby has eyes?

GABRIEL: She is a fallen angel. She simply does the work that I wish not to do. The record keeping and the communication. She is not death and can see your face, I only see your actions and your thoughts. Your mind is a troubled one Tristan.

TRISTAN: Well I’m sure you can understand why if you know everything about me then.

GABRIEL: Certainly my boy but still no action can be blamed on the mistakes of others.

TRISTAN: So how does this work.I just found out I’m dead and you’re about to decide the fate of my eternity so excuse me for being for being a little confused.

GABRIEL: This is simple, we go over your life and find the good and the bad and determine if you should be punished or rewarded.


GABRIEL: We only count from an age when you understand right from wrong of course. So lets start. Do you recall when you were ten when you broke your mother’s vase because you were mad at her?

TRISTAN: Well vaguely, but I don’t see how that reflects the quality of my soul!

GABRIEL: Not really, but your arrogance right now does.

TRISTAN: (sighs) Okay, I’m sorry. Yes I vaguely remember but I was young and dumb and asked my mother’s forgiveness after.

GABRIEL: Yes but this is when you began to hate your mother, is that not so? As your life progressed on from this point you slowly became more bitter toward her.

TRISTAN: Are you implying I had no reason to be?

GABRIEL: I know your mother’s crimes. She was a prostitute and a drug abuser. She neglected you many times throughout your childhood. Yet one day after shooting up with heroine she realized that it was having no affect on her. It had been pushed out of her body and a voice spoke to her. The voice told her to sober up and fly right so that she could raise you as you deserved and by god she did!

TRISTAN: I understand that but it is not my fault I was bitter.

GABRIEL: Mother is the word for god on the lips and hearts of children Tristan. You were not bitter toward your mother.

TRISTAN: Who was I angry with?

GABRIEL: You were angry with existence, with god, with everything. Your mother brought you into the world and she was naturally like god to you so you cursed her.

TRISTAN: She was a bad excuse for a mother and my angry sproute for her neglect and mistreatment. No God was not my target it was my junkie mom!

GABRIEL: You deny your feelings because you fear them Tristan.

(TRISTAN does not respond)

GABRIEL: As a 16 year old you crashed your car into a young woman and her son. They were returning from a walk. You had been drinking heavily and still got behind the wheel. They both died with their blood on your hands. Remember that guy?

TRISTAN: And I paid for what I did to them. My entire world was broken apart. I was charged with manslaughter and though I got acquitted because my mom forked over her savings to an expensive lawyer, I still couldn’t drive for years. What guy there were many?

GABRIEL: The guy, you know that one guy... the one who was crying on the side of the road. The one who flung himself at his son’s broken stroller?

TRISTAN: Well yes?

GABRIEL: He was the boys father. He spent years in depression until finally he killed himself. He separated himself from the rest of the world. He was punished for what you did and he was at home sitting on the couch.

TRISTAN: Yeah, and he sued me three different times and took millions of dollars from me that I didn’t have!

GABRIEL: That all?

TRISTAN: What do you mean?! That’s as much as the legal system could throw at me!

GABRIEL: (Takes a pause) What was her name?


GABRIEL: The woman you killed. Do you even know her name. Did you ever look at yourself and say wow I screwed way up! I should have never gone into that car! Did you ever say I’m sorry?

TRISTAN: Her name was April Smith. She was a 35 year old woman who worked as a nurse at Saints’ Hospital. Her son was four year old Ronnie. He was in Pre- K with Miss Kroh as his teacher. He was one of the smartest little boys she had ever worked with. (Voice breaks) I hated myself the rest of my nine years because of that night. I wished every moment that you had taken me and not them but that never happened. Yes, every day I said those things.

(GABRIEL pauses)

GABRIEL: You committed thirteen counts of fraud between January of last year and October of this year. Any explanation?

TRISTAN: I’m not the smartest of guys. I didn’t do well in school and I don’t have any talents so I did what I had to to big corporate fat cats who didn’t need the money I took from them anyway.

GABRIEL: Your IQ is 125. You had every ability to do well in school you simply chose not to. You could run faster than most of the kids in your class and could do math better than your teachers you just never gave it any effort. You took that money because you wanted to.

TRISTAN: I took that money to survive.

GABRIEL: So then you expect me and them to forgive you?

TRISTAN: Well, yes.

GABRIEL: Tell me then why you would not forgive no one in your life for how they wronged you. You hated your mother, severed communication with your sister when she said she didn’t like your girlfriend. You hit your girlfriend when she called you a name. You cheated on her of course she’s gonna call you that!

TRISTAN: I have a temper I’m sorry!

GABRIEL: It went way too far Tristan. You beat a man half to death after he rear ended your car. You broke a man’s nose in a bar when you were drinking just as bad as your mother drank. You shoved your sister into a wall and broke her arm when you were 17 because she deleted your World of WarCraft account for god’s sakes! The count of unspeakable words you shot to people throughout the years is too high to keep record of!

