If you like to read, and enjoy quirky, welcome. There are about 30 random things here for you. After you read a short story you may even find some personal comments/insights! The main purpose of creating this blog is for writers. I see so much written about writer's block, and honestly, I don't have it. Occasionally, I write short stories, longer stories, books, plays, one act plays, monologues, and sometimes I even think one is good enough to submit somewhere. Of course, when you submit a story to a magazine that receives 200 stories a month and publishes five, you'd better enjoy the process of writing. I'm not suggesting that I'm a good writer, merely that I can sit down and just start writing.

It is important to write, to constantly be working on your art. If you are constantly plagued by writer's block, perhaps you are being too selective in what you write about. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some examples of my writing, from someone who can write all the time. Occasionally the topics are a bit strange, but I don't let that slow me down, I love to write and get to a finished product. Hopefully, by looking at some examples, you will say to yourself that phrase that all artists who visit MOMA in NYC say: "Well, I can do this!" That would be good, because you can! One of my posts is about a talking tomato. (You have to be able to do better than that!)

In part I'm trying to get some of my stuff in one place, so keep in mind I never claimed it was going to be an incredible read. You can decide that. I will tell you that occasionally I have a story in me that seems to fit the goal of a publication, and I try to write specifically with that goal in mind. Lately I've been considering publications that publish nonfiction memoirs, so some of the entries you'll find here will have that flavor. Perhaps this is a way to get past writer's block - find a publication looking for something that you'd like to write. It seems like memoir-based publications may be a good place to start, because we're all experts in our own families. I'm using a blog here to share some of the things I've written; the blog format is not ideal, so you need to poke around a little at old posts, to see if you can find a story or something else that may interest you.

Two last items. None of these are finished products. I usually get to a point where I have something written, and then stop. If it is something I may decide to submit for some reason, I'll finish formatting, following the specific rules of the magazine or organization (the rules are alwaysdifferent). If you do see something in here that you may be interested in using, don't hesitate to contact me.

So welcome to my blog. Welcome to my writing. Write, people, write! It feels good.

Please also consider getting a copy of my first book, Saturday Night at Sarah Joy's. All Royalties go to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. Please check out the book's blog at:

Thank you!

© 2012 John Allison

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jesus@50: The Mary Interview (a one act play)

The Characters

            JESUS, a 50-year-old man

            JOHN, his friend

            MARY, a teenage girl

The Set and Props

There are two big rocks on the stage.  Two middle-aged men are seated on two of them as the play begins.  One man (JESUS) may be pudgy, with a bit of a beer belly.  They’re both wearing long robes.  It is 2000 years in the past.  A teenage girl, in appropriate garb, quickly joins JESUS.  They move around the set as they talk to each other.


A young woman, interviewing a man who could be Jesus, takes the opportunity to ask some questions that are on her mind about the new religion on the block.  Their quirky conversation is quick-paced and lively - they clearly enjoy talking with each other.


            (Lights up to see two middle-aged men seated on big rocks.  They’re both wearing long robes.)

JOHN:  So there's this kid on the football team that I'm coaching . . .

JESUS:  Whatball?

JOHN:  Oh!  Uh, kickball.  We kick a wicker ball around, and compete with other teams.

JESUS.  Whatever.  So . . .  a kid?

JOHN:  She told me she's supposed to interview and write an essay on someone she admires.  She picked a Pharaoh but I told her that's unlikely.  She's a good kid.  Would you be willing?

JESUS:  Me?  The Jesus me?

JOHN:  Sure.

JESUS:  Well, they all do think I'm dead, John.  Maybe you've noticed we sorta kept this on the down-low since . . . well it's been awhile.  I did just turn fifty!

JOHN:  Yeah.  Happy birthday, boss.  She needs to write her essay based on an interview.   She is right outside, OK?

JESUS (sighs):  Look, I'm a busy guy . . . in theory.  I can only give her a few minutes.

JOHN:  We'll take it.  Mary? (He gestures to a girl offstage to come and join them.  She does.)

