tagRomanceLucifer's Library

Lucifer's Library

byKrenna Smart©

Lucifer’s Library

A one act play

Based very loosely on Sartre’s
No Exit

CAST

Lucifer - Handsome and sinister. He holds the keys to each character’s potential salvation or damnation.

Millie – Young, buxom milk maid from mid-1800s England.

Veronica – Well endowed Upper Main Line Philadelphia debutant from the early 1950s

Paige – Senior associate attorney at Kickim, Schrewem & Rhune, PC. 2008.

Leslie – S 1960’s hippie

Leo – A magician

Alex – The head of a pan-global corporation

Mack – A former Navy Seal who owns Dirtywater – a private security company

Dion – A rock star

Voice

Setting

Four single women are in purgatory. Purgatory is a very cozy library with a large fireplace burning brightly. The room is hexagonal. The fireplace takes one side. The doors take the others. There is a large anniversary clock on the mantle. Four overstuffed chairs are placed around the room. There is a table in the center of the room. The women have just arrived. They are wearing ragged costumes appropriate to their stations in life. They look around, disoriented. They each pick out an easy chair to sit in. They wait silently for a minute. Lucifer walks in carrying eight ornate books. The walls are white. During the play as each story unfolds it is surrealistically projected on the wall behind each speaker. As the protagonists tell their tales the screen will show the action. When the women describe what they have read to the other women, any dialogue in the books will happen at one of the four doors of the library.

LUCIFER

Good evening ladies. I see you’ve found your way into my library. You all look lovely tonight. Can I offer you a drink, something to eat? Oh. You’re dead. You can’t. Sorry. Well. Let’s get down to it then.

PAIGE

Wait a minute. What is this place. Am I damned or not?

VERONICA

Yeah. Look, I just got here. Give me a minute to catch my breath…. so to speak.

What are we being held here for?

The other women chime in.

Yeah. What gives? This isn’t right…. (And so on and so forth)

PAIGE

Who the hell are you anyway?

LUCIFER

Calm down, calm down. My name is Lucifer. I’m sure you’ve heard of me.

The ladies nod and agree.

Okay. Today I’m giving you four ladies a break. Ordinarily suicide …. Well, there’s Hell to pay. Literally. Mandatory sentence. But once in a while I get bored. Go back. Look at old files and if a case or two touches my heart,. I go to bat for the dammed with the Big Guy. I’m not all bad. The press I’ve been getting lately!! You ladies got the short stick as far as love, romance, hearth and so on were concerned. I picked your cases out of millions….. Anyway. Here’s the deal. Take it or leave it. I’ve brought in eight novels. Each novel has a heroine. Four live happily after. The other four, well…. You know. Agony for eternity. Each is a true life dilemma; a quandary for you to step into and to make some changes in your silly ass lives. If you don’t want to play the game you’ll rot for in hell for all eternity. You have four days. Starting tomorrow at 9:00 am. So…. I’ve got responsibilities. Time’s wasting At least for me. Have fun ladies. I bid you good night.

PAIGE

Well this is great. Just great. If I could get my hands on that son of a bitch, he’d be the one in hell. What did I do to deserve this? I did everything….

MILLIE

Well, what about me? How’d you like to spend eternity six months pregnant? Fucking little bastard never stops kicking. And my back… . My breasts…..

LESLIE

Well at least you had the chance to have a kid. Michael was my life and….

VERONICA

Shut up. All of you. Just shut up. I’ve got to think.

LESLIE

Give me a couple of those books. I’ll figure it out and I’m outa here.

Leslie reaches out and grabs at the books.

PAIGE

Wait. What if you get two of the good stories? That leaves one of us going to hell for sure. I’m not willing to take that chance.

VERONICA and MILLIE

That’s right.

MILLIE

Put them in a line. We draw numbers. Each takes the numbers given. Let’s get started. I really gotta pee. I can’t hold it much longer.

PAIGE

No. We have to think this through. We gotta get it right. What if all this is a trick? I mean, look at who we’re dealing with. Lucifer. The King of lies. What if it’s God testing us? If we make a deal with the devil we’re sure to go to hell. I think we should throw the books into the fire.

VERONICA

No!! Don’t do that. If it’s a test. We should at least know exactly….

PAIGE

That’s right. We have to make an informed decision. Not be hasty. We don’t have much time.

LESLIE

Okay hotshot. What do you think we should?

PAIGE

What do I think? Well, we should at least get to know each other. Figure out how we got where we are. The clock doesn’t start to tick until tomorrow. What time is it?

