Confession In A Cave
I once saw an excellent one act play about two men who were investigatng a cave. When the curtain went up the stage was pitch dark. Gradually two figures emerged with flashlights, crawling on their hands and knees through the imaginary rock formations around them.
Soon, as I remember it, the second man's flashlight began to flicker on and off. The first man asked if the other hadn't prepared well enough for the trip. The second man said he borrowed the flashlight from someone who told him it was in good shape with new batteries in it. When the first man asked him who he had borrowed it from the second man mentioned a third man's name.
As they moved along the first man asked if it was true the second man had had an affair with the third man's wife. The second man laughed and said that it was true and that once he got her into bed she was hot, she went at it non stop, she couldn't get enough of it.
The first man asked how it had come about. Drugs, the second man responded. At first, he said, it was just grass but she wanted better stuff, so he gave her coke and some other dope. At first we were just playing around in the bed, simple stuff. But then she couldn't do without the drug. she said. So then to earn it I made her do whatever I wanted, he said.
And boy she did some crazy things. She liked it. He laughed.
The first man said they were getting to a place where they could sit up. When they reached it the second man's light was completely out. The first man said that he and the third man were sort of friends. They had been buddies in the Army. The second man was amused.
The first man then said that there was still a distance to go before they were out of the cave but that he would go out, get a good flashlight and come back for the second man. He told the second man to start counting and by the time he reached 30 he would be back . They agreed and the first man left, obviously never intending to return.
The second man started counting. After a while he opened his flashlight to try to fix it but the batteries dropped out. He couldn't find them in the dark so he lit his cigarette lighter. He found the batteries but needed both hands to put them back in the flashlight, so he held the lighter in his teeth. But the lighter burned his face so he let go of it. Now he couldn't find anything. Meanwhile he was still counting.
When he got to about 20 he wondered where the first man was, why he hadn't come back yet and what would happen if he didn't come back. He wondered if maybe he shouldn't have told him about the third man's wife. He was frightened.
He sat in the pitch dark counting: 27, 28, 29, 30.
It was a good play and an excellent piece of theatre. One can't help seeing the moral lesson in it. The second man's careless, callous, self gratulatory, bragging about seducing his neighbor's wife, plying her with drugs until she was dependant upon him and became his private sexual toy, put him in the dark space of his own night of the soul. With every act of degradation he forced her to do and enjoy he degraded himself. The pleasure he took corrupting them both could only be shown as deep night when the light of shame and reason got turned on. But he was entombed in darkness before he ever entered the cave.
The first man, the good man, at least the better man, left the second man in his self praising darkness to die there, and went away.
Just as I did one week ago.
DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.