JESUS:  (chuckles, questioning her name) Mary?  Jesus! (rolls his eyes)

MARY (misunderstanding him):  Nice to meet you Jesus!

            (JOHN exits stage left, waving as he leaves.  After he leaves, MARY sits, opens a                
                notebook, and quickly tries to professionally focus on the interview.)

MARY:  You're not really the Jesus are you?  Jesus died on the cross before I was born.

JESUS:  Well, it was, to be honest, something we ad-libbed at the last minute.  We didn't think people would make such a big deal about whether I died or not.  I thought it would have been the message.

MARY:  Well crucifixions sound pretty intense.  My parents won't let me even go to one.

JESUS:  Well it was definitely not a good day, but at the end, I was still alive. Close to death, but you know what they say, close only counts in horseshoes. 

            (MARY gives JESUS a confused look, so he just waves off the comment.)

JESUS (cont.):  So we decided it would be a good end to the story.  A few months later I was walking around town again.  I lost the beard and nobody recognized me.

MARY:  Well I'm not sure I believe you but I got a paper to write, so I'll just call you "religious leader''.

JESUS:  Philosopher would be better.  I wasn't planning on a religion.

MARY:  Mmmmm (thinking) sorry, can't spell philosopher (shrugs).  All right, question #1.  (reads from her book)  How old are you?  (Just then her cell phone rings.  She answers.)  Hi mom.  Well, I’m working on a project for school.  I’ll be home soon, OK?  Love you.  Bye.  (to Jesus)  Sorry.  So, how old are you?

JESUS:  50.

MARY:  Wow.  That’s pretty old!  (reads again)  Are you married?

JESUS:  Do you know any Jewish men in this city who aren’t?  Of course I’m married.  I have a wife and we love each other very much.

MARY:  Kids?

JESUS:  Can’t.  I’m what you call sterile and can’t have kids.

MARY:  Is that because of, like, your godliness or something?

JESUS:  No.  Everybody’s got something.  Nobody’s perfect.

MARY:  My grandma says there’s a lotta BS in the Bible.

JESUS (raises his eyebrows):  BS, eh?  And that is …

MARY:  Well, that’s my question!  What is BS?

JESUS:  It stands for bull poop.

MARY:  Uh, that would be BP.

JESUS:  Oh, right.  It’s from the Latin.

MARY (writes it down):  OK, good to know.

JESUS:  So what bull poop is in the Bible?

MARY:  There’s this kid Bobby at school . . .

JESUS:  I know.

MARY (scowls at him): So the teacher’s reading the Old Testament, I mean The Bible to us and suddenly Bobby's shaking his head.  “Nope!” he says.  “Nope!  Can’t be.  Gotta be wrong.”

JESUS:  So what was his problem?

MARY:  It all started with Adam and Eve.  Then their first son was Cain, then Abel.  God liked Abel, so jealous Cain killed Abel.  So God was like so stupid to show he had a favorite, and that led to the first murder.  So, on the whole earth there was Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel.  With me?

JESUS (sighs):  Oh yes.  I know where this is going.

MARY:  So Cain kills Abel.  Then Cain talks to God.  God makes him a wanderer and talks about how, on his life journey, he might be killed by strangers he might run into.  "So where did the strangers come from?" Bobby asked.  "Who begat them?"

JESUS:  This is not exactly a time when you can find good, experienced copy editors.

MARY:  What?

JESUS:   That’s my final answer.  Tell Bobby that.  Those other people wandering around in the desert were inexperienced copy editors.

MARY:  You’re sure not making this easy!  OK, look, I've got my interview to do but just in case you really are Jesus, I have a few questions of my own.

JESUS:  Off the record?

MARY:  OK.  Sure.  Just for me.  My favorite story, one of them, is Dubrie . . ., Dubrio ., Dudiromeday 34:5.  It's the story of Moses dying.  The children of Israel wept for 30 days, and then there was this guy Joshua who Moses had laid his hands on and he became smart so everyone harkened unto him.

JESUS:  And it's your favorite?

MARY:  Well mostly because I like to say "harkened".  Also, it's kinda funny.