MILLIE

I don’t have a problem with that.

VERONICA

Well…. It seems to me….

LESLIE

I don’t know….

VERONICA

And we should read the books. Figure out which apply best to each of us. That’d give all of us a better chance.

MILLIE

I don’t know how to read..

LESLIE

Oh, come on. It’ll take months. We have four days. Just give me a couple of books

PAIGE

What’s your hurry? Got a hot date? Go ahead. Take your damn books.

LESLIE

No. But I know Michael is up there waiting for me. I….

PAIGE

How do you know?

LESLIE

I just do.

VERONICA

You don’t know anything.

LESLIE

Yeah? What makes you so smart? Who the hell are you anyway? I just want to get out of here.

VERONICA

We all do. Stop whining.

LESLIE

I’m not whining.

PAIGE

You’re whining.

LESLIE

Fuck you

MILLIE

Shut up. We’re not getting anywhere. Three of us agree. If you don’t want go along with us. Well, go ahead. Pick your damn books. We don’t need you anyway.

LESLIE

Oh for God’s sake. Okay. So, Miss dairy queen. Who are you and how did you get here?

MILLIE

I’m Millie. I’m sixteen years. You’re right. I’m a milk maid. My da’ was Duke Worthington’ gardener a few years back. It was just him and me. We lived in a nice little cottage. About a year and a half ago…. Actually, a lot longer than that. What year is this?

PAIGE

2008

MILLIE

Oh my goodness. A whole lot longer. When I turned fourteen I was given the job in the dairy. I liked it. Something soothing about leaning against a cow and thinking about things as you milk.

LESLIE

That’s disgusting

VERONICA

Shut up. Let her talk.

MILLIE

The Duke’s younger son, Geoffrey started comin’ around at the end of the day, wantin’ to walk me home.

PAIGE

I know where this is heading.

MILLIE

My da’ didn’t want him to but I didn’t see the harm.

PAIGE

Oh my God. What an idiot!

LESLIE

Shut up.

MILLIE

I told him to stop and he was so hurt. He was a fine, winsome chap. Handsome. Quick with his tongue, too.

VERONICA

I’ll bet.

MILLIE

I meant he was funny. He didn’t try anything until mid-summer’s night. Geoffrey said he just wanted a few dances with me. He told me I was prettier than anyone of the ladies. So we went off dancin’ a bit. I drank the mead, ‘n he was drinkin’ whiskey. On the way home he said he had to stop in the barn. Make sure the animals were tucked in. The groom was at the party and the stable boy was sound asleep.

LESLIE

So he lured you into the stable? What a bastard.

MILLIE

No, he was no bastard. He was the Duke’s son pure and simple. But he wouldn’t inherit. His brother, Michael was first born. So Geoffrey had to find a way to make it on his own.

VERONICA

A rat bastard. Go on.

MILLIE

Well, the animals were all safe. Geoffrey started kissing me. I though the world of him. He said he couldn’t stand the whey-faced twit the Duke had in mind for him to marry. He was all full of plans about how to make his own way. He was going to join the regiment. He said he’d take me with him.

PAIGE

You believed every word of it, didn’t you? Poor little fool. It was statutory rape. That’s what it was.

MILLIE

No. It weren’t rape. It was never…. The lovin’ was wonderful. I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world.

LESLIE

Then what happened?

MILLIE

He kept coming to the barn. I’d stay late with him. My da’ got wind of it somehow. Probably the rotten little stable boy. He whipped me soundly, and….

PAIGE

He whipped you? That’s inhuman…..

MILLIE

Inhuman? No he were just trying to beat some sense into me. I should have listened. We weren’t noble but we were from good stock and with sound morals. Well, the next midsummer’s night I was all excited. I thought we’d have a dance or two and I was hoping he’d remember the anniversary. But I when I went to meet him he wasn’t in our favorite spot. I didn’t see him at all that night. Two days later I heard he was marrying the girl he told me he despised. He didn’t even have the guts to come and tell me. My da’ said it were all for the better but my bleedin’ had stopped. I knew I was trouble deep.
But I still thought he loved me and thought maybe he’d not marry the girl or at least would do something to help me. One day I caught up with him when he was on his way to the carriage. He was going into London to see his lady. When I told him I was pregnant he said “why was I coming to him with my problems?” He said acted like he didn’t know me. When I started to cry. He said “oh for Gods sake girl. Buck up. It’s not the end of the world. You’re not the first maid I’ve gotten “up the spout,” and you won’t be the last.”

