At the Bottom of a Bottle

A Play In One Act by Nick Comunelli

CHARACTERS

THE DEVIL (Lou) Manifested as a businessman, 45.

GOD (Immanuel) Manifested as a businessman, 50.

Henry A down on his luck businessman, 60.

TIME

1939.

SETTING

A dimly lit, comfortable basement bar in New York.

(Lights up on a dimly lit, comfortable looking basement bar. A gentleman with black hair sits at the bar, facing the audience. He wears a black suit. His hat sits on the bar. Next to him sits a man in his fifties, dressed in a sharp grey suit. He has dark gray hair to match. They are in mid-argument.)

GOD

Look. What's done is done, okay?

DEVIL

No. It is not okay. What's done isn't what used to be done. You've undone what was did, done, you know what I mean. The point is you shouldn't be able to do that.

GOD

But I can do anything.

DEVIL

I thought you were supposed to be fair.

GOD

I was fair, to those souls.

DEVIL

But you weren't fair to me.

GOD

Who said I had to be fair to you?

DEVIL

Well no one, but—

GOD

I mean, I think you have it pretty good considering, well the whole betraying me business. And I let you walk the Earth, doing what you do.

DEVIL

But you're making my job more difficult.

GOD

Do you think I want to send people to you?

DEVIL

No…But there are rules—

GOD

That I made, and I can change if I so choose.

DEVIL

(Hits the bar with a clenched fist)

You can't do this to me! I have a quota to reach, and you know what happens if I don't reach it. I don't want to have to spend the rest of the year down there. I can't influence people if I'm not up here with them.

GOD

Precisely.

(Pause.)

Enjoy your drink, old friend, even though it isn't going to help.

DEVIL

(Growls)

I can drink if I want I want to.

(While DEVIL and GOD are sitting at the bar, HENRY enters. He carries a briefcase. He is a well-dressed businessman in a dark gray suit, but he is unkempt. His tie is loose; his shirt wrinkled and there is dirt on his pants around the ankles. He comes in and sits a couple stools down from GOD and DEVIL. HENRY sets his briefcase down on the floor next to his barstool and places his hat on the bar. He motions to the bartender, who places a beer in front of HENRY. He takes a long drink from it before his body relaxes and he settles in the barstool. DEVIL and GOD sit there silently, their argument postponed due to HENRY. There is a long awkward silence as the three men sit there. GOD notices he doesn't have a drink while sitting at a bar, so he motions to the bartender, who delivers a beer. GOD take some sips from his beer, but doesn't drink it like DEVIL or HENRY. After a minute of silence, GOD speaks.)

GOD

(To HENRY)

Rough day at work?

HENRY

As usual.

GOD

Care to elaborate.

HENRY

I'd like to just enjoy my drink, if you don't mind.

DEVIL

(Leans forward so he can see HENRY around GOD.)

Don't mind him. He's naturally nosy and invasive.

GOD

(To DEVIL)

Do you mind? I am trying to have a conversation with this gentleman.

DEVIL

Doesn't look like a gentleman to me.

GOD

Just because you're mad at me doesn't mean you can be rude to this man. He's clearly had a rough day.

DEVIL

I can kind of do whatever I want, well on any day but today apparently.

GOD

You can do what I let you do.

DEVIL

Have you seen it out there? You haven't done a good job keeping me in check.

GOD

Which is why I'm being so strict now.

DEVIL

You can't control me.

HENRY

I don't mean to be rude, but I am trying to enjoy my drink here.

GOD

I'm very sorry, sir. My friend here has a habit of being very loud and rude.

(GOD and DEVIL sit quietly with their drinks. HENRY finishes his first beer and orders another one. DEVIL nudges GOD and points to HENRY.)

GOD (cont.)

I don't mean to be nosy—

DEVIL

Actually that's exactly what he means.

GOD

(Ignoring DEVIL's comment)

You don't' seem to be in the best of moods to be consuming any amount of alcohol.

HENRY

I don't think my drinking affects you.

GOD

If you drink a lot, it could affect me.

DEVIL

Or me, depending on what kind of drunk you are.

(GOD gives DEVIL a look)

GOD

Why don't you join us? Drinks are better with company after all.

(HENRY thinks for a second and then gets up to join them. GOD moves over a stool so HENRY can sit between the two of them)

GOD (cont)

So that hard day at work you mentioned…

HENRY

I don't really want to talk about my day work. I wouldn't mind hearing about your lousy day though.

