(Darkness. A candle lights. Lights fade up. Two men are sitting in a room - a PRIEST and a MAN. A crucifix hangs on the wall. Aside from that and a table and one chair, the room is empty. The MAN looks at the PRIEST.)
MAN: Who are you?
PRIEST: Well, I would assume I’m a priest. Who are you?
MAN: I don’t know. Jesu Maria I don’t know!
PRIEST: I don’t think I approve of that sort of thing.
MAN: I can’t remember anything!
PRIEST: In fact, I think I’d be pretty much against blasphemy. A man in my line of work.
MAN: What happened? Was there an accident?
PRIEST: I don’t really know.
PRIEST: I can’t remember.
MAN: You can’t remember either?
PRIEST: I don’t think I’m the kind of person who’d lie to you. Do you?
MAN: I don’t know. I don’t want to assume anything. What’s the last thing you can remember?
PRIEST: Hmm. Darkness. I remember darkness. Then I lit a candle.
MAN: But that’s barely a minute.
MAN: Your entire memory consists of fifty seconds of conversation?
PRIEST: Yes. What about you?
MAN: About the same.
PRIEST: How strange.
MAN: Perhaps there was an accident.
PRIEST: Yes. Post-traumatic shock. I’ve heard of that.
PRIEST: I don’t remember.
MAN: If there was an accident, there’d be some signs of it. Injuries, debris.
PRIEST: Can you see any?
MAN: No. Unless they’re invisible.
PRIEST: I don’t think I can believe that.
PRIEST: It sounds a bit far fetched.
MAN: What else, then? Joint amnesia? Hallucination? What can you see?
PRIEST: A room. You. A cross.
MAN: Crucifix. Anything else?
PRIEST: Cigarettes. Yours.
PRIEST: Pleasures of the flesh. Not really my department.
MAN: No. I suppose not.
(The MAN picks up the packet of cigarettes from the table, takes one out and plays with it thoughtfully.)
PRIEST: Are you going to smoke that?
MAN: I don’t know. Do you think I should?
PRIEST: You’ve taken it out of the packet. It seems like a waste otherwise.
MAN: I don’t suppose you’d be too keen on waste, either?
(The MAN lights the cigarette. He chokes on it quietly, but forces himself to keep smoking.)
PRIEST: Filthy habit.
MAN: But you told me to smoke it.
PRIEST: I told you not to waste it.
MAN: Then what did you want me to do with it? Donate it to the poor?
PRIEST: Please! A little respect.
MAN: I’m sorry. I’m scared, that’s all. I don’t like the idea of not knowing.
PRIEST: Why not?
MAN: I don’t know.
(The PRIEST laughs.)
MAN: The answer has to be here somewhere. Has to be. Why would two men be in a room, but not remember anything but being there?
PRIEST: Perhaps we didn’t exist before we came here.
MAN: We just appeared here?
PRIEST: We came from nothing, and we’ll go to nothing.
MAN: But that sort of thing doesn’t happen, does it?
PRIEST: Perhaps we’re not here. Perhaps it’s a dream.
MAN: A dream?
PRIEST: This sort of thing happens in dreams, doesn’t it?
MAN: I don’t know.
PRIEST: Well it’s a possibility.
MAN: How do we tell?
(The PRIEST leans over and takes the cigarette from the MAN. He pushes it into his own hand. No reaction.)
PRIEST: No, it’s not a dream.
MAN: How can you tell?
PRIEST: I felt that. Can’t feel pain in dreams.
MAN: But it could be my dream. You’d be bound to say that if it was my dream.
(The PRIEST slaps the MAN. The MAN looks surprised. The PRIEST leans back casually and takes a cigarette from the packet. It is in his mouth and lit almost before he realises what he’s doing.)
PRIEST: Did you feel that?
MAN: Filthy habit.
PRIEST: So’s masturbation. You gonna stop being a wanker?
PRIEST: Just an observation. Did you feel the pain?
PRIEST: Then you’re not dreaming.
MAN: It appears not. There must be something here to tell us what’s going on.
MAN: What’s that?
(The MAN picks up a folder. Reads.)
PRIEST: What is it?
MAN: A case file.
PRIEST: Jesus Christ! You mean that was here all the time and you didn’t see it?
MAN: You looked on the table.
PRIEST: So did you.
MAN: Isn’t anger a sin?