JESUS:  Funny?

MARY:  Well the Doobieronomy book starts off and says "These Are the Words of Moses".  Right?  Moses wrote Doberotomy.  Well he's pretty good!  He wrote about his own death and 30 days after.


MARY:  So it wasn't just written by Moses, was it?

JESUS:  Well, technically no.

MARY:  You should really be taking better care of Moses - know what I mean?

JESUS:  Crystal clear, Mary.

MARY:  And what's up with 'thou shalt not kill'.  Are you kidding?

JESUS:  What?  Oh, you probably mean animals.  Actually the word is RATSACH, which really means killing people - murder.  It should really read "don't murder".

MARY:  So Joshua and his army was always being told, by you know who, to kill Canaanites, men, women, children, even babies.

JESUS:  Well you just have to start today.  We need to do the best we can.  From now on, no more orders to kill people.

MARY:  Yeah, I noticed that.  From what we read, it seems like a long time ago God was always yacking, always telling people what to do.  Now it seems like he's clammed up.  Pretty fishy.  Almost like he's not here.  Sorta makes you wonder if he really talked to people back then at all.

JESUS:  Yes it does, Mary.
            (MARY stares at him, frustrated with his non-answer.)

MARY:  OK, well I gotta get my report done.  Let’s just move on to my next question.  (reads)  'What have you learned from 50 years of life?'

JESUS:  Hmmmm.  Well, I learned the importance of marketing.

MARY:  Oh, yes, my mother goes to the market every day.  Grandma too.

JESUS (sighs):  Do you know what Jesus’ message is?

MARY:  Sure, my mother made me learn the twelve commandments when I was little.

JESUS:  Well . . . you know we’ve really been pushing just ten of those lately.

MARY:  Ten?  I learned twelve.

JESUS:  There were twelve, but, we’ve downgraded two, sorta dropped them.

MARY:  Which ones?

JESUS:  Well, we deleted 8, and dropped 12.

MARY:  Thank God!  I hated 12!  None of my friends liked it either.

JESUS:  You have a very mature way of looking at the world!  Twelve upset everyone.  I thought it was a good way to finish up.  Sometimes your good ideas end up on the cutting room floor.  The important thing is to be able to recognize when you make a mistake in judgment.

MARY:  I’ll look up ‘cutting room floor’ when I get home.

JESUS:  I wouldn’t bother.

MARY:  If I tell my teacher in my essay that I’m dropping 8 and 12, she’ll tell my mom.

JESUS:  Well tell your mom to go to church!  Teacher too!  Welcome to the 50’s!  Things are changing.

MARY:  OK, so you said (reads back from notebook) you learned about the importance of marketing.  Can you elaborate on that?

JESUS:  We know "elaborate" but not "philosopher"?  What are they teaching you kids these days?  OK.  Marketing.  You’ve heard of Jesus and that he taught every one to love thy neighbor and do unto others, right?

MARY:  Yeah.  And what’s up with that?  They’re not even commandments.  Shouldn’t they be?

JESUS:  OK, so the message is a bit dispersed.  But that’s not the point.

MARY:  Well, wait a minute.  This commandment thing is driving us crazy.  We read the Bible in class.  The commandments are in there more than once and they're different every time.  Bobby counted twenty-two commandments in one of the books.

JESUS:  It's like a baker's dozen.  No charge for the extras.  My only hope is that, in the future, everybody will talk about the Ten Commandments but nobody will really know what they are.

MARY:  Why?

JESUS:  OK, Mary, repeat after me.  God Dammit!

MARY (get’s wide eyed):  I can’t do that.  My mom would kill me.  That’s the third commandment!

JESUS:  Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, right?

MARY:  Seems pretty clear.

JESUS:  Well in the old days, if you hired someone to shovel your snow, your contract was "sworn in the name of the Lord".  So if they didn't do it, people would say they took the lord's name in vain.  It's about being honest.  It's not supposed to be about how we talk.  THAT would be a first amendment violation.

MARY:  What’s an amendment?