DEVIL

Hey wait a minute, I— no wait yeah it was pretty lousy. How did you know?

Well, besides the argument you two seem to be in, you look far too tired to not have been working all day.

DEVIL

Yeah, well my boss basically undid everything I had done today.

HENRY

Oh that's rough. And what exactly do you do?

DEVIL

I'm a collector.

HENRY

Of what exactly?

DEVIL

What is owed.

HENRY

Cryptic.

DEVIL

You have no idea.

HENRY

(Turns to GOD)

And what do you do?

GOD

I'm a supervisor.

HENRY

I should have guessed you were high up. You have this air of authority about you.

DEVIL

Are you sure it isn't one of arrogance or entitlement?

GOD

Be careful, Lou, lest your forked tongue betray you.

DEVIL

Oh no. I've offended the Big Man.

HENRY

Oh, you guys know each other?

DEVIL

He's my boss.

GOD

And he's my minion.

DEVIL

(Shoots a sharp look at GOD)

That is my word! Don't you dare use my word to describe me. I made that word what it is.

GOD

Then what are you?

DEVIL

I would tell you, but we have company and I don't want to offend him. Speaking of our company, I don't believe we caught your name, sir.

HENRY

I'm Henry, Henry Walters. And I think I heard your name was Lou?

DEVIL

It's what friends call me. But feel free to use it. I doubt you'd like my actual name.

GOD

And I'm Emmanuel.

HENRY

Well it is nice to meet you both. So nice to meet two final people.

DEVIL

Final people? Are you going somewhere? You just arrived.

HENRY

Oh yes. Like you, Lou, I had a very tough day at work. Too tough in fact. It was the last tough day I will put up with.

GOD

So you quit your job and now you have to find a new one?

HENRY

Quitting my job? You could call it that I guess.

GOD

I don't like that tone, Henry.

HENRY

It's nothing to concern yourself with, really. I'm just going enjoy my drink and then be on my way.

(He reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a pill container. He takes several out, more than is needed for whatever he's doing. He drops the pills into his beer. They fizz and bubble as they dissolve in his drink.)

DEVIL

That's one way to take your Alka-Seltzer. And judging by the amount you put in, you must be having some major stomach issues.

HENRY

Oh, I definitely have some issues. But this drink will fix them all.

(HENRY starts to pick up his drink, but GOD holds HENRY's arm down on the bar.)

GOD

Now hold on one minute. I know what you're up to and there are other answers than this, trust me.

HENRY

I don't think you understand what I'm going through.

GOD

Why don't you explain it so I do understand?

DEVIL

Let our new friend enjoy his drink.

GOD

I want to hear what Henry has to say.

(DEVIL snaps his fingers and everything freezes except him and GOD.)

DEVIL

What do you think you're doing?

GOD

My job.

DEVIL

Which is preventing me from doing my job. You know what he's going to do and where that will land him. Let me have this one.

GOD

You know I can't do that.

DEVIL

Why not? He's going through to motions of killing himself. He might as well have committed the sin already. He's mine.

GOD

Not yet, he's not.

DEVIL

I need him.

GOD

It's my job to save him.

DEVIL

I'm so close to my quota for the month. I have to reach it. Do you have any idea what it's like down there if I don't reach my quota?

GOD

I'm aware. I sent you there after all. So you want to make a deal?

DEVIL

Deals are my specialty.

GOD

I'll give you a soul for your next quota if you let this guy go.

DEVIL

Absolutely not. I most definitely get the short end of the stick on that one. You think you can pull one over on me? I'm the master of manipulation. He's mine.

GOD

I'll give you two souls next time.

DEVIL

I'd still have to spend the rest of the year rotting in Hell. I don't think that's worth two souls.

GOD

Why not?

DEVIL

It's the principle of the thing! I can't give into you whenever you want to inconvenience me. If I agree now, you'll expect me to keep making deals with you, deals where you come out on top.

GOD

Maybe you've forgotten who I am, but I always come out on top.

DEVIL

Your deal is a no go.

GOD

Okay, how about this? I stop him right now and then I'll leave and you can do whatever it is you do and see if you win this round.

DEVIL

Why?

GOD

He deserves a fair chance to change his mind.

DEVIL

He does? What about the people who jump off bridges, hang themselves and shoot themselves? Are you going to go and give them a fair chance too?

GOD

Well I—

DEVIL

The answer is no you aren't. You know why? Because you can't. It is impossible for you to do so. So why do you want to save this guy?

