Wednesday, March 28, 2012
LUCKY CHARM by Amjad Prawej
A peacock is tied to a tree in center stage. We see four men chanting and engaged in what looks like a ritual dance. The peacock wakes up with a scream.
Peacock: (Struggling to be free) Where am I? Why have you tied me up here? Please let me go.
Man1: Let you go? Let you go? (Laughs. Others join) We paid a lot of money for you. You are our ticket to success. Now tell us, how can we let you go? (Laughs)
Man3: Yes, We paid not 1, not 2, but 40 thousand to our Master.
Peacock: Please have a heart. Let me go. My family would be worrying.
Man2: (Laughs) Worries. Worries. Everyone has worries. You are worried about your family, we are worried about our families . It's all about worries. (Asking others) Do you have worries? Do you have worries? Do you have worries? (They say “Yes”) See, they all have worries. Now if we put all our worries together, it would certainly be greater than your worries. Therefore, we can't let you go. Nothing personal.
Man4: But all our worries will soon be over. We will be rich and wealthy and successful.
Peacock: And... how exactly is that going to happen?
Man1: You are too impatient, aren't you? Alright, I'll tell you how. We are going to sacrifice you. We will get on with the rituals once our master is here. Do you understand now? What happened? Why are you silent? Are you scared? (Laughs)
Peacock: No. I am not scared. We all have to die one day. But I am surprised, at your ignorance. I thought you were the most intelligent creature on this planet. “Human Being”. You are proud to have brains. You can think, analyze and rationalize.
Man2: Ah! You know a lot about human beings. Good. Well, you are right. We are the most intelligent animal. We rule the world. We are proud to have brains (Laughs)
Peacock: Why don't you use it then?
Peacock: Why don't you use your brains, for a change?
Man3: Are you trying to say that we are dumb?
Peacock: Yes. You are not only dumb, you are stupid as well. Fools! You don't require wealth and riches. You need Education. This superstition is taking you nowhere. I can't believe you paid 40 thousand for a simple peacock like me.
Man4: (Laughs) This is where you falter my dear. You are no ordinary peacock. Look at your feathers, they are Golden. You are special. You have no idea how valuable you are. Forty Thousand is a bargain price for something like you. We are no fools. You can't deter us from what we are about to achieve. Once the ritual is over, we get to choose what body parts we want. I am going for your feather and a claw.
Man1: I want the beak and a feather.
Man2: I'll go for both the eyes and a feather.
Peacock: I pity you.
Man1: Shut up! One more word and we won't even wait for our master. We will cut you into pieces and distribute amongst ourselves.
Peacock: But you are going to cut me into pieces anyway. So, your threat doesn't mean anything. I am just trying to put some sense into your heads before I die.
Man3: Oh yeah? Alright. Go on. Enlighten us. (Laughs)
Peacock: Listen and listen carefully. You receive what you give. Inflicting pain on others will bring you nothing but pain. The only way to success is hard work. There are no shortcuts.
Man4: No shortcuts? (Laughs) You must be joking! If there were no shortcuts, there would be no word called 'shortcut'. In fact, there is a shortcut to this very place from my home. There is a shortcut to everything.
Peacock: Ah! you seem to be intelligent. You surely know how to manipulate things. So tell me, what's the logic behind this shortcut to your so called success? You will sacrifice me, you will pluck my feathers and my eyes, chop me into pieces and make a potion out of it or you will decorate yourself with my body parts. What next? What will happen after that? Your miseries will be over? Just like that?
Man4: Yes. Just like that. Every part of your body has a Magical Supernatural Power. It'll destroy all the evil forces that surround us at the moment. It'll bring good luck to our professions and we will prosper. All our worries will be gone. Just like that.
Peacock: Thank you very much for explaining all the technicalities. Now please be kind enough to explain my present condition. If I have supernatural powers, why am I tied here? Why am I surrounded by the living evil forces? Where is my Good Luck? If I have magical powers, why am I unable to free myself? Why can't I disappear? Please explain.
Man4: Because.. Well... (To one of his friends) You explain.
Man3: Me? Explain? I don't even know what Magical Supernatural Power means.
Peacock: I can explain. Actually I have two explanations.
Man3: Really? Go on.