TRISTAN: Okay, yeah I’ve got a temper.

GABRIEL: A temper that started after you killed that woman and her son. This temper was because you were angry with yourself and took it out on others.

TRISTAN: I don’t know what to say. I had a sucky life and was a suck guy. Sorry.

GABRIEL: Again with this arrogant self centered attitude! You expect me to was away your sins and you won’t face them! You are on the cusp of going to hell and you can’t wipe away your smug expression. Tell me this why, after your mother died, did you have to walk right up to her grave and spit on her headstone.

TRISTAN: I hated her. You know this.

GABRIEL: Yet to make more harm to injury you had to show that sign of great disrespect to her.

TRISTAN: Yeah I’m selfish and arrogant, you’ve made your point.

GABRIEL: I don’t think you are naturally selfish Tristan, I think you were angry. At the same time you walked right up to a dog with a broken leg and nursed it back to health until it was running on that leg. That dog loved you more than it ever had loved anyone. You loved him like your own child until the day it died. That was a pure action Tristan, you can love, you can give.

TRISTAN: Yeah I can.

GABRIEL: Why did you never show it?

TRISTAN: I never got it so I never gave it back.

GABRIEL: Seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"/I love you now until I die./ For I must love because I live/ And life in me is what you give.

(TRISTAN drops to the ground in tears)

GABRIEL: Your mother whispered that every night to you before you slept. She was not the greatest mother but she loved you and tried to show it but you wouldn’t accept.

TRISTAN: I’m sorry mama.

GABRIEL: She wrote that for you ya know, right after you were born. She lie in the bed and wrote about you in her diary. She sang and sang to you and that was the only time you ever were calm as a child. When she sang.

TRISTAN: That’s the only thing I liked about her; her voice.

GABRIEL: What do you remember about her death?

TRISTAN: Not much.

GABRIEL: Do you know that the last breaths she breathed were used to sing that song just like she did when you were a child laying on her chest as a newborn or balling as a toddler after she yelled at you. Always sweet and silky, infused with love.

TRISTAN: I wasn’t there. I was drunk at a bar.

GABRIEL: One more issue to discus. What do you remember of your death?

TRISTAN: Nothing. I know I was angry and sad before but that’s all.

GABRIEL: You committed suicide Tristan. You walked out in front of a Mac Truck because you were angry.


GABRIEL: Does this surprise you?

TRISTAN: Yes, I mean, I had contemplated it before but never imagined I’d go through with it. I guess I see why I would looking back. Most would considering all the crap I went through.

GABRIEL: Many see that as no different than murder. I could send you to hell rightfully on that factor alone. Why shouldn’t I?

TRISTAN: Because I think life sucks and I think it was my time, no matter if I did it or you did it without my consent. I was done with the world, just the same way everyone else that has died is. I don’t hate the world I just hated the one I saw out of my eyes every day. I needed to escape before I went over the edge.

GABRIEL: I’d say you did go over the edge.

TRISTAN: So what now.

GABRIEL: I make a decision to either acquit you of your sins or damn you for them. You then go through one of the doors behind me to your eternity.

TRISTAN: Which one is which?

GABRIEL: Both might lead to hell if used wrongly, and both may lead to salvation.

TRISTAN: What are you saying.

GABRIEL: I’m saying that it is not for you to know until after you have used one.

TRISTAN: I guess I can’t do any more to persuade you then?

GABRIEL: You can always persuade me Tristan.

TRISTAN: I don’t know what else to say. My world was hell already, I tried to escape it once and if you put me back there then its my own fault. I treated everyone the way I deserved to be treated because of my self hate. Do as you see fit.

GABRIEL: (thoughtfully hesitates) Go through this door here. ( points to a door behind him to his left)

(TRISTAN walks to the door and opens it and goes inside. He hesitates as he closes the door)

TRISTAN: What will it be like?


TRISTAN: Where I’m going, what will it be like.

GABRIEL: It is different for everyone Tristan. Just as your perception of the mortal world is shaped by your thoughts so will your perception of the next eternity be up to you.

TRISTAN: Can I ask one more question before I go?

GABRIEL: Of Course, those who ask will receive.

TRISTAN: Are people sad?

GABRIEL: Many people are sad Tristan.

TRISTAN: No I mean about me, my death. Are people mourning me?

GABRIEL: Who is Anna?

TRISTAN: An old girlfriend, she’s the one I hit.

GABRIEL: She is very sad. Perhaps she is your mourner.

(TRISTAN nods thoughtfully and turns toward the darkness beyond the door)

TRISTAN: Seek not, sweet, the "If" and "Why"/I love you now until I die./ For I must love....

(door closes behind him)

(Stage goes dark)

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