GOD

(Sits for a moment, thinking about what to say. Then with enthusiasm and anger)

Because I don't want you to reach your precious quota. I want you to have to return home and suffer the consequences. With you stuck down there for the rest of the year, think of all the souls I can save. I want you out of the way for a while.

DEVIL

Finally a straight answer. Well if that's the game you want to play… Oh, and just so you know, I'm going to win.

(DEVIL snaps his fingers and everything starts up again.)

GOD

Now Henry, you were about to tell us what's causing you so much pain and grief.

Henry

Was I? Well if you say so then I must have been. Well I'm a traveling salesman you see and that job is just unforgiving. I make almost no money because no one wants to buy something from an old guy like me who's standing on your front porch clearly interrupting your day.

GOD

You could get a different job. You don't have to stay as a salesman. I've heard that kills people.

Henry

Look at me, Emmanuel. I'm just over sixty years old. Who would give me a job? Plus I've been a salesman for years. It's all I remember how to do anymore.

GOD

Your job alone can't be enough to make you want to drink that.

Henry

Have you ever had a woman in your life, Emmanuel?

DEVIL

He's the religious type, so no he hasn't. Not that a woman would go for him anyway.

Henry

My wife of almost forty years died about a year ago. I just can't handle doing things without her.

GOD

Maybe you can meet someone new or find some friends or join a group of people? Anything so you don't feel so lonely? You are feeling lonely right? That is that feeling?

HENRY

Yes? Have you never felt loneliness before? Where have you been living?

DEVIL

(Cuts GOD off before he can answer.)

He moves around a lot so he doesn't make many close connections. Plus he always has me. And I'm just the best company.

GOD

Yeah, with Lou around I wish I felt lonely. But back to you, Henry. That drink isn't the answer. There's more out there. Trust me. I've traveled around quite a bit and the world is a beautiful place. You just have to go find them.

HENRY

Where do you suggest I look?

GOD

Start with right out that door. You're in New York City. Do you have any idea what all is in this city?

DEVIL

Dirt, disease, the mob, Broadway.

GOD

Broadway is a good thing.

DEVIL

Have you seen what's playing right now?

GOD

This city is beautiful. And if New York doesn't do it for you, then find somewhere that does. But that bottle isn't the answer. There is so much left for you to do. Stop looking at things so narrow mindedly.

(HENRY looks at the bottle in front of him and then at GOD.)

HENRY

I'm not sure why, but I believe you.

GOD

(Moving the bottle away from HENRY.)

Good. I'm just going to take this. And on that happy note, I have to go. Lou might stay and keep you company. It's up to him.

DEVIL

I'd love to stay and talk to Henry. I'll buy him a drink or two, clean ones this time.

GOD

Behave, Lou. I don't want to have to come back for you.

DEVIL

Let's face it; you're going to come back anyway. You can't stand to not have my company. So I might as well make it worth your while.

GOD

Don't get comfortable.

(GOD gives DEVIL a look before exiting)

DEVIL (contd.)

So Henry, now that my friend is gone, enough with this light alcohol. Let's break out the good stuff.

(DEVIL motions to the bartender and points to a bottle on the shelf. The bartender gets the bottle down and sets down two glasses. DEVIL opens the bottle and smells its contents.)

Don't worry, Henry. I have excellent taste in whiskey. You're in for a good time.

HENRY

I… I don't know. I'm not much of a whiskey drinker really. I, uh, never could handle alcohol well.

DEVIL

Really? I must have an extremely high tolerance. Have a drink, please. I'm buying, and you wouldn't want to offend me.

(DEVIL pours a glass for HENRY and then one for himself. He holds up his glass to HENRY.)

Come now, my new friend. Live a little.

(HENRY picks up his glass and clinks it against the DEVIL's, before downing its contents. DEVIL looks at HENRY in confusion.)

DEVIL (cont)

I thought you said you couldn't handle your alcohol.

HENRY

(Giving his empty glass to DEVIL for a refill.)

I never said I couldn't drink it, just can't handle it once it's in me.

DEVIL

(Talks as he gives HENRY another drink.)

Fair enough. More power to you.

(DEVIL downs his first drink as HENRY finishes his second. DEVIL leans back as he finishes the drink and bumps into a guy who is walking by.)

DEVIL

Excuse me. I'm not the best at staying out of people's way.

(The man, who is actually GOD, now dressed differently, decides to pick a fight.)

GOD

Well, I'll make sure you're more careful next time.

