"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." - Dorothy Parker

                                                The Waiting Room


            (Scene opens with two men in a hospital waiting room. One, a Christian, is pacing
            the floor while another, a Muslim, is on his knees in prayer.)


            CM: (After pacing several steps) What are you doing?

            MM: (Looking up) Were you talking to me?

            CM: Well, I’m not talking to the chairs.

            MM: I was praying.

            CM: I can see that, but why are you doing it here?

            MM: There’s no other place, and it was time for my prayer.

            CM: (Pointing) There’s a chapel around the corner.

            MM: My prayers wouldn’t be welcome there.

            CM: What do you mean?


            CM: (Waving his hand in the air) Are you a…..

            MM: (Staring blankly for several seconds) Yes. And I don’t think the others
           would like a… (waves finger in air)… in their chapel.

            CM: (Sarcastically) No, I suppose not. Still you could take it somewhere else.

            MM: Why don’t you take your pacing somewhere else?

            CM: (Snapping) Because its not inappropriate.

            MM: And my praying is?

            CM: Yes.

            MM: Why?

            CM: Because it just is.

            MM: (Mutters) You must not pray.
           CM: (Angrily) I pray. I just don’t make a habit of doing it where everyone has
            to see me.

            MM: I’m not forcing you to watch me. I’m not forcing you to do anything.
                   You’re the one telling me to go.

            CM: (Mumbles) Smart ass.

            MM: (Mumbles) Intolerant jerk.

            CM: Oh, I’m intolerant? That’s funny. Yeah, tell me have you persecuted anyone
            lately for embracing another faith or questioning the prophet?

            MM: (Angrily)  No. What about you? Light a cross on someone’s front lawn
            today? Force any dark skinned heathen to convert?

            CM: Ah, well, at least we don’t force our women to cover themselves up and beat
             them if they get raped.

            MM: No, you just used your religion to justify slavery and Manifest Destiny

            CM: My faith is a peaceful one.

            MM: So is mine.

            CM: Hardly.

            MM: What’s that supposed to mean exactly?

            CM: You know what I mean.

            MM: Yeah, I know. We’re all terrorists. Right? So, it’s okay to search us at every
             airport and have cops pull us over for no reason.

            CM: Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you…(Pauses

            MM: Before what? Before what!? Before I bombed your country? Is that what
                        you were gonna say? Is that it?

            CM: That’s not what I was going to say. I don’t know what the hell I was going to
            say. I just have a problem with you praying here is all.

            MM: But you have no problem interrupting me?


            MM: (Hesitant) Is something else bothering you?

            CM: What business is it of yours?

            MM: It isn’t. I shouldn’t have asked.

            CM: (After a brief pause) My wife she’s been in the delivery room too long.
            Something’s wrong. I know it. (Places hand on chest) You ever get a feeling that
            you just can’t explain in words, but you know is true?

            MM: All the time.

            CM: Yeah, well I know something isn’t right. Something’s gone wrong and I
            can’t help her from out here. And I hate it.

            MM: (Folding his hands together) My wife’s in labor tool She went in a little bit
            ago. I’m praying for a safe delivery.

            CM: Your first child?

            MM: Yes.

            CM: Mine too. A boy.

            MM: (Pointing to himself) A girl. She isn’t born yet and I’m already worrying
            about her. I worry that she won’t be healthy or find a good husband, that other 
            people won’t like her.

            CM: I think about his first steps and baseball games, whether or not he’ll have
            children of his own.

            MM: It’s easy to get caught up in wondering about your children. Especially with
            the world the way it is.

            CM: gone and turned itself upside down lately hasn’t it? Seems like there’s
            always a war being fought somewhere between people who’ve hated each others
            for hundreds of years. Always some one hurting someone else, stealing from
            them, lying to them.

            MM: Can’t turn on the T.V. anymore without seeing some one drinking poisoned
            water because there isn’t enough clean water to go around, breathing toxic air
            filled with all the pollutants we put in it. You see them scavenging for food that
            isn’t there.

            CM: All for stupid reasons too: different culture, traditions, color what clothes
            you wear, what part of town you’re from.

            MM: Because no one cares. Everyone gets caught up in their own lives and are
            too busy to look around. Even if they did care, what could they do about it? A
            handful against the world, what chance do they have?

            CM: It’s disgusting.

            MM: It’s sickening.

            CM: It’s brutal.

            MM: It’s heartless.

            Both: It’s not what God wants.

            (The two men stare at each other in surprise.)

            (A doctor enters and stands next to Christian man.)


            Doctor: Can I have a moment sir?

            CM: Of course.

            (Doctor and Christian man stand to the side)

            Doctor: There’ve been some complications with your wife’s delivery.

            CM: What’s wrong? What happened?

            Doctor: Your wife has lost a lot of blood and her heart rate dropped, but she’s in
            stable condition now and the baby is fine.

            CM: Will my wife be okay?

            Doctor: As I said, she’s stable. But, it’s a very touchy situation.

            CM: I understand.

            Doctor: Look, I promise I’ll keep you informed as often as I can. Okay?

            CM: Thank you.

            Doctor: You’re welcome.

                        (Doctor exits stage. CM sits down heavily and puts his head in his hands)

            MM: Is everything all right?

            CM: (Looking up) No, it isn’t

            MM: I’m sorry to hear that.

            CM: I don’t know what to do.

            MM: there isn’t anything you can do except to trust the doctors and hope that
              your wife will pull through. Faith is all you have sometimes.

            CM: If things don’t get better, what’s the point?

            MM: What’s the point of going on if you don’t believe things can be better?

                        (Silence. MM resumes his praying. CM sits watching for a few moments,
                        then, kneels beside MM.)


            CM: Would you mind if I prayed with you?

            MM: No, I wouldn’t.


            (In unity Christian man recites the Lord’s Prayer and Muslim man recites Surat Al


            MM Rahmaanir raheem
                    Al hamdu liliaahi rabbil ‘aalameen                            
                    Ar rahmaanir raheen                                                          
                    Maaliki yaumid deen                                                                                
                    Iyyaaka na’budu wa iyyaaka nasta’een                      .
                    Ihdinass siraatal mustaqeem                                      
                    Siraatal ladzeena an’amta ‘alayhim                            
                    Ghayril maghduubi ‘alayhim wa laad daalleen       
            CM Our Father who art in Heaven,              
                    hallowed be Thy Name.
                    Thy Kingdom come,        
                    Thy Will be done,                               
                    On Earth, as it is in Heaven.
                    Give us this day our daily bread
                     and forgive us our trespasses,
                     as we forgive them that trespass
                     against us. And lead us not into
                     Temptation, but deliver us from evil.
                     For thine is the kingdom, the power,                                                                              
                     and the glory for ever and ever.


            MM: Ameen.

            CM: Amen.

                     Fatiha . The light begins to fade three quarters of the way through. Prayer is finished)

Eric Loya