THE PRODIGAL SON

By Debra Moolenaar

( a short play inspired by Camus’ “The Outsider”)

Act One

NARRATOR: (to us.)  Listen up.  Your life may depend on it.   Think you can play around and not get burned?  Think again.

MRS NOVAK:    Let me get this straight, Mr Kermak.  You want me to believe you once lived here in this stinking hole of a town?

KERMAK: That’s right, ma’am.  Indeed I did.  Must have been, oh, twenty years ago, now, since I left Ustecky Kraj.  Doubtless, I look quite different, especially in this fine hand-made cashmere suit from Savile Row.  When I went away, I was wearing nothing but denim rags.  I’ve done quite well for myself in London.   But surely you must remember me?

MRS NOVAK: I’ve got a photogenic memory, Sir, and you’re not in it.

ANICKA NOVAK: What my ma is a saying, mister, is that this here village is so small there’s no way we wouldn’t know ya if you’d have lived here like you say.

MRS NOVAK:  That’s right precious child.  You know, Mr What’s-Your-Name, I had another child once, a son, whom I loved more than anything.  I worked three jobs to put him through school and how did he reward me?  He ran off.  One snowy night, just like tonight, he disappeared without a word and I ain’t heard heads nor tails of him for nigh on twenty years.

KERMAK:   There might have been a good reason for that.

MRS NOVAK: Ain’t no reason good enough for breaking a poor old woman’s heart.

KERMAK: Are you religious ma’am?

ANICKA NOVAK: What kind of question is that to put to a complete stranger?

MRS NOVAK: Why do you ask?

KERMAK: If you were religious, then you’d know the biblical story of the prodigal son.

MRS NOVAK: Never heard of it.

ANICKA NOVAK: You mean the one where the fool of a father welcomes his even more foolish son home after having disappeared for years?  Best I recall, the stupid old geezer even killed a fattened calf for a celebration and didn’t that piss off the older brother, who’d stayed at home and worked his tail off for the old man.  Bet he got his revenge.

KERMAK: Perhaps like the father in the story, Mrs Novak, you might forgive your own son should he show up here some snowy night to surprise you.

ANICKA NOVAK: What a stupid suggestion.  Just goes to show, mister, that you ain’t from these parts after all, else you’d know that’s not our way.

KERMAK: What is your way then, if I might ask.

MRS NOVAK: You may not ask, Mr Busy Body.  Didn’t your ma teach you to mind your own business?

KERMAK: My mother didn’t have much time to teach me anything when I was growing up, although I daresay she thinks otherwise.

MRS NOVAK: Probably working her fingers to the bone to take care of you.

KERMAK: Perhaps.  At any rate, I’d like to stay the night here in your hotel.  I’ll pay cash for the room.  As you can see here, I’ve plenty of that.

ANICKA NOVAK:  Wooo, baby.  I ain’t seen so much money in all my life.

KERMAK:   As I mentioned I’ve been quite successful in business.

ANICKA NOVAK:  Ain’t you scared carrying around a wad like that? I would be especially in a place like Ustecky Kraj.

KERMAK: Of course not.  Nothing untoward will happen to me.

MRS NOVAK: Why do you want to stay here, Mr Show-off?   With money like that to burn, I’d think the newly tarted up Hotel Royale across the street would be more to your taste.   They’ve got a ballroom and a grand piano.

KERMAK: I like it here and, besides, I’d like to share my good fortune with you.

ANICKA NOVAK: You playing around with us?  Cause if you are….

KERMAK: I…I’d never do a thing like that Miss Novak.

MRS NOVAK: I don’t want your good fortune, Mr Nobody, but I do want your cash.  Christmas is in less than a week and I haven’t a single booking.   Anicka, take this key and show the gentleman upstairs to the presidential suite.  A man of such quality must sleep like a king.

ANICKA and KERMAK exit.

MRS NOVAK: I’m going to kitchen to sharpen my butcher’s knife on account of I think, thanks to God, we’ve just been delivered our own fatted calf. (exits).

NARRATOR: (to us.)  Prodigal son indeed.

(to be continued)

One Comment on “The Prodigal Son (act one of a new play)

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