(He grabs DEVIL by his shoulders and pulls him off of his barstool. DEVIL falls to the ground. GOD drags him toward the door. To HENRY as he does so)

Allow me to give you some privacy.

HENRY

Now hold on just a second.

(Gets up and grabs GOD's shoulder. He shoves GOD away. HENRY helps DEVIL off the floor.)

This man and I were enjoying a bottle of whiskey and were about to start on some nice conversation when you interrupted us. If we need some privacy, it's from you. And you'll do well to leave us alone for the remainder of the evening. Now, let's get back to that bottle of joy.

(The two of them return to their seats and start enjoying the whiskey again.)

DEVIL

Thanks Henry, you really helped me out right there. That guy meant business.

(DEVIL pours him and HENRY each a drink)

So, Henry, what do you sell exactly when you go door to door?

HENRY

(Sets his glass down to the side and picks up his briefcase off the floor, setting it on the bar. He pops the clasps and opens it up. He pulls out a couple wind up toys, yarn and knitting needles, and an assortment of make up. He sits there letting DEVIL take it all in.)

It's quite an assor— assert— collection, of things, isn't it?

DEVIL

You peddle all of this?

(He picks up a wind up robot toy, winds it up and watches it run around in circles on the bar for a minute.)

How do you have trouble selling these things? Kids always want toys and women always want make up and other things. Women always want things in general.

HENRY

Most people don't have…the money for it.

(He downs the drink he had set off to the side.)

DEVIL

This stuff can't be that expensive really? They're just simple toys and make up.

HENRY

I've had a difficult time the last few…years. So I had to raise my prices to make up for the lack of profi— the losses.

DEVIL

What about the men in the house? Do you have anything geared towards them?

HENRY

(Giggles)

I have a few things…

(He pulls out few hand tools and sets them on the bar proudly, like he has provided the best possible answer to DEVIL's question.)

DEVIL

Don't most men already have a decent collection of tools? This is all good stuff, Henry, but do you think you could do better?

HENRY

I can't afford…new products. I have to sell what I've got. Speaking of which, I believe you showed interest in that wind up toy there. So how about it?

DEVIL

Henry, I'm a grown man. What am I going to do with a wind up toy?

HENRY

For a grown man, you seem to be awfully interested in wind up toys.

DEVIL

Seriously though, Henry, I don't have a need for a wind up toy.

HENRY

You keep bringing up that wind up toy. You must want it pretty badly. Since you want it so badly, I'll cut you a deal. I'll give you the robot for regular price and throw in this wind up car for half price. How can you say no to that?

DEVIL

Look Henry, I don't think you heard me—

HENRY

Oh but I did. You said you were a grown man, and grown men don't need a bunch of toys. Fine you don't want the toys; they're off the table.

(Moves the two toys away from DEVIL)

DEVIL

But I liked the robot.

HENRY

Of course you did, but I have something better.

DEVIL

Better than the robot?

HENRY

Easily.

(Reaches into his briefcase and pulls out several ties.)

A nice suit like that can go with just about any tie. See anything you like?

(DEVIL looks at the ties, holds one up to his suit and looks to HENRY for an opinion)

I told you that suit goes with just about anything and I was right.

DEVIL

You really think it goes well?

HENRY

It goes so well, you should stop wearing the one you have on and put this one on instead.

DEVIL

Let's make a deal.

HENRY

What'd you have in mind?

DEVIL

I'll take the tie, and the robot, for half price.

HENRY

You have yourself a deal. That'll be ten dollars.

DEVIL

(Gives HENRY the money, and only then does he realize what HENRY did.)

You sly devil. And you said you're having tough times. Why can't you do that every time? That was genius. Even though I totally got the better end of that deal.

(On that last line, he starts playing with the toy robot.)

HENRY

I guess that was pretty good wasn't it?

DEVIL

You see? You can still do this. You just have to be bold.

(He pours another drink first for HENRY and then for himself. They clink glasses again and both down their drinks.)

HENRY

How many has that been for you?

DEVIL

I'm not sure. I don't really keep track.

HENRY

Well…you handle your alco…whisk…drinks very well.

DEVIL

You weren't kidding when you said you don't handle yours well. Now, let's talk about your wife.

HENRY

(Gestures to his empty glass hopingly)

Over drinks?

DEVIL

(Holds the bottle out of HENRY's reach)

Oh no. Anymore and I won't have any idea what you're saying. You'll get a drink after we talk. Now, tell me about your wife.

