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Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy | The Nation

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Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy

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This scene is the first of a new play titled Only We Who Guard the Mystery
Shall Be Unhappy
. No performance or reading of this work may be given
without express permission of the author, which will be happily granted
to anyone wanting to use it at antiwar events. For permission please
contact him at: MysteryGuardians@aol.com.

ANGEL:

About the Author

Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner’s most recent work includes the new play The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and...

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In 1999, an American plane dropped a bomb filled with several tons of concrete on the power station near his village. He was already malnourished; he had been malnourished since birth, because of the sanctions. The power station that was crushed by the bomb was believed to be supplying power to a plant suspected of producing certain agents necessary for the development of biotoxins. We do not know if it did. We do know that it supplied power for the water purification system for his village. He already had gastroenteritis and nearly chronic diarrhea, for which medicines were unavailable. Then the water purification system failed and he drank a glass of water his mother gave him infested by a large intestinal parasite. He died of dehydration, shitting water, then blood, then water again, so much! Then a trickle, everyone was sad, there was no food, he shook so hard the screws holding his bed together were loosened. It took three days to die.

LAURA BUSH:

That's really awful.

ANGEL:

Yes.

LAURA BUSH:

Saddam Hussein is a terrible man.

ANGEL:

Yes.

LAURA BUSH:

(To the child:) Darling I'm sorry. I truly am. What a terrible world. May I sit?

ANGEL:

Oh of course, please do!

(She sits in the armchair.)

LAURA BUSH:

What can I say to you? Oh how can I say this? It isn't right that you should have had to die because your country is run by an evil man who is accumulating weapons of mass destruction. But he is, you see, he really is, everyone knows this and he will kill many, many other children all over the world if he isn't stopped. So, so it was um, necessary for you to die, sweetie, oh how awful to say that, but it was, precious. (To the angel:) May I hug him? I just would like to----

ANGEL:

I'm afraid not, Mrs. Bush. The children aren't... ummm, they're incorporeal, they're like...shadows, or mirages, or dreams, it's hard to explain.

LAURA BUSH:

And why are they in their pajamas?

ANGEL:

Oh yes, I was about to explain. In Paradise, all dead children wear pajamas.

LAURA BUSH:

Always?

ANGEL:

Only pajamas, for all eternity. Bathrobes and slippers too, of course.

LAURA BUSH:

Well isn't that fascinating. Why is that?

ANGEL:

Like all children in pajamas they are full of regret that their day has ended. But also secretly they are comforted, like all children in pajamas. Murdered children, the children who died especially terrible deaths--this child for example! (The angel indicates a child:) She was in a shelter in 1991. A smart bomb found its way down the ventilator shaft of the shelter. The smart bomb believed, mistakenly, that it had found the ventilator shaft of a factory that manufactured parts for nuclear weapons, but the bomb was mistaken. Four hundred people were incinerated at a temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit. It was on CNN. Perhaps you watched?

LAURA BUSH:

No, I...oh my God! I did! I saw! It was green! Phosphorus! Night footage! I remember that.

ANGEL:

Melting felt to her, paradoxically, like the turning of an instant into solid ice, and then in the next instant like drowning in wild ocean surf, jumbled inside out, only fast, and then she was dead. Her family had been celebrating Eid! Children who die especially terrible deaths are given especially nice pajamas. Please continue your explanation. Mrs. Bush is explaining why you are dead, and in addition to being married to the President of the United States she is also a smart lady, she was a librarian! Please listen children.

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