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Entry 32: ‘The Prison Called Gaza,’ a play

Israel/Palestine
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Entry 32 in the Mondo Awards end-of-the-year Inspire-us contest is a play. We have included some of the author’s stage directions and notes to self.

CAST OF 6….ALL GAZANS

GRANDMOTHER….AGE UNDETERMEND….70?

ABDUL…AGE 40

WIFE OF ABDUL..AGE 40

ABU….CHILD OF ABDUL AGE 13

SETTING IS ONE ROOM…..SPARSE….UTILITARIAN… 1 UNMADE BED.. 3 CHAIRS….1 TABLE IN MIDDLE OF ROOM. CHEST OF DRAWERS ON BACK WALL UNDER A BLANKET COVERING A WINDOW. CHEST IS 3 OR 4 DRAWER, NOT HIGH, JUST RIGHT FOR SITTING ON……A SINK IS OFF TO ONE SIDE ON THE BACK WALL.

CURTAIN CLOSED AT START.

WARN AUDIENCE THE LIGHTS WILL GO DOWN, BRIEFLY,

2 SEPARATE TIMES NEAR THE END….SIGNIFYING A PASSAGE

OF TIME

LIGHTS GO DOWN IN THEATER…NOTHING VISIBLE…

CURTAIN OPENS …STILL NOTHING VISIBLE IN TOTAL

DARKNESS

ABDUL, HIS WIFE, HIS SON ABU AND HIS MOTHER (GRANDMOTHER) ARE ONSTAGE….

A SONIC BOOM……..VERY LOUD BA..BOOM!.

JET HEARD RECEEDING .

ABDUL…. “Damn damn damn those F 16s!” Damn their sonic booms!”

HE FUMBLES IN THE DARK WITH A MATCH THAT

GOES OUT.. THEN ANOTHER. MATCH GOES OUT…

ABDUL “Damn”

HE FUMBLES WITH ANOTHER MATCH…FINALLY

ONE STAYS LIT ALLOWING HIM TO STUMBLE TO

A LIGHTBULB HANGING FROM THE CEILING BY A

LONG CORD

ABDUL…. “Damn them….they broke the windows with sonic booms months ago, now they

do it just to keep us awake at night. Damn those Zionists and damn their

American planes”.

Wife.. “Hush your cursing…and anyway, you shouldn’t complain, those poor babies next door are the ones really hurting. They think every sonic boom is the start of more bombing and start crying. Elise says they sleep only fitfully and whimper in their

sleep nearly all night.”

ABDUL …”Yeah, those Zionist are trying to drive our babies crazy but they can’t.

Palestinians are strong. We will outlast them. We’ve lasted 60 years and we’ll keep

outlasting them. We will.”

Wife…. “You say that but…..”

SUDDENLY SHE IS INTERRUPTED BY LOUD INSISTENT

KNOCKING ON THEIR FRONT DOOR …STAGE RIGHT

ABDUL QUICKLY STEPS TO DOOR AND PUTS EAR TO

DOOR WITHOUT OPENING IT…WHISPERING…

ABDUL….”Shush….shush….”

page 2

KNOCKING BECOMES EVEN LOUDER AND FRANTIC…

AHAB… “Let me in…let me in….Quick….It’s me…Ahab…let me….”

ABDUL .QUICKLY OPENS DOOR AND PULLS THE FRANTIC

AHAB INTO THE ROOM ….SLAMS DOOR….

ABDUL…..”What are you doing here? Why so early? It isn’t even light… Who’s after you:”

AHAB “Close the door, close the door…close it…”

ABDUL “It’s closed!” “What’s goin’ on?”

AHAB MOVES TO CENTER OF THE ROOM AND

QUICKLY BEGINS TO SHUCK HIS COAT… SHIRT…

WIFE IS STANDING BESIDE THE UNMADE BED.

GRANDMOTHER IS SITTING IN A ROCKING CHAIR

AND BEGINS SLOW ROCKING….HER ROCKING

IS STEADY, UNCHANGING…STEADY JUST AS

SHE IS THE STEADYING INFLUENCE OF THE

FAMILY SHE REMAINS THE PILLAR OF

STRENGTH DURING THE UNFOLDING TURMOIL…

AHAB “Here” AS HE HANDS HIS COAT…THEN SHIRT TO

ABDUL…

UNDER THE SHIRT IS A BULKY VEST WRAPPED

CLOSELY AROUND AHAB’S CHEST

SHEEEIIIIIITTTTT !!!!! IT’S A BOMB!

