The Gospel Truth

Gaby’s People | January 22, 2013

I wrote Gaby’s People to show a bird-eye’s view of the human condition with much of its defining passion, pain, pride, lusts and other evidences of man’s flawed nature.

Using the venue of a health spa, I have tried to give new meaning to the idea of a therapeutic massage, in that the therapist’s strokes are as much for the soul as the body.

Drawing my inspiration from such diverse sources as Dante Alighieri’s Purgatorio, C. S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, and Bruce Jay Friedman’s 1970 controversial play, Steambath, Gaby’s People has the grand ambition of rethinking traditional understandings of sin, punishment, forgiveness and ultimate salvation.

Steambath (Broadway Theatre Archive)

In God’s waiting room?

While it certainly is not a Divine Comedy I did write it in a humorous but very adult vein so as to keep it earth-bound.

The main character Gaby is a selfless individual whose people sometimes draw her to the limits of her patience.

All of them–John, Lance, Donavan, and Harry, as well as Mike her attendant, display human qualities that push human nature to the brink.

Murder, rape, incest, hatred, sloth and self-indulgences are all par for Gaby’s course.

In addition to these major moral failings her people often wrestle with poor self-image, intimacy, modesty and prudery, and self-forgiveness issues.

While Gaby sometimes appears to be from a different world, her involvement in the raw and bawdy humanity of her people, rubs off on her, causing not only a cleansing effect, but also a deep sympathy that energizes her true calling, that of a unified physical, spiritual and emotional healer.

GABY’S PEOPLE is scheduled for its first public  reading, at 6:30 on Monday night, February 4th at Big Daddy’s restaurant (2nd fl) at 1000 Sydney St.,(771-3066) through the auspices of the First Run Theatre Group.  For more information please contact:

314-865-1296; (Mario)
www.firstruntheatre.com 

Here is a scene of what you will hear and see:

The massage therapist Gaby, walks into the therapy room of her Ultra Body, Face and Spirit Spa in an undisclosed location:

Scene Five:

(Same location, later in the future. A man lies fully clothed, except for his shoes and socks on top of the massage table.)

GABY

(Looking at her file, as she enters the room.)

You must be Harry!

HARRY

(Looks up at her)  Yeah that’s me.  (Starts to get agitated) I have to get outta here.  I got stuff to do.

GABY

We have stuff to do here Harry.  And just why do you still have your clothes on?

HARRY

Look that guy outside…

Hard to get a good massage like this

GABY

You mean, Mike?!

HARRY

I don’t know what his name is and I don’t care…He just told me to come in here and lie down and make myself comfortable.

GABY

He didn’t tell you to disrobe to your level of comfort?

HARRY

Yeah, something like that!

GABY

And this is your level of comfort?

HARRY

Yeah, this is as much as I’m taking off!  What’s wrong with it?

GABY

Oh, just about everything…look I can’t do you any good unless you take off some of your outer clothes.  Modesty is an important concern, so you don’t have to take off everything if you’re not comfortable…

HARRY

Lady that’s not going to happen in this lifetime!  Get it through that empty head of yours.

GABY

O.K. Have it your way.  I’ll just massage your big toe for an hour.  (Starts to stroke his big toe on his left foot.)

Massage Therapy Massage-Therapy.jpg

A heavenly touch

HARRY

Don’t touch me!!! (Yells out loudly)  Take your hands off me…I don’t like being touched.  (She continues and he starts to calm down a bit)

GABY

See that doesn’t hurt, does it?  (Starts on his whole foot and slowly works up his left leg.)

HARRY

Oh that feels so…(Sits up…and shouts) I told you I don’t like to be touched!!

GABY

Look Harry I don’t know what your problem is but before I continue and I will continue we should come to an understanding.  I am here to help you.  You wouldn’t be lying on this table if you didn’t need my help.

HARRY

Look baby, I don’t know who you are and what your game is but I want to get out of here fast!  Back away from me or I’ll scream.  (Making a fist he starts to yell very loudly)

GABY

(She looks him directly in the eye and as if mesmerized he calms down)  Now we are going to co-operate, aren’t we, Harry?

