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Stephen R. Scheide as Baphomet, Jake Ynzunza as Satan, Gina Marie Russell as Ashtaroth, Katie Driscoll as Lilith. Photo by Ian Johnston.

Leaving The Nest

Originally produced at the 14/48 festival, 1/10/04. Theme: (i don't remember...) Later produced as part of Star Crossed, and other tales from a devious universe.

(Four roles: SATAN [dad], ASHTAROTH [mom], BAPHOMET [son], & LILITH [daughter].)

(LIGHTS UP on a dining room table. SATAN and ASHTAROTH sit at opposite ends of the table. The two youngsters, BAPHOMET & LILITH sit next to each other facing the audience. It's your average, Cleaver-style family dinner.)

ASHTAROTH: So, kids, how was school today? Did you do anything interesting?

BAPHOMET: (talking with his mouth full) Had a game today.

ASHTAROTH: Oh, that's nice. Did you win?

BAPHOMET: We always win.

LILITH: (the epitome of the sullen teenage girl) Then why bother playing?

BAPHOMET: Because it's fun kicking ass.

ASHTAROTH: Not at the table, please.

BAPHOMET: Sorry, ma.

ASHTAROTH: How about you, Lilith? Anything exciting happen?

LILITH: You always ask that. It's always the same answer.

SATAN: (stern) Young lady, don't get lippy with your mother.

LILITH: I'm not-

SATAN: And don't argue with me. Just tell her how your damn day went.

LILITH: (pouting) Fine. My day was boring. I went to school just like I always do. I had play rehearsal, which was boring. I came home and did homework, which was boring. Now I'm having this boring dinner.

SATAN: Do not insult your family's company-

ASHTAROTH: It's all right, dear. She has a right to her opinion.

SATAN: Not in this household she doesn't.

(The table falls quiet.)

BAPHOMET: (suddenly remembers a funny story) Oh man, today at school, you shoulda seen it, one of the damned souls that perpetually cleans the school toilets with his tongue went nuts and tried to break out of his scalding hot chains. You shoulda seen the guard demons rip that little twit into a million, billion bloody bits of tormented flesh with their razor-tails. And the look on the guy's face after the pieces all reassembled and he was right back in his chains with his tongue pressed against the shitter… it was priceless!

(He guffaws loudly for a long time. The others continue eating in silence.)

ASHTAROTH: How was work, dear?

SATAN: Work went well. We finally got the infernal threshing machine running again on the lower plane of agony.

BAPHOMET: Cool, Dad! Can I come see it?

SATAN: (vaguely affectionate) Sure. Remind me the next time Bring Your Demonic Hellspawn To Work day rolls around again.

ASHTAROTH: Is that what you're using on priests these days, dear?

SATAN: No, sweetie, we still send the priests to the maniacal shrieking device.

ASHTAROTH: (laughs politely) I can never keep all those devices straight. You're such a fine master torturer, hon.

(They fall silent again. LILITH looks up nervously at her dad, stirs up the courage, looks back down at her plate. She tries to speak humbly.)

LILITH: So… the senior prom is coming up soon.

(SATAN & ASHTAROTH exchange glances. SATAN keeps quiet.)

ASHTAROTH: Well, I guess it is that time of year again. (pause) Are you thinking about going, dear?

LILITH: Well… I did sort of… meet someone.

BAPHOMET: (sniggering) Probably a bloated sloth demon.

LILITH: Shut up!

ASHTAROTH: (stern) Baphomet, leave your sister alone. (encouraging) Is it someone we've met?

LILITH: No… he's not from around here. But… he's a nice boy.

SATAN: (suddenly suspicious) What do you mean, "nice"?

LILITH: (overcoming great hesitation) He's… he's an angel.

(ASHTAROTH gasps. A beat, then BAPHOMET begins bleating with derisive laughter. SATAN stews quietly.)

BAPHOMET: You wanna go to prom with one of those lily-white pansy babies?