AHAB… “Here, help me”.

HE HURRYS TO UNFASTEN THE VEST….

IT COMES OFF ONLY AFTER A STRUGGLE….

HE STARTS TO HAND IT TO ABDUL, WHO’S

APPALLED…NOT SURE WHETHER TO TAKE

IT OR NOT…

ABDUL “No…No…” EVEN AS HE FINALLY TAKES IT AND

HOLDS IT

AS FAR FROM HIS BODY AS HE CAN…..

LIKE THE BOMB IT IS…

ABDUL “It’s not going to go off is it?” PLEADINGLY

AHAB “No” “It won’t go off”… “You have to touch the little blue line to the red one and that will set it off, so be careful they don’t come near each other”…

ABDUL “Damn …damn..damn!.. “Damn!”…..”why give this to me? What the hell is going

on? You trying to kill us all?”.

( (page 3)

AHAB “Don’t worry, it’s a little hard to get the two wires together. It won’t go off unlesss you really mean for it to.”

ABDUL “Don’t worry?” “Don’t worry hell?” “What the hell am I doing with this thing”

HE MAKES EFFORT TO GIVE IT BACK TO AHAB…

BUT AHAB WON’T TAKE IT

AHAB “Hide it quick…I’ve got to run…they’re after me…

HE GLANCES AT THE CEILING….AS WE NOW HEAR

THE SUDDENLY INCREASING SOUND OF A

HELICOPTER’S WHUMP WHUMP WHUMP……

AHAB “Gotta go”…”Gotta run like Jackal on fire”.

AHAB “Hide it and I’ll be back” VOICE TRAILS OFF “if I make it. I’m so sorry but you are the only ones I can trust….I’m so sorry. Please please forgive me…I’m so sorry”.

AHAB LEAVES BY THE DOOR HE ENTERED…

HELICOPTER THUMP THUMP THUMP LOUDER THEN

BEGINS TO RECEED…

ABDUL SETS THE BOMB VEST VERY VERY

CAREFULLY DOWN IN THE MIDDLE

OF THE ROOM.. ABDUL, WIFE. AND ABU MOVE

TO AROUND THE BOMB….BUT AT A RESPCTABLE

DISTANCE…

ABDUL “What the heck?” …….

HE KNOWS IT’S A BOMB…BUT HIS WHAT THE

HECK? IS LIKE WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON

THAT THIS HAS TO HAPPEN???

ABU GETTING EXCITED AND THEN, ALMOST BESIDE

HIMSELF WITH EXCITMENT….

ABU “It’s a bomb dad, a suicide bomb” “a suicide vest bomb”. “Let me see, let me see”

HE ATTEMPTS TO SQUAT DOWN CLOSER TO

BOMB BUT ABDUL (HIS DAD) JERKS HIM BACK

ABDUL “Get back…get back”

HELICOPTER WHUMPING ABATES

ABDUL “Get back” “What am I going to do…????????” …..

ABU “Dad…dad….let’s…let’s…uh….let’s…uh…uh….”…..

ABDUL “I don’t know……….I just don’t know……”????…

LOUD EXPLOSION FROM DIRECTION OF STAGE

RIGHT….PEOPLE SHOUTING IN THE DISTANCE

FAMILY UPSET…UNSURE WHAT TO DO.

ABDUL “I think I know… I think I know….I know…………I

know…” … (page 4)

VERY SAD, THEN DISTRAUGHT….SITS DOWN

HARD ON THE BED…SLUMPS IN SADNESS….

ABU “What??? What?”

ABDUL “The helicopter shot Ahab.”

ALL VISIBLY RESIGNED..NOD IN AGREEMENT

ABDUL “Damn them damn them, damn those Zionists…

THEN FAINTLY…BUT HEARD BY EVERYONE…

ABDUL “Damn me”….

LONG PAUSE…PREGNANT PAUSE

GRANDMOTHER “Now son..don’t curse them…that doesn’t help… AHAB should not have

had a bomb” “Bombs and cursing don’t help. They haven’t…..they never will”

You know Allah teaches peace.”

ABDUL “But Mom they probably just killed AHAB….I’m going to see”.

ABDUL STARTS TOWARD THE DOOR…..BUT

PAUSES WHEN WIFE GRABS HIS ARM..