JESUS:  Oh, a new version of a Commandment that I’m working on.  Pretty rough right now, but give me awhile.  So, let me get back to my point.  You’ve heard of Jesus and his teachings.  You try to live by them, but you see, none of them are mine!  They’re just, like, the root of stories I heard from my parents and grandparents and neighbors all the time.  I just repackaged them - tried to tell people what they tell each other through stories all the time.

MARY:  So the God thing is all made up?  Just repackaged stories from the Italians next door?

JESUS:  And from the neighbors people have had since the first time they put two caves on the same block.

MARY:  So people keep sorta telling stories with the same message.  Why?

JESUS:  Well, that is the question.  It's the voices in our heads, Mary.  Different heads, same stories. 

MARY:  Well, my mom says she has to tell me things fifty times because I don’t listen.

JESUS:  Good point! 

MARY:  I just don’t know.  I guess I never thought about stories that people tell and how they have messages in them.

JESUS:  Yes, it used to be why people told stories.  Now everyone is too literal.

MARY:  Remember, I’m just a kid here.  What are you talking about?

JESUS:  Remember the Jonah story?  Swallowed by a whale?

MARY:  Is that BS?

JESUS:  Well, it was a story.  A story about faith.  It had a message.  You’re supposed to think about the message, not worry about whales swallowing people.  To get people to buy into a plan, sometimes there needs to be some consequences.  Hell is a good one.  Floods!  Get God mad and he may just decide to start over!  It is a story, one meant to have an impact on the ones that aren’t so bright, but it’s not to be taken literally.

MARY:  OK, so you brought it up.  Flood story.  You proud of that one?

JESUS (looks around, hoping the subject will change if he doesn't respond.  He starts hand waving):  Uh, floods, rain, snow, always something happening on this planet.

MARY:  Hold on!  A family just moved here.  They have a kid and he goes to my school.  Want to know where they moved from?

JESUS:  Let me guess.  The city of Ur?

MARY:  You're so smart.  So he told us an old story of theirs, about a guy named Ut-Napishtim.

JESUS:  Can we move on to something else here?

MARY:  I thought so.  Well, some god decides to wipe out everything and everyone with a great flood.  So The Ut-Man is asked to build a boat and load it up with animals.  Then after the flood waters stop he sends out birds to find land. (Stares at Jesus.)  Jesus!  If I did this in school the teacher would send me to the Principal's office.  Maybe I can't spell "philosopher" but I can spell "plagiarism"!

JESUS:  I can't believe you all found this so fast.  Well, good stories are good stories, what can I tell you.

MARY:  So God’s just a story too?

JESUS:  Well, the God thing does scare a lot of people into following the twelve commandments.  But there’s more to it than that.

MARY:  Well what about that little voice inside our heads that tells us the same stories, is that God?

JESUS:  I don't know, Mary.  Why not, eh?

MARY:  Well sure, I mean we can call it what we want . . .

JESUS:  So what did we learn today?

MARY:  That there’s a God.  Right?

JESUS:  I just point people in directions, they decide what it all means.

MARY:  Cool.  I interviewed someone and proved there is a God.  So who cares if Moses wrote Deuteronomy or not?  Anyone can write for God.  The same messages are in all of our heads!  That will work.  This has to be worth at least a "B"! 
(pause)  So, you’re name’s really Matt, isn’t it?  That’s what everyone calls you.

JESUS: (thinks) . . . Right.  I mean, if Jesus were still around, everybody’d make a fuss.  It wouldn’t be good, you know?

MARY:  Yeah.  Well, thanks for your time.  I was in a bind – you know – over the Pharaoh thing.  But since you helped me, tell you what I’m going to do.

JESUS:  What’s that, sweetie?

MARY:  I’m going to look up how to spell philosopher.  And don't worry; I'll keep this stuff quiet.

JESUS:  Great, now get outa here,


JESUS:  And don’t forget (falling into a pious pose, with hands in prayer) I’m here if you need me.

MARY:  (yelling back to him as she runs off stage) Same here, Matt!  Bye!



© 2012 John Allison

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