Home / Issue 33 / The Savior

The Savior: A Short Play

By John Leyva

Honorable Mention in Prose

SCENE: ALCOHOL REHAB FACILITY

2 people in an alcoholic rehab center wait for the counselor, Thomas. 3 chairs are in a semi-circle with 1 in the middle. Thomas comes in and stands above the chair.

 

THOMAS

(Pointing to the empty chair) Someone’s missing. Their loss. (All of a sudden, high energy, almost like a motivational speaker) How are you doing today?

 

JAMES

(Slightly confused and mumbling, but audible) What the fuck is this?

 

THOMAS

I said, (loudly) how are you doing today!? I’m not like other counselors you might’ve had. I’m Thomas and I’m here to save you.

JAMES

(Under his breath) Save us?

JANE

(Perplexed) Oh boy...

THOMAS

I don’t know if this is your first time here or not, and personally I don’t care. All I know is what we’re doing here is wrong. I’m not here to judge you or make you feel bad for doing something that brings you joy.

 

(Jane and James look at each other confused.)

 

THOMAS

Let me ask you (pointing to James), what’s your name?

 

JAMES

James.

 

THOMAS

James, is this your first time in a rehab facility?

 

(James shakes his head no.)

 

THOMAS

No, because they’ve let you down. But they have it all wrong. Everyone has it all wrong. What did you do to end up here?

 

JAMES

I crashed my car on the way to pick up my son.

 

THOMAS

And how does that make you feel?

 

JAMES

Like I’m a bad father.

THOMAS

A bad father. A bad person, right?

JAMES

Yes.

THOMAS

And why does that make you feel that way?

 

JAMES

I feel I can do better. I have to do better. I have to stop drinking.

 

THOMAS

Like you can do better...right. What if I told you, right now, you’re already amazing?

 

JAMES

I’d...I’d be confused.

 

THOMAS

That’s right, because (pantomimes air quotes) “they” tell you, you should feel bad for being yourself. But why should you feel bad? Do you remember that night, James?

 

JAMES

Only the beginning. I was at home, and my buddy came over. We were only going to have a drink to take the edge off. I get so nervous around my ex. She’s so judgmental.

 

THOMAS

And that makes you feel insecure. Like you’re a bad human, you’re “less than” her? It makes you feel like a piece of dirt, almost a deplorable, doesn’t it?

 

JAMES

Yes.

 

THOMAS

And (pointing to Jane), what’s your name?

 

JANE

Jane.

 

THOMAS

Jane, why are you here?

 

JANE

I fell down the stairs at a bar and ended up in the hospital with a concussion.

 

THOMAS

And how does that make you feel?

 

JANE

Like I need to cut down my drinking so I don’t kill myself.

 

THOMAS

So why don’t they make stairs safer? Why is that your responsibility?

 

JANE

What?

 

THOMAS

Were there other drunk people at the bar that night?

 

JANE

(Dryly) It’s a bar.

 

THOMAS

But you don’t see anyone blaming the stairs. They all blame you.

 

JANE

Yeah, but I was drunk.

 

THOMAS

And that’s what I’m here to tell you. The world is wrong. Not you. You are all amazing people. (Looking at each as he says their names) James...Jane, what if I told you it is the world that is wrong? They are trying to change and you, you’re just trying to enjoy your life. How would that make you feel? Would it make you feel reinvigorated by life?

JANE

I guess...

James

I don’t know...

THOMAS

It would. You’ve just been brain-washed by the mainstream media, telling you that how you find your happiness is wrong. (Pointing to James) How does drinking make you feel?

 

JAMES

I guess it’s an escape.

 

THOMAS

An escape. And are you happy?

 

JAMES

Sometimes, unless I have too much.

 

THOMAS

But what is too much?

 

JAMES

When I do things I don’t remember and hurt others.

 

THOMAS

But how are you hurting others?

 

JAMES

By letting them down. I crashed my car. I could’ve had my son in the car.

 

THOMAS

But did you?

 

JAMES

No.

 

THOMAS

Exactly. You didn’t. And you were being judged by your ex-wife. What if I told you, she’s the one who’s wrong? She takes away your kid. Did she end the marriage?

 

JAMES

Yes.

 

THOMAS

And why?

 

JAMES

Because I couldn’t keep a job. I showed up to work drunk a couple of times.

 

THOMAS

And those people at work. They wanted you sober? For what? Do you think if they let you drink on the job, you would be better?