I went all cold. I couldn’t bear telling da’ -- the scandal. I pretended I wasn’t pregnant for as long as I could. I was six months gone when the stable boy looked at me and said “you’re putting on a bit of weight there Millie. You got a man to marry you? I would but I’m too young for you.” There was nothing else to do so I hanged myself in the barn that night. I was so angry.... I wanted to make Geoffrey and all of his line suffer. So I put a curse on him and haunted him and his children. Geoffrey’s first born drowned in the pond beyond the barn. His other son Thomas inherited when Geoffrey died of a heart attack. Thomas had a girl and a boy. Twins. I haunted them too. When they died it was the end of their line. So here I am. Damned, I guess. I’m sorry for it. I should have let it go when I died.”

LESLIE

Wow. That’s creepy.

MILLIE

So what’s your story?

LESLIE

Mine’s just plain bad luck. My name’s Leslie. I’m 25 years old. Well, that’s what I was when I died. I met Michael at Woodstock.

MILLIE

What’s Woodstock?

LESLIE

Woodstock was a big music festival that happened in 1970 (CHECK THIS). It was a three day festival. All of the best musicians in the world gathered for the sake of peace and love. It was incredible. Dylan, Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills.. Peace, love and rock and roll. That’s what makes the world go ‘round. If the he Beatles hadn’t broken up and John Lennon wasn’t assassinated, well, the world would have been….

PAIGE

Oh, come on. The Beatles were plugged by the British government to get people’s mind Philby and MacLean and the cold war. John was going to spill the beans so he was assassinated. It was just a fluke that they made such a big hit in the states. That scene when they flew in – they hired half of the girls. The others got all excited and….

LESLIE

Oh no. You’re nuts. That’s not true. You’re a fucking liar. Take it back. You’re a conspiracy freak. You think there were two gun men on the shady knoll and that the government’s hiding the fact that aliens have been watching us for thousands of years.

PAIGE

Precisely. And what I know about the Twin Towers….

VERONICA

What on earth are you guys talking about?

MILLIE

Why would the king care about musicians? Spys, okay. But musicians? That’s ridiculous.

LESLIE

Is not. You just don’t know….

MILLIE

Is too. What do you know about royalty?

PAIGE

We’re not talking royalty, we’re talking government. They’ve got their hands into everything and…..

VERONICA

What does it matter? Come on. We’ve got to focus. We don’t know each other’s names and we’re at each other’s throats. That’s just what Lucifer wants. I’m not going to spend eternity listening to you guys squabble.

MILLIE

She’s right. I told you my tale. What’s your story?

VERONICA

It’s not much of a story. It’s actually kind of sickening. My name’s Veronica. I was raised to be a rich man’s wife. Oh, and a mother, of course. I grew up in Main Line, Philadelphia. The first words I remember were “sit up straight, be a lady, how are you going to catch a good man wearing a dirty shirt? If you frown your face is going to freeze like that.” I was taught just enough about a lot of stuff to get by. Piano lessons when I was four years old. Ballet from age six until twelve. I went to private schools, where I was taught about comportment and manners and how to handle servants. I loved to read, and puzzles and arithmetic. Oh, and I loved to sing but…. Anyway. When I graduated from Riverview I had a year as a debutant. Every day I had to dress right and listen to old women chatter about how blue their blood was and which gentlemen were meant for which girl. Every night there was a dinner or a dance or a party. Terribly boring. I was supposed to marry Chad who was nasty creep. After the midsummer dance he drove us to the Jersey shore. He was tired of all the fuss and stuff. So we walked on the beach for a while. He started kissing me. I didn’t like it much. I told him to stop. He didn’t. When I tried to get away from him he started slapping me – not enough to leave a mark. Well, he raped me. I wanted to kill him. He laughed. “What’s the big deal?” he said. He said I ought to get used to it. We were going to have a long and happy marriage. “The first time’s always hard for a girl. But now it’s out of the way, everything would be just fine.”

After all that I had to go with him to get home. The next night I sneaked out my bedroom window. I stole some clothes from my brother. I drove out of the garage with the lights out. I went to a bar. I met a really nice, gorgeous man. Tony. We played billiards and I won. We got a table and talked for a while. He was completely different from Chad. He listened to me. He was funny and smart and very sexy. We started seeing each other on the sly. He never tried to take advantage of me. HE treated me like a lady. I fell in love with him…..