HARRY

Well…maybe I’ve been a bit too quick on the trigger.  What …(nervously) are you going to do to me?

GABY

(Continues massaging his right big toe, foot and lower leg)  I knew you would see it my way.

HARRY

I don’t know why I am so angry all the time…

GABY

Well when I am finished you will never be hostile and I mean NEVER again….but you have to…

HARRY

(Gets agitated again)  I have to…what?

GABY

Let me ask you something, Harry?  When you shake hands, you don’t wear gloves…do you?

The Benefits of Butt Massage

Missing the full benefits

HARRY

No…I never shake hands…

GABY

You never…why is that?

HARRY

I don’t want to catch anything.  People are dirty…they are walking disease-spreaders.  (Looks down at her hands and pulls his leg away)

Suffered from Haphephobia

GABY

Harry you can’t keep doing this.  Look at my hands!  Go ahead…take a good look! (Holds them up)  I wash them frequently and oil them so that my touch is clean and pure.

HARRY

Are you sure of that?  (She starts rubbing even higher on his calf)  OOowwoo…That’s nice.  (Starts to frown)

GABY

Harry…do you like me?

HARRY

Like you?  Why…you seem very nice for…a girl.

GABY

Well that’s nice of you to say so.  I will take that as a compliment.  But if you like me Harry, you will have to trust me…right Harry?

HARRY

I ….I trust you…

GABY

Say it again…Harry…I didn’t hear you…(Looking intently at him)

trust is essential

HARRY

I, I, I… trust you.

GABY

Again!  I trust you Gaby!

HARRY

(Loudly he says) Again I trust you Gaby!!!!

GABY

Now that you trust me Harry, I think you should take off the rest of your clothes.

HARRY

(Indignant)  I am not that kind of guy…

GABY

And I am not that kind of woman.  Look Harry, I am a massage therapist.  The more of your body you let me work on the more I can do for you…within the law of course.

HARRY

I don’t think I can show you my body…I’m just not….

GABY

You have had massages before…haven’t you?

HARRY

Not that I remember.

GABY

If you had one of my massages…you’d remember!  Just lay back Harry and let me do all the work.  I will take you places you have never been.

HARRY

That sounds very nice but I am so…

GABY

So…afraid?

HARRY

I don’t know if I can let you touch me…I don’t let people touch me…as a rule.  In fact most people never want to touch me or even be …you know…close…and…

GABY

Whose rules are they Harry?  If they are just YOUR rules—they need to be broken.

HARRY

But how?

GABY

Just take off your shirts and let me do your back…(Trembling slightly he takes off his shirts and lies on his stomach} She starts massaging his neck and shoulders and he starts to sigh)

HARRY

That feels so very good but I don’t think I can go any farther…

GABY

Farther?

HARRY

You know…like the rest of my clothes.

GABY

Keep on as much as you feel comfortable with.

HARRY

Do you mean that?

GABY

Every word! I am here to serve and heal you of all that ails and troubles you…

I am a little surprised about the no touching…

 

Unites body and soul

HARRY

Why?

GABY

I mean somewhere along your life, someone must have touched you.  I mean touching is a part of living.

HARRY

Not my life…

GABY

You’re married…right?

HARRY

How did you know?  Oh, the ring…(Wiggles his finger) Not any more…I only wear the ring because I… can’t get it off.

GABY

How long were you married?

HARRY

10…

GABY

10 years…that’s a long time…surely there was some sort of touching.

HARRY

10 hours…nuptials at 10AM…at 8PM she had already left me…alone in our honeymoon suite…

GABY

Oh…I am so sorry for asking…

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino

a great metaphor

HARRY

I am way over that bitch… …the next day she went to our bank and withdrew every nickel I had and went to Mexico.   But it serves her right…two weeks later she got caught in crossfire with some them drug dealers…I guess they got the money…but she got what she…

GABY

What a horrible cross to bear.