WIFE “Now don’t go to the crossing gate, just go to the corner. Your’e liable to get shot, you

know how the the soldiers are…they are ready to shoot anyone at any time…and they’ve

been on edge lately”.

ABDUL “They’re on edge all the time. Just look at them a tiny bit too long and you’re lucky

just to be hit with a rifle butt. They beat Ara Akbar to the ground yesterday and broke his

arm. All just because he was a little slow getting his shirt off to show he didn’t have a

bomb under it. And he’s older than Mother.” A PAUSE…AND THEN “Those

damned Zionists wouldn’t let

us through their gate or an ambulance come for him to take him to the hospital. Those

bastards. His sons carried him home in their arms. A man that old will die

without treatment…I don’t know what they can do about that arm. It looked awful,

hanging and flopping…..”.

GRANDMOTHER “Well, that’s what making bombs and setting them off gets you”.

ABDUL “But Mom, we tried turning the other cheek and it gets us nowhere. They still pound us

every day with bombs and bullets and take our land and our water and destroy

our orchards and treat us like prisoners. Every day. Every damned day. We

are prisoners…prisoners in our own land…the whole of Gaza is nothing but a prison”.

“Gaza is nothing but a giant prison”.

“I’m not even a man anymore. I used to be a fisherman but If I try to go out and fish,

those crazy Zionist boats shoot at me. The’ve stopped all our fishing”.

“We can’t even fish off our own shore for being shot at.”

CONTINUES…SICK TO HEART…

“I haven’t had a regular job for 2 years. Only when the Zionist’s let a little flour in,

then I can work at Mahabi’s bakery and that doesn’t happen once a week.” page 5

BITTERLY

“Not even once a week. If Mahibi didn’t let me work and give me extra bread

we’d all starve to death.

AGAIN DETERMIDLY

“But hell Mom, we’re slowling starving to death as it is. Slowly,”

WITH DIMINISHING VOICE,

“slowly, we’re being starved to death.”

“I”m nothing……just nothing……I can’t even be a man to my son….last week the Zionist

bastards took him from me and tied him on the front of their truck as a shield……and

drove through the streets looking for Hamas…….They did that to a kid….My son….My

son…..My only son……used for a shield…..I couldn’t stop them….

Damn them……..damn them…….damn them….damn..damn.damn.

I’m not a man…….I’m nothing….nothing….just a shadow of a man…..No hopes…..No

dreams….no future…no nothing….

I can’t hold my head up like an Arab should….I go outside?….I have to sneak around

next to walls like a rat. like a rat!!!!! Like a damned rat!

LONG PREGNANT SILENCE BROKEN WHEN

WIFE UNDERSTANDS THE EXTREME NEED TO

CHANGE THE SUBJECT

Wife “Hush, hush..I hear the babies next door. They are crying. Poor things,

they haven’t had enough to eat and the bombs are scaring them to death. The

F-16s and helicopters and drones make them think bombs are coming next and they run

at the very first sound to get under a bed and cover themselves with blanket after

blanket. Elise is going crazy trying to take care of them. She’s given up hope

Haraba will ever come home. He’s either dead or locked up forever in one of those secret

Israeli prisons. The children are hungry, scared and have no father….

PAUSE

“It’s awful….so awful…”

LONG PAUSE

Wife ” The poor things cry more than they sleep. I’ve got to go over and help Elise”

WIFE STRUGGLES FOR WORDS

WIFE “I’ve got to…”

ABDUL GETS HIMSELF TOGETHER AFTER HIS

WRENCHING SELF-FLAGELLATION

ABDUL “Let me look out the back door first”.

HE CAREFULLY OPENS THE DOOR, STAGE LEFT..

PEERS OUT …. SIGNALS IT’S OK.

page 6

ABDUL “Stay close to the wall as long as you can”.

WIFE EXITS.

ABDUL TO GRANDMOTHER (HIS MOTHER)

ABDUL “How’s your breathing? I heard you coughing this morning. Have you taken

your digitalis? Your heart pills?”

GRANDMOTHER “I will in just a minute, but first you have to get rid of that bomb. I

won’t have it in our house. We aren’t Hamas and we don’t need any more trouble

than we already have with the Zionists. If they find that bomb here we’ll all be in prison.