HENRY

Can I hold the bottle?

DEVIL

Now why would I let you do that?

HENRY

So I make sure you don't drink it all without sharing with me.

DEVIL

Nice try but there's no way I'm letting you have this bottle. Now, you were going to tell me about your wife and how you lost her and how sad you are now that she's gone.

HENRY

Well if you really want to know…

DEVIL

I do.

HENRY

Don't interrupt me. Now, Maggie and I met when we were both seventeen. I was trying to get a job in a factory in the city. I bumped into her on the street corner as I was rushing around going from factory to factory.

DEVIL

Was it love at first sight?

HENRY

What did I tell you about interrupting me?

DEVIL

There was a pause in your story. I thought it was okay.

HENRY

I guess you're right, this time. No more interrupting me. And for me it was love at first sight. Not so much for Maggie. Anyway, we bumped into each other. I was taken with her immediately but she hurried on her way and I had to go as well. I thought that was it, but I kept seeing her around in that area. I managed to get a job, you see. So I was around there all the time. Every time I saw her, I wanted to go talk to her, but I was a coward when it came to women. Finally I was walking from work some buddies I had met at work. They knew I was taken with Maggie and that I wouldn't talk to her on my own. When they saw her up ahead of us, they pushed me into her and I finally spoke to her.

DEVIL

And I'm guessing that went well?

HENRY

Extremely. We were married within a year and a half.

DEVIL

How was the marriage? Was it a good forty years?

HENRY

Oh yes. Don't get me wrong we fought sometimes. And when we fought, we really went at it. But I loved her so much and she supported me in everything I did.

DEVIL

What did she die from?

HENRY

(He takes a second to answer, mustering the ability to say it out loud.)

Heart attack.

DEVIL

When was this again?

HENRY

A year ago.

DEVIL

You're hanging in there, right?

HENRY

Look at me, Lou. Do I look okay to you?

DEVIL

Well I mean—

HENRY

No, be honest. We're two men talking over drinks. You can be honest with me.

(Pause)

DEVIL

You're a mess, Henry. And it's not just because of what you've told me. You look like you're in the middle of really hard times.

HENRY

I told you. Now how about that drink you promised me?

DEVIL

I promised no such drink, so this one is poured out of the goodness of my heart. Here you go.

(He pours HENRY a drink, which HENRY downs almost immediately. He slides his empty glass over for more.)

DEVIL (cont.)

Hey, I said you could have one. Take it easy.

HENRY

I don't drink much, Lou. Mostly because I know it would end badly. I'm not even sure why I came into this bar tonight. I just felt…drawn here for some reason.

(Everything freezes except DEVIL. GOD re-enters the bar.)

GOD

You enjoy talking to your new friend?

DEVIL

What do you want? I thought I settled my business with you.

GOD

I was only being polite, checking up on you. You do like your alcohol. I wanted to make sure you hadn't drunk yourself into oblivion.

DEVIL

Cut the crap. Why are you here? And by the way, I didn't appreciate that little stunt you pulled earlier. That actually hurt.

GOD

I'm here to ask you something. And I thought you'd like that. It played out well for you though didn't it? But that's what I'm here to ask you.

(GOD waits as DEVIL say nothing. Finally DEVIL rolls his eyes and sighs.)

DEVIL

(Extremely sarcastic)

Fine. What do you want to ask me?

GOD

Quite simply, what are you doing?

DEVIL

(Gives GOD a confused look)

What are you talking about? I'm having a drink or two…or four with Henry, whom I'm sure doesn't appreciate being frozen by the way.

GOD

You did it earlier too, so don't patronize me. And you're asking him about his life as if you almost care.

DEVIL

You know I don't. I'm just trying to drive him to the bottle and eventually the grave.

GOD

You did catch what he said right? He said he was drawn here, so it was not of his free will.

DEVIL

(Pause)

You made him come here?

GOD

I merely suggested it in my little way.

DEVIL

Do you enjoy manipulating people?

GOD

And what do you call what you do?

DEVIL

I'm the Devil! It's expected of me. You on the other hand…

GOD

Can do as I please. You seem to forget that I made the rules and that I'm the master of the universe.

DEVIL

You're right. I do forget, how big of an ass you are sometimes. You're God! It amazes me how alike we are.

GOD

Please explain.

DEVIL

I mean, look at the two of us. We're manipulating individual people to meet our own needs. We're no better than these people around us.