LILITH: (struggling) He's not a seraph or a principality, he's just a minor virtue that I met on a field trip above ground- (note: a "virtue" in this context is a kind of lesser angel)

BAPHOMET: Trying to score points with the Big Guy upstairs by rubbing up against his little cheerleaders?

LILITH: His name is Shinial, he's one of the angel wardens of the seven celestial halls-

BAPHOMET: How do you get his wings out of the way when you're fucking him on the carpet?

LILITH: You can't fuck an angel, retard, they don't have genitals!

SATAN: SILENCE!

(The table falls immediately quiet.)

SATAN: Field trips above ground for seniors, and someone thought that was a good idea? I will personally have Moloch strung up by his intestines and suspended eternally in the lake of boiling disease.

LILITH: Daddy-

SATAN: You will not be going to prom with this… angel.

LILITH: But-

SATAN: I am the Lord of All Things Evil and Pernicious and I will not have my daughter consorting with a member of the heavenly host!

LILITH: Please, Daddy-

SATAN: That is final! Now go to your room!

(A heavy pause. Then LILITH stands slowly, puts her napkin down.)

LILITH: (screaming) I HATE YOU, YOU VILE AND MISERABLE HERDER OF THE LOST! I WISH I'D NEVER BEEN HATCHED!

(She storms off stage.)

BAPHOMET: Where'd she get the 'tude?

SATAN: Baphomet, I swear, if you say another word, you will be eating your own shit for the next ten eons.

BAPHOMET: (very contrite) Sorry, Dad.

(Silence.)

ASHTAROTH: You can't control her forever.

SATAN: Ashtaroth, please-

ASHTAROTH: She's a growing succubus with a mind of her own and eventually she may decide to leave these hells. What will you do then? Send the Four Horsemen out to haul her screaming back to her bedroom? (pause) Go talk to her.

(SATAN shakes his head, tries to wave her off.)

ASHTAROTH: (gentle but stern) Put Satanachia, you talk to her. She's your daughter. (note: "Put Satanachia" is an archaic name for Satan; use it like a first name / last name)

(At long last, SATAN sighs, rises.)

SATAN: You shelter her too much.

ASHTAROTH: She's watched you sodomize Judas Iscariot with the bleeding torso of a sacrificial calf, Satan, she is not sheltered.

(Pause. SATAN mutters and exits.)

BAPHOMET: Who knew, my own sister's a halo-gobbler.

ASHTAROTH: Oh, shut up, Baphomet. Anyway, you're adopted.

(CROSSFADE from dining room to LILITH's bedroom, where she is sprawled on her bed, quietly sobbing. SATAN enters.)

LILITH: (without looking) Go away.

SATAN: Lilith-

LILITH: (resentful) I know what you're going to say, so save it. You want to know why I can't be happy with one of the fiends, or one of the demon princes, or one of those arch-devils you're always trying to introduce me to. Well, I'm sorry, but I can't. I'm just not like you. I tried to be, for so long I tried. I tortured the damned and I seduced the pious, and maybe for a while I enjoyed it, but…

SATAN: We have a decent life. All the nine hells are under my command.

LILITH: (sits up, faces him) There's more to life than tormenting the wretched! (wistful) With Shinial, it's almost like… I can see right into Heaven. (pause) Don't you remember what Heaven feels like?

SATAN: (sadly) I remember… I remember feeling warm, and protected, and loved. (pause) No amount of penance will get you through that gate. But I guess you need to find that out on your own. (pause) Have fun at the prom, Lilith. (he goes to leave, stops, turns back for a moment) I wouldn't bring the angel home to meet us. Your brother would probably tear his throat out with his teeth. (he exits)

(LILITH waits to make sure he has gone. Then she pulls out a cell phone, dials, waits. Someone answers and she becomes shy and coy.)

LILITH: It's me… Hi… I know, I should have called right when I got home, but I wanted to wait, because… well, because I asked them. Tonight, during dinner… (a sweet smile spreads across her face) He said yes. Can you believe it?… I know, it's incredible! (excited) I have to figure out what to wear! Do you have anything that would match the flayed skin of a child molester?… (subdued) Oh, is that too garish?



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