copyright © 2004 Clinton A. Johnston

True Belief


Clinton A. Johnston


[Monologue delivered center stage.  If lighting is inflected, make it weird.  If underscored by music, make it trippy.  Originally done in an English (London) accent.  I don’t know.  It just felt right.]


So she comes to me and she says, “I don’t believe you.”


And I say, “What do you mean you don’t believe me?  Don’t believe me about what?”


And she says, “I don’t believe you.  I just don’t believe you.”


And I said, “Do you mean to say … in general you don’t believe me?  Do you mean to say that generally speaking, in any given matter, you don’t find me at all trustworthy?  In my actions and in my deeds; in intention, manifestation, and interaction, you just don’t find me credible?  You think I’ve just been fundamentally dishonest in the years we’ve known each other?  Is that it?”


And she said, “Um … yes … yes, I think so.”


And I said, “Well, that just tears it, doesn’t it?  I mean that just takes the cake.  That riles up the wombat as it were.  I mean, after all these years, after all this time, after I’ve shunned and alienated my friends for you, after I’ve made a point of telling you where I’m going, where I’ve been, where I am, after I submitted to the grand indignity of filing an itinerary with you—“


“Proposed itinerary,” she reminded me, and I conceded that point.


“Proposed itinerary, after the journals and notes and dictated, blow-by-blow recordings of where I am at any given time.  Good lord, I file phone records, walk through metal detectors that I helped install in our apartment, submit to body cavity searches which, though at least technically passing for intimate, physical contact, are hardly delivered in any matter meant to be alluring.  I’ve worn bells, beepers, pagers, bangles, boxes, and rings, anything short of a leash and a collar and still I have quietly put up with your doubts, your suspicions, your lingering dropped hints, your accusations, and your godammned petulant jealous silences that leave me wondering for days what miniscule piece of evidence, what vaguely lipstickish stain, what poorly remembered statement has enraged your passion of mistrust this time!


Well, after every rumor that the certifiably psychotic coterie that you call your friends has been unsubstantiated, after the three private detectives you hired turned up nothing, after the tests, the questions, the inquisitions that would make Nuremburg blush.  After I have again and again proved my worth and honesty to you, what is it that you could possibly misconstrue into the reasonable proof for my accused dishonesty?  Tell me, was it something I’ve done?  Something I’ve said.  Something I’ve forgotten, an inconsistent fact I’ve let slip?”


And she says, “No.”


“Well what then?” say I.  “What has convinced you of my non-believability?”


And she says, “Magazine.”


And I say, “What?”


And she says, “Magazine.  I read an article that said that 70% of modern day relationships are based on lies, and that 45% of males regularly lie to their significant others.”


And I say, “This is it? [2 beats]  This is all you’ve got?  You read an article in a magazine?”


She said, “Yeah.”


And I said, “Well that’s just it.  I can’t take it anymore.  After everything, after all we’ve been through, after every hurdle I’ve jumped, to suffer the indignity of indictment from a piece a filler put in to balance out the format between the features and the ads in some simple-minded piece of coffee table fluff is just too much to be borne.  This is the straw.  This is the camel, and my back is broken.  Look, I know we said ‘for better or for worse’.  I know I promised ‘for richer or for poor’, ‘in sickness and in health’ but I just cannot take this anymore.  I will not.  I’m leaving you, Sylvia.  I’m leaving and I’m never coming back.”


And she said, “Ahhh hah!  I knew you’d lied to me!”


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