Written by Joe Janes
149 of 365
Gary Pokuza, 50s
Val Pokuza, 20s
(Lights up on Gary Pokuza sitting at his desk buried in paper work. Val sticks his head in the door.)
VALHey, um, Dad?
GARYWhatcha got for me, Val?
VALI, well, I wanted to ask you something.
GARYSure thing. Need a little man-to-man talk, son?
VALIt’s more employee-to-man, Dad.
VALWell, as you know, I’ve been going to church on Sundays.
VALYeah. For the last year and a half. Every Sunday.
GARYOh, yeah, your mother was saying something about it to me. She was all worried about you going to church. I’m like, what’s the big deal? Can’t hurt. I used to go to church all the time. On Sundays.
GARYYeah, yeah. Before you were born. Used to go to United Methodist. Great pot lucks. Didn’t even care if you brought anything. Just show up and eat. Good folks. Is that where you’re going?
VALNo. I go to Christ Almighty on the Cross. South of town near the old industrial plant. On route 163.
GARYOh, yeah, yeah. I’ve been by there. Used to be a fire station, right?
VALThat’s the one.
GARYOkay. Good. Whatever floats your boat. They have good potlucks at this Christ on a Stick?
VALOn the Cross. Yeah. They do. Once a month. Fettuccine and Fellowship. Everyone brings a pasta dish.
GARYGood. Good to know. You don’t want me to go, do you?
VALUm, sure. I’d love it.
GARYI don’t want to.
VALThat’s okay, too.
GARYOkay, good. I’m glad we had this talk. I have a ton of paperwork to plow through.
VALActually, Dad, I wanted to see if it would be okay with you if I prayed.
VALNo. Not now. But here. At work. Would that be okay with you?
GARYSon, we sell Chryslers. That’s why the sign out there says Gary Pokuza Chrysler. It’s hard enough to get people through the door. Seeing you in the middle of the showroom on your knees with folded hands might look a little desperate. We don’t want to turn off any potential customers.
VALI don’t have to do it in the showroom, Dad. I just want a little space set aside, maybe in the break room, near the coffeemaker, where I can pray three times a day.
GARYThree times a day.
VALAbout ten minutes each.
GARYCan’t you just do it at night before you go to bed, like everyone else?
VALIs that when you pray?
GARYI haven’t prayed in 25 years. And that was for your mother to have a girl. I’m not as confident as you are in the power of prayer, Val.
VALOh. Oh! (Visibly upset by this news) Do you mind if I pray, now?
(He starts to get down on his knees. Gary lifts him back up into his chair.)
GARYThat’s old news, Son. And I don’t mean it anymore. I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re my boy. Listen, I’d really rather not anyone see an employee down on his knees in my office. People might get the wrong idea.
VALI need a place to pray, Dad. You know, I didn’t want to mention this, but it’s my legal right to practice my religion.
GARYOkay, okay. I’m not denying that. But, sheesh, thirty minutes a day? Every day? How big is your list? What the hell are you praying for?
GARYThat’s it? Can’t you just do it once and get it over with? God has big ears. I’m sure he heard you the first time.
VALI sin every day and require his forgiveness every day.
GARYYou sin every day? What the hell did you already sin about today? It’s not even ten o’clock.
VALI had impure thoughts about Juanita the receptionist.
GARYDamn, Val. If I prayed every time I had an impure thought about Juanita, I’d never sell a car.
VALThat’s why I pray every day.
GARYSheesh, I don’t think this is a freedom of religion issue. You just need to manage your time better. Let those impure thoughts build up over the week and then you get more bang for your buck at the Sunday services. Make your minister earn his pay.
VALBut I love Jesus. I want to make sure I’m right with him every day.
GARYI love football, but I’m fine with it just being on Sundays.
VALIt’s not just on Sundays.
GARYOkay, Monday nights, too.
GARYCollege football, yes.
GARYAnd the occasional Thursday night and the Friday night high school games. I get it. I guess if I could watch football three times a day, I would. Knock yourself out. But pray in the utility closet and not when your Uncle Chet is in there with his magazines.
VALDeal. Thanks, Dad. I’ll go pray right now.
GARYPray for a car sale.
VALI will. And I’ll pray for you.
GARYWhoa, why are you praying for me?
VALI don’t want your soul to burn for eternity in hell.
GARYYeah. Okay. Pray for that.
(Val exits. Gary looks up to the ceiling.)
GARYI wanted a girl.