PAIGE

So what happened?

VERONICA

Tony asked me to marry him. I asked him how would he support me. He said it wasn’t a problem. He told me he cleaned septic tanks for a living. It was his father’s business. He’d take over managing it in a few years but until then he had to learn the business from the bottom up. I was devastated. How in the world would I tell people…? I was disgusted and broke things off. Then found out I was pregnant. I went to Tony and told him about Chad. Tony wanted to kill him. But he found a doctor for me. The doctor made a bad job of it I got sick and my parents found out. They said I should buck up and keep my mouth shut. Maybe I hadn’t ruined things. Chad was still not engaged. I should have told them all to fuck off an gone with Tony but I didn’t have the guts. So I slit my wrists.

PAIGE

Eeewwe. That’s awful. Ya know, our stories are kind of similar.

VERONICA

Really?

PAIGE

Yeah. My name’s Paige. I’m…er, was, a lawyer. I grew up on Long Island. My parents were depression children.

MILLIE

What’s that?

PAIGE

I’ll explain later. I got to get this out. My father was incredibly talented. He could do anything. He was a carpenter, a plumber, an electrician…. Anyway, right before he married my mother he landed a very stable job. Both of my parents were looking at age thirty with no mate and no kids. They married in a hurry and didn’t know anything about each other. They came to despise each other. My father was always terrified he’d loose his job and we’d be out on the streets. My mother hated everything except beer, cigarettes and the kids. Every weekend my mother would start drinking beer and taunting my father. They’d yell and scream at each other, throw things and always ended up beating each other up. But the violence never spilled over onto us kids. So, when I was a kid I was told over and over that education was everything. Career, career, career was all I heard. But in the background my mom whispered get a good career you’ll catch a good man – not like your father. Then you’ll be happy.

Well, I was miserable. I was scared of my mother and desperate to please my father. My dad left for work every day at 7:45 and got home at 5:00 sharp in time for dinner. Day after day, year after year. Drudgery. Finally, I got to college. It was great.. My brother was working on his PhD in math and my sister got her nursing degree which came with a Mrs. Degree. She caught a doctor on the way up and never looked back. I decided to go to law school. Everyone was thrilled. I hated it but I thought it just went with the territory. I thought work had to be grueling for it to mean anything. I got good grades and passed the Bar first time. But the market for lawyers was glutted and I couldn’t find a job for love or money. And all through this I was sure a white knight was going to charge in and life would be a fairy tale. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon. I opened my own practice. Lived on a shoestring. Thing of it was, I was very shy. I started taking court appointments – defense cases in juvenile delinquency and child neglect. I was terrified of doing “real law.” I figured I couldn’t mess up in kiddie court. I was scared of trials, prosecutors, judges. The pay was horrible. Taxes and student loan payments broke my back. Finally I landed a job in a ‘real’ law firm. I did dull, dull, dull, probate work. So I started getting loaded every night after work. A fifth of vodka a day. I managed to hide it. Then I made a huge mistake. I started sleeping with one of the partners. In all honesty, I didn’t want to work. I wanted to drink and take on as little responsibility as possible. Where was my white night? The affair went sour. On the seventh anniversary of my being hired my lover called me into his office. He told me I wasn’t partner material. I was a looser and a drunk. It was time for me to move on. Move on to what?

I commuted to work by subway. I spent the afternoon in my office swilling vodka. On the way home I waited for the train and jumped.

MILLIE

Jesus.

LESLIE

Man. That was a statement. Good for you!!

PAIGE

Good for me? No. That’s what got me here.

LESLIE

You should have shot the bastard. That’s what you should have done.

VERONICA

Huh uhn. Then she’d have been toast.

MILLIE

But she would have paid him back.

PAIGE

Yeah. Then God would have put me and slime ball in the same room for eternity.

LESLIE

Okay. It’s my turn. I’m Leslie. I was a hippie. Free love, peace, sex and rock and roll. Well. Sex and rock and roll first then love and peace. I saw the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and my life was changed. I worshiped them. Still do. I came from an average family. Life in the ‘burbs was so borrrring. I had to move. I knew if ever got to meet Paul McCartney he’d fall in love with me. Well. That was my fantasy. I got caught up in the drug culture. I dropped out of school and started following the bands. I met some…. Okay. I was a groupie. I thought I was Lucy in the Sky. You know. I tripped a lot. I was used a lot. But I went to Woodstock and met this incredible guy. Michael. He was naked and covered in mud when I first saw him.

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