ABDUL “No mom, we’d all be dead that’s what we’d be…

“Oh mom…mom… I have to bow and play a sniveling coward when I see a bastard

Zionist soldier.. They make me get on my knees and beg them to let me have your

medicine”.

GRANDMOTHER “My son….my son..” …. ….”my son.”…

SO SAD HERE..

GRANDMOTHER “Well at least you get me medicine. Omar, has heart disease… dropsy,

Just like mine and he can’t get medicine. I’d share with him but I’m not sure if it’s what

he needs.

ABDUL “I’m going to see about AHAB. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Don’t let Abu leave

the house and damn sure don’t let him near the bomb!!!”

GRANDMOTHER “Wait… Put that thing in here.”

SHE SLOWLY WALKS TO THE CHEST ON

THE BACK WALL OF THE ROOM….OPENS IT

REMOVES WHAT APPEAR TO BE FOLDED

CLOTHES WHICH SHE HOLDS AND MOTIONS

ABDUL TO PUT THE BOMB IN THE CHEST..

HE GINGERLY LIFTS THE BOMB, AND, AS IF

CARRYING……A BOMB…..PUTS IT CAREFULLY

IN THE CHEST….

GRANDMOTHER STARTS TO LAY THE CLOTHES

BACK IN THE CHEST…HE SAYS…HISSES

ACTUALLY,

ABDUL “Don’t dare touch those wires… Don’t let the wires get together”.

ABU GETS IN THE WAY AS HE TRIES TO BE

RIGHT ON TOP OF THE BOMB WATCHING

EVERYTHING VERY INTENTLY

ABDUL GLARES AT ABU AND SAYS

ABDUL “Ok, anyone comes in, don’t dare look at the chest. Look anywhere

but at the chest….I’m going to see about AHAB”

ABDUL EXITS STAGE RIGHT

page 7

ABU “I sure would like to see the bomb again…”..

GRANDMOTHER “No. We need to get rid of it”. “We need to get it out of the house”.

ABU (all excited) “I can take it and leave it at Al Omar’s house. It was bombed last week,

no one lives there. It’s only a couple blocks.”

GRANDMOTHER “No. We’ll wait until your dad gets back and he can take it somewhere.

“We don’t need to be any part of the violence. This violence has got to stop and it will

if we just obey Mohammad’s words about how Muslims must follow the trail of peace.”

ABU “That ain’t gonna happen Grandmother. Peace ain’t gonna happen. The more

we give in to the Zionists the more they bomb and starve us . And just look at what’s

happened to your sister in the West Bank. The Zionists squatters took over her

town last month and destroyed her house and most of the others and are building

big white apartments on her hilltop. And now she lives in a tent. She didn’t even

have time to get her furniture out of the house. They were only able to get their

pictures and a few clothes before those armoured American Caterpeller’s leveled it. She

couldn’t save anything….nothing…not a thing…. only her pictures…. “

“How the hell can she hang pictures in a tent?” “The squatters uprooted her olive trees and she has no way to live other than to work as a maid for the squatters.”

“A slave really. That’s all she is…not a maid….but a slave…

The squatters take over all the good land and the water in the West

Bank. They build on the hilltops just so they can look down and spy on their slaves. They have their own private roads the slaves can’t use.” “They are bastards.

“We try peace and they do desolation”. “Peace ain’t gonna happen Grandmother.”

GRANDMOTHER “Watch your mouth Grandson. Cursing doesn’t help….(changes tone) “We have to try to make peace…The Koran tells us to make peace in the world,”

JUST THEN WATER STARTS RUNNING IN A SINK ON THE

BACK WALL NEXT TO THE CHEST

GRANDMOTHER (excited as much as an old woman can manage) “Hurry…..hurry. Get

the pots and pans and get the water while it’s running.”

ABU (Irritated) “I know the routine Grandmother. I know it”… (as he rushes to get pans

from under and near the sink to fill them with water)

GRANDMOTHER “Hurry. Hurry.”

ABU (very irritated) “I know GRANDMOTHER!”

GRANDMOTHER “Now grandson…you shouldn’t….”