PRIEST: Yes. Sorry. Does it tell us who we are?
MAN: I don’t think so. (Turns a page) Oh god.
PRIEST: What? What?
MAN: Here. Look.
PRIEST: A curia?
MAN: The photographs.
PRIEST: Oh. Do you recognise her?
MAN: I don’t think anyone could recognise her. Look at her.
PRIEST: She is a mess, I suppose. You can see the eyes. Well, one of them.
MAN: I don’t recognise her.
PRIEST: No. Me neither. So what’s a Curia?
MAN: A court. For the church.
PRIEST: So somebody’s a heretic.
MAN: Somebody’s a murderer. Those pictures’re evidence.
MAN: Don’t you understand? Somebody murdered those people. This court was called to find out who.
PRIEST: Have we got a list of suspects?
MAN: At the moment? I can only think of two.
PRIEST: Well, yes. I’m sorry for you, obviously, but -
MAN: For me?
PRIEST: You don’t think it’s me!
MAN: Why not?
PRIEST: I’m a priest.
MAN: The sins of the flesh?
(The PRIEST puts out his cigarette.)
PRIEST: That doesn’t mean it was me.
MAN: Can you remember?
MAN: No. Neither can I.
PRIEST: I’m sorry.
PRIEST: I know how you feel. We’re both in the same boat, after all.
MAN: Perhaps they made a mistake. Perhaps it’s neither of us.
MAN: If only we could remember.
PRIEST: We can.
MAN: I can’t.
PRIEST: You can remember some things.
MAN: Like what?
PRIEST: Well, you’re talking, aren’t you?
MAN: So I remember speech. So do five year olds.
PRIEST: And you remember what a priest is.
MAN: So do you.
PRIEST: So you’ve not forgotten everything.
MAN: I remembered what a crucifix is.
PRIEST: Exactly. There must be other things left in there.
MAN: I can’t remember anything else.
PRIEST: Then make it up!
PRIEST: Can’t you just trust in divine intervention?
MAN: I suppose.
PRIEST: Alright. What’s the first thing you remember?
MAN: Nothing. I don’t remember anything.
PRIEST: You’re not trying.
MAN: This is stupid.
PRIEST: Try it!
MAN: Alright. Alright. I remember -
MAN: I remember being a boy. I had a pet dog.
MAN: And what? That’s it.
PRIEST: Stories usually have a point to them. Something that says what kind of dog it was, and tells us what kind of boy you were.
MAN: Well, I’m the sort of boy that had a dog.
PRIEST: That doesn’t really help.
MAN: Help what? Help decide whether I’d mutilate an innocent child.
PRIEST: Not all children are innocent.
PRIEST: I remember a girl from my flock. Sixteen, and a smile like an angel. She had a line of men a mile long, and they didn’t want her for her innocent banter.
MAN: Do you really remember her?
PRIEST: No, but you see my point. We’ve already established that I’m the sort of man who doesn’t see children as innocents.
MAN: So you could have killed her.
PRIEST: Exactly. So. Your turn.
MAN: But I don’t know what kind of character I am.
PRIEST: You can be any sort of character you want. Just think of something.
MAN: My puppy.
PRIEST: You’re not trying.
MAN: I killed it.
MAN: I was twelve. I wanted to see what made it work on the inside. Whether it was all valves and wires like the TV.
PRIEST: Was it?
MAN: Yes. It had a big glass valve for a heart and wires running from there to two little motors in its legs.
PRIEST: Now we’re getting somewhere.
MAN: I was joking.
PRIEST: I know. I just thought I might like to be the sort of character who took that sort of thing seriously.
MAN: And what sort of character does that make me?
MAN: Alright. What do you remember?
PRIEST: I remember seeing a flock of hens -
MAN: Is flock the right word?
PRIEST: I don’t remember. But I remember these chickens, big and brown clucking around the farm yard. And I remember them sitting in their hatchery, bringing forth hundreds on hundreds of eggs. Each one perfect. Each one a miracle from God. I remember that.
MAN: I remember.
PRIEST: That’s good.
MAN: I remember the girl. Her.
PRIEST: That’s really good. Convincing.
MAN: No, I really remember her.
PRIEST: That’s it. Make me believe.
MAN: I mean it. I’m in the street. The street where that photo was taken. And I’m standing over her. She’s dead. Mutilated.
