copyright © 2002 Lee Moyer

True Confessions

By Lee Moyer

Performed by Lee Moyer & Todd Ristau




A man sits in a confessional. There is a curtained window that he speaks to. Behind the window sits the Pastor.


Eric: A nice well spoken man. Dressed for church. Nervous.

Pastor Renquist: Hidden behind the curtain. Southern man in his fifties. Speaks with calm and a little condescension until riled. Then the fire and the brimstone come out...


{Lights up to half}

Eric: Forgive me father for I have sinned.

Pastor Renquist: How so my son?

Eric: I’m troubled.

Pastor Renquist: Something beyond the usual lustful thoughts then?

Eric: Yes, father. Remember Joe, the guy I told you about who’s been helping out at work?

Pastor Renquist: The Northerner? The one with all the self esteem?

Eric: Yeah, he’s the one.

Pastor Renquist: You have sinned against him?

Eric: Well, that’s just it father, I’m not sure…

Pastor Renquist: Not sure? Can I aid in your understanding of this matter?

Eric: I hope so sir. The thing is- he’s been really… nice to me. He’s been picking me up on his way in to work every morning since my car died, and he watched Blackie when I went back to Georgia for Ted’s funeral. And on weekends he’s been helping with the terracing I’ve been doing.

Pastor Renquist: It sounds like he’s proved himself a friend by his deeds. And remember how fortunate he is that you’ve offered him your hand in friendship too. I remember your own arrival in our fair city, and what a difficult time you had at first.

Eric: Very true father. But we talk while we work, and he tries to make me see "how bad it is to have such a low opinion of myself" and "that I’m really great" and things like that… He says that I’m too secretive, that I don’t focus on the big picture, that I don’t see all the support I’ve got and that it keeps me in a box…

Pastor Renquist: In effect, he’d like you to be more like him. Is that right?

Eric: Yes sir.

Pastor Renquist: You’re a smart boy, so what’s the problem here?

Eric: Well, he’s been kind to me…

Pastor Renquist ( a bit impatiently): Yes?

Eric: He’s just making a total ass of himself (pardon my French) with all his feel-good theories and philosophy. And he’s like that all the time.!

He just doesn’t get it father.

He doesn’t understand how things are here in Charlottesville. He doesn’t know that I used to be like him, that I had all the self-esteem in the world. And that he needs to adapt like I’ve adapted. That’s just how things work here, that Charlottesville doesn’t exist on the basis of self-love but self-loathing, that no one gets work here based on ability, but rather on ability to blend in, to seem useful and harmless. To know the people who matter by public declaration. He needs to be shriven of his hubris just like I was-

He believes that America is some kind of crazy Utopian meritocracy, where people are judged by the content of the character, and they never lie, and they work really hard all the time, and they care about what they do, and they are always wanting to grow and improve... It’s just sad really.

Who’d want to live in a world where those radical ideas are the norm? Not us. Not here. I’ve surely learned that.

Pastor Renquist: You surely have gained a lot of learning since you first came to our parish my son. We are all very proud of you. But you still haven’t told me about this sin you spoke of…

Eric: Well, I’m tempted father. I’m sorely tempted to tell him about his problem, to try to help him assimilate. I want to tell him how things really are here, but without the same 20 years of experience I’ve had, he can’t really learn them, can he father?

Pastor Renquist: No my son, he can’t.

Eric: But you understand the temptation, right father?

Pastor Renquist (dubiously): In the abstract, yes son, I suppose I do. [Getting Fiery now] But you know the punishment for such an act, do you not?

Eric (reluctantly): Banishment?

Pastor Renquist (creepily): Banishment, yes. And maybe worse… [Ranting] If you go around blabbing the unwritten laws to every Tom, Dick and Harry that carpet bags his way into this town, well that’s a pretty big breach of faith isn’t it son?

Is that the sort of behavior that’s going to keep up our quality of life here? I don’t think so. This is a Northerner you’re talking about here. Probably one of those damned Democrats that have become a plague of locusts buzzing around Locust Avenue. Ever since we started attracting media attention and getting into those "Top 10 cities in America" issues, it’s all been threatening to explode. Now you want to be broadcasting the laws? Are you a traitor son?

Eric: um… No sir.

Pastor Renquist: That’s a good thing boy. Because you need us more than we need you. You know that don’t you? And if you disappeared in the middle of the night, who’d really notice?


Pastor Renquist (Furiously): I asked you a question son!

Eric: um… No one, father?

Pastor Renquist: …And don’t you ever forget it!




"True Confessions" debuted April 26, 2002, performed by Todd Ristau and Lee Moyer.

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