ABU “I’m sorry Grandmother I didn’t mean to talk to you like that….It’s just….. “

THIS PLAY IS A CONTINUOUS DOWNER….THE

page 8

TONE IS RELENTLESSLY DEPRESSING….IT

SHOULD BE INTERRUPTED BY OCCASIONAL

LEVITY…..BUT LEVITY IS NOT MY LONG SUIT

….IT ISN’T EVEN MY SHORT SUIT…NOR IS

SPELLING….SO…IF POSSIBLE..HAVE ABU

STUMBLE WITH THE UTENSILS AND FLOP

A BIG CRASH….MAYBE A POT CAN BE MADE

TO ROLL TO FRONT OF STAGE AND OFF

INTO THE FRONT ROWS…. A LIGHTER

MOMENT IF YOU PLEASE….

GRANDMOTHER “I know you don’t mean to be short with me…. it’s this being penned in by fear and hard Israelis that has us biting at each other. It turns husband against wife, wife against husband and even grandmothers against grandsons. (thoughtfully)

Youknow? The fear of bombing is almost as bad as the bombing.”

ABU FILLS POT AFTER POT AFTER PAN

BACK DOOR BURSTS OPEN…WIFE

RUSHES IN.

WIFE “The water’s on! Get the pots and…”

ABU “What does it look like I’m doing? Washing dishes?”

WIFE “That’ll be the day…you don’t do anything to keep the house clean And don’t sass me

young man…”

ABU “Well….I…….”

GRANDMOTHER…. “Stop…stop….quit fighting…. the water’s on. You should be

celebrating instead of fighting.. We’ve been fighting like scorpions in a bottle…

We need to practice being better Muslims.”

ABU “Muslims my ass….. Oh….I’m sorry Grandmother….so sorry… It’s just so….”

SILENCE REIGNS WHILE ABU AND HIS MOTHER FILL POTS AND PANS…

WIFE (thoughtfully) “It will be so nice to wash my hair”.

ABU “Momma…why is washing your hair so important? I can go weeks at a time

without a bath and it doesn’t bother me.”

WIFE “Well, nothing makes a woman feel cleaner than when she has just washed her hair.

It makes a woman feel fresh and your hair smells fresh and it is soft

and manageable.”

ABU “Never mind momma. You can have my bathwater and wash your hair with it and

I won’t ever have to take a bath.

SERIES OF KNOCKS ON FRONT DOOR

SECRET PATTERN TO KNOCKS FAMILY

USES.

ABDUL ENTERS

ABDUL “They killed him”. …… “They killed him”. “They killed him over and over again.”

“The helicopter machingunned him and then circled back and machinegunned him again

and circled back and machinegunned ….(groping for words) …..butchered…the……the.

. .. that….was left….”.(as he clinches his fist.) (he collapses…inwardly…not on page 9

the floor. ..but collapses inwardly)

ABDUL “They killed him”. (then in a low voice, a confeesion…slowly) “I killed him”.

DEAD SILENCE IN THE ROOM AS EVERYONE

HEARD HIM….

FINALLY

ABDUL “Yes. I killed him”.

GRANDMOTHER (quickly) “No, don’t even say that…. don’t say it….”.

ABDUL “I killed him”…..(long pause) “Mahabi has me going to the crossing gate every day to see if flour will be allowed through that day…..and…..(slowly)…one of the Israli

soldiers has been meeting me and giving me digitalis for your heart”. “In return…..

(slowly) I have to give him “”””information””””…(that word, “information” makes him sick

to say it)……

ABDUL (continues) “So the bastard wanted to know of anyone that did metal or sheet metal

work. They are looking for whomever is making the damned rockets being fired at your

old home town, Sderot.

“Yes I did, I told the Jews AHAB worked with sheet metal, building ductwork.

Well, ….they started shadowing him with drones and you know how he can’t hear,

well, they followed him and ,,,,well…. they somehow found out he was making bombs.

..not rockets”

(sighs then silence) “They killed him……….. and I killed him”.

GRANDMOTHER “I sort’a knew that’s how you got my medicine, but didn’t ask. Only a

few diabetics get insulin and only a few people with dropsy get heart medicine.

Everyone knows something isn’t right there…. Why don’t the

Israelis just give us all, all of us the medicine we need?”

“And another thing….my old home town was not Sderot. My old home town

was Najd…..Najd was destroyed by the Jews in 48 and that,,,that abortion.

..that Sderot.. was built on the ruins of my Najd….

ABDUL “Well.. that’s how the damned Zionists get collaborators….. They get them by giving drugs to collaborators….only to collaborators… That’s it….I’m a collaborator.