 

JAMES

Maybe. It was so boring. I would’ve definitely had more fun.

 

THOMAS

Exactly. They’ve been holding you back from your fun and happiness.

 

JAMES

But I’m not happy when people leave my life.

 

THOMAS

But that’s on them. That’s not on you. You are not wrong for trying to be happy, more calm and relaxed. There are times when you get really happy and relaxed. What’s wrong with that? And you (pointing to Jane), how does drinking make you feel?

 

JANE

Free. Happy.

 

THOMAS

Free and happy. Fuck yeah! And the world is trying to hold you back from that.

 

JANE

Yeah, but I almost broke my neck.

 

THOMAS

But did you?

 

JANE

No...

 

THOMAS

Exactly. Accidents happen all the time and you’re fine. You’re here, talking to me, perfectly fine, and they want to take away your freedom and happiness, just so you can be miserable and insufferable like the rest of them. They can’t see you’re perfect. The fact that you’re different, makes people scared. They don’t want to admit they’re scared because then they might have fun and be free also.

 

JANE

Is this a game? Is this reverse psychology? I thought I was in rehab.

 

THOMAS

You are, but I’m here to tell you that all of them, out there, are wrong. You don’t have to change.  They’ve been telling you so long, that (pointing to James) you, (pointing to Jane) and you are wrong. When they are too ignorant to see the benefits of alcohol in your lives.

 

JAMES

But the court says I have to be here. I have to stop drinking otherwise I won’t be able to see my son again.

 

THOMAS

Don’t worry. I have a friend who’ll surely change the court to control the laws. Then we’ll go back to the good old days.

 

JAMES

What do you mean?

 

THOMAS

I mean, you’ll be able to drink and drive. Cars are safer now than they’ve ever been, yet they haven’t increased the blood alcohol limit for driving. And why is it that all your tax money should go to state funded facilities that waste their resources. I’ll be convincing my friend to give the people a tax break for Ubers and we’ll save money and lives.

 

JAMES

Are you serious?  I’ll be able to see my son?

 

THOMAS

Of course. Let me tell you my story. My story is similar to both of yours. I was told for years I wasn’t good enough. Ha! Told I would never become a counselor. And then in 2011, my predecessor made jokes that had everyone laughing at me. And I vowed to get my revenge. And do (looking at Jane) you know what happened?

 

JANE

You got clean and became a counselor.

 

THOMAS

Oh no, sweetheart. I never drank because my brother died from alcoholism. I find alcohol absolutely disgusting and find those who drink to be weak of mind.

 

JANE

But, I thought I smelled it on you.

 

(Thomas pulls out a bottle of alcohol [any size or type will do] and shakes it in her face.)

 

THOMAS

Come here.

 

(Thomas gets close to Jane’s face and kisses her without her consent. Jane pushes him away.)

 

THOMAS

I know this is what you want.

 

JANE

Maybe some alcohol, but not you.

 

THOMAS

We’ll see about that later. Come back to my room and (shaking the bottle in front of her) I’ll give you some. I know you’ll like the way I grab you.

 

JANE

Doubtful, but ok...

 

THOMAS

Ok, but back to my story. Stop interrupting me. Where was I? Yes, this immigrant counselor, who said he was born in the US, which we all know is a lie. And these immigrants, you know they’re rapists and murderers, but some of the best people are immigrants. My wife in fact. So in 2015, I knew what I had to do. Do (pointing to James) you know what I did?

 

JAMES

At this point, not a clue.

 

THOMAS

I decided to run for president of the conglomerate that runs 30 rehab facilities. And I spoke straight to the residents. The people in these rehab facilities should have a say in how they want their rehab to go, so that’s what I did. And do you know what happened?

JANE

You won?

James

You became president?

THOMAS

That’s right. I won, in the best victory ever. And the people who ran the place, they all fell in line. They all thought I was awful and people are still trying to figure out how I won, but I know what they don’t. No one wants to change or be controlled.

 

JAMES

But don’t you think there should be some restrictions?

 

THOMAS

Of course. Against people who say bad things about the president. About me. And sorry sweetheart (looking at Jane), if you get pregnant, you should have that baby.

 

JANE

Good thing I don’t want any kids.

 

THOMAS

Don’t worry, I’ll change your mind later (winks at Jane)...just ask my wife.

 

JANE

Ugh...maybe...

 

THOMAS

And that’s why I know I can make rehab great again. So can you say it with me? Make Rehab Great Again.