PRIEST: And what do you feel?
MAN: Sick. Oh God, the stench.
PRIEST: Good. Anything else?
MAN: The knife. I’ve got the knife in my hand. Sweet Jesus, it’s me! I did it!
MAN: Good? Don’t you realise? I’m a murderer.
PRIEST: I understand. Of course I do. I know you committed a sin, and you’ve admitted it.
MAN: You forgive me?
PRIEST: I don’t think it’s my place to forgive. That’s His job.
MAN: But you’re here.
PRIEST: So’s He.
MAN: But you personally. What do you think?
PRIEST: I don’t know. I suppose - I suppose you are penitent?
MAN: I don’t know. Do you think I should be?
PRIEST: It’s rather a requirement of forgiveness. I can’t forgive you if you’re just going to do it again.
MAN: No, of course not.
PRIEST: So are you?
MAN: I don’t know.
PRIEST: You seemed fairly upset by it.
MAN: But that was just shock.
PRIEST: I suppose.
MAN: I mean, a man in my position - I don’t suppose I’d be penitent about it, would I?
PRIEST: I don’t know.
MAN: No, neither do I.
PRIEST: Well, I think you should decide. I mean, I can’t offer you forgiveness if you don’t.
MAN: I don’t think I’d want forgiveness, would I? I mean, I wouldn’t be expecting it.
PRIEST: If you’re expecting it, you don’t get it. I’m sure that’s one of the rules.
MAN: In fact, to be honest, I don’t think I’d be bothered by any of this. I mean, if I’m the kind of person who can do - that to a young girl, I don’t think I’d care for you at all. I think I’d probably think you were little more than an insect.
(The MAN advances on the PRIEST.)
PRIEST: I suppose so, yes.
MAN: In fact, I’d say that you should probably be more afraid of me than you are.
PRIEST: Yes. But then that would mean that you would never get forgiveness.
MAN: I don’t think I care.
PRIEST: Have you ever read any Dante?
MAN: Can’t say I have.
PRIEST: Then you don’t know what they do to murderers in Hell, then?
PRIEST: Eternal damnation. Fire and brimstone. Devils tormenting you.
MAN: Perhaps I’ll kick the Devil’s arse.
MAN: All sounds a bit medieval to me. I think I’d like medieval. Torture and pain, that sort of thing. It probably appeals to me.
(The MAN is towering over the PRIEST.)
PRIEST: What if I told you I lied?
PRIEST: What if you didn’t do it. What if I killed her?
MAN: But I remember -
PRIEST: You could be a police man. First on the scene.
MAN: It’s possible. Is that it?
PRIEST: I don’t remember. But it’s possible.
MAN: No. It’s no good.
PRIEST: Why not?
MAN: I believe it now. I mean, I can’t remember what happened, but I really believe now that it was me.
PRIEST: Maybe it wasn’t.
MAN: Maybe it was. It doesn’t matter. I believe it. You’ve got to understand that.
PRIEST: I suppose I do.
MAN: I’m sorry.
PRIEST: Are you?
PRIEST: Then I forgive you. Go forth with God.
MAN: Oh. Thank you.
PRIEST: That’s alright. It’s not my place to judge.
MAN: So. What do I do now?
PRIEST: I don’t know. Cigarette?
MAN: No. I don’t think that’s me.
PRIEST: Do you mind if I do?
MAN: Feel free.
MAN: So what’re you going to do now?
PRIEST: I don’t know. Go back to my flock, I suppose. I assume I’ll have a flock somewhere.
MAN: Do you think you’ll fit in?
PRIEST: The smoking, you mean?
MAN: Amongst others.
PRIEST: God knows. What about you.
MAN: I don’t know. I’d like to help people I think. Give it all up and walk the Earth. I’ll have to see what the Curia say, though.
PRIEST: I could put in a good word.
PRIEST: They might not listen.
PRIEST: Still, it’s a plan. What’s wrong?
MAN: I’ve just had a thought.
PRIEST: You’ve remembered something?
MAN: No, a thought. Neither of us can remember anything before we lit this (motions to candle) can we?
MAN: What about when it goes out?
PRIEST: I don’t understand?
MAN: What if we don’t remember anything after? What if we just stop existing?
PRIEST: Do you think that’s likely?
MAN: I don’t know. I suppose I -
(The PRIEST blows out the candle. Silence. Darkness.)