“But,,,but,,, I just didn’t think Ahab was doing anything wrong and thought it was a false

tip. I was wrong. ………….I killed Ahab.”

“I just now went to the crossing gate and told them I wouldn’t help them anymore….

,,,,they told me I wouldn’t be getting medicine anymore……..and told me they

had videotaped me giving up Ahab and were going to give it to Hamas”.

“Hamas kills collaborators…… No. trial. Just finds them and executes them…

. I knew the risk…” ……… “I’m a dead man”.

“But I just can’t wait for Hamas to come kill me… I’ve got to do something……something

anything….just can’t wait here for Hamas to knock….

SUDDENLY HAS IDEA….

ABDUL “There is a weakness at the gate. There is a loose gap in the fence page 10

where the electrical wiring meets the barb wire. the guards don’t know about the gap

and can’t see it from their gun post. I can take the bomb and slip into the

back of the soldiers break room and blow the whole gate to where it belongs….STRAIGHT

TO HELL AND BACK!!!!!!

“I’ll bomb the bastards..”

GRANDMOTHER GOES TO THE CHEST AND SITS ON IT

GRANDMOTHER “No….no son of mine will violate the Koran and shame Allah with

such blasphemy. I will not permit it.”

ABDUL (pleadingly) “But Momma?”

LONG PAUSE AS HE TRIES TO FIGURE WHAT

TO DO, WHEN THERE IS OBVIOUSLY

NOTHING HE CAN DO

“I can try to get to Egypt”…. “No…never get there”. “No way”… “To the West

Bank?” “No….no way”..

WIFE “We can hide you here”.

ABDUL “No. They;’ll come search until they find me…and then kill us all”.

WIFE “Someone will hide you.”

ABDUL “And get killed when they find me?”

ABU (excitedly) “I’ll go to Egypt with you”.

ABDUL “Oh I wish that could happen but no…no..you have to stay here and take care of your

mother and grandmother..”

ABDUL (desparingly) “I’ve got to go….Hamas will come…”

EVERYONE KNOWS THIS IS TRUE. SON

AND HIS WIFE AND ABU HUG, KISS AND

IT’S SO PAINFUL….BEFORE LEAVING, ABDUL

GOES TO GRANDMOTHER, GETS ON

KNEES AND WITH HEAD ON HER LAP

STAYS VERY STILL AND QUIET….NO

SOBBING NO CRYING…JUST HEAD ON

HER LAP…

GETS UP….ONE LAST HUG FOR WIFE

AND ABU

ABDUL (so sadly to ABU) “I wanted to teach you to fish….”.

HE ALMOST RUNS OUT THE DOOR

WIFE GOES OVER, LAYS ON BED ON BACK…

ONE ARM FOLDED OVER HER EYES..,…

NO SOBBING…NO CRYING….JUST LAYS

VERY STILL….

ABU (halfheartedly) “Maybe I could go catch him”.

page 11

GRANDMOTHER “No…no he’s gone… he’ll make it to Egypt (even as she knows better)”

GRANDMOTHER (distracted…trying to change subject or do something…anything…)

“Did we get enough water?”

NO ONE ANSWERS

WIFE (sits up in bed, determidly…to no one in particular) “I’m gonna go to that gap in

the fence and bomb the shit out of those bastards to where their God Damned

King David couldn’t find all the pieces”.

GRANDMOTHER “No, no you’re not….(sits even more firmly on chest)… “We must get rid of this beast of a bomb… It will be the death of all of us yet”.

WIFE (strides to door) “I’m not gonna take any more of this”. (goes out door and slams it)

ABU…. “Where has she gone grandmother?” “What is she gonna do?”

SHORT PAUSE AS ABU PACES BACK AND FORTH

FOR A BIT AND THEN

ABU… “I’m gonna see….” (runs to door and out)

AS GM SHOUTS AFTER HIM

GRANDMOTHER. “No! No! Stay here…come back..(voice trailing off)..stay here…comeback”.

AT THIS POINT THE LIGHTS GO OFF FOR A BIT

SIGNIFYING PASSAGE OF TIME

LIGHTS BACK UP

ABU BURST THROUGH DOOR AND HERE THE

YOUNG MAN PLAYING ABU EARNS HIS EMMY

OR OSCAR OR BOTH

ABU…. “Grandmother…grandmother….they killed mommy … they killed her. the tank ran her over….the God damned Goliath tank ran her over”

ABU ‘I’m gonna kill the bastards…. I’m gonna blow that tank to hell and back. I can lay down in front of it, let it run over me and blow it up under it’s belly…I can do it”.

