by Joel A.

Performance: February, 2003
Youth Guidance Center

TIME: Sunrise, 6:04 a.m.
PLACE: On a beach, where the waves crash on white sand and there are beautiful berry trees. A humongous, puffy gray mass of clouds float toward the island. A storm is on its way.
AT RISE: Wisdom, a tortoise, walks around depressed, with a limp. He is alone.


How will I ever fulfill my dream? How will I be free from loathing every day, this hate that I succumb to because I am still never forgiven? To pass on the knowledge to another and be eternally happy, I cannot have Test be angry and never forgive me for the sin I committed against him. I know I can never leave him if he shall not forgive me. I put all my dedication and concentration in to try to receive his forgiveness, but it seems he cannot grant me this wish. It seems he needs me and I resent that. I need to go on with my life, to die just as I was born. I cannot die in shame. I can’t go to my grave with the knowledge of unforgiveness in my conscience. It pillages my brain to think that I will not accomplish my greatest wish – forcefully taken from me from someone I hold dear. I did not mean to murder him. It was an insignificant battle in my hateful youth, but it tears at my memory. It hurts deep down. I cannot explain the pain that rakes through my brain. Only if Test can find it in his heart to forgive me, to let me go and live with my ancestors in heaven or hell, to leave this paradise I live in. Could we possibly compromise? Could I make a promise that I can keep? Or maybe I should smash him and destroy his life again, make his skull into a fine, powdery substance that floats in the wind. But it would not help the forgiveness. It will not come from his mouth willingly. I could force him to say “I forgive you” but it’s not pure. It’s not from the heart, so it would give me just a couple days’ satisfaction from this turmoil, this rage. My mind hurts. I cannot come up with a conclusion to this problem. It feels as though I have changed through the years and now I’m not whole, or maybe I am whole, but more wholes than one, I am not sure. All I know is that I cannot take this pain much longer. Something must be done.
(Wisdom walks along, hiding his limp as he approaches his friend, Test, the baboon skull.)


Don’t deny me this.

Test: Stop whining. It’s just a storm. Shut up and get on with your life. You, me, that’s all we need.

Test, I need more than this. I need forgiveness. I need peace.


Why do you bother me with this nonsense every day? This is storm season. You’re thinking we’re going to die. You got a sixth sense or something?

Wisdom:   No, no, Test. I have that feeling this time. This is going to be it.
Test:   I don’t think so. I think you’re trying to trick me. You’ve come up with this master plan to leave me. To go on with life without me.

No, Test. I’d never do that to you. I need you in my life, but I need to accomplish my dream. I need to be forgiven.

Test:   Didn’t I tell you to stop this? I’m tired of this mess. Go talk to your ancestors. Maybe you’ll feel better later on. Oh, wait. I have something better. Why don’t you go take your wrinkly grotesque face and take a nap.
Wisdom:   Why does it have to come down to words of anger? I did not laugh at your whitewashed looking skull. Even though I was the bearer of the sword that took your life.
Test:   How dare you? You’re supposed to be my friend, I thought. I have left that alone and taken up your friendship, but now you’re deciding to be a big bad warrior all of a sudden, you old hag.
Wisdom:   (He looks over to the approaching storm.) See that? That is going to destroy us. God has sent me this sign. I have to accomplish this and you’re in my way.
Test:   Shut up. Just shut up. You’ve been out in the sun too long. I can even smell the fried tortoise. Will I have to beat you with a stick to get my point through? Because I can show you how big a warrior I am. (He picks up a 6-foot-long bamboo stick.)
Wisdom:   (Stricken with fear.) What are you doing? Why have you picked up a weapon towards me? I have been your friend for years and now, in my time of need, you try to hurt me physically. You have already hurt me mentally.
Test:   Yes, I am. Because now I’m in charge. I’m the one calling the shots. You’re now going to be the peasant – the peasant you raped and pillaged. You will feel the pain you have brought me and my ancestors.
Wisdom:   (Yelling with tears welling in his eyes.) (Tears fall down his cheeks.) I hate you…but yet I love you. Please stop. Why are you bringing me through this again? After all these years of trying to change, you still think of me as a beast.
Test:   (Sarcastic.) That’s so heartbreaking. You want me to show such pity on you and feel sympathy, but what sympathy did you show me? What sympathy did you show my mother? All you look like right now is an old man who has fallen and broken his hip. What? You need help getting up now?
Wisdom:   This thing I’m trying to fight is you. You are full of hate of all creatures. I would think you would understand the key to life. And still you persist to show hate to the world, to me.
Test:   You’re trying to pull me down!  You’re smothering me!  If things don’t go your way, they don’t go at all!

(He looks at the sky knowing there is not much time left.) You want me to show you how loving I really am, even though I’ve taken you in? That should be proof enough, but I will show you to prove to you even more.


(He looks confused, looks at the sky.) OK. If you can prove yourself to me. Then I will forgive you.


(He smiles warily.) OK, let’s go.
(They walk toward Wisdom’s cave, but before they get there, they see a huge river.)

Wisdom:   (He looks at the sky and looks down at the river.) It’s starting. This is the worst flood yet. This has never happened. This monsoon is going to destroy us. Can’t you see it now?
Test:   Shut up. Show me what you have to show me and let me not forgive you.
Wisdom:   Then let’s cross the river.
Test:   You think I’m going to go first? You must be kidding. Get your flabbery butt in the water first. What? You think I trust you. (He laughs out loud.)
Wisdom:   (He jumps in the river and starts swimming.) See? I’m already halfway. Hurry up so I can prove myself to you once and for all.
Test:   (He jumps in as Wisdom reaches the shore.)
(Before he can complete the sentence, he gets stuck in a whirlpool and starts to drown.) Let me show you how a real swimmer swims, chump –
Wisdom:   Oh, no. I didn’t want this to happen. Test! Can you hear me? You can’t die. You still haven’t forgiven me yet, fool.
(Wisdom jumps in the water.)
Wisdom:   (He speaks in a bubbly tone.) Test, can you hear me? Where are you at? Say something!
(The water keeps getting deeper and deeper.)
Test:   (In a weak, bubbly voice, barely audible.)
Wisdom! Wisdom! I’m right here. Uh, uh –
Wisdom:   (Knowing he has not much time, he swims faster.) Test, I can see you. Don’t die on me know, Test. I really do love you. (He finally reaches Test and swims to shore.) Test! Test! Wake up. Wake up! You can’t be dead. No, you can’t die on me. (Wisdom starts to cry and perform CPR.)
Test:   (Coughing and gurgling water out of his lungs.) Wisdom, is that you? Ah – I must be in hell. Wait, I’m alive. I can smell fresh air. You saved my life, Wisdom, even though I badmouthed you. You truly do care. I’m sorry.
Wisdom:   I told you I loved you. I’ve told you that for years. I’m glad that you…Wait. Did you just say you’re sorry? Are you forgiving me?
Test:   Yes. I forgive you. There’s nothing but to forgive you now.
(Wisdom and Test run to the beach and while they’re doing this, the storm starts to hit the island.)
Wisdom:   Oh, no. We might be too late. I need to find someone.
Test:   What? Why? What about me? You can’t leave me.
Wisdom:   I’m not going to leave you, but I need to pass on my knowledge to a different creature. And I’m sorry. You don’t fit that description.
Test:   But why? Are you trying to bring somebody else between us?
Wisdom:   No, Test. It’s nothing like that. I’m going to pass on my knowledge while you’re there. Then, we will walk away and take what fate has for us.
Test:   What is it that’s so important that you have to tell somebody else?
Wisdom:   It’s the key to life. It’s what helped me lose this hate. I need to pass on how good love feels and how much it can help.
Test:   (He looks at the sky.) Well, we need to help ourselves, because the storm is about to hit us.
(Wisdom and Test run down the beach. There is a big, 100-foot wave.)
Wisdom:   We’re going to do it. We’re going to accomplish my dream.
Test:   I’m so happy now. I’ve taken this burden off my chest.
Wisdom:   What burden are you talking about? Were you upset with me?
Test:   No, Wisdom. I was just scared. I figured if I forgive you, you would think nothing else of me and just leave me and go on with your dream.
Wisdom:   I love you, Test. I can never leave you. I am glad we have resolved our problems.
Test:   So am I, Wisdom. So am I.
Wisdom:   You and me, Test. We’ll be together forever.
Test:   Do you mean that?
Wisdom:   With all my heart.
Test:   I love you, Wisdom.
Wisdom:   Look, there’s –
(A tsunami hits, and washes Wisdom away before he can reach another Tortoise that is 100 feet away. Test, with his sharp long fangs sticking out of his jaw bone in a permanent grin, sits on the beach – a decrepit old skull that’s been rotting away for years, but has been living through Wisdom’s mind for at least half of it.)
    The End