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May 22, 2014 Day #99 by Janet S. Tiger Promises Kept Monologue Mania
Promises Kept © (from a one-act of the same name) by Janet S. Tiger (c) May 22, 2014 all rights reserved email@example.com
(A middle-aged man enters, holding a suitcase close to his chest. He is slightly bent over, and is dressed in a suit indicating the 1930s. He is agitated, but trying to control this. He speaks with a slight European accent.)
Thank you for seeing me on such short notice. I am only in New York City for a few days, but this suitcase is very important.
You see, it is part of a legacy, and I know the world is about to be engulfed in flames soon – I left the fire before it consumed me, you see – but these papers should never be destroyed.
(Listens, thinks, answers slowly at first)
People ask strange things of others, especially when they feel death is near. Tell me, does the knowledge of imminent demise endow the person dying with the right to ask others for things that are wrong? Either legally….or, in this case, artistically?
(Getting animated) But what if he had asked me to kill someone? Should I have done that? Just because he was dying, unable to think clearly anymore…..not that he thought clearly when he was not sick, but you know what I mean!
(Opens the suitcase, shows some of the papers.)
Yes, that is correct. The papers were part of the estate of my friend. And yes, he asked me to destroy them. (Gets very upset) But I cannot destroy art! It is a sin! And even though he asked me to do this, even though it was a deathbed request, he also knew I would not do it, as I told him so…..he could have changed me for another executor, but he did not, so I feel, in my heart, he did not want these to be burned.
And that is why I am here today. To have you promise that these will be published properly, for I know your reputation, and I believe you.
Of course I trust you! As I trust myself!
Oh, but I did keep my promise to Franz! He asked me to promise to burn his papers – but I never promised to burn his papers –I promised to do the right thing.
And so I ask you to do the same. I thank you, and I must go, as there is much to do before I leave your city. Here…..
(Leaves the briefcase, turns to go, looks back, smiles)
In case you have some strange need to keep a promise I never made…don’t worry,.I made copies…
(He exits, end of scene. This one-act is based on Max Brod, who saved the writing of Franz Kafka from burning after Kafka's death)
Janet S. Tiger 858-274-9678
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8