HARRY

I hope she burns in…

GABY

Oh Harry, you can’t really mean that!

HARRY

I don’t know what I mean..

GABY

Believe in me…Harry.  Gaby can take away your pain…just relax…don’t fight me…(Starts to rub his neck and shoulders)

HARRY

You know…I haven’t been touched like that…since….

GABY

Since…when…Harry?

HARRY

Since my mother did….

GABY

Your mother was a therapist?

HARRY

No, I was told she was a nurse…

GABY

You were told?  Why didn’t she tell you?

HARRY

I was too young.  She went someplace and later they told me she died in a plane crash.

GABY

Oh I am truly sorry…Harry.  Look I can’t be your mother but I can help you get over some of your anxiety and fear…

HARRY

Oh that would be so nice…(starts to tear a bit)

GABY

(Starts massaging a bit more intensely on his shoulders)  Harry you are starting to relax.  I can tell.  Pretty soon and you will be a pro at this.

HARRY

How do you know?  I still feel tense and cranky…

GABY

Your body is talking to me…it is telling me where to rub and what part of you really needs my touch….

HARRY

You really think so?  My body is really speaking to you?

GABY

Most definitely!  You should listen to your own body and ask what it wants you to do for it.

HARRY

My body is telling me that you should rub my right shoulder.

GABY

See isn’t this a lot better than you thought?

HARRY

(Nods in assent)  My body is telling me that my right knee needs your touch.

GABY

Right knee?  (She tries to rub under his pants but can’t get up that high.)  Problem Harry.

HARRY

Problem?  What’s wrong?

GABY

Like I told you…the more you show…the more I can do…

HARRY

(Looks around) Oh, I see…well I could  err…take them….off?

a normal comfort level

GABY

Don’t you think you would be more comfortable in just your shorts?

HARRY

Err…I am not…sure but if you promise…not to…

GABY

(Holding up two fingers)  Scout’s honor!   But don’t worry, we have rules here.  And we don’t break our rules. You take your time and I’ll be just outside the door.  You can take off as much as you want …but please slip under the sheet when you have disrobed and call me.

HARRY

You sure…

GABY

Perfectly!  Now just call my name…

(Gaby steps outside and finds MIKE waiting for her)

MIKE

What’s with this guy Gaby?  I heard some shouting.  I almost came in…

GABY

Don’t worry Mike… Harry is just hurting a lot…like all my people…it takes awhile for them to trust me enough to talk…

(In the background, HARRY stands up on the far side of the table.  He takes off his pants and places them on the chair.  With his back to the audience, he starts to pull down his boxer shorts but has second thoughts and quietly slips between the sheets lying on his stomach.  GABY returns to the massage room)

GABY

Feeling more …comfortable…

HARRY

Yeah…a little…

GABY

(Folds the sheet over his middle, exposing his right leg. Starts massaging his leg…) Harry I am really proud of you for taking those pants off…I have a little more room to work…(A pause in the conversation) You know I do great glutes!

HARRY

What are “glutes?’

Proper draping for glutes

GABY

Your glutes are in plain language–your buttocks, butt, bum, derriere and so forth.  It has so many different names because it is so important to the well-being of your body.

HARRY

You want to rub my butt?  That sounds kinky to me… Look Gaby, I am really enjoying myself but I don’t do kinky…maybe this isn’t so good an idea?

GABY

Seriously Harry, the best part of any full body massage is the glutes because they contain five major muscle groups and those are the muscles most of us use the least.  Blood just collects there like stagnant water on the street.  We need to get the blood flowing.  And like all roads lead to Rome…the glutes lead to your soul.

HARRY

Well do ‘em…I’ve come this far.

GABY

There’s a slight problem…

HARRY

Another problem?

GABY

(Slapping lightly on his buttocks)  It’s these Harry…your shorts…if I am going to do your glutes…you need to expose them…one at a time of course, so that I can do my job properly.

HARRY

I just can’t do that!!! Never…never in a million years…Don’t even think about it. (Looks at him sternly)

CURTAIN FALLS ON ACT I

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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