ABU GOES TO GRANDMOTHER ON THE CHEST

AND THEY GET INTO A PUSH FIGHT

ABU “I will not….must not…can’t…will not..(running out of words..stumbles verbally)….I..

can’t….I…..(trails off)…”

FINALLY ABU SEEMS TO COME TO SOME

SORT OF COMPROMISE WITHIN HIMSELF.

ABU “I’m going…to……….”

HE GOES TO A CORNER, SEARCHES A BIT,

COMES UP WITH A SLINGSHOT…A

page 12

SLINGSHOT OF BIBLICAL TIMES… 2 LONG

LEATHER STARPS JOINED TOGETHER WITH

A WIDER LEATHER POUCH.

STRAIGHTENS IT, SMOOTHS IT, MESSES

WITH IT A BIT….SLINGS IT AROUND HIS

HEAD SEVERAL TIMES….IS SATISFIED.

ABU “I have 5 round rocks and I’ll do my best to kill those bastards”. (goes back to the

corner and quickly finds the rocks)

SWINGS STRAPS AROUND A COUPLE

MORE TIMES, APPEARS SATISIFIED

ABU “I’m leaving”….(and before GM can do anything, he’s out the door but shuts it quietly)

THE LIGHTS ARE AGAIN BROUGHT DOWN

TO SIGNIFY THE PASSAGE OF TIME…

WHEN THEY COME UP

GRANDMOTHER IS STILL ON CHEST

THEN, IN A BIT, THERE IS A TENTATIVE

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR…SHE IS

HESITANT AND WORRIED BUT BEFORE SHE CAN GET TO THE DOOR IT OPENS…A MAN WE HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE, A PALESTINIAN, ` SURPRISED…ENTERSSLOWLY,APOLOGETICALLYRELUCTANTLY..

…CARRYING A BLACK PLASTIC BAG

WITH 10 LBS OF WET TOWELS IN IT……BUT IT AIN’T WET TOWELS.

THE PALASTINIAN…. “I didn’t think anyone was…. here…. “I”…..”I”……….”I”…(and trails off…unable to speak for a bit)….

“Abu… he…..well… he …uh…..he broke the only thing that

could be broken on a Goliath tank… with a rock…he broke the searchlight…..

LONG PAUSE….TERRIBLE NEWS…

WRENCHING NEWS…

THE PALESTINIAN “They shot him……………………shot him with their cannon”

AWKWARD AWFULLNESS HERE…

THE PALESTINIAN “I’m so sorry…I had no idea anyone was here.”

HE CAREFULLY SETS BAG ON FLOOR

THE PALESTINIAN “I thought the house was empty and the bulldozer is coming….

coming soon… to tear the house down… you know they do that…bulldoze

a house where anyone lives that causes them trouble….. Abu caused trouble..

……he broke a searchlight…..(faintly) with a rock.”

“I brought Abu back, cause I knew he’d want to be …to be..buried in…his home.”

“The bulldozer is coming…..soon…”

THE PALESTINIAN QUICKLY LEAVES…RUNS AWAY, ACTUALLY….

GRANDMOTHER STANDS QUIETLY…SLOWLY

page 13

SHE SAGS…DROOPS

GRANDMOTHER FINALLY PULLS HERSELF

TOGETHER…WALKS SLOWLY TO THE CHEST

…STANDS THERE….AND WITH BACK TO

AUDIENCE, OPENS CHEST, REMOVES THE

BOMB, SETS IT ON THE CHEST…UNAFRAID

OF IT…THEN UNDRESSES DOWN TO WAIST

…STRAPS BOMB ON…PUTS CLOTHES BACK

ON…WALKS TO THE PITEFUL SACK IN

THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR….

GRANDMOTHER (with passion she addresses the sack)

“Grandsons are loved,,,,, even if they don’t bathe”.

SHE TURNS, STRIDES TO THE DOOR,

LOOKS BACK FOR JUST A MOMENT,

EXITS AND CLOSES DOOR SOFTLY…

I COULD ONLY WRITE THIS….IT’S YOURS TO MAKE IT A SUCCESS….

WHATEVER GOD THERE IS, PLEASE HELP GAZANS

AND PALESTINIANS EVERYWHERE.

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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