[Production History / Rights & Royalties]

The Apostle John was originally written for the Cherry Red Productions show "Dingleberries!" a collection of short plays set in a bathroom. There is also a men's room version.

The Apostle John

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2001

Scene: A Public Restroom

(MARY is standing in the bathroom, waiting contentedly.)

(Enter NIKKI, somewhat urgently. She goes immediately to the first stall, pushes on the door. It is locked.)

Nikki. Sorry!

(She tries the door to the second stall. It is locked, too.)

Nikki. Sorry!

(NIKKI stands off to one side to wait. She looks around, antsily. She notices MARY, smiling benevolently.)

Mary. Hi.

Nikki. …Hi.

Mary. You got a minute?

Nikki. (a little paranoid) What? Why?

Mary. Do you have a minute?

Nikki. No! I mean, why? A minute for what? What do you need?

Mary. I just want to ask you something.

Nikki. (relieved) Oh. Sure, okay. Ask me what?

Mary. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

Nikki. Oh shit.

Mary. I guess that's a "no", huh?

Nikki. (looking for a way out) Uh…

Mary. Can I ask you something else?

Nikki. Y'know, I'm in kind of a hurry. I really gotta go. I mean, I gotta "go", and then I gotta get out of here. I'm right in the middle of this thing.

Mary. Yeah, me, too. …It seems like we're always in the middle of something, though, doesn't it? Lunch date, or a meeting or a lunch meeting or a conference call. Middle of work. Middle of school. Middle of life. No time. Not a minute to spare. …No time for Jesus.

Nikki. Yeah. Bummer.

(Long pause as they both don't look at each other.)

Mary. Did you hear that?

Nikki. What?

(They both listen.)

Mary. There it is again.

Nikki. What? What??

Mary. That silence. That's the saddest sound in the world. That's the sound of me not telling you about Jesus. And you not having time to hear me if I did.

Nikki. Look, I don't want to get into this right now.

Mary. Oh, me neither. That's the last thing I want to do. But you really leave me no choice.

Nikki. I leave you no choice??

Mary. You have to go to the bathroom, don't you?

Nikki. Yes. No. None of your business!

Mary. What if it kills you?

Nikki. What??

Mary. What if you drop dead in there and we don't get the chance to chat after? Do you know how many people die on the toilet each year? More than you'd think. Trying too hard, I guess. It's our competitive nature. Can't leave well enough alone. Gotta fight. Gotta win. Gotta... (She gives a long scatological grunt, then…) Bam! Pop an aneurysm and you're gone like that.

Nikki. That's disgusting.

Mary. You think that's bad? Try dying on a toilet and then being cast into a lake of fire right after. That's really gotta suck.

Nikki. Okay, that's enough.

Mary. I don't know you. You don't know me. After this, we may never see each other again.

Nikki. Please, God, let that be true.

Mary. How do you think I'd feel if you went in there and dropped dead and I just stood by and didn't even try to throw you a life line?

Nikki. Hey, I don't need a life line.

Mary. You don't need one? Oh, I see, you've got it all figured out. When the Judgement Day comes, you're just going to walk right up to the Heavenly Father and say, "Look at my schedule! When did I have time for salvation? Thursday I was in meetings all day, and Friday I had that lunch, and you know how tired I am at the end of the day, so let's not do it in the evening, and sure there was that minute I had in the bathroom, but that's my alone time. I need to focus. I can't have somebody looking out for my eternal well-being.

Nikki. Okay, look, lady, this is neither the time, nor the place.

Mary. You're right. No problem. Why don't I catch you later then?

Nikki. Good idea.

Mary. How about the next time you're in church? When will that be? This Sunday? Next Sunday? The week after that?

Nikki. I don't go to church, if that's what you're getting at.

Mary. And you probably don't want me bugging you at the airport either.

Nikki. No, I don't want you bugging me anywhere.

Mary. So, it's not really the time or the place that bothers you at all, is it?

Nikki. Yes! Yes, it is! This is a public restroom, for Christ's sake!

Mary. If only that were true. You know, they say that God is everywhere. But I don't think he's here. I don't think he's in a public restroom. You never hear stories about a good bowel movement bringing a person closer to God. You never see someone sitting in a stall with their head bowed in prayer, thanking the Lord for the precious gift of a clean urinary tract. God's blessings are all around us, everywhere you look, except here. Here it's just you, and me, …and temptation.

Nikki. Now hold on!

Mary. You say this isn't the place for religion, but I say this room needs it more than anywhere else on Earth.

Nikki. (knocking on the stall door) Hurry up in there!

Mary. (going for the kill) You're like the Lord Jesus Christ, knocking at the door to someone's heart, but she won't let him in. But what else can he do? He can't peek over the top. That wouldn't be right. But no one's answering, and he has to get in there. He can't slide under, can he? But maybe that's what the Lord Jesus is doing right now. Maybe he's sent me to slide under the door to the toilet of your heart to save your soul with his holy touch.

Nikki. (backing away) Don't you touch me.

Mary. What are you afraid of?

Nikki. I'm afraid of you creeping me out is what! I'm afraid this is a public restroom and I gotta take a pee and I'd like some privacy, but you're getting in my personal space and it's freaking me out!

Mary. No, I think what's really freaking you out is that you don't have Christ Jesus in your personal space. And without him, you're just a lonely sinner cornered in a dirty women's room by a dangerous psychotic who believes in crazy fairy tales and won't leave you alone until she makes you believe what she believes.

Nikki. Yes! Yes, that's it!

Mary. But with Jesus, you're never alone and you're never in danger because it's not crazy, because the fairy tales are true, and all you have to do is let yourself believe them.

Nikki. (pleading) Please, just leave me alone, I'm begging you!

Mary. Will you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and savior?

Nikki. Yes, yes, I'll do whatever you want!

Mary. Will you let him into your heart and into your soul?

Nikki. Yes, anything, please! I just want to go to the bathroom.

(MARY falls to her knees and "joins" NIKKI in prayer.)

Mary. Lord Jesus, hear this sinner's prayer. Fill her with the Holy Spirit, and grant her relief from her worldly suffering and a life everlasting with you in Paradise. We ask it in your holy name. Amen.

(NIKKI is sobbing as MARY finishes praying.)

Nikki. Oh God… Oh God…

(Then MARY crawls under the door to the stall and opens it from the inside. The stall is empty.)

Nikki. What the--??

(MARY gives the dumbfounded NIKKI a hug and walks out, smiling contentedly.)


The End