Peacock: The first: You are ignorant fools and there is no explanation to foolishness.
Man3: OK. And the second.
Peacock: My Supernatural Powers are weaker than yours.
Peacock: Yes. You seem to have stronger magical supernatural powers. That is why I am helpless. I think the potion made out of your own body parts would be stronger than that of mine. I suggest you chop one of your own body parts and prepare the potion. You could be successful much quicker that way. And now PLEASE let me free.
Man3: I think he has a point.
Man4: What? Are you suggesting we chop our own body parts?
Man3: No. He doesn't have any magical power. Whatever he told makes sense.
Man4: Look at his feathers. They are not natural.
Peacock: You are right. They are not natural. But they are not supernatural either. It's a genetic disorder. Ah! but you never went to college.
Man3: Listen friends. I think we are making a mistake here. He seems to be a normal peacock. It doesn't make sense to kill him.
Man1: I think you are right. He is like any other peacock.
Man2: Shut up. Shut up. He is a wizard. A ghost. He is playing with our minds. And you are getting affected. Let the Master come. He'll decide.
Peacock: Master, Master, Master. I hear this word again and again. Who is this Master? Where is he? Why is he not showing up? I want to see him.
Man4: Your wish will come true. Have some patience.
Peacock: Maybe... (Bursts out laughing)
Man1: What? (Peacock continues laughing) Maybe.. what?
Peacock: Maybe there is another explanation to my situation.
Man1: What explanation?
Peacock: You humans ARE the most cunning animal. No, not you. But your Master certainly is one.
Man1: What exactly do you mean?
Peacock: It's too obvious. Your Master is not coming.
Man3: What? He is not coming? But why?
Peacock: He has the money. Its all about money. There is no reason for him to come here. (They look at each other. There is silence) By the way, how did you arrange all that money?
Man1: I borrowed from relatives.
Man3: That was my entire savings.
Man2: I took a loan from the bank.
Peacock: I see. You are in trouble now.
Man3: (Realization) You are right. We have been cheated. I should have never listened to you guys. My entire saving! What am I going to do now? (Starts crying)
Man4: Stop crying.(Turns to the peacock) I don't believe you. I am sure our Master will come.
Man3: No. No one is coming. He is right. I am going to free him. (moves towards the peacock)
Man4: Stop. He belongs to all of us. You can't decide for all.
Man1: But there is no point in killing an innocent creature.
Man4: I know what to do. This is the only way to recover our money. Lets sell his body parts to others.
Man2: What an Idea!
Peacock: No, Please. Please don't kill me. Listen, I'll give you all my feathers willingly. Spare my life.
Man3: We don't have to kill him. He is giving us his feathers. That will bring us enough money.
Man2: No, that's not enough. The eyes and the skin are in demand. We have to kill him.
Man3: No, I am not letting you do this. (Comes between the peacock and the men)
Man4: What are you guys looking at? If you want your money back, hold him. (Man1 and Man2 pin man3 to the ground. Man4 faces the peacock) I am sorry but I have to kill you.
Peacock: Please. I have a family. Be kind. Please. I beg you.
Man3: Let him go
Man4: I am sorry.
Man3 keeps shouting and pleading. So does peacock. Everyone is talking. There is a lot of noise. Suddenly..
Peacock: (Screaming) Why?..... Why don't you have any mercy for me?... (realizes) I see.... You are cruel to me because I am just a peacock. Just an useless bird. You don't care. But tell me, (challenging) would you kill me if I were your own brother or sister? Would you kill me if I were like you, a fellow Human Being? Would you? Answer me! Answer Me!!
Everyone Freezes. A recorded voice of a news reporter is heard.
Last Friday in Eastern Burundi an eight-year-old boy was murdered by criminals with suspected links to witch doctors. They made away with his two arms and a leg. According to an official, Albinos have been frequent targets of criminals in this small central African country. Since 2007 more than 50 albinos have been killed and their body parts sold for use in witchcraft, especially in the remote northwest regions where superstition is high. It is believed that criminals in Burundi smuggle albino body parts to their neighboring country Tanzania for money. These are used and sold as lucky charms by the witch doctors. This is IBNC and I am.... (The News fade slowly)