GOD

I did create man in my image. Where do you think they got the manipulative element?

DEVIL

From me! I'm the source of man's evil. You cast me out for it remember?

GOD

I do remember, but we're getting off topic, and I'm distracting you from your friend. Watch yourself, you care about this man and his life.

DEVIL

I can't care.

GOD

Like you said, it amazes me how alike we are. Well, enjoy your drinks.

(GOD leaves the bar. Once he's gone, everything starts back up.)

HENRY

Have you ever felt like that, Lou? You just felt you should go somewhere or do something?

DEVIL

(Pause)

Yeah, I think I do. I think I'm done with the whiskey for the night.

HENRY

Can I have some of it then? I think I could use it.

DEVIL

I don't think that'd be the best idea, Henry.

HENRY

Lou, please give me the bottle. I'm feeling down and could really use some more.

DEVIL

Henry, you've already had more to drink than I have, and I'm stopping for the night. You should take it easy.

HENRY

Give me the bottle, Lou. It's like medicine for the soul.

DEVIL

No, it's poison. You don't know where you'll end up at the bottom.

HENRY

I want to drown the memories once more. You brought them up, and I'm going to return them from whence they came.

DEVIL

You shouldn't keep drinking in your state. It won't end well.

HENRY

Just like everything else in my life. It won't come as a huge surprise.

(HENRY reaches to take the bottle from DEVIL. DEVIL rises from his bar stool, keeping the bottle out of reach. HENRY rises to pursue the bottle. DEVIL throws it on the ground, smashing it into pieces, whiskey spilling everywhere.)

DEVIL

Do you know who I am?

HENRY

Why would you waste a perfectly good bottle like that?

DEVIL

Who am I?

HENRY

You're some guy I had the misfortune of sitting next to at the bar.

DEVIL

That's right, misfortune.

(Everything freezes except HENRY and DEVIL.)

I am the bringer of chaos and misfortune. I cause peoples' destruction. I am the one who has Fallen. I was cast out for treason. Do you know me?

(As DEVIL has been speaking, red light has crept up into the room. HENRY is too afraid to speak.)

I am Abaddon, Satan, Lucifer, Ruler of Demons. Do you know me now?

(HENRY just nods.)

You mentioned honesty before, so I'm going to be honest with you. I need your soul. I brought those memories up so that you would destroy yourself and I could claim you.

HENRY

Then why don't you claim me?

DEVIL

You have not sinned in a manner that allows me to take you. All men have fallen, but not all men are mine to take. And I realize now, I do not want to take you anymore. You aren't done here yet. You can still peddle your trinkets well and you're a nice guy. So stop wallowing in your self made misery and go out and make some friends.

(Everything starts up again. The red light vanishes. DEVIL is still there, but HENRY cannot see him. He looks around the bar in horror for a moment before running out. GOD enters where HENRY ran out.)

GOD

I'm sure you thought you were impressive with that display.

DEVIL

It did the job, didn't it?

GOD

Yes it did, a little too well. That man is terrified and has seen something men weren't supposed to see.

DEVIL

So I did pulled my fire and brimstone trick, big deal.

GOD

No, he saw your true form. I think you underestimate how terrifying that it to a mere mortal. He won't ever be able to get that image out of his head. He doesn't care that you let him go. All he will remember is that you said you wanted him to kill himself so you could have his soul. He will live every day in fear of you showing up and playing your tricks on him again. Who would want to live like that? I don't think Henry does.

(Off to the side, on a blank stage area, HENRY appears. He is horrified, constantly looking around, waiting for something to happen to him. He acts out what GOD narrates.)

Right now I can see him walking along the sidewalk, watching the cars go by… He's horrified. He thinks you're going to come after him. He knows he can't live like that. Now he sees a bus coming. He nods to himself. That will do the job. He steps out—

(HENRY takes a large step out onto the street, as two lights representing the headlights on a bus get brighter, blinding the audience. The loud sound of the bus' horn and engine are heard as it drives past.)

DEVIL

Stop him!

GOD

It's too late. I can't control people, merely…suggest. By driving him away from you, you brought him right back to where you wanted him in the beginning. Irony has such an interesting way of showing up. Don't look so down. You got the soul. You met your quota. I won't contest it. You earned it.

(GOD goes ever and motions to the bartender, who gives him a shot.)

This one's on me, old friend.

(GOD exits. DEVIL goes over and takes the shot, takes his hat off the bar, puts it on his head and walks out.)

END OF PLAY