Written by Joe Janes
136 of 365
Robinson Crusoe, 40s
(Lights up on Robinson Crusoe. He is in his makeshift hut writing on parchment at his makeshift table.)
ROBINSONDear Father. This is yet another letter from your long lost son, Robinson. By my calculations, I have been stranded on this deserted island for (He picks up a stick and feels the notches along the side) twenty years and three months. The only thing that gets me through the long, suffering days are thoughts of one day reuniting with my family. Island life is dreary and ever so lonely. Just the other day-
(Friday enters and sets a drink on Robinson’s table.)
What is that?
FRIDAYMango iced tea. Made it myself. Picked and squeezed the mangoes by hand. Brewed the tea by the fire. Invented refrigeration to make ice cubes-
ROBINSON (sips)Oh. Here. Take it back.
FRIDAYWhat’s the matter?
ROBINSONIt’s too tart. Needs sugar.
FRIDAYAh, one lump or two.
ROBINSONThree. Give me three.
(Friday opens a sugar container in the hut and puts three sugar cubes into the tea and swirls it around. He hands it back to Robinson.)
FRIDAYHow is it, now?
ROBINSON (sipping)Heavenly. Just heavenly.
ROBINSONWhere was I? Oh, yes… Just the other day, I found myself holding a conversation with a tree of all things; so yearning was I for civilized company. Day in and day out, while awake and while in slumber, I am surrounded by dumb animals and ignorant savages. I have acquired a manservant of sorts. His name is Friday, named after the day I rescued him from the clutches of cannibals. Of course, it’s not his real name. His real name is something unpronounceable and comparable to the grinding of machinery. Nonetheless, he is grateful for me saving his soulless existence. To pass the time, I have taken on teaching Friday the English language and the teachings of Christianity. It helps take the sting out of not having anyone with whom to converse… I’m done with you.
ROBINSONWhere was I? Oh, yes… Just the other day, I found myself holding a conversation with a tree of all things; so yearning was I for civilized company.
(Cornwallace and Smedley approach. They are English explorers.)
CORNWALLACETop of the morning, young man.
SMEDLEYI say, good day to you, sir. Good day, indeed.
ROBINSONCan I help you?
CORNWALLACEOh, I do hate to impose.
SMEDLEYWe wouldn’t want in any way to put you out.
ROBINSONVery well. (He returns to his writing.)
CORNWALLACEIt’s just that we seem to be a wee bit lost.
SMEDLEYJust a wee.
CORNWALLACEWe left our ship off the beach on the eastern side of the island. Now that it’s close to noon-
SMEDLEYWe have no idea whatsoever which way is east.
(They laugh. Robinson points in the direction opposite of which they came without looking up from his letter writing.)
CORNWALLACEAh, very good, then.
SMEDLEYSorry to bother you.
CORNWALLCESay, I must admit, I did not expect to run into another Englishman on this island.
SMEDLEYHave you been stranded here?
CORNWALLACEGood heavens. For how long?
ROBINSONWell, if you must know. I have been alone on this island for over twenty years.
(Friday enters with a small cupcake on a plate and puts it on Crusoe’s table.)
FRIDAYI invented cupcakes.
SMEDLEYTwenty years without speaking to another soul.
FRIDAYCan I get either of you gentlemen a mango iced tea?
SMEDLEYMango? Ice? In tea?
ROBINSONThese men were just leaving.
SMEDLEYWe could give you a lift.
CORNWALLACEIt wouldn’t be any trouble at all. We have plenty of room and food.
ROBINSONWhich way are you heading?
SMEDLEYOn to Venezuela.
ROBINSONSorry. Wrong direction. I need to get home to England.
CORNWALLACEOh, well. Perhaps on the way back.
SMEDLEYWell, best of luck to you.
CORNWALLACEBest of luck.
FRIDAYPlease take me with you.
CORNWALLACELet’s go, Smedley. (They rush off) Sorry, old man. The ship is… very crowded.
(Robinson continues writing as Friday just stands there watching them leave.)
ROBINSONI dream, father, feverishly, of some day sleeping in our old house in my old bed. Give my best to mother. Regards. Your son. Robinson.
(Robinson folds up the parchment and quickly addresses it. He snaps his fingers. Friday quickly provides a stamp for it. Robinson hands it to Friday.)
ROBINSON (continuing)Drop this off at the post office for me, Friday, and when you return we’ll continue your conversion to Christianity.
FRIDAYBe right back.
(Robinson takes a sip of his mango iced tea and sighs.)
ROBINSONLife is so cruel. (Pronounced ‘croo-ELL’)