JANE

Make Rehab Great Again.

James

Make Rehab Great Again.

THOMAS

Again, louder, so that those in the mainstream media can hear it!

JANE

Make Rehab Great Again.

James

Make Rehab Great Again.

THOMAS

That’s right. And James, how would you like to run this facility? I know you’ll be great at it. You’ll have a job and the people will be great. You’ll be great. And I’ll get your kid.

 

JAMES

I would love that. Thank you so much.

 

THOMAS

You’ll be great. James, you’re great. And Jane, I think I have a great job for you. You can be our spokesman.

 

JANE

You mean spokeswoman?

 

THOMAS

Yeah, no. Spokesman. No one wants to hear from a woman. You’ll be speaking for me, so a spokesman. The job is yours if you want it. Do you want it?

 

JANE

I guess...

 

THOMAS

Amazing. I know you’ll do amazing. I have your first job. Do you want it?

 

JANE

Sure...

 

THOMAS

Perfect. You’re going to be the best. Whenever anyone wants to hear my reasoning, just tell them they’re wrong, because they are. You believe that, right?

 

JANE

Well, from what you say, they’re wrong for wanting to take away my happiness and my freedom. You, Thomas, are the one who is looking out for the patients. You’re ensuring we’re happy and you’re changing the laws to save money and to keep us safe.

 

THOMAS

Safe against immigrants. And what did I say? The best. You’re the best. James, you’re great. And remember, Make Rehab Great Again! Repeat it with me!

 

(All 3 scream Make Rehab Great Again three times. Thomas walks off stage.)

 

JANE

That guy’s crazy, but I like him. He’s so real.

 

JAMES

Absolutely nuts, but he said he’ll get my kid back.

 

JANE

And I can drink while in rehab, plus I’ll have a job. How great is that? Rehab is great.

 

JAMES

I know he’s never drank, and I don’t know why, but I feel like he gets me.

 

JANE

He’s so confident. I feel like I can do anything when he’s around. Is it weird that I love him?

 

(As Jane is finishing her sentence, Jake walks in.)

 

JAKE

Oh good it’s over.

 

JANE

No, you missed the best/thing ever.

 

JAMES

Jake! You don’t understand how great this place is going to be now.

 

JAKE

What? It’s rehab. The only good thing about it, is ending the addiction and healing myself to go back to my family.

JANE

No, the people out there are wrong.

James

You don’t understand.

JAKE

No they’re not. I lost my job when the coal factory I worked at, closed. Since then, I’ve drank so much that I yelled at my 10-year daughter for 2 hours because she was crying. She was just scared she was going to be in jail like the other kids she saw on TV. I don’t even remember it. My 13-year old recorded it and I’ve never been more ashamed.

 

JANE

But doesn’t drinking make you happy?

 

JAKE

It used to, but now it’s a crutch.

 

JAMES

It can again.

 

JAKE

But I came here to stop. I don’t need to have a drink, if it hurts my kids.

 

JANE

That’s where you’re wrong. Drinking will leave you happy and free. Can’t you see?

 

JAKE

What the hell are you talking about?

 

JAMES

Thomas. You didn’t meet Thomas.

 

JANE

He’s crazy, but I love him. He’s going to save us and allow us to be more free.

 

JAKE

What?!

 

JAMES

He’s getting my son back and he’s giving me a job.

 

JAKE

How? What job?

 

JAMES

You just have to meet Thomas, and from now on, I’ll be running this place. I know you’ll think he’s great. Maybe a bit different, but he just likes to speak his mind.

 

JANE

He’s definitely not like any other counselor, but you’ll see that he’s right and everyone else is wrong. He’ll show you the light.

 

JAKE

I just want to get better and go home.

 

JAMES

That’s the thing. You don’t have to get better. You’re already good as you are. It’s rehab that is broken, but he’ll make rehab great again.

 

JANE

Yes! Make rehab great again.

 

JAKE

What does/that even mean?

JANE

Make Rehab great again!

Make Rehab great again!

James

Make Rehab great again!

Make Rehab great again!

JAKE

I don’t think I want Thomas as my counselor.

 

JANE

Well, too bad. He’s your counselor now and there’s nothing you can do about it.

 

JAKE

(Perplexed) What?! There’s so much work to do and he wants to keep me the same.

 

JAMES

Why would you want to change? He’s making rehab great again.

JANE

Make Rehab great again!

Make Rehab great again!

James

Make Rehab great again!

